I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth....
Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
74Trip End Sep 11, 2007
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Sure it is not for everyone, but I have to admit it has been great from day 1 - especially having one of your best mates in the same city to help you settle in (ie share a double bed - how romantic), a mate to show you some of this amazing London sites ("and that is the club I stumbled out at 6am") and of course being shown the best culinary areas of London ("The Standard" this is the best Indian place in all of London!!!).
I said that it has been great from day 1, but this does not mean that the other 364 days have been great, like anywhere and anything there are up's and of course there are downs - some minor some major. There are times that you miss special friends and family that you care about back at home, times when you re think if you are doing the right thing with your life, times when things are just not happening or times when the bank account is so unhealthy that you actually consider shutting it down to put it out of it's misery.
There are times when you think "this" is going to happen, but "that" happens and there are even times when you end up in court! Yes court.
You thought that this was going to be a 'sad, oh deary me'.... entry didn't you! But no this is going to an entry or should I say an opportunity for me to tell you about issues I have had with this legal system.... Most cities have problems with certain infrastructure or processes, but give me a break. Without trying to sound like a whinging pom, there are some things they cannot get right.
Now before you continuing reading you need to stop reading and go back to my entry on 25th June title "Police - High Security Not" and get familiar with 1st story about the parking fine... go on.....
Ok Welcome back - so as I said I ticked the back of the form and sent the form back to the local authorities telling them that they have the wrong person - end of story.... right.... WRONG!
A couple of weeks later, I had mail to sort through and deliberately ignoring the bank statements, I noticed two brown envelopes which looked very familiar to the one I received in June (I have this rare ability to recall what envelopes look like that people send me). I opened up the first envelope to receive a notice from the Ealing Magistrate Court telling me that I have a £50 fine to pay for parking my car in an a "no waiting area". I opened the second envelope to tell me that this was a second and final warning!
Once I stopped laughing, I screwed the pieces of paper and put them in the bin! They have to be joking. 2 hours later I rescued the papers from the bin and thought about how I was going to deal with this issue at hand! Well here I am back from my travels and have got some time up my sleeve and I should deal with it! Proactively not Reactively! So I ring the payment office and explained my situation with the facts and really just wondered if they would take my file out, put a match to it and call it a day.
"You will have to come into the courts and see a jury clerk!" she stated with as much enthusiasm as male Praying Mantis about to mate. (they die afterwards)
I make an appointment next week to see a jury clerk (whatever they are) and to sort out my mess. I arrive in the afternoon at my appointed time to be told by a balding court representative that the jury clerk is not here today and I would have to come back another day. Hmmm ok, that hurt. Now this is where I get a bit annoyed, here I am unemployed - do they think I have time to come back to the courts, I have sights to see, parks to visit and books to read. So I decide to take matters into my own hands
"Excuse Mate, listen this is going to a be a problem, see I am travelling for business tomorrow and will not be able to get back for at least 3 weeks, perhaps we can work something out here to help 'speed' the situation up?" - WINK, WINK, NUDGE NUDGE. I am quickly passed to the supervisor. In short there was no speeding, the only thing suggested to do was to put my fine on hold. Well better than nothing I think! In hindsight, it was absolutely pointless, because now I could not do anything about it for 3 weeks.
Anyway, in between that period I secure work and with my week before starting I head to Scotland (as you readers already know). Upon my return from Scotland, I find no brown envelopes - phew! But a nice big large white one which upon opening tells me that the court have advised the Bailiffs of my failure to pay the fine. Now when I think Bailiffs, I think two big fat guys, with checkered shirts and a baseball bat - they come across and kick down my door, rape and pillage everyone in a 10 square mile, tar and feather me and let me hang until the crows eat my eye balls. Or I could be wrong and they would come across and acquire assets to the values of £75 (note the increase in the fine!)
Now this makes me laugh for a number of reasons.
1. They still have the wrong person and
2. I do not own assets worth £75
But alas, I need to take action once again. My creative business skills kick in and I draft out a letter telling them that they still have the wrong person and now i am annoyed, so I have officially informed my solicitor to "take action against all parties involved" - pretty cool huh..... if I had a solicitor. Anyway it got the response I needed and a had a court appointment for that Tuesday.
I missed the court appearance because of work commitments so rolled up the next Tuesday morning. Surprisingly I was 1st on the roll call and this is the best thing, I was known as "your the Australian guy with the lawyer". Hmm yeah that is me!!
I walk into the court, aka Lounge Room. The court is as big as my lounge room at home with cheap chairs and cheap tables (still the same as home) arranged in a "courtly looking" fashion. I felt I should buy the people a drink from the bar and have a chat about "the situation". But before I know it the wicked witch of London walks in and the court is in session. Right at this stage now I shit my pants, this could have been just for a fine, but now I think I am going to "the chair".. I really do not know why, but the whole gavel hitting the judges bench thingummy me a bit jumpy.
The jury clerk (the sucker who was not there when I needed her) starts to read the history. I could not believe my ears, she was reading things off my file like I was a criminal "The defendant did not do this, did not to that, did not turn up last Tuesday... your honour" - oh crap.
The judge turns to me and asks if this is a true account, I have sworn to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but.. so the only answer available is "yes". In a semi audible squeak, I say "but".... the witch looks at me and says "but what"...
"you have the wrong person". Now this caused her face and eyes to do some weird things, which scares me further. It was like I had said "but..... I actually did some research into your DNA stream and turns out that you are related to a dragon!"
Surprised by her look, I take a fresh breath in and explain that they have the right name and address but I do not drive and do not own a jaguar. I even explained about my research about the car I hired in the past, which was confirmed as a different car. I was on a roll! Then the thought hit me and for the love of this story I wanted the judge to ask me:-
Judge: "So you are telling the truth Mr Cormack"
Me (aka Jack Nicholas): "THE TRUTH! You can't handle the TRUTH!
But it did not happen, they made me sign a bunch of papers, then apologised for the failure and for the inconvenience and sent me on my way. All would be done you would think. Not so, because I live with 3 girls and wanted to avoid the Bailiffs coming across to the house and annoying everyone, I supplied them a letter (including a cheque) telling them not to process until the matter was sorted. The cheques was processed with an eye blink .... As you can imagine I am now sorting that out!!
So in hindsight, it is all a good laugh.
But here is the funny thing, right at this moment there is a bank robbery going on, probably hostile, two men probably have shotguns and there is a high chance they have shot someone in all the confusion. The CCTV camera cannot catch their faces because of the balaclava's they are wearing and as they run towards the bank exit with hundreds of thousand of pounds in cash they kick the fat security guard in the ribs and jump into their getaway car and screech off into the distance at excess speeds.... for a clean getaway..... but
at the this time there are 3 different conversations are occurring:-
Police Emergency Operator to SWAT Team Leader
"They escaped in a green Jaguar X-Type, Registration BD52LKO, owned and register to a Mr J R Cormack, address........."
SWAT Team Leader to his "Angry Sniper Shooting Troops"
"Alright, listen up, people! Our fugitive has been on the run for 9 minutes. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, outhouse, doghouse and henhouse in that area. Your fugitive's name is Mr Justin Cormack. Go get him."
Bank Robber 1 to Bank Robber 2 (driving Green Jaguar).
BR1: "Great robbery mate!
BR2: "Yeah that was such a buzz man!"
BR1: "Hey Max, did you ever get that fine from Ealing Magistrate Court, for waiting in a prohibited car park?"
Take care everyone, sorry it was so long just have to use you all as therapy ;-)