27 December was the day F and I were to set off for Applecross, where we were to “celebrate” New Year.I have developed an almost pathological dislike of New Year: it is a festival too many at a time of year when Christmas ought to dominate: it appears to me at least to consist substantially of maudlin sentimentality: and there is an almost overwhelming expectation on the part of others that you ought to be celebrating into the wee small hours, particularly if you are a Scot. So, in the spirit of starting a new tradition we had rented a cottage in Applecross where we expected to be able to do some walking and where we would be free from the conventional “festivities”.
The journey from Edinburgh to Applecross started off badly. When F had arrived in Edinburgh on Boxing Day she had been able to park outside V&S’s house, on a single yellow line, since Edinburgh District Council had ruled that the usual parking formalities were to be substantially waived on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Parking in that way meant, of course, that we had to be alert to the need to move the car off the yellow line, onto one of the line of parking bays opposite, on 27th December, when normal service resumed. So, it was with only a modicum of surprise that, when F pointed out to me at around 8.45 on the morning of 27th December, that I realised that we needed to move the car the few yards that would be necessary to take it from parking hell to parking heaven.
Gentle reader, I suspect you are ahead of me at this point. When I exited the house to move the car I found that the full might of the City of Edinburgh parking control system had been mobilised, and I had been given an extra Christmas gift of a £60 parking fine. The fact that it was moderated to £30 for paying promptly wasn’t much of a consolation, and it was with what I felt was a perfectly understandable sense of injustice that F and I began to load the car for our journey to Applecross.