You really do know when your luck is seriously down. Following my recent move to a nearby town, my PC greeted me with its customary pops, whistles and hums but with the added unwelcome information that I had acquired a dislodged modem for which I have had to drag the coffers to find the money for repairs. Once back up and running again Windows crashed with the kind of finality that made me believe it could never be resurrected. It couldn't. Hard disk reformatted, all information held lost forever. Another unwelcome bill.
During this technical trauma (I have had enough emotional trauma recently to last, I would say, several average life times) I decided to make use of a little free parking in one of those slightly edge of town retail areas. These are the kind where Homebase, Sainsburys etc etc provide free parking for their shoppers and lament the fact that the town centre is within foot striking distance and, as such, create certain difficulties to act as a deterrent to chancers like me. Sometimes a parking ticket has to be stamped to show proof of custom to one of the stores. Sometimes a time limit is imposed. No one takes any notice of these signs which threaten all kinds of nasty consequences should you park for more than the time stated. I never have. But then again, as I have said, my luck is down at the moment. Having overshot the time limit by over an hour I returned to my car to find a couple of grizzled-haired, goatee wearing, over weight, Marlboro-puffing paid thugs hanging out near it, one of them joyously scribbling down the details of my car number plate and his brute twin snapping photographs from various angles in the manner of a desperate estate agent. They were the Mitchell brothers in bursting white shirts and black ornate shoulder boards. I didn't take issue, there was no point. They'd have enjoyed themselves too much, pointing to the threatening sign they had obviously memorised due to their elementary reading skills, which stated all too clearly the fate of those trying it on. I was trying it on. And my luck is down. And another bill is due.