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Bah humbug. Shopping chaos spoiled all my fun.

Byline: A different view of life in Birmingham PAUL FULFORD A different view of life in Birmingham PAUL FULFORD

CURSE whatever bit of my brain cranked rustily into gear on Saturday to give me a sudden sense of urgency and determination to get done the Christmas shopping.

Mid-afternoon boredom was perhaps to blame for, without warning, I had an urge to head into the city centre to blitz a job that I loathe.

I sat for in my car, edging exit until, I escaped park jams jam The 3.30 traffic jams in which I sat gripping the steering wheel with knuckles whitened by frustratration didn't augur well.

Nor was it a terribly good idea to turn into Moat Lane car park near the markets to seek to escape the jams.

Inside this ill-designed, depressing and cramped concrete coffin mayhem ruled, with drivers seeking to exit stuck in a jam that snaked to the top the car for the outside.

floor. Buying a parking ticket proved problematic for the two nearest machines were broken. But eventually, after negotiating the crowded, gloomy stairs, I found one that saw fit to take my money.

Looking at the ashen-faced drivers waiting hours to leave, I resolved to take my time shopping for there was, I decided, no point in seeking to leave the car park at peak-time since the drivers stuck in jams outside were too mean-spirited or dozy to allow people to filter into the unmoving traffic.

Thus I shopped, morosely coping with the crowds of demi-drunks who were 'enjoying' the annual tat-fest that is the German market.

And, shopping done and the clock striking six o'clock, I treated myself to a couple of beers and a burger to the escape the queues I felt sure would still be afflicting the car park I had so unwisely used.

Slow drinking, slow eating and a bit of Twitter banter via my mobile phone wasted 90 minutes and, at 7.30, I returned to Moat Lane.

Which, inevitably, still resembled a scene from a dystopian movie.

Resigned to my fate, I sat for an hour in my car, slowly edging towards the exit until, eventually, I escaped the car park jams for the jam outside.

The reasons for the chaos are many and various, I guess.

And undoubtedly ranking high in that list is the selfishness of drivers not to allow cars to slip into the road ahead of them outside the car park.

But it seems to me the greatest blame lies with civic planners who over the decades have overseen a chaotic road network that appears to have been drawn up by an hyperactive and dim-witted four-year-old with a

had by augur ticket machines I sat for an hour in my car, slowly edging towards the exit until, eventually, I escaped the car park jams for the jam outside.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 2, 2014
Words:477
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