About Me

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I'm Fred. I arrived on the scene in 2002 in a paper bag. I was given as a birthday present. I live with "Him" and "Her". I spend a lot of time on my shelf above their bed thinking. We also spend quite a lot of our time on our Narrowboat "Jophina II" . My blog is about my thoughts and experiences.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Parking.....beware enforcement by private parking company's

A little while ago He went shopping at B&Q and Halfords in Grimsby. He parked in their car park (which is vast and nearly empty at the time) made purchases in both stores and, being environmentally conscious and needing the exercise, he walked the short distance to a nearby shop. About a week later the registered keeper (RK) of the car (which may or may not have been Him – I’m not sure) got a so called Parking Charge Certificate/Civil Traffic Enforcement Notice which advised him that he had incurred a £90 Charge for leaving the site. It was red, had a picture of the car and looked a bit scary. He was pretty mad and did some research on the internet thingy.

It seems that these parking charges are becoming more and more common. Retail parks often give parking enforcement to private parking companies (PPC) who enforce rules which they have imposed. Typical infringements of the rules involve parking longer that a particular time, leaving the site to go to another shop, not parking properly in a marked bay (perhaps even just a wheel on a white line!) and so on.

There are a number of issues relating to these charges from a PPC. The main point is that, despite what they say, these are not “Fines” or “Penalties” since they can only be issued by the police or local authorities. They are a charge based on an alleged contract entered into by the Driver of the vehicle who may not be the registered keeper. The PPC gets the registered keeper’s details from the DVLA* and then sends what amounts to an invoice for the charge. It might look like a penalty notice but think of it as an invoice. There is much advice on the internet particularly from


The long and the short of it is that these PPC charges are considered to be unenforceable. If you are ever in the situation he was in I suggest you read up on it before paying anything no matter what the threats. There several issues including

• If the driver is not the registered keeper (RK) then the RK cannot have entered into a contract when they where not present. The RK has no obligation to identify the driver to the PPC – they do not have the same powers as the police.
• Only a Driver can have entered into an alleged contract and only then if they had seen and understood any signs which advised them of charges. Were any signs visible from where the car was parked? Did the driver see them? Have the principals of a contract ( offer, acceptance and consideration) been met.
• Under contract law penalties cannot be imposed. Damages may be sought for a breach of contract and must be proportionate to the loss incurred and not a penalty. In the case of a free car park which has empty spaces what is the “loss”? Nothing?? In any event £90 is not proportionate to the loss and as such would be regarded as a penalty by the courts and therefore unenforceable.
• The Unfair Contract Terms Act also comes into play.

Anyway if you get one of these PPC charges please research it before paying. Please note that as I am only a Bear and not a legally qualified one at that, you must do your own research and make your own decisions.

So what was the outcome of all of this? Having read all the advice He was all set to ignore the letters, the threats of debt collectors and be prepared for them to go to court ( which PPC’s evidently hardly ever do) and defend the claim. Before digging in for the long fight the RK decided to do what he considered to be the right thing and wrote a “stiff letter” to the PPC stating that the driver had shopped in both the stores, sent copies of the receipts and suggested that they had made a mistake. Much to our amazement they replied and cancelled the charges. Result!

*The DVLA charge £2.5 0 a time for this information and receive over 30,000 requests a month…..nice earner eh?

Monday, 22 February 2010

Against his better judgement He sat down last night to watch Gerry Adams and the History of the Bible on Channel 4. He wasn’t going to watch it but being an open minded sort of chap He did.

It was actually quite disturbing. Although there was an element of the history of the bible, or perhaps more correctly, the history of the Holy Land in the time of Jesus, it rapidly became more to do with Gerry Adams himself; in fact the last 15 minutes was all about GA and the Irish troubles. The disturbing bit was how GA went on about forgiveness and redemption and sought to justify his actions by saying he was perfectly at peace with himself. Time and time again in his conversations with the people he interviewed in the programme he turned the conversation round to himself; when someone described Barabbas as a Terrorist of his day GA said, with a wry smile “or a freedom fighter”.

Others more eloquent than I will probably review the programme (!) but it just left rather a bitter taste.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Thinking about paint colours and names...

Think about painting ( cos that’s what I do best…Thinking not Painting!) reminds me that He painted the Bathroom about three weeks ago. He used the same paint as the previous time as He had some left. Just as well as I don’t suppose he’d have gone to the shop to ask for more.

There had been much discussion about what colour the bathroom should be amongst the female members of the household and a particular shade of blue was agreed. It wasn’t a standard stock colour but rather one of those which has to be specially mixed. Off he went to the Crown Decorator Centre in Grimsby and gave the code number to the helpful lady. She put it into the computer and announced rather enthusiastically that since that particular colour didn’t have a name he could chose one. He wasn’t really interested and said “whatever you like”. She insisted that he chose a name and somewhat facetiously he said “anything ….call it after the dog if you like”. She then asked him what the dogs name was and he said “we don’t have one”! Deep sighs all round and she played with the computer and said I’ve named it after my dog”!

So the rather fetching “Wedgewood” type blue which we have in the bathroom is called “Rambo” – will you go and ask for it or shall I?!!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Painting......Urban Obsession

He's spent two days painting C's room for her. Mr Dulux calls it "Melon" and "Urban Obsession" ( Green and Grey to you and me) which has turned out as a nice combination. I kept out the way as usual as I don't want to get paint on my fur. I observed from a distance that he had paint in his hair and that He was a bit moody when he got grey paint on the green, green paint on the skirting board and then more grey on the newly painted white skirting. It could have gone on for days at that rate but He seems to think He's finished.

Anyway looks good.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

Shrove Tuesday was good. She and the youngest one went to York to see the oldest one and when they came home we had pancakes. Yum.

So today is the first day of lent. She's been to church and come back with ash on her forehead. Mmm. Now they are discussing what they are going to give up for lent whilst they drink wine and eat chocolates!!! So it wont be those then?!!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Rugby and a Bear called Alouitious

Well England won. We enjoyed the game but it was not the best and a bit nail biting at times.

Now they are watching a DVD of Brideshead Revisited and guess what?.....there's a bear in it called Alouitious. Quite enjoying it.

Valentine's Day and Rugby

Have you noticed how many Valentine's Day cards feature Bears on the front? Well I have and I can tell you it's A LOT! Just goes to show what a sentimental, lovable lot we Bears are; mind you I wouldn't bother trying to share such a thought with some of my cousins from Canada or the Arctic!

So what's this St Valentine all about then. According to something He was given at Church this morning the name Valentine was very popular in Roman times and there is uncertainty over which particular Valentine the day is dedicated to. Papal records evidently show that Valentine was given a feast day of 14th February during the 5th century and was listed as a saint whose acts are "known only to God" (sounds like jobs for the boys to me). The connection with romance only came in the Middle Ages, it would seem , when it was believed that birds chose their mates in the middle of February and Valentine’s day was a convenient day to provide an excuse for amorous happenings whatever they are. I wonder what day Bears choose their mates?!!!

Yesterday He watched two Rugby matches - Wales v Scotland and France v Ireland. I was a bit upset that He didn't bring me downstairs to join him. He says that they were both good games which He enjoyed because He doesn't support any of the teams playing. Although he supports England I think he has a secondary affiliation to the Irish lot as he was a bit disappointed that they lost.

Anyway today it is Italy v England so I shall be sure to secure my place in front of the TV early!

Monday, 8 February 2010

A weekend away..thoughts on Student life

Off we all went to York for the weekend to see L. I thought I would get to stay at the hotel where Him and Her were staying but they left me in L’s room at the Halls of Residence. At first I was a bit miffed but when they were all out I slipped out of L’s room and had a look around.

First of all, L’s room is at a place called Goodricke College at York University. It’s brand new and very nice although I’m not sure about her view of a building site outside- quite interesting though. Anyway it’s a kind of flat with a big kitchen and 10 bedrooms. Each room has its own bathroom so its quite civilised. The first thought was how clean and tidy the kitchen was; in fact almost spotless. Not what I was expecting. The second thought is that I can only assume that these students must work very hard at their studies all day long. Either that or they are doing a night shift at Tesco’s to raise money to pay the fees etc. and sleep all day. The reason for saying this is that the place seems practically deserted during the daytime. People emerge from their rooms at about 4pm wearing their PJ’s (which incidentally they wouldn’t be able to wear at Tescos!!) and gather in the kitchen. They eat cereal and snacks and sit around drinking coffee. As the evening progresses they eat more food although judging by the number of pizza boxes they get take aways a lot. Then they start drinking! At this point – about 10pm – L and her sister came back so I had to quietly sneak back to her room lest she find I was missing but they didn’t go to bed until very late – long past my bedtime.

The family all seemed to do lots of shopping and when it got to Sunday evening we went home. I felt quite sorry for Him – he seemed quite tired!

Oh yes and it was Her birthday on Sunday although discretion and a sense of self preservation prevents me from saying how old she is…

Oh and by the way, when was the Munich air disaster???!!!!

Let there be heat!

Well the oil man came on Saturday morning which was a welcome relief for all concerned. After He had done some "bleeding" all seemed to work again and warmth should return to my shelf.

Mind you no sooner had the heat started to penetrate the icy air, She announced that I was going to go with them to York to see daughter No1 "L". I'll report more on that when I have time.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

BRRR It's chilly round here

It's pretty chilly up here on the shelf.
He was full of himself the other day for saving a fair bit of money by waiting an extra week to buy central heating oil while prices fell. To be fair he ordered it two days ago and probably saved about £80+ but this morning he brought Her a cup of coffee and the announcement that we'd run out of oil!

Not sure whether he's in the dog house as they say or the Bear pit but whichever, I'm alright.....I've got a fur coat!!


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