Monday, 10 December 2007

Pointless exercise

I remember the first time I drove from my then new home to Exeter. I got there, rang a local friend to ask for recommendations for parking, and ended up sticking the car somewhere I shouldn't because there was absolutely nowhere legal left to park. I thought it couldn't really be that bad, Exeter after all is a tiny city surrounded by vast tracts of land, and that I just needed to get to know the place better. I eventually found a huge multi-storey that only ever hosts a smattering of cars, and that was that.
This week I have to go to Exeter four times. This is highly unusual, never mind unpopular, and if I'd have had any say in the matter would have been organised very differently. But there you are. With masses of time in hand, knowing that there will probably be a bit more traffic due to seasonal consumption, I arrive and start to trawl for a space.
One and a half hours and five car parks later, including having to pay 90p for the privilege of driving up and down ramps fruitlessly at one car park that issues you a ticket on arrival and won't let you out again unless you part with coin, I turn my back on the city and head for home, meeting abandoned.
With no reasonable public transport options possible I am going to have to attempt this again each day for the next three days. I need a campaign plan, a large box of Nurofen and whale music (or is it dolphins?). I am contemplating painting my car white with go-faster stripes that might be mistaken for the cops or paramedics. If it didn't take three hours to cycle there, I might consider that. Perhaps I could go in at midnight and camp out until my meetings start, arriving with something of The Lady in the Van about me. Perhaps I could make some big signs saying "free turkeys this way for drivers" all pointing out of the city centre.
All I want for Christmas is a flying carpet.


Eurodog said...

Note to self: avoid Exeter or any city small/medium/large at this time of the year.
Have a nice cup of tea at the Real McKoy. Do you know it?

lady thinker said...

I use the Park and Ride but it does curtail how much I buy. I can only buy as much as I'm able to carry back to the bus stop. But will be up at the crack of dawn Wednesday to get in by 9.15 to be able to park in Mary Arches - pay and display after finding a parking slot. I have mega loads of shopping to do. I'll be wearing a green rain proof jacket - watch out for me and do introduce your self. I've just met Flowerpot via her TV appearance and would love to meet you too.

Flowerpot said...

can you organise meetings elsewhere - persuade them to go to you? Sounds hellish.

Swearing Mother said...

Shame you can't have your meetings at Topsham, ten pubs to choose from! We go to Exeter a lot, and the parking is always dire, we usually end up at Mary Arches too after endless excursions to find somewhere more convenient. One of our favourite places for lunch is The Plant (I think that's what it's called) a veggie cafe on the Cathedral Square. Lovely, lovely food and great atmosphere. Last time we were there, every female member of staff was pregnant, so watch out - there must be something in the quiche! And another thing, we accidentally overpaid our bill and the owner ran across the square to catch us up to hand over a refund and his apologies. Good stuff.

I can never understand why Exeter is so busy with cars when the vast majority of people (students) seem to be on foot all the time. It's a mystery!

Mopsa said...

I rarely stop for a cuppa - I do my thang and then escape, tout de suite!

Lady T - that bloody Mary Arches....I'll be the one guzzling nurofen and holding my head in my hands.

FPot - we converge from all over the SW, so Exeter is the closest I can get folks to come this far south.

SM - not sure we could hold our meetings in the pub - sadly NOT social sessions!

Eurodog said...

Well, you obviously survived your ordeal. Don't OD on Nurofene.