I suppose it is possible that I am starting to get senile. I have, after all, used up the entire three score years and ten allotted to me so I am into the grace period, that time when so many of us start to lose our faculties. But first, the back story.
Brighton Lions Housing Society, of which I am the treasurer, was granted a lease on a plot of land owned by what is now Brighton & Hove City Council and the Society built a block of flats. We have been trying for some time to persuade the Council to sell us the freehold of that land but every time we approached them, we were told, "No way". Four years ago we started again, but this time we were more determined. It took two years, but we eventually had a meeting with the chair of the housing committee and the official heading the housing department. This was at the flats. The Council subsequently arranged for a valuation to be done.
Some months later, when we had heard nothing, we chased up the official only to find that he had moved on. His successor had assumed we were no longer interested as we had not responded to the valuation. When we explained that we had not been given a copy of the valuation, one was sent to us. We arranged for our own valuer to come up with a figure and a meeting was arranged with three officials from the Council.
[A parenthetical note: the Council's valuer said £400k, ours said £90k, but the Council's valuer wanted us to buy the flats we had paid to have built.]
The three representatives of the Lions duly turned up for the meeting at the agreed time back in March. One of the Council's officers was there, one had not been told of the meeting, and the third forgot. A new date and time was arranged, only for that meeting to be cancelled by the Council officials. But at last we have another meeting - this afternoon. And this time, no fewer than four Council officials are due to attend. There's just one problem - and that is what is causing my confusion.
We were originally told the meeting would be at 15:00 GMT, which as 14:00 British Summer Time. Why the Council were using Greenwich Mean Time when the rest of the country was in British Summer Time was a matter I did not wish to go into. Anyway, just five minutes later, the lady who sent the email confirmed that the time is 15:00 BST. Then we got another message confirming the time as 16:00 GMT, then finally, two days ago, another confirming 15:00 GMT. But today we have been told the meeting is to be at 15:00 BST!
Is it any wonder I'm confused?
And talking of confused, there is a small car park at the field known as 39 Acres. It consists of a fairly narrow strip of land parallel to the road but with a 5-foot high bank between the road and the car park. There are entrances at each end and most regular users have been in the habit of entering at one end, parking along the west side of the strip so that other cars can pass, and exiting at the other end.
The Council have been installing large posts at car park entrances, leaving just enough room for a car to pass through but not enough for travellers' vans and caravans. Like this:
That is what I would have called the exit from the 39 Acres car park. At the entrance, the posts are set further apart for some reason - possibly to allow Council tractors access. To deter travellers, a third, removable post has been set in the middle. This means that people using the car park will need to do a 15-point turn in order to get out. But one unfortunate driver didn't spot the third post until too late.