I used to love Lidl, not for its random assortment of Eastern European foods swooned over by mumsnet fans, but because it has a free car park directly opposite my rental flat.
You are only allowed to leave your car there for an hour, but that is usually long enough for me to get everything done in the flat, as long as I don’t waste time walking to the nearest pedestrian crossing and instead dodge four lanes of traffic to cross the road.
So I felt massively let down when I drove up to my flat to check in a new tenant and found a big barrier across the car park with a huge sign that read: “Closed For Store Expansion”. What? Doesn’t Lidl realise that the good people of SW9 don’t need more German sausages — what we need is more free parking.
It was pouring with rain, I was running late for my appointment with the tenant, and now I had to waste time trying to find a parking space. Fortunately the neighbours have a spare key to my flat so they were able to let the tenant in and by the time I arrived, he was already settling in.
Stupidly I had arranged for a handyman to fit a shower screen at another rental flat for slightly earlier in the day. It had been in my car boot for ages and I was keen to get rid of it. The only time the handyman could fit me in was just two hours before I was due to check in the tenant and it would take me about 45 minutes to get from one to the other, but I thought I would just about be able to squeeze in both jobs as long as nothing went wrong. Bad plan. I got a call at lunchtime from my son’s school to say he’d fallen and his head was in need of a few stitches. When we arrived at A&E and saw the overcrowded waiting room, I realised there was no way he’d be stitched up in time for me to make my appointment with the handyman.
The good news is that my son was fine. And I really didn’t want to cancel the handyman because he’s good and cheap. So I called my husband and he volunteered to come and take my place at the hospital. I rushed to the flat to let in the handyman, arriving a little late, then fitting the shower screen took longer than I’d expected. By the time the job was done I had only 35 minutes to get to the other flat to meet the tenant. I would have arrived just in time if Lambeth hadn’t decided to start major road-works that afternoon — and if Lidl had not put up that barrier.