As I stood in the police station in the town square at Grimbergen, a suburb of Brussels, I wonder how this became my life. How was it that my name was now being entered on to the Belgian police's database of offensive foreigners?
Now, dear reader, I don't want you to panic. I'm not here on drugs charges, or for having bared my nethers at the locals (although I'm certain they'd be impressed). It's a simple case of mistaken identity. They've mistaken me for someone who knows, understands and cares about the intricacies of the Belgian parking system.
How was I supposed to know that parking is on the left hand side of the road for the first half of the month, then it switches to the right hand side? Strikes me as a bit daft. Are they worried that the road will wear unevenly if it doesn't get equal use on both sides?
And here was I singing the praises of the Belgians, but a couple of days ago.
Anyway, 50 euros later, I get out of the police station and a lovely young officer (who only spoke flemish, but I'm sure there was a connection, ha ha) drove me back to my car and took the clamp off it (oh yes, there was a clamp - did I fail to mention this?). He then waited for me to do a three-point turn and park on the opposite side of the road, said well done and left me to it.
I can only guess that it was a quiet night and he had no international terrorists to catch.