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ICY MONDAY.


Very cold, -1 degree Centigrade this morning, but lower during last night. Was woken up at 5:30 am, (as is usual these days,) by Django the cat wanting feeding and letting out. Opened the door for him only to see the garden white with frost. He sniffed the air for a few seconds then turned around and went back into the kitchen, deciding it was too cold to venture out.

I went back to bed but couldn't sleep so put on the night light and picked up one of the many books that are piled up beside the bed. I'm currently reading 'Small Town Talk' by Barney Hoskins, a compulsive read, documenting the story of Woodstock in America, (not the festival but the actual village, which is some 65 miles away from where the festival was held.)

The book tells how Woodstock fostered an artistic community long before the famous festival came into being. It had a quite bohemian atmosphere back in the 1920s and '30s. The book also documents Dylan and The Band moving there to live and the scene that developed around them. It's an interesting story.

I'm continuing to work on a couple of new tracks which are to go towards a new album which utilises some left over pieces from the 'Songs For Ghosts' sessions. Latest track is almost ready to mix. I'll finish it this evening, all being well.

An early call for me tomorrow morning. I have an appointment for an annual medical examination. The one tomorrow is for a blood and urine test, but then back again on Friday for the results and other checks. I'm not a fan of this sort of stuff and somehow managed to stay clear of doctors and hospitals for several years until various issues kicked in around three years ago.

Losing my hearing in one ear was the first problem, then getting diagnosed with diabetes, prostate problems and diabetes-related macular degeneration. Suddenly, I was seeing far more of hospitals and doctors than I wanted. But, that's the way it goes. I'm 70 next year and I guess that I have to expect, (and accept,) that some things change with age and wear and tear.

A letter arrived in the post today, from Leeds University. They've issued a parking fine for our car from the 'Songs For Ghosts' launch party on the 28th of October. The fine is £80! But, we had special permission to park for free and sometime before the event had given the car's registration number to the University so that it could be identified. As the artist appearing in concert at the event, I was supposed to be able to park without charge. They've obviously made a mistake, so Ian Haydock, who organised the event, is going to contact them to hopefully get the fine cancelled.

I paid a different parking fine today, one from York Council. It came from the evening I'd taken Emi out on her birthday for a meal. We'd parked on a street near the restaurant, on what was a single yellow line, (not a double.) A single is ok to park on at that time. It was raining heavily and we made a dash for the restaurant, believing we were ok leaving the car where it was.

When we came back we found a parking ticket stuck to the windscreen. The ticket said that we were parked next to a 'dropped curb.' I'd not heard of that one before...Anyway, the fine was for £70 but £35 if paid before 14 days were up.

Before that time elapsed I went onto the York parking website to try and pay the £35. I kept getting the message 'the server is not responding,' so tried again the next day...same problem. I then put in a search for the site and clicked on what it found...this time the parking website came up.

I was then asked to enter the car registration and the parking ticket number, which I did. The on-screen message then said: 'ticket not found, re-enter your details.' So, I put them in again with the same result. This happened several times, so I thought I'd try again the next day, which was the last day to do so before the fine went to its full price of £70.

Once again, I got the message that the ticket couldn't be found. Then I thought I'd try entering a 'Zero' instead of an 'O' in the number plate registration and, bingo, the fine appeared. But it had gone from £35 to £70!

Being somewhat annoyed by this I decided to object and had to email my objections to the parking authorities. I explained the whole story but didn't hear anything back for several days. I noted that their site said that if an appeal was unsuccessful, the £35 fine would usually be re-instated.

Eventually I got a reply saying that I would still have to pay the £70 fine as the problem had been down to 'human error' on my part. Surely an error is an error and not deliberate? There was an option to object again but I'd wasted enough time doing so previously so decided just to pay and be done with it. But damn well extortion! And why the actual parking ticket number I'd entered didn't automatically locate the document is stupid. That was the correct number, it was only the car registration that had an error in it. Surely their own ticket numbering system would produce a result?

On a happier note, 'Songs For Ghosts' is set to go on general sale very soon. Attendees of the launch party were given advance copies but other fans have had to wait a little longer. All I can say is...stay tuned! ;-)



© Bill Nelson 2020

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