After spending pretty much most of the time either cooped up in the studio or on tour last year we decided to change our working habits and become a little more flexible in 2014. This involves making sure we have at least one day a week out and about to break up the routine. Yesterday was that day and our destination was the Hope Valley, a wonderful walking destination and the start of a seven mile hike.
You know that things aren't going to go smoothly, after all, I'm involved so it was no surprise to find out that the car park we had chosen had a broken ticket machine. Phone this number it's gleefully displayed only to be contradicted by two other phone this number stickers around the coin slot. So with dour expectancy I phoned, either that or get a £50 fine.
'Hello, I'd like to report a problem with one of your car park ticket machines'
'Ok, what is your name?'
'No, full name please'
'Thankyou, now your postcode and house number'
'Hang on, why do you need my postcode and house number?'
'For security reasons.'
'What security reasons? I'm reporting a ticket machine problem from a cold and empty car park what kind of security breach I'm I going to achieve here?'
'Its standard procedure'
'For MI5 maybe but all I want to do is tell you it's broke.' You can see by now this phonecall was going to go every way bizarre as is usual for one of my days.
'Ok, in that case use another ticket machine. Goodbye.'
'Hang on, hang on! There is no other ticket machine, the car park has ten spaces and I'm in the middle of nowhere with three bearded men approaching me who are going to have the same problem when they use the machine, either that or I'm going to experience the Derbyshire equivalent of Deliverance.'
'There is no other ticket machine?'
'No, and guess what, the one there is doesn't work.'
'Would you like to report it?'
'WTF! No,no, I wouldn't like to trouble you with trifling details like that, I was lacking a bit of stress in my life and hoped you could supply it, I'm so glad I phoned.'
'Can I report it?'
'No, you need our car parks division.'
'Aaaarrrggghh!!' I then proceeded to kick the ticket machine until the three bearded men managed to calm me down.
Anyway, I eventually got through to the right department and had to report it using a special code, they had to take all my details down including car make, reg, shoe size etc and I had to write a lengthy explanation and leave it in the car window. Then, get this, I had to hand my phone to three other strangers to verify them individually and for them to confirm all their details too. I ask you, and you wonder where all our money gets spent.
That sorted it was off to use the public conveniences before setting off and lo and behold they were spotless. As I stood there concentrating I heard a polite cough from the cubicles, there was indeed someone else resident, obviously in for a good read as I could hear the pages turning. Then get this, another classic moment. A noise sounding like a building brick being dropped in a water filled bucket emitted from the cubicles direction, followed by a sigh, then unbelievably a fanfare such as you would get to announce the bride and groom at a Royal wedding. Then, unbelievably, no really unbelievably, they spoke 'And that my friends is a Doppler dump, don't forget you can see more on my YouTube channel xxxx'
The guy was filming himself, I kid you not.
I hurried out into the arms of Jayne and urged her on. I shudder to think, I have so many questions, how, why, what camera angle and should I look it up on YouTube.
I won't regale the rest of the strangeness but I'll just add one thing, I know many of you probably think it's all made up but no, really, these things happen and on an all too regular basis including general unexpected randomness in typical fashion as I turned the corner with Jayne.
For lo and behold another surprise, I ask you, who wouldn't smile as you approached this little gem and with that we tittered away into the hills.