Expat Caught in the Congestion Zone
Westminster…argh! Actually, I love the borough, lived in it for twelve of the nearly seventeen years I have been in London. But I hate driving there, with the exception of Belgravia and Knightsbridge. Hate it! And they must hate drivers like me coming there, too—not sure whether to zoom or potter. All we want is a parking space, just one.
Hence, the congestion zone – that ought to keep us out. I thought so too, but today I went inside the controlled zone, unintentionally, of course. Blinking Sat Nav. Someone has to accept the blame.
If only I had listened to my gut instinct, I would have parked in my old neighbourhood and walked to my destination. Oh no, I thought I could get right to the edge of the zone, sit the car down and walk merrily to Run and Become.
Not only did I end up blocks away from the store, but also when I at last got there, the shop was closed for staff holidays. If only I had listened to my gut instinct, I would have telephoned in advance. But honestly, who has ever heard of such a shop closing in the height of running season?
Okay, it is the end of the summer but my current shoes are so out of date that it is no longer funny. As much as I run, I am told that I could do with a new pair of shoes every three months. Forget it, maybe every six months, but the truth is, I haven’t bought any since last June or July. No wonder my feet are not amused, my knees either.
Never mind, I still have to pay this charge of £11.50 on top of the £2.00 that I paid to park. Ouch that’s more than $22. Not to mention the petro. And forget about all the time I planned to save by taking the car. I lost that driving around, looking for parking and then walking to the closed shop.
So what would a train fare have been? I dare not say. But all is not lost, not really. I had a sightseeing tour around Westminster, finally saw where the St James Park tube station is, and passed by the New Scotland Yard. Also, I saw numerous trendy coffee shops. Under different circumstances, I might have tried out at least one.
But anxious to get out of dodge, I settled for stopping into Boots, the chemist, for some eye drops of all things. There, I can see clearly now. So I am told there is a great running shop in Kensington, nowhere near the congestion zone. Settled, out of it at last.