old salut!

Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

February 15, 2007

Fine mess

This site has now moved to Salut!

Freedom of the press and all that - a great subject, and all the traffic coming this way in recent days implies that others think the same. One to return to, but perhaps it's time to move on.

Heavy, dark skies greeted me as I flew into Stansted the other afternoon. It felt three or four hours later than it was, and you got very wet walking from aircraft to terminal building.

If the south of France needed something to make it seem more attractive, that Essex welcome would have done the trick.

The welcome was to become bleaker. Awaiting me in London - one of my daughters had collected a stack of mail sent to our old home since the Post Office redirection time limit expired - were three letters from bailiffs.

A parking fine I never knew a thing about had naturally gone unpaid. The bailiffs were making bailiff-like threatening noises about what was likely to happen as a consequence.

Worse, these letters began in August, 2006 and ended in October. In that time, a parking fine that may have been - and this is a guess - £30 or £40 had turned itself into a debt of £235.

And the figure was still growing. When I was finally able to speak to the bailiffs next morning, I was informed that the sum outstanding now stood at just under £320.

What happens next is unclear. I have lodged an appeal on the grounds that no ticket was left on my car windscreen on the day back in February last year when, in a grim part of Birmingham, I had parked while attending Birmingham City vs Sunderland. I also had no idea I was illegally parked, but that is another issue.

A good case could be made out for penalising someone daft enough to spend good money travelling from France to spend an afternoon in the West Midlands, endure the worst food he can remember eating in a decade and then watch his hopeless, relegation-bound team produce a typically inept performance.

But I still reckon the cost of that day out, now racing past £500 (taking the cost of match tickets and travel into account) unless the appeal melts hearts, was steep.

And the burden is unlikely to be offset by the revenue Salut! enjoys from the Google click-and-earn ads (I think the income currently averages 11 US cents a day). Thanks for the bright ideas on how to illustrate this post - and to Alex Segre, a professional photographer, for allowing me to use his work.

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This site has now moved to Salut!


At February 15, 2007 7:43 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Extremists of an unspecified stripe -- and certainly not red and white -- burning books of traffic tickets?

At February 15, 2007 7:49 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Who chooses which ads will be posted for us to click on? I certainly have no wish to "buy Deanna Durbin on DVD" or to click on "Le Pen," even if it is a "directory of Pens Providers."

At February 15, 2007 8:11 PM, Blogger Roger said...

I'd not even noticed the ads until now. I get "France: Charm & Tradition" + "Cabaret Crazy Horse Paris". Hmmmm.

And for an illustration? How about a ref brandisging a yellow card - or red if you plan to do a runner.

At February 15, 2007 8:50 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

If that had happened in France, of course, you could just wait for the Presidential Amnesty...

I would illustrate this article with Edward Munch's Scream - I've used it in one of my own posts after a particularly harrowing fortnight...:-)

As for your ads - they're not easy to see at all. I've used a sort of vertical banner - and earned all of §4.95 so far.

At February 15, 2007 8:57 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

One of the ads that's showing now asks, "Got a Traffic Ticket?" I would say that someone at Google is really on the ball, had it not been that earlier today I was invited to buy Christmas supplies. I clicked on it, anyway, for no better reason (and what better reason could there be?) than to add a centime or two to Colin's bail fund.

At February 15, 2007 9:17 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

Well, I'm feeling generous after a couple of glasses of rouge and I feel so sorry for you Colin so I clicked on one of your ads...France and its Secrets...I am now discovering its 'Confidential areas'. Hmmm.

So - who's going to click on mine then, eh?

At February 15, 2007 9:26 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I've just been over to your two blogs to do just that, Gigi, but I couldn't find any ads! I like your poetry, though, very much.

At February 15, 2007 9:35 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

Well - that's very odd, Bill...on French Windows, the Google ads are on the right, in the sidebar. I haven't got any on limping iambics - goodness knows what Google would find to put there :-)

Thanks for liking my poems - I am grovellingly grateful. And I stand by what I said...when I'm richer, I'm going to buy one of your photos (La Romagne I think it's called).

Sorry for hijacking your blog, Colin. I'll click on "Cabaret Crazy Horse Paris" for my penance...

At February 15, 2007 9:48 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I could have sworn that a short while ago there was a picture with this posting. It showed a portion of a bailiff's notice threatening to enter Colin's property and seize...something. I had been going to ask what but, obviously, it was the picture. Did they seize anything else, Colin, or were they content with that?

At February 15, 2007 10:01 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

Yes Gigi, I like your poems too. Could even get me to appreciate English.

Colin, I'm chuckling over your fine. Not that I find l'addition amusing. But you may recall in the early days of your Telegraph blog I gave some 'rules for the road' on your then forthcoming visit to England. One was 'if you find a parking spot it will be nowhere near anything useful'.You triumphantly reported, after your return, that you found a spot near to your destination at Birmingham FC.!!!!
Not for the first time has the perspicuity of R of O been underestimated.

At February 15, 2007 10:22 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

Richard the Perspicuous. I like it.

I haven't parked in England for twenty years so I have no idea what it's like. However, I have had a parking fine here...for not putting the ticket in the correct place behind the windowscreen :-)

Colin seems to have disappeared. Perhaps the bailiffs have taken him as well as his picture...

oh oh...I feel a poem coming on...

At February 16, 2007 2:05 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

Yes, Richard, and thanks.
You jogged my memory enough for me to add a note to my appeal, faxed today, pointing out that if I had been aware of a parking ticket on top of all the other woes associated with a quick visit home, I would have mentioned it in the blog. But do you realise that you have condemned readers to a sequel?

At February 16, 2007 3:05 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

So show us the poem, Gigi. It would be a nice change to have a little worthwhile verse here.

At February 16, 2007 5:03 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

And I finish up helping this perfidious lot. There is no justice in this world.


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