I hope you had a better morning than I did. I’ve been nursing a cold and chest infection for the past few days, but today I planned to do something about it – like see a doctor!

Miraculously, Trish was able to secure me an appointment at 10am, so off I went, and I parked the car close to the doctor’s surgery. Chest infection confirmed and €50 lighter I called into the pharmacy and left the prescription with them while I went off to the post office to collect my Jobseekers Benefit, post some Christmas cards, etc.

One of the great things about living in Ballincollig is that you are always bumping into people you know, so that what should have taken me 10 minutes ended up lasting an hour. As luck would have it I was at the top of the queue when my phone rang – my daughter was calling from Hong Kong where she has just moved. I had to make my excuses and call her back a few minutes later.

All those errands done and prescription collected, I made my way to the car park feeling a bit cold and looking forward to a coffee when I spotted a car clamped, and another… Surely mine wasn’t? I thought, knowing instantly that it was. A sticker on the window and that ugly yellow clamp told me all I needed to know.

Now I used this car park a lot. It’s a largely abandoned shopping centre where parking was free. Now, I have been known to fly off the handle, and the thought of paying €80 put me over the edge, so I rang the number and blew the unfortunate agent out of it! He suggested I clean up my language and cut me off. Eek! Of course that’s exactly what I would have done in his position.

Another poor unfortunate had joined me at this stage. He had parked for 20 minutes to have what turned out to be a very expensive cup of coffee, but didn’t have his phone with him so I gave him mine. He was also perplexed that you had to pay to park, but when we looked around we could see some signs (there are no barriers to the car park) and a quite small paying station which I hadn’t noticed before. Gulp!

There was nothing for it but to swallow my pride, dial up, apologise and cough up. Which I did. I guess I won’t be parking there in a hurry anymore.

On the positive side, I won a hamper on the Cork Hour tweetup on Twitter (every Monday at 9pm) sponsored by AB Sales Cork and I’m off to collect the prize! (that’s it above) I know the place well and there’s free parking… I think.