Life is so peculiar

May 19, 2010

It doesn’t pay to complain. Really, you can’t stay home and brood. So, before we get to the nitty gritty let’s just enjoy a peaceful and calming break.

Are you feeling mellow? Life is peculiar isn’t it? Sometime, whilst I was in Manchester, between May the 4th and May the 9th, my car was stolen. Here’s the  story.

As much as I am an idiot I am also, when this comes to that, relatively capable. And so on discovering the theft of my car I tried to do everything in the right order. First, I phoned the council. (A few years ago I had been visiting my sister in America. I came back to find a new road and no car. I phoned the council. They told me that my car could have been moved and I should have a look around nearby first. Sure enough, I found it.) This time, I’d come back from Manchester to find nice new yellow lines. So, I called, and was told that my car hadn’t been moved. I walked around a bit anyway. I hadn’t used my car for over a week and I wanted to check I hadn’t just parked it somewhere unusual. I walked around for an hour. I was convinced I would find it.

I didn’t. It had gone.

Next, the police. They got me to phone some search company. No sign on it’s database, so back to the police, and then to my insurance company.

This was all a week last Monday. Yesterday I was walking to one of my local cafes when I saw this.

My car.

I felt sick.

A part of me was convinced I would at some point see it. I don’t know why. It may be part of being a writer that leads to all sorts of possibilities racing through my head. So seeing it was the most natural thing in the world. Also the scariest.

What to do? I couldn’t even bring myself to go near it at first. What if I saw someone try and get into it? What if it was madly and sadly disfigured and smashed?

And also… what if I was mad? What if I had parked it there? But then I knew I hadn’t. I hadn’t, had I? What? It’s just… It was all too much. I felt sad, happy, worried, sick; as traumatised as a naseous Woody Allen. What would the police think? And my insurers? If I was mad and I had parked it there, would I go to prison? Would I be fined for wasting police time? Would the insurers sue me?

So, of course, after a few days of standing in the street and just looking, months of feeling ill, years of being banged up, I walked over to the car.

There was a leaflet under the windscreen wiper, battered by the weather. It had been there since early May.

I’m not mad. The Council had moved my car. Or their sub-contractors had. It seems they just don’t choose to tell you.

Thank you to the police and Tesco Insurance for being so understanding about this; for not locking me up, and for leaving my no claims bonus in place.

Lewisham Council? No thanks to you.

And, to make sense of Life is So Peculiar… I have tried to complain. It didn’t pay.  I called the council back. I was passed from person to person, no one quite knowing how to handle my call. Eventually I was told that I could speak to some sort of inspector. I was handed over to him and then… I was transfered to an answering machine. I left my name and number. No one has called back.

I’m putting this down to one of those things and I am not going to chase it. I just don’t have the… Oh, let’s end on another philosophical favourite.


13 Responses to “Life is so peculiar”

  1. Anna Baria said

    Lewisham council suck big time.

    My dad had a hell of a time with them when he had to register his mother’s death a couple of years ago, you’d think they’d be NICE and sympathetic.


  2. Simon Hickson said

    I’m sorry to hear that Anna. It puts my complaint in perspective.

    Of course there will be good people doing good jobs for the council. But every now and then someone slips up with hurtful consequences.

  3. Taragh said

    Sorry to hear all that but happy you got your car back as you sounded like you missed it so much in the previous post. Also it made a nice story. Thank you.

  4. Ed Tibbetts said

    Glad you got your car back in the end. What a waste of time though!

    I would have thought the Council would have a list of cars they’ve moved. It doesn’t surprise me though as I have to get car parking permits form Lewisham and they usually try and make it as difficult as possible.

  5. Mark said

    Ah, a good end to the story – we were chatting about your car in the office a couple of days ago so I will update everyone that all is now well !

  6. Miss Jones said

    Phew! But is the tape collection still safely binbagged in the boot?

  7. Glad you got the car back. How daft they didn’t tell you they’d moved it.

    Lewisham council aren’t all that bad, there are plenty worse councils out there and there’s always going to be someone who’s had a bad experience when the council deals with so many people.

  8. Samantha said

    Blimey that’s weird! Goodness me! I’m so shocked. Good story albeit peculiar like you say! Hope you’ve still got all your cassettes too!

  9. So glad you got your car back Simon. Thanks too for the Bing Crosby and Peggy Lee clip, I’m going to kick-back for the rest of the (Friday) afternoon now.

  10. Simon Hickson said

    Thank you all for your comments. Yes, the tapes are all safe and I am back to listening to a great 80’s one full of Haircut 100 (Love Plus One), Everythnig But the Girl (Frances), The teardrop Explodes (Reward), Echo and the Bunnymen (Silver), Madness (Uncle Sam 12″), Prefab Sprout (When Love Breaks Down), The Lilac Time (Return to Yesterday), The proclaimers (Sunshine on Leith), Tanika Tikaram (Good Tradition) and many more. many more being my favourite.

    Yes Clare, Lewisham council aren’t all that bad. Heck, I vote for them. It’s most likely more a problem with sub-contractors. I like lewisham. And will write more about the joys of lewisham in time.

    Cheers all. x

  11. Ted said

    Pleased to hear you’ve got the car and cassettes back.

    Talking of the Teardrop Explodes, I’ve almost finished reading Julian Cope’s two-part autobiography, Head-On/Repossessed.

    I knew he had a reputation for being a bit off-the-wall but he had one hell of a life – and this only goes up to 1984! Only £6 from Amazon. Recommended regardless of whether you were a big fan of his…

  12. Simon Hickson said

    Cheers Ted, I’ll look into that. Another good read you might like from a similar era is Mark E. Smith’s autobiography, Renegade.

  13. Ted said

    I’ve also got Renegade – I’m not a Fall fan as such but have mates who are – but thought it worth getting to find out a bit more. Have only dipped into it so far, it hasn’t grabbed me as much as the Cope book…

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