I don’t know: you go away for a fortnight or so and while you’re absent everything changes.

When we went on holiday it looked as if Salisbury would have to wait until about December to reverse Wiltshire Council’s insane parking price-hike. But we’ve returned to discover our elected representatives have collectively experienced a sudden attack of common sense.

They had lamely discovered that, given the fury they had aroused amongst Salisbury voters - anger that may still be there when councillors finally offer themselves for re-election - it was indeed possible to re-establish a one-hour parking-charge pretty well instantly. So there’s been a climb-down, a backing-off, a radical rethink, a U-turn? Not a bit of it.

Apparently Wiltshire Council was the innocent party in all this. They never wanted a two-hour minimum charge. According to council leader Jane Scott, “we are reinstating something we wanted in the first place”. They’d only switched to a 2-hour minimum "on the advice of Salisbury City Centre Management”.

So who are SCCM? Search me. But clearly they’re not our paish cuncil (who have no say over parking charges). So presumably they are yet more of the unelected “experts” running our city – rather like the area boards which have been imposed on us.

But obviously, from what Ms Scott tells us, critics have been seriously mistaken in suggesting Wiltshire Council is in any way responsible for job-losses or business closures resulting from stupidly-high charges. It wasn’t their fault because they never wanted to do it. So it would be most unfair to drag up this fiasco come the next election. I hope you've got that clear in your minds.

“I bet you wish you were covering Libya”

Someone said to me on holiday. Wrong. Not even soldiers enjoy being shot at.

And being with the trigger-happy amateurs on the road to Tripoli must have pretty scary. Especially when they turned tail and ran, which seemed to be whenever anyone fired back at them.

But the ones who will have future nightmares are the hacks who spent several nights in a hotel cellar before being abandoned by their minders. Something similar happened to the press corps in Cyprus in 1974, when we spent the night in the Nicosia Ledra Palace sub-basement unsure whether invading Turkish paratroops would toss in a few grenades before entering. In the event we were rescued by UN troops. But it was a long night, which I for one have never forgotten.

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