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Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Cancelled Tickets

If anyone were to ask me how I feel about parking tickets that I have issued being cancelled by my office, I will say this; I don’t like it; not one little bit. Just because I’m only a Parking Enforcement Officer doesn’t mean I don’t care about what I do. To the contrary, I put a lot of time and effort into trying to get it right so that I’m sure that every one I issue is ‘bang to rights’.

So it is therefore annoying when my Office cancels one of the tickets I’ve issued, often on some pretty flimsy claims by the offender. Permits that they swear blind were on display in the vehicle but weren’t (And if I don’t see it, believe me – it wasn’t there.) at the time. Pay and Display tickets never purchased (Borrowed off someone leaving the car park who had legitimately purchased a ticket). Falsely claiming that another officer had given them permission to stop where they did (Fortunately, this very rarely gets believed). Occasionally because they claim the restrictions weren’t clear enough (More like they couldn’t be arsed to even look). Even some claims that it was another vehicle entirely even though, as they say, “the collars and cuffs matched”.

All I can do is make sure my evidence gathering is as watertight as possible within the parameters that I get to work within. All seventeen points have to be obtained; including photographs of the vehicles tax, registration and position, or the ticket as issued will blow away on the wind like so much waste paper.

Or did you think being a Parking Enforcement Officer wasn’t hard work?

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Just another manic Sunday…..

Car park duty today and all hell broke loose. The reasons behind this parlous and chaotic state of affairs? To tell in full that’s rather a long story, however, the précis is that someone in authority blundered and set a computerised override on the on street car park information signs. This means that car parks, which were full, were indicated as ‘Empty’ and vice versa. Oh, and guess what? The person in authority went on holiday for the next fortnight without giving the authorisation codes to a deputy. I bet that since it is a Senior Management figure that has erred, no disciplinary proceedings will be taken. If any of us lowly Enforcement Officers screw up like that it’s P45 time, do not pass ‘Go’, do not collect any outstanding salary, close the door on your way out.

So yea and verily it came to pass, like a storm force wind from the breath of God, a great wailing and gnashing of teeth arose from the multitude, vouchsafing such homilies as;
“Well I fink it’s disgustin’.” (As opposed to what, pray?)
“Why can’t you do summink?” (After having the reasons why the system is haywire patiently explained to them and why I cannot reset it at least twice.)
“Haven’t you got a sign or sumfink?” (Yes, they’re the ones that read ‘full’ when it should show ‘120 spaces left’.)
“Why can’t I park in there?” (Because there are no spaces left, no matter what the electronic sign outside reads.)

And so on, etcetera, ad nauseum. What listening skills?

I thought everyone was going away for the bank holiday break? There goes my nice, quiet relaxed weekend on the switchboard.

Oh what bloody fun.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Rat Poison?

Have been reading the blog of freelancer Michael Yon about his reports from Iraq. It’s a dirtier little war than we thought. Some of the motley crew of ‘insurgents’ he writes about lace the explosives in their bombs with rat poison (Which works as an anticoagulant) in the hope that their victims may bleed to death if not killed by any blast.

I ask these questions; How does any religion or holy book justify that? Or is the belief system surrounding that religion and / or holy book merely being prostituted as an excuse for power hungry murderers?

Anyone got any sensible answers?

Friday, May 27, 2005


Delusions of adequacy

Just checking through the links to this blog via my webstats. This makes for intriguing reading. Have found links from as far afield as New York and Ontario. Even someone from the Guardian has been riffling through my half-baked assertions (Via the linkmachine.go site). Does this mean my half literate opinions are worth reading? Well maybe, maybe not. Hells bells! Doctor, I think I’m suffering from delusions of adequacy.
DOCTOR: “Hmm, so you think you’re adequate do you?”
PATIENT: “Well, yes, I think so.”
DOCTOR: “Lie down on the couch, tell me about your childhood; we’ll soon have you feeling as miserable as everyone else.”
PATIENT: “Thank you Doctor, I was getting quite worried for a while there.”
DOCTOR: “Nonsense. Just sign here and we’ll arrange a direct debit to cover my fees.”

As days go by, it seems there are more and more people eschewing pen and paper diaries to air their thoughts on line. You can take your pick of what kind of blog you want to read, from the dreary teenage “Nobody loves me” via the literate, occasionally turgid, intelligent, lucid and primary news sources to the quite plainly barking.

On a lateral tack to the same subject; I was having a listen to Radio 4 while driving the van a short while ago, and the subject of the discussion that afternoon was, wait for it, Blogs and bloggers. Understandably, those bloggers with opinions that were not left of centre and pro blairite were dismissed out of hand or damned with faint praise. Well, I’ve got a little theory boys. In the words of an old farming friend of mine, put out of business by the mess the government made of the foot and mouth crisis. “Them ‘s right will be proved right, and them ‘s wrong’ll remain so.” Fortunately he’s done the sensible thing and emigrated.

There is a quiet but inexorable revolution going on in cyberspace, which is powered by real people, not politicians. It is outside the control of any party machine, unlike the mainstream media, and the readership is growing quite rapidly. Would it be a statement too far to say we are looking at the future of democracy?

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Lame excuses

Thought I’d just a take quick dive away from the subject of parking enforcement (So what’s new?) to the world of edukayshun, ejucashion, ejjukashun. The recent story in the press about three under 16 year olds from the same family becoming pregnant was depressing. What really amazed me was the Mother blaming the school for failing to teach PHSE properly to her three daughters. Now, so we are informed, these three have become little more than a drag on the public purse to the tune of a reported £31,000 a year.

Now I have an inside track here, having a source that can confirm that PHSE is taught at primary school level to children aged 10 with the emphasis on relationships rather than just the biological aspects of sex. In addition to this the mother allowed 11 year olds boyfriend to ‘sleep’ with her daughter with her (The Mother’s) full knowledge. With this information in hand, the mother’s assertion that it is the schools fault looks rather shaky. In point of fact it looks more like complete abrogation of parental responsibility.

This annoys me greatly. How does this mother get away with demanding that the ‘State’ take responsibility when she could, or would not?

Readers of this blog will know that I have two teenage stepdaughters, the elder of who at 19 is sexually active, and the younger, still under 16, who is currently not. How do Mrs Sticker and I know this? Because we take responsibility and watch the behaviour of our two bright and often feisty charges, which is what any ‘good’ parent should try to do, despite significant peer and media pressure to the contrary.

Of course we get the rows and catfights because we don’t let them do everything their ‘mates’ want to do, but I’d rather have all that than them becoming generational underage brood mares for any feckless dickhead whose self-gratification is paramount. Of such matter is the underclass constructed, I am sad to say.

Besides, shouldn’t the fathers of be identified and made to support their offspring? Jailing them would do no good, perhaps a garnishee order, attachment of earnings / benefits ensuring their loins outpourings get the chance that was denied their mothers by these early pregnancies. Make the sods responsible for their wandering willies. DNA testing is becoming easier and cheaper by the month, so there should be little chance of incorrect paternal identification. An enforced lesson in being a grown up might thus be learned.

As for the children, would enforced adoption at birth do any good? It was (And in certain circles still is) the practice less than thirty years ago. How many kids got a fresh start and a running chance at life from that? I know it sounds harsh and uncaring, but it is a practical solution, which gives the mother the opportunity to start again while giving the child the opportunity to make a proper independent life for itself. No stigma, no blame, just a clean slate and a future with the promise of a fuller life than they would have had. As for the guilt – that’s down to the parent’s own conscience.

Just let’s have no more of these lame excuses that it’s all someone else’s fault.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Didn't we have a luvverly time - not

Last week Mrs Sticker persuaded me, against my better judgement to take a trip into London with stepdaughters. I personally do not like London. Being dragged around Harrods put me into shopping overload and I had to get out and take a walk in Hyde Park to clear my retail-addled senses.

Dodging the Sabre toting Horse guards trotting along the ride in Hyde Park (Man, you guys have a great anti mugging policy!) I meandered over to the Serpentine before returning for a good look at the baroque masterpiece of the Albert Memorial. As a matter of curiosity I took a side trip out to have a look at the newly reopened Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. ‘Funny shape for a gutter.’ I found myself thinking. ‘but how appropriate.’

Needless to say, I did not share this opinion with anyone, as the pro Diana lobby tend to throw dolly violently out of the pram if you make the slightest criticism of their ‘goddess’. I remember seeing the Martin Bashir TV interview and it saddened me that someone who had all the wealth and prestige they could ever hope for, wasted it because of sex. Silly female, if she’d been discreet she could have had it all. She’d probably still be alive too (No drunken drivers in proper Royal protection.). There, I’ve aired my opinion in public at last. Now flame me all you want.

Managed to get myself off being dragged round Oxford Street by pleading to be allowed to bunk off into the Science Museum. Mrs S relented, and she and stepdaughters went buzzing happily from shop to shop like bees collecting pollen, leaving me to indulge my anorak like passion for gazing at antique machinery. I was still there at just before five when my mobile went off. “Where are you?” Came the squeaky voice of youngest.
“In the Science Museum.” Quoth I.
“We’re at the train station. The trains going in a minute.”
“Er, okay. I can’t get there for the next half hour.”
“Oaw-huh! We’ll have to wait for you!”
“I’ve got my ticket, I’ll see you back at home.” If the train is due ‘in a minute’ then there’s no point rushing is there?
“Mum says you’ve got to come.”
“Let me talk to her.” I hate being pushed around by teenagers.
“Where are you?” Says Mrs Sticker.
“In the Science Museum, where I said I’d be.”
“But we’re catching the train.”
“I’ll catch the next one and see you when I get home.”
“I told you we were catching this one.” This is news to me.
“Says who?” I asked.
“Didn’t I tell you?”
“Er, no.”
“Oh.” The phone goes dead. Forty-five minutes later, I’m at the railway station filling my face with a Steak and Guinness pasty. My mobile rings.
“Where are you?” Here we go again.
“At the station. I’ll see you when I get back.” Why do some people fuss so much. I’m a grown boy and have walked in the valley of the shadow on occasion without coming to harm. I’ve even walked through Times Square, New York, in the early hours of the morning alone (I look really mean when I’m jetlagged) and no ones bothered me, so quit worrying!

The train was late and I finally got home at nine, having consumed a pint at the pub, to a frosty reception at home. Even the dog looked at me in a funny way as if to say “Where the hell have you been?”

There are some times when I think the dice are loaded against yours truly. When I next see God, he’s going to have some serious explaining to do.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Spitting your life away

Got a trackback ping from the blog of Michael Williams re spitting and DNA identification kits currently being handed out to Westminster Parking Enforcement Officers.

Now no one has yet been stupid enough to spit at me for issuing them with a parking ticket. I suppose, considering the cataclysmic IQ drops I have witnessed whilst doing this job, that it is only a matter of time before someone does. In this case, what is the legal position? Does this mean that someone has thrown away a sample of their body fluids, which can be freely entered into Police DNA records without any permissions being sought or obtained? Thinking about it, I suppose it would count as ‘forensic’ evidence and thus exempt.

Upon reflection, spitting at someone is highly offensive, but what sort of offence is it? Any of you legal types out there have an opinion you’d like to share with the rest of us?

Monday, May 23, 2005



I’ve got to pack this job in; I’m beginning to enjoy being sworn at.

This afternoon I booked a guy on double yellows. Just as I stick the ticket on his windscreen and take a photo, driver comes barrelling out of pub effing and blinding. Mr Hero gets to within ten paces; suddenly realises I’m bigger than him and in uniform, then abruptly brakes to a halt and does a cute little war dance while berating me and swearing blind he’s been loading and unloading (Which he hadn't). It was all I could do to keep a straight face. At times like these you drop into your “If you want to complain, please write into my office sir.” Routine. Bozo backs off, still doing his little war dance (With gestures) and I take the final photo and head off back to the barn, desperately trying not to giggle.

My own reaction disturbs me deeply for two reasons. Firstly, I pride myself on being a very fair-minded person who is willing to see the good in most people and does not like swearing, even if I am occasionally tempted myself. Secondly, this has exposed a sadistic vein in my psyche that I was not hitherto aware of. I am not comfortable with this.

What I was comfortable with was passing his car details to the local law enforcement via CCTV. If, as I suspect he has been drinking, real Police will shortly be inviting him to a balloon inflating party. Now I am comfortable that idea as I have a real problem with drink drivers.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Managed by Vogons

I think one of my Senior Managers is a Vogon in disguise. Not a very good disguise at that.

For those of you who are not fans of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, please check this link. For everyone else who is au courant with the series, you will catch the reference.

Incidentally, I saw the H2G2 movie last night and was hardly enthused. Best bits for me were Marvin the Paranoid Android and Slartibardfast. Had a chuckle at the cameo of the TV Marvin. Would have preferred William Franklyn rather than the rather limp Stephen Fry as ‘The Book’ with more entries from ‘The Book’. Could have happily done without the Viltvodle six section, or John Malkovich. The Movie Ford Prefect lost a lot of the comedy by being too PC. Sam Rockwell tried a bit too hard for my liking as Zaphod Beeblebrox. Not blasé enough. As for the romance - hmm. Didn't work. Still, this is just my opinion.

Back to the gist of the matter. I am sure more than one of my senior managers is a Vogon in disguise because the description of ‘Not actually evil’ is bang on and ‘bureaucratic’ is completely accurate. If the right form isn’t filled in correctly then you do get fed to the ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Trall, or get your P45 filled in, whichever is more convenient at the time.

For these Managers, nothing matters but the statistics. People are mere irritations. As am I to this one particular manager because I have been spotted using my intelligence, rather than slavishly following ‘procedures’. "Tsk, tsk 515, this isn’t the way we do things here." Oh gods, ossified thinking and moving goalposts – I think I need a very, very large drink. Failing that, a new job.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Arguments & disagreements

I am deeply flattered. This miniscule corner of cyberspace seems to attract quite a few discerning and intelligent readers. Reasoned debate seems to be the order of the day rather than the rather childish (And trollish) behaviour I’ve seen on other newsgroups and blog comments. Even when disagreeing, the standard of your behaviour on my blog has been exemplary.

May I take this occasion to say thank you to all my visitors for being so polite and considerate, despite my own occasional foray into the pejorative and Anglo Saxon end of the linguistic spectrum. Your tolerance and good humour have an inestimable value in my eyes. You put me to shame.

Of course I could be making a humungous mistake by saying so…..

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Just say ‘No’

Although I swore I wouldn’t watch the news or read the newspapers, my fancy was tickled by the news that the Dutch, as well as the French referendums on the EU constitution look like (According to the polls) coming up with a pretty resounding ‘No’.

This is good news for ordinary people. It means that the legal framework for an amorphous, possibly totalitarian European super state will not happen. I like a number of things about this; Firstly, we still retain some say about the running of our own country rather than some unelected ‘Commissioners’ in another country with different traditions to our own. Secondly, such a ‘super state’ as a power bloc will add to, rather than detract from the political tensions in this world. Not least because it would put us into direct competition with the worlds only other super power, the USA. Thirdly, for reason of language and geography, what will benefit one member will seriously hurt another. So I welcome the ‘No’ vote. As a free trade entity the EU will work, as a governmental whole it will not.

My argument is as follows; complete ‘top down’ solutions only work if the organisation, which they hope to ‘streamline’, can adapt. Countries and the general population don’t work like commercial or governmental organisations, especially one like England, or even Britain as a whole. People are not ‘economic units’ or pieces on a socio political chessboard, or at least not for more than two or three years at a stretch. This is because people are not machines and the rules of political logic have very little to do with their general behaviour. Humans as a species tend towards the tribal or family unit, as any good anthropologist will tell you (I think) and super tribal groupings (Such as the EU) need a very complex structure of custom and practice to function coherently. Countries as large as the USA have had three centuries and a civil war to develop and establish their customs and practice as enshrined in their constitution. The EU may achieve this in another hundred years by common consent, but trying to foist this unwieldy piece of tat the lawyers and politicians have cobbled together on the populace; well, for the argument outlined above “This dawg won’t hunt”.

If a Parking Enforcement Officer can work this out, why the hell do a lot of other people find it so hard? Just say no to the EU constitution – trust me, it’s a really bad idea. A lot of the French and Dutch electorate feel this way too. We need less government, not more.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Day off tomorrow.

The sun is going to shine (God told me so) and I am going to do abso-bloomin-lutely sod all. All day – I mean it.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


The usual suspects

I see the hysterics have been at it again, creating fear where it shouldn’t exist. To a number of the populace, the uniform of Hoodie over baseball cap is something to be afraid of (Especially when worn with shades on a dull day). To me it just indicates that the wearer is a complete and utter pillock. Mind you, if some moody fourteen year olds can ‘intimidate’ John Prescott then maybe they have some use after all.

Most of them can’t drive anyway, so they don’t fall into my particular sphere of law enforcement. Besides, my youngest often wears a Hoodie and occasionally a baseball cap; and despite being a typical mardy teenager is pretty harmless. They’re just kids doing what kids do, which is kick over the traces and test their independence. If they break the law by making nuisances of themselves – let them learn by taking the consequences.

As for a children’s charity calling for a ban on the Bluewater mall – there are places it would be nice to go to if they excluded children and young persons under the age of twenty-one. I’ve got a better idea - let’s have a ban on that particular children’s charity. I’m fed up of Rousseau’s postulate of innate childhood innocence - 'original perfect nature'. Which as experiment has shown is complete and utter bollocks; William Golding was far closer to the true nature of human offspring in ‘Lord of the flies’.
We see the proof around us every day.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Handbags at dawn

Today I found out why my name has appeared on the ‘Disposables’ list. One of my colleagues knows management are trying to cut costs and wants to make sure I get fired instead of him; so has been reporting to Management things that I have not said to my other colleagues, nasty little brown nosed arsecrawler that he is. I would dearly love to kick his sorry ass into a store room and put him out of commission. However I would not do such a thing because;

    1. It wouldn’t give me any real pleasure.
    2. It wouldn’t teach him a really lasting lesson. He’s too stupid.
    3. I’d get fired and prosecuted and he wouldn’t
Recently I’ve been reading ‘The Prince’ by Niccolo Macchiavelli and Sun Tzu on ‘the Art of War’. There are ways of damaging an enemy, because that is what this guy has made himself, without personally appearing to be at fault. Just prime the pump and let the snide little loose-lipped cretin damage himself.

First off, I’ve stopped talking in his presence and picked up a book instead, only giving the briefest of responses to his questions. I know what the odious little scrote has been saying, every one of the nasty little rumours that have been spread around about my ‘motivation’ and ‘attitude’, palpable lies that they are. There is always a chance that the mud has already stuck, but I’m just going to have to make Management question the source.

What I’d like to do, but won’t, would be when the dust of this whole affair had settled, ‘chummy’ would be taken out for a serious night on the piss with some of the older lads and dropped in the old sewer with some real bad guys. Our mob evaporating into thin air to let him take the kicking he so richly deserves. It wouldn’t be nice, but it might be justice, of a sort.

On the other hand I think I’ll just steer clear of him and let him screw up all on his own. The bitchy little sod.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Lets have a meeting.

Have spent most of today in ‘meetings’. I think I died of boredom at about 11:30am.

Back in another life I recall a guy I used to work with who regularly insisted on daily meetings. What a waste of time he was. He only had the vaguest idea of my working brief, didn’t understand the job I’d been hired to do, then had the nerve to try and tell me how to do it. In the end I went to his manager and told them that if they wanted the job in to deadline, they could try giving bozo some real work to do. They got him off my case rather rapidish. It also got the job done within deadline, which would not otherwise have happened.

Today the streets of our town have gone mostly unpatrolled. You could have parked anywhere you liked from nine am to three pm and no one would have cared apart from the queues of irate drivers trying to negotiate the streets. Good job nobody knew about this meeting outside of our offices isn’t it?

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Sticks and stones

After a little incident this morning I’d like to do today’s blog entry on the subject of insults and name-calling. We Parking Enforcement Officers live in a world surrounded by those who deal in petty insults. One of the common ones I’d like to shoot down in flames is the oft toted soubriquet of ‘Little Hitlers’ which some half wit attempted to use to defame my character as I was passing by. I hadn’t even looked at the brain dead bozo’s car. I did immediately afterwards, but then he jumped into the drivers seat and ran like a startled rabbit. What was really funny was the fact he wasn’t even parked on a restriction. Some people just bring it on themselves don’t they?

Regarding this particular insult I say this; excuse me? I know as part of our job we have to wear a uniform (With varying degrees of smartness I might add), but none of our lot have toothbrush moustaches, indulge in goose stepping or have ever indicated that they wish to re unite some mythical German super state. If the cap fits, as the saying goes, wear it. It doesn’t. Fit that is. We do crack in-jokes like “Never mind the brown shirts – where’s my brown trousers.” When the general dyslexic has been extra feisty; but the only SS you get from us is in the “Ssssssssss” sound of relief we make putting our feet up after a hard day on the beat. Not that any of us could be more than (Extremely) loosely described as ‘Aryan’ (Neither could he, but that’s beside the point.).

Besides, this Hitler dude. Could he have cut it as a Parking Enforcement Officer without two divisions of storm troopers and attendant panzers as back up? We think not. Could he have pounded the streets of our particular Ville with all its attendant aggravations while enforcing the TRO’s fairly and without malice on his lonesome? Don’t be silly. He’d have been away on his tootsies after the first bunch of angry drivers finished shouting at him. You’ve got to be mentally tougher than that to do our job.

So; just mentally pause the next time you think about referring to one of us as one of his National Socialist disciples – we know different - we’re more than a cut above.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Speed Cameras

Working mainly in the centre of town, one of the things that irks somewhat is the lack of control on speeding drivers. All the speed cameras I see on my travels are out on the open roads between towns. From my perspective the most inappropriate speeding happens on urban and suburban roads.

Every day and night we’ve got the problem of drivers who zip through the centre of town at (My estimate) 40-50 mph. Usually the ‘scrappy racers’ with huge sound systems, souped up engines and noisy exhausts. Why? Do they think it enhances their prospects with girls? Take it from me guys – most girls aren’t in to that sort of thing. If you feel inadequate about your willy, a faster car is not the answer. Trust me, this is so. Or is this some kind of homoerotic thing, honey?

I know there is a body of evidence for locating speed cameras at accident blackspots where fatalities have occurred, notwithstanding, shouldn’t more speed cameras be sited in town centres? How about siting them outside schools or other vulnerable locations? Fatalities occur there too. Just a thought.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


The Limited Waiting Lottery.

I’m not watching TV or reading the news from now on as it only winds me up. ‘The People’ voted and it’s all their fault from now on. I am no longer interested, unless of course there is the prospect of seeing a few New Labourite heads on spikes that I could decorate with some strategically placed Penalty Charge Notices. That might be worth a giggle.

To change the subject; mostly sunny and warm out on the streets today. One of those really good days to be out hitting the streets. Most of my beat today was what we call ‘limited waiting’, you know the kind of thing; two hours waiting, no return in four sort of thing. This is often the nicest part of our job, as the residents are usually pleased to see you and you get a chance to stop and pass the time of day. Why? You’re clearing the detritus of vehicles parked outside their homes in what they see as their parking places, that’s why. Unfortunately it’s also the hardest on your old plates of meat, as you have to cover miles and bloody miles taking observations before you find out who has lost the Limited Waiting Lottery and won one of our clean, very minimalist parking tickets authentically signed by yours truly, old 515.

What some malefactors seem to have realised is that because of the distances involved, it is very unlikely that a Traffic Warden will visit the street more than twice in the same day. So, they see a uniform go past in the morning, they move their car and so they think they’ve got away with it for another day. Right, here’s the bad news guys. Just because we work under a system that gives less scope for initiative than a production line doesn’t mean we can’t use our brains. We take short cuts and use workarounds. Places which are full to bursting with residents permits might not get hit quite so often. They get left alone for two or three days until we start getting complaints from the residents, then we blitz the place with four to eight patrols a day for a week, so that naughty people get the message that these roads are for the people who live in them. There’s no rotation scheme, and how the streets are managed is very much down to the feet on the street. A place might not get any visits for two weeks for one reason or another, but as soon as the problems start to build up, we’re there.

It is random, it is erratic; and the methodology varies from Enforcement Officer to Enforcement Officer, which serves to keep the wrongdoers on their toes. That’s why we call it the limited waiting lottery. Just when you thought it was safe to park all day on the two hour waiting (Cue Lalo Schiffren’s theme from ‘Jaws’).

It can get very dull out there and you do have to be your own entertainment. Such as it is.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Blunkett’s Logic

Problem; Not enough money in the pension fund to pay for pensions. People whose savings have been taxed out of existence can’t afford a pension.
Answer; Make saving for a pension compulsory!

Besides, what is your NHI contribution supposed to be? NHS & Pensions, that’s what. What is the point of wearing my feet out walking the streets if my tax money just gets chucked down a fiscal singularity with a rapidly expanding event horizon?

Five more years of this bloody stupidity. I’m emigrating first chance I get.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


VE Day

Rang my father in law for our usual quarterly chat last night. As he was a Submariner during WW2, I asked him what he thought of all the VE day ‘celebrations’. There was a stunned silence on the end of the phone from Devon and then I heard him say distinctly and tersely “Well we didn’t fight for this lot!” then went off into an angry tirade about the stupidity of the 30+% who voted for New Labour, asylum seekers, the economy, tax on his personal pension etc.

Took me a while to calm him down, but I’d inadvertently hit a nerve. He had a point though. Two days ago I received letter from my personal pension plan administrator confirming that since Gordon Brown’s tax changes – I no longer have a personal pension.

Makes you want to spit, only they’d tax the bloody saliva.

Saturday, May 07, 2005



There are some people who really reinforce your belief that the majority of humans are just marking time cerebrally. At our level it’s not so surprising that for every ten or fifteen reasonable human beings there is always the guy who’s dog is bigger / fiercer than anyone else’s / knows at least three squadrons from the SAS personally and has them over to tea every Sunday where they just adore his wife’s shepherds pie. Yet when push comes to shove, old Braveheart, in the colloquial, has ‘bottled it’ and frozen.

Being neither brave, nor stupid, Ma Stickers second son prefers to use his brains to prevent them being exposed to the outside world (His brains, that is.). I learned long ago that no matter how tough you are, there is always someone trying (And sometimes succeeding) to be tougher than you are. Rather like there always being some idiot trying to be the fastest gun in a western. Sooner or later age catches up with you and the reflexes slow just enough so junior can give you a serious spanking. Telling all your workmates otherwise is all bollocks.

We have one guy on the crew who everyone laughs up their sleeves at while his back is turned. Fortunately it isn’t me, since I stay out of the mess because of Supervisor and Team leader wanting to edge me out. Sorry guys, I need the money and I’m staying out of your way so I don’t give you any ammunition. It also keeps me out of the way of Braveheart, who, as you can easily guess, I have given a highly ironic pseudonym. If only he knew how unutterably dull he is. Poor chap should go and get a real life.

Me, I’ll stick with the one I’ve got until something better turns up. Life, don’t talk to me about it or my last remaining brain cell will implode.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Five more years?

Oh dear. Seems like the general dyslexic don’t learn. Phoney Tony and friends have got the keys to the sweetshop for another term. More poorly drafted half-baked legislation. More Brussels instigated micromanagement of our lives. So this is what the majority of the British Electorate really wants?

Well I didn’t vote for it, or them. Lot of postal votes, which it seems, any Tom, Dick or Yussuf can get their hands on in bulk. I suppose it will all come out in the wash, but by then it will be too late.

Five more years. Oh my goodness me. What the hell, it’ll keep me in a job.


David Blunket to be Minister for Work and Pensions. Sounds about right. If this lot run true to form he'll end up being the only bloke with a job or a pension.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Handed to driver

One of the most daunting prospects in our line of work is handing a parking ticket to an errant driver. The situation can get highly emotionally charged in less than a nanosecond and if you don’t handle it with care means a large bill from your dentist.

Today for example, all of seven parking tickets I handed out this afternoon were ‘Handed to driver’. The driver arriving just as I had printed the ticket, which is generally the point of no return. As far as I was concerned they were all bang to rights and one (to my astonishment) actually stood and watched the whole process from first observation to handover.

Two claimed to live in the street and so thought they were immune from the two hour waiting limit without a residents permit. Three got verbally aggressive which tailed off into an extended grumbling against ‘bloody box ticking bureaucrats’, another was mutely acquiescent and one looked at the ticket with a sheepish grin that said it all really. He’d lost the parking lottery in which the prize is not getting a parking ticket.

One of the verbal aggressors ended his closing speech by walking off saying “Do you enjoy this?” To which I of course replied “No.” but stifled a chuckle because said driver was the one who had seen me arrive and start booking but then had done absolutely nothing about it for over ten minutes. Talk about as dumb as they come. I hope they don’t let them breed, or the human race as we know it is doomed. This may or may not be a bad thing from an evolutionary point of view; but then we shall have to see, shan’t we?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


The female of the species….

Amusing non-election anecdote; Aggressive guy parks his Range Rover (What else) on a taxi rank, blocking taxis. Taxi drivers get irate. Offending driver starts giving verbal to objecting taxi drivers. Up pops Manic Mary from behind and slaps an ‘Instant’ parking fine on offending drivers windscreen while he is still busy giving abuse to taxi drivers. Offending driver does not notice, flounces off to do whatever he wants to do to before returning ten minutes later to find committee of taxi drivers laughing at him. He gets aggressive once more, notices the diminutive Manic Mary on the other side of the road giving ticket to embarrassed car driver on bus stop. Offending driver makes insulting gesture at cabbies (Obviously thinking he’d got away with it) before leaping into Range Rover and suddenly noticing PCN on windscreen. According to the cabbie who related this tale, the blood drained from the guys face, and he sheepishly stopped, got out, picked up the Penalty Charge Notice in it’s cute little envelope on the windscreen and drove away, much mollified. Mary gets applause from half a dozen cabbies and returns an ironic little bow.

Not that I cross swords with her lightly. Despite her lack of size she’s got a very effective way with her has our Mary and I’ve seen her stop a guy half my size again with the right tone of voice and a sharp word. “If my three boys give me respect,” I have heard her say, “He won’t give me any trouble.” Believe me, she has three strapping lads, all in their mid twenties, much bigger than I am and none of them dare to give their mum any lip (Rather like the Krays – oo-er). I think the saying ‘Great oaks out of little acorns grow.’ This is certainly true of Mary’s boys.

Must be something about being a Mum that gives a woman this power of command over their younger menfolk. To quote Kipling; “For the female of the species must be deadlier than the male.” You won’t catch me disagreeing with that one.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

Twas two nights before the election and all around the place,
Not a voter was stirring or showing their face,
We were out shifting cones where politicians campaigned,
Shouting ‘rotters’ or ‘liars’ at opponents defamed,
Canvasser canvassed while front doors slammed shut,
Cries of pain sometimes following an unwisely stuck foot,

While we stood checking passes and permits on show,
Cute babies were kissed and superlatives did flow,
A Junior Minister stayed in town for the night,
Promising visits from Prime Ministers if we voted right,
Opposing parties vied in all our towns roads,
We’d have preferred a punch-up by these condescending toads

Now Bunting festoons the front of our town hall,
Ready for an election of no one special after all,
Dignitaries all puffed up and full of esteem,
Talked of ‘integrity’ and vented their spleen,
Banged on about freedom or the war in Iraq,
Forgot all we wanted was less tax on our back.

When it is all over and the circus leaves our streets,
We’ll pick traffic cones up and bathe aching feet,
Watching the hoopla, the cheers and the roars,
Wondering what all the excitement was for,
No matter who gets elected I have this to confess,
We won’t get a difference just another fine mess.

Bill Sticker

Monday, May 02, 2005


Not such a bad hat day

A rather bad hat on a bad head

There’s something about this time of year, the blossom, the intensity of the green that really lifts your spirits. Another lift to the spirits is also that other things come out as well as the buds and leaves. I’m talking about girls. The half of the human race who are actively pursued by the other half (And sometimes do the pursuing).

Being outdoors on days like these is a real tonic for flagging spirits, with its wobbling, jiggling and swaying parade of delightfully semi clad femininity. Today I sing the praises of the female form, sexist old porker that I am. Of course there are a great many exceptions, but on the whole the view from here is quite pleasing.

All this in a short walk with my dog. (Sigh) Back to the garden. Life is so hard.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’

Days off, thank goodness for that. I’ve just about had a bellyful, not of dealing with the general dyslexic but two particular characters on our squad. As I’ve probably explained before (and if I haven’t – I apologise for the omission), we’re pretty much of a mix of people with quite distinct and strong characters. This does not sit well with one of our supervisors and one of the Team leaders. They regurgitate this godawful bullshit about how we all have to be a ‘team’, and anyone who doesn’t spend his / her whole life kissing their particular ass is looked down upon. These people take it amiss that I do not wish to spend my every waking minute in their company at their beck and call. They are so insecure they have to extend their status beyond the workplace.

Excuse me; when I finish work for the day or night I want to go home and let it all go, chat to Mrs Sticker, walk my dog, have a relaxing drink and write a little. Not spend my time with duplicitous people I am rapidly coming to loathe and despise for their two faced dealings.

One of the reasons I put up with all the foolishness we get on the streets is the personal space you get. Booking errant motorists for not paying attention is a necessary evil. Apart from lunch and end of shift, you don’t see your co – workers, only hear them over the radio. You get those precious moments to look up from the daily unpleasantness to smell the blossom, look at the clouds and free your consciousness a little between checking and booking vehicular infractions of the parking regulations.

From my perspective, there’s something distinctly sad about someone whose whole life revolves around what they do for a living. In fact there’s something deeply disturbing about the whole existential side of things. Example; when asked ‘what are you?’ most people use the shorthand explanation of saying ‘I’m an accountant’, ‘I’m a mother’, ‘I’m a Policeman’ or whatever. I try not to ask that question because the answer you get always comes across as a fob off. It’s also defensive because what this response tells you is the person really thinks ‘Don’t make me think about it’. This is their personal comfort zone, which you intrude upon at your peril.

So why do you get this corporatist style nonsense where an individual, who doing a job correctly, doesn’t really want to socialise with the people he works with. I have a life outside work thank you. Not the one I would like, but one I am working to improve, day by day. So long as I do no harm to others it is none of anyone’s damn business. I have nothing to feel guilty about, and a certain few things I take personal pride in. My personal life is my own – go away.

A person needs space between what they are and what they do to live a full and meaningful life. Unless you are working for yourself, no company in the world (So long as you are not deliberately sabotaging their activities) can dictate how you think and feel outside the work environment. No one could pay me enough for that sort of loyalty. So how come there is this body of thought? It’s such a one sided deal and the rule makers are usually sad lonely people who need to go out and get proper lives. Or is that too frightening for the poor babies?

My father summed his view of this up for me most succinctly. “There may be no ‘I’ in team, but there’s far too bloody much ‘Me – me – me’”.
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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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E-mail address : billsticker at gmail dot com


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