“Excuse me officer: do you think it’s OK for me to park my car just there?”
“I’m really not sure sir, I’m, not on Parking Control Duty today.”
I was parked at the top end of Piccadilly; the Hard Rock Cafe end (did you know that the London Hard Rock Cafe was the first?). Lucky to get a space so close to the route of London’s New Year’s Day Parade. Not quite sure whether the lucky space was vacant for some specific reason. Hence the reason why I asked a police officer standing nearby. What the heck – I left the car there anyway. The Parade was due to start in 15 minutes and we really wanted to get somewhere reasonable to stand.
The last time (and only other time) I attended the annual New Year’s Day Parade was in 2000. And it was nothing special then. It was just something to do on a cold, grey winter’s day when there’s practically nothing else to do really. This time around it was pretty much the same: too cold to stand around in one place for 3 hours, and slap bang in the middle of lunchtime. And given that you you really need to get there an hour or so before the start in order to get a good viewing position, it means that it helps to bring your packed lunch and thermos flask with hot tea in it with you.
Which we didn’t.
Which means that by 1.30pm we were hungry.
And frankly it was quite boring. Colourfully dressed marching bands from America. A donkey preservation society. Some miniature steam engines. A giant plastic inflatable Garfield filled with helium. Clowns and kids with big hair and flares riding old Chopper bikes. More marching bands from America. And some really strange, hard-to-understand, exhibits from various London Borough Councils.
(Click in the above image for another one.)
The car was still there and unclamped when we got back to it. It was nice when it warmed up inside. Drove home and made a stir-fry lunch using egg noodles, beansprouts, pak choi, mushrooms and oyster sauce. Rearranged some house furniture the next day. The net result is an extra bedroom and a bigger studying room – and loads of stuff to take down to the charity shop on the High Street.
Happy New Year!