Fiona Duff: Valet parking left something to be desired

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FORGIVE me while I catch my breath. It’s been a busy couple of days and frankly what I really need is a lie down but whatsisname at the Evening News is wondering where the column is for this week.

Well, on Wednesday I had to go to Kinross in order to meet my cousin and various other members of my family for lunch. It wasn’t as though I could change the date. He lives in New Zealand and only visiting his mother in Fife for a couple of days.

After that rather delicious lunch (grouse and claret if you must know), I jumped into the car and zoomed over to Cameron House where a friend who has done considerably better in his career than yours truly has a lodge. Or a week a year in a lodge – time share by any other name. Boy is it a fabulous situation. Sitting on his balcony looking onto Loch Lomond seemed 100 miles from any cares and worries in my life.

Friends who lived nearby or were passing popped in for a drink and it was really rather civilised. Perhaps we are all beginning to grow up.

The following morning it was time to zoom back to Edinburgh. I say zoom, but that A811 route seems to be catnip for tractors, caravans and lorries that refuse to go faster than 40 miles an hour.

The reason I had to be back for lunch was because a friend had organised a networking lunch at Howies restaurant. I thought that this is the sort of thing I should be doing – doesn’t everyone?

As I was late, I parked on a residents’ permit only space. I thought that if I was unlucky I would just pay £30 (lunch is a bargain at Howies). But when I emerged the car had gone. I knew it wouldn’t have been stolen – nobody in their right mind would want a right old banger. Luckily a friend was nearby and took me to Leith to collect aforementioned heap of scrap metal.

So the lunch was delicious and incredibly good value, but all in all it cost me almost £200.