14. A rest day

Chelsea Flower Show

The day after my Croydon sortie I had a fairly restful morning that involved mostly massaging my legs and getting the washing on the line.

The advantages of renting this place are many. The living is entirely self-contained and I have the luxury of my own private back garden – with a washing line so I can dry my clothes in the sun.

Now before you start laughing about England and its lack of sun I must mention the fact that I was extremely fortunate as far as the weather was concerned and in the 6 weeks I was there I had one overcast day and two days of light drizzle. One of those turned out to be one of my rest days anyway. The remainder of the time I had blue sky and sunshine – how lucky can you be? Towards the end of my stay when I was based in Poole we had wonderful summer temperatures in the mid to high 20’s.

Later in the day I decided to have another go at finding a free car park as I needed to buy a pair of slippers and wanted some fresh bread and milk. When I reached the shops I did my usual driving around the block a couple of times and was on the verge of giving up when I accidentally turned left one street sooner than I should have. I cursed my stupidity but by the time I had seen the No Through Road sign it was too late to do anything other than keep driving to the end of the road and do a U-ie to get back out.

Lo and behold! What do I find?

The afore-mentioned multi-storey car park that caters for the shoppers and workers in the area.  I knew there had to be one somewhere!

My mistake was in not guessing that it was at the end of a road that discourages you from entering by having a No Through Road sign on it and does not bother to have a sign telling you there’s a car park to be found at the end of it. So, thank goodness for that mistake. Parking problems solved.

Thank goodness too that I’d hired a very small car. The parking spaces were miniscule – just enough room to park my tiny car and to half-open the car door to get out. Makes you realise that space is at a premium in cities that have existed for such a long time.

In the shops I was puzzled by the shop assistants reaction to my request for slippers. I still haven’t figured out what the problem was. After a while I was on the lookout for a middle-aged Caucasian woman to serve me as I started to think it was a cultural difference that made them look at me strangely when I mentioned slippers. I had no luck and went home without having sighted a single pair – in England! Who’d have thought?

I did manage to find some cheap sheets as I called them. Whenever I used the term ‘cheap sheets’ the assistant became a little agitated and politely corrected me – apparently, the politically correct term is ‘budget sheets’. So I’d ask where I’d find some cheap sheets and I’d be firmly told that the ‘budget sheets are in aisle 4, Madam’.

I simply wanted to use them as curtains to cover the rest of the big glass doors that opened onto the garden as the trendy blinds only covered half the area and I felt a little exposed at night. Admittedly, I am a little thingy about privacy and preventing people from peering in my windows at night. I must be a light sleeper as I seem to hear every sound during the night. I can be wide awake for hours trying to figure out what the noise was that just woke me while other folk around me are sleeping soundly without a care in the world.

I remember one night I thought might be my last after  being woken up by a particularly chilling sound – but ….. more of that later.

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