Nosy Parker

July 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Currently, there is more than one car per UK household. Around 50% of us, therefore, own a car, and most of us use it to drive to work. In Tenterden, where I work, parking is at a real premium: there are just four town car parks & the average cost is £1 an hour. Whilst the national average salary for a full-time worker was £26,200 last year, 46% of UK residents earn less than £20000 annually.

As I fall into that latter category, I choose to avoid paying ridiculous amounts for parking in a council car park, and find a space instead in a residential area (I shan’t name it here, it’s pointless for most of you, but those who frequent Tenterden will know exactly where I’m talking about). Let me make two points absolutely clear. Firstly, I am forced to do this: my earnings simply do not allow for parking expenditure, but I have to drive here because I live 42 miles away and Tenterden’s transport connections are appalling. Secondly, as the law states, your owning a property in a road does not give you automatic parking rights either outside your own property or elsewhere in that road. Where I live, you are required to have a parking permit if you wish to park for more than 2 hours. But I’ll say it again: in the same way in which I would have no more right to park there than a non-resident, were there no parking restrictions, my owning a permit gives me no more right to park there than a non-permit holder.

So, as you can imagine, it made me rather angry today when, after I declined his suggestion to park elsewhere, a resident of this Tenterden estate spat on me for parking there. Not only is that abuse, it is also suggesting that he has more right to park there than I do. This is rubbish. Don’t like it? Move elsewhere or put up with it. He made his choice when he moved there, knowing it is a popular place to park in Tenterden. Unlike me, and presumably most of the other people who park there: because financially, we have no other option.

Five Minutes Peace

April 7, 2012 at 6:19 am | Posted in books, Childhood, Children, insomnia, Literature, London | 2 Comments
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Blog, I have neglected you. This ends now. I did do well by you in January, but now you lie abandoned in the great internet orphanage/Battersea Dogs’ Home/some other appalling metaphorical place of forsakenment. (Apologies for the antiquated word: but it is rather fitting considering yesterday’s date).

I woke suddenly this morning about five after having a recurring nightmare (I won’t share details, but it involves murder). Too restless to sleep again, I read some blog posts by this lady and this one too. Both made me realise how much I missed writing up my own adventures.

I’ve not had a laptop for ages since my brother ‘borrowed’ mine (hey, at least my diary is password protected), and although I’m hoping to get one, I rather like this funny little QWERTY IPhone keyboard. Sure, the screen is somewhat ambitiously tiny for my shortsightedness, but that’s part of the fun (or something).

The silence this morning is so delicious. I can hear nothing whatsoever apart from, well, that slight buzz of soundlessness you get when you are somewhere very still. Here comes The Desiderata bit (apologies for the link to THAT website, but it was that or businessballs.com…). So much of our lives are consumed by busyness that sometimes we forget how easy it can be to find quietness in the midst of madness. Get up an hour earlier (not easy when you’re knackered, I know), or take ten minutes out of your lunch break to find peace (not of the inner or world variety, just peace, pure and simple). Where I work in Tenterden, it’s amazing how quickly I can find silence just a few minutes after walking out of my shop, even on the high street. You seem to enter a whole new universe which runs in parallel to the craziness of the usual world. The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago in Richmond: a friend and I were en route to a lovely pub, and the further we walked up the hill, leaving the bustle and Bugaboos of the main town behind, the more the soft sounds of nature descended. You have to walk up this hill at least once in your life: the views are absolutely amazing. Plus perving on the abodes of the rich and famous is such an enriching activity.

There’s something so wonderfully expectant about a Saturday, particularly when it is very early and still (not, I should add, when you are rolling out of bed, dry-tongued and hungover). When I am up very early on my favourite day of the week, I always think back to walking over Kew Bridge as the sun comes up, or of sitting outside Waterstones Thanet as a probational bookseller, and reading the terrible eponymous book.

That’s all for now. Je Reviens, as Rebecca’s boat said. And remember: go placidly, folks…

Are you goin’ to Tenterden Book Fair?

February 25, 2012 at 8:04 am | Posted in books, Literature | Leave a comment
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I have very fond memories of Tenterden Book Fair, although my memory is undecided as to when I first went there – some time during university? Before then? Anyway, like parties, I was always going for more than the Book Fair itself. I was going for Waitrose; I was going for the magnificent journey through the Kent countryside, which takes in an isolated house surrounded by poplar trees; I was going for the independent gift shops. I was going to feel posh, basically.

And the meatloaf. Oh, the meatloaf. After browsing round the stalls, it would be time for a cup of tea served from a Brown Betty pot, and a slice of meatloaf smothered in gravy and accompanied by mash and greens. It was as if I’d stumbled into an HE Bates novel.

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My favourite purchase is a signed Iris Murdoch, which is in storage at the moment, but I also found this beauty at the Book Fair one day:

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