Canadian parking meters…


Dear all,

I am here in an irritatingly wet but otherwise wonderful Fredericton. It is a quite wonderful city in the Canadian province of New Brunswick packed with lovely cafes, quirky shops and a decent dollop of live music. I arrived in Canada yesterday and begin my gigging tonight over in St Andrews (not the one in Fife obviously…). I got to my accommodation in the pouring rain and was keen to head out and get a bite to eat and maybe a cheeky beer but operating as I do a no-drink policy with driving, I was a little dubious of the whole ‘walking’ thing. The rain eased off so I thought right let’s go. And it did that thing, I’m sure you’ve had it too, where I got just far enough away that turning round and getting in the car instead was relatively pointless as it was far away enough that I would just get soaked anyway. So I thought screw it I’ll keep on heading into Fredericton. Good god did I get soaked. I got to a little food pub and sat down and the whole table was drenched in seconds! Still I had clam and chips and some very nice oatmeal stout so all was not lost…

Anyway to bring you up to speed, my last outing was on the eve of the end of a big UK tour. Cambridge was first up and a small but perfectly formed audience gave me a nice evening before it was back to familiar territory and Hales Club in Market Drayton. This, as ever, was a very nice gig organised by the wonderful Will and then it was into new territory and Aberystwyth at the Blossoms Gallery run by the impossibly lovely Tereska and Oliver. It was a lovely night and what a great little town. A monstrous journey then took me down to Geldeston for a great wee set at Geldeston Locks at a sort of pre-festival bash for the Folkeast people. Then down to Maldon. I’ve just noticed that a lot of these gigs seemed to be run by people I really like. That’s always good. Well Barrie and Niki in Maldon are bloody marvellous. We’ve done a good few gigs down there with UFQ but this was my first solo outing there and it really was one of the very best gigs I think I’ve ever had. The audience were utterly brilliant and I really enjoyed myself. Maldon’s great. Finally to complete a ridiculous tour it was off to Chester to play at Chester Folk Festival which was really great and I particularly enjoyed hearing Pete Coe again – a masterful singer with an astounding repertoire of great songs and a knack of making every instrument he plays sound like him. One last little engagement before Canada was down in Suffolk playing a pop up event for Maverick festival in Woodbridge. I did a few sets throughout the day and it was jolly good fun.

So to round off this little blog. Take a look at this:

So this is a parking meter. In hindsight it’s really quite easy to use but do you think I could figure it out when I parked up? God above it confused the life out of me. It doesn’t print out tickets like I expected. I put my coins in, struggled to make head nor tail of the display and then pressed what I thought was the button to dispense a ticket but of course nothing happened. Then I realised I’d actually put the coins into the meter pointing at the wrong space so had to carefully reverse my car into the correct space before anyone got there. To be honest, I’m still not absolutely sure I know how long I’ve got on my car as I write this but it’s ok because the lady in the shop I just went to said ‘if you get a ticket just head to the county buildings and say you’re foreign they’ll revoke it’. Good old Canada!