This week Rhona’s been putting her feet up to let one of our contributors Nicky Smith chat to you about the return of PKC’s ‘Free After 2pm’ scheme. We’ve been wracking our brains to think of a catchy name for her; #NickyNominates? #SmithSanctions? Nevermind, here she is…
When the girls at Small City set me a challenge to see how much I could get done in the town midweek with teenage kids in tow while taking advantage of PKC’s ‘Free after 2pm’ parking scheme, I was more than happy to assist!
While I quite enjoy a wee browse around the shops of a weekend, I’m not a huge fan of fighting my way through the hoardes in busy town centres so as you can imagine, Christmas shopping isn’t really one of my favourite pastimes. I usually prefer to pick a quieter time to go in with a list of shops I need to visit and a planned route - kind of like an SAS mission where I’m in and out in stealth mode like I was never really there!
The free parking scheme operates after 2pm on Thursdays and Fridays from now until 27th January 2017and applies to a number of PKC car parks around Perth. Full details of the scheme and where to park can be found in Small City’s article here>. Being able to park for free was a huge bonus- there’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination, finding a space and then realising that you only have a tenner or a purse full of copper!
I decided to take up my mission on Thursday after picking the kids up from school. We were in town and parked by 4pm. We decided to try out the recently reopened Canal Street Multi-Storey. A fresh new look and brighter lighting put paid to my usual reluctance to use multistoreys- the spaces are wider and there are now turning points to allow you to manoeuvre more easily up and down the ramps.
We’re having some friends over at the weekend so the first stop was Provender Brown to pick up some nice nibbles in the shape of some nice pate, crackers, cheese and chutney. Whilst there I spied the gorgeous range of Christmas hampers on offer- with my particular favourite being the gin hamper! (hint hint to hubby, you can see it here>).
I also needed to find a Christmas present for my four year old niece so headed to Fun Junction up the top of the Old High Street. They always have a great selection of toys from the traditional to the more modern as well as science kits, gadgets and crafts. They also have a rather marvellous Christmas tree outside decorated with children’s Christmas wishes which my lot enjoyed reading while I browsed. (Our personal favourite was ‘‘I wish that it would not rain’!)
We managed to fit in a few other jobs along the way, including popping into Craigdon Mountain Sports on Kinnoull Street for winter gloves and a look at decent waterproof jackets (although I might have my work cut out for me convincing a teenager to dress for the weather!) and Waterstones as Brodie wanted to have a look at the books (I hovered close by for stocking filler ideas!).
Most of the shops in the town centre are open until at least 5pm, although on the 1st Thursday of each month year round many of the Perth retailers stay open late until around 7pm. We found that if you have specific things on your list and know which shops you want to go to then taking advantage of the free parking midweek makes for a much more enjoyable shopping experience.
I hadn’t made life easy for myself, with two of the shops I wanted to visit being at opposite ends of the town and I was a little worried I might need to borrow my kids’ scooter to fit everything in. However, it was surprisingly easy as there were fewer shoppers around on a weekday which meant less time queuing and no need to zigzag through crowded streets dodging shopping bags.
I’d used my Perth Card for most of the purchases and had bribed the kids with the promise of a hot chocolate and cake in Willows- although I’ve been talked into picking up a pizza at Duo on our way home in future.
No doubt I’ll still be nipping into town at weekends but spreading the load makes for a much less frantic shopping experience and saves a bit of money in parking. It was also lovely to walk through the town and enjoy the Christmas lights which look so pretty when it starts to get dark.
Full details of the ‘Free After 2pm’ scheme can be found here>