Odds & ends
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
Rather takes the edge off the ribbing I’ve been taking today after yesterday lunchtimes ‘lost property’ episode. Lots of piss taking from all quarters. In the end, getting grief off a couple of angry drivers came as a bit of a light relief by comparison. My workmates can be quite merciless sometimes (Then again, so can I).
Upon my arrival home this afternoon and pouring my heart out to Mrs Sticker, she patted me on the head and told me, “Well I’m just glad it wasn’t a bomb.” What a coincidence – so am I.
Update: Having a peruse through all the people who link to my blog and thought I'd better reciprocate. I'll need to categorise the links on my day off tomorrow for the sake of brevity. Anyway, Walking the Streets bids a warm welcome to;
The Militant Pine Marten
The Bearded Man – Zimbabwe
Antikva – Australia
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Grimacing a little, I followed his directions and saw a sports bag sitting next to a footpath. No one within ten feet of it. Wandered over, having first shut down my radio and took a look. One sports bag, zipped shut. Okay, now what? Walked off ten metres, switched my radio back on and called CCTV.
“Hallo 515, what’s the problem?”
“Unattended sports bag, blue, no one seems to know who’s it is.”
“Out of my camera range I’m afraid 515. Will get a couple of units out to take a look at it for you. Can you hang about until they get there and tell them where it is?”
We aren’t allowed to go rootling around at every bit of lost property we see, just in case it does do something it’s not supposed to, like go bang.
Our channel went very quiet for twenty minutes. All the while, I’m looking at this sports bag wondering what if it was a bomb? Do these things give off smoke before they go off? Do I get enough time to duck or is it ‘goodnight nurse’ without a bye, leave or thank you? What about those two families less than twenty feet from it? Would I get a chance to shout a warning?
At length my old mate PC49 rolls up with oppo in tow. PC49 sends his mate over to have a look at the bag while we watch. Bag was gingerly unzipped and a cursory look at the immediate contents made. “Fifteenth bloody one today.” Grumbles PC49.
“Keeping you busy?” I asked.
“Not a good time to shout ‘bang!’ then?”
He gave me a very old fashioned look. “No.” I can take a hint.
It turned out to be someone’s unwashed sports kit, which was duly taken to lost property whilst I returned to the mess room where I received a few supportive comments like;
“Why didn’t you give it a kick, you’ve got steel toecaps?”
My colleagues are such a wonderful bunch, not.
One thing that made me wonder though, had it really been a terrorist bomb, apart from myself, the only other people close enough to get hurt were a couple of Muslim families. You can’t tell me that’s right. Not in any holy book.
Oh well, back on car parks tomorrow.
Friday, July 15, 2005
It don’t mean a thing…
We’ve all been suffering from the heat in one way or another, headaches, temperatures etc. Most of us have kept it at bay by drinking about four litres of water a day and a cold shower before and after work. Mrs Sticker, seeing my distress, gave me a tip from her VSO days in Africa. Coca Cola. Not diet or flavoured but the full-on full sugar, high caffeine original recipe stuff. Half a litre seems to restore your electrolyte balance faster than anything.
Had the town centre beat today, which has the pleasant bonus of being the shortest beat (Even if you do get the most aggravation) and full of girls. We are talking about a lot of very shapely and achingly gorgeous well-displayed female flesh. So I’m an old fashioned heterosexual – so what? At least I’ve achieved my life’s ambition – to be a dirty old man. Yee-haw.
One thing that did put me off was the fact that a lot of young women simply don’t seem to know how to walk. By walk, I mean not just the bipedal process of putting one foot in front of each other whilst remaining upright, but the gentle, swaying gait that raises a man’s blood pressure (And other bits) pleasurably. I’ve seen some otherwise beautiful women walking almost like males, striding around without a hint of that gentle hip rotation that can make even a plain looking woman a closet sex goddess. Call me sexist if you like, but some women must really lose out in their search for a mate by suppressing this natural ability. That natural, gentle, samba like sway does evil things to the libido.
Even nicer is the occasions when they turn on the feminine charm to avoid a parking ticket. I know it’s all an act, but it’s quite flattering for an old warhorse like me to be given the full flirt treatment by a pretty girl young enough to be my daughter.
So long as they don’t make a habit of it, says Mrs Sticker.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Two minutes silence …. Not
What I had not bargained with was a very stupid arrogant white person (Middle class accent, wearing black, cropped hair.) barging up to me and interrupting my private little vigil. “What are you doing?” Demanded this lord of the brain dead. I did not, at this point speak. “I’m talking to you!” I just stood there, head up, looking straight ahead and trying not to respond. He even snapped his fingers in front of my face, which got him the Bill Sticker patented ‘Now you’ve got my attention, what are you going to do about it?’ look. I showed him my watch, tapped the dial and then turned away again. “I’m reporting you!” Yeah, right. What for? I thought.
I almost broke silence when he said “You arrogant bastard!” but elected to keep my tongue behind the hedge of my teeth.
At this point, he waved his finger right under my nose, which made me suddenly wish to bite it. “Bloody Traffic Wardens! I’m taking your number!”
He then made a show of reading my shoulder boards and writing my patrol number down. Whatever he wanted, he was too impatient to wait for the two minutes silence to be up. Could I care less about what he wanted? Not really.
I looked down at my watch, literally willing the second hand to go faster so I could speak and shut Mr Pillock up with a cutting remark. Maybe it’s the heat but I’ve been getting a bit short with people today, not my usual cheery self. Before the two minutes was up he had shoved off in high dudgeon saying he’d see me sacked for whatever it was he was annoyed about. The two minutes up, I put on my cap, walked out of the garden of remembrance past three old chaps sitting on a bench just inside the gate. Just as I closed the gate one of them said, “Well done.” I didn’t even know they were there.
Just to be on the safe side I rang the office and related what had happened. “Don’t worry about it Bill, we’ve had a couple of incidents like this today.” Was the response I got, so I didn’t worry about it.
Later that afternoon I walked past the very same person talking to one of his neighbours in the street. He saw me coming and made some insulting remark, which I didn’t hear (And didn’t care to) before huffing off. Neighbour watched me taking some vehicle details down before stepping over the road and asking. “What did you do to upset George?”
“I was observing the two minutes silence and he wanted to know what I was doing.” I replied. “Last Thursday’s bombing? In London?” When it was quite obvious that the penny hadn’t dropped.
“Oh, right.” Then the look of revelation dawned. “Oh.” Then he grinned as if at some private joke. Neighbour patted me on the shoulder and left, chortling. I think ‘George’ is going to be on the receiving end of a serious piss take when he tells all his mates in the pub tonight about how brave he had been in confronting an evil, wicked Traffic Warden.
Serve him right.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Er ….. HELLO!
There are two immediate reactions, the first being “Good. Four less fanatics.” The second; “So what on earth did they achieve apart from mass murder of fellow Britons and a temporary disruption of London Transport?”
My own reaction is; WTF is the point? Anarchists and terrorists of whatever political colour have been causing mayhem at least since the dawn of time and what have they done apart from end the lives of their fellow citizens? Zip, nada, nothing. Have they improved the lot of their own community? No. Did the IRA achieve anything that the Civil Rights movement could not have achieved twenty years earlier without armed intervention? No. Have Hamas or Hezbollah done anything to advance the cause of peace and security for the Palestinian people? No. In point of fact, it can be proved that in both cases they have ended up prolonging the agony for the very people they purport to support or defend.
Therefore, all these four bozos and their fan club have done is stoke the fires of anti Islamic intolerance in Britain. Well that was a smart move wasn’t it?
In similar vein, will the religious hatred bill reduce such religious hatred? No. It might seriously backfire on the very people who campaigned so mightily for its introduction though. An Imam who preaches hatred against the ways of the country his congregation lives in should be prosecuted just the same as a member of the BNP who wants to burn Mosques.
On the subject, I was discussing this very topic with one of my older colleagues, the nub of the conversation being; these guys have either got to integrate with the rest of Britain or find an Islamic country to live in. Now I was told about this particular item second hand, so it might not be verifiable; On BBC’s Newsnight a member of the Muslim Council of Britain was defending his corner and saying how the religious hatred bill would be a good thing, when the reporter asked him whether he condemned Muslim extremist violence the MCB member would not. Instead, he went off into a self-justifying rant about Israel and Palestine. My thoughts are; Er, Hello guys, why do you think the Israelis keep bulldozing chunks of Palestinian towns and cities? Because some dead brain thinks that by killing Israelis in two’s and threes they will persuade the rest to leave the land to the Palestinians. Trust me, it isn’t going to happen. The Israelis, more specifically the Zionists, originally purchased land off Palestinian landlords. That makes that land theirs and you won’t get rid of the Israelis that easily; not without laying waste to the whole Middle East. The Jews have suffered too long and too hard to give up that easily.
One thing that surprised me was there are supposedly going to be exemptions in the religious hatred bill to enable Muslims to more or less ignore said law. This is simply silly and gives more ammo to the real racists. In order to be effective the law must be applied in a fair and even-handed way or it is no law at all. It’s like giving the Muslim community a ‘Blue badge’ so that they can quote passages from the Koran, which are frankly aggressive and incite violence against non-Muslims. Hang on a minute? This is not democracy. These guys are a minority, what about the rest of us? Do we not have equal rights under the law? How about the Hindu’s, Buddhists and Christians?
It will be interesting to see the first test cases of this legislation if it is enacted. I think the word ‘backlash’ looms large in my thinking. Still, I suppose it will keep some lawyers off the dole queue, if nothing else.
Sadly, it is axiomatic that violence of the homicide bomber breeds intolerant hatred, which is in turn the parent of more violence. You have in some way to break the process or keep on repeating the same old cycle of pointless killing. I think it was the poet, W H Auden who said; “We must love one another or die.” I say close, but no cigar. ‘Love’ in this super tribal context is simply not something the human animal is capable of sustaining, at least for very long. However, modify the statement to read, “We must tolerate each other or die.” Moreover, and it makes much more sense. Love and understanding per se are not necessary, just acceptance of other peoples ways. To quote an old English saying associated with paganism “An it harm none, do what ye will.”
Then again, sense is the last thing we can expect from the fanatics who think violence will achieve anything. They would be better advised to pay attention to the words of the late Bertrand Russell: “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” I know he was writing at the time of the Cold War, but his words still fit the current conflict.
The contention of this blog is that the religious hatred bill will promote, not reduce religious hatred.
When I asked my mate Asif what he thought, he just muttered and excused himself. Poor sod, he's caught right in the middle of it all and can't see a way out. Hi ho. Gives me something interesting to think about whilst I’m out patrolling one of the quieter beats.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Watch and smile
Management have got their knickers in a serious twist over the possible terrorist threat. Some of the guys are getting a bit worried about going out on patrol because of it. Most of us are indulging in the usual gallows humour we use to get us through the general round of threats and attempted assaults that are our daily lot. See this link from the Scotsman to see what happens north of the border.
On our patch, that sort of thing happens every week. It’s very rare that a day goes by without someone strolling into the mess room without a near miss tale to tell. Weekends are the worst. As I’ve said before, unless one of us gets hospitalised, it doesn’t even make the local newspaper, whereas they are usually first there if the Mayors cat gets stuck up a tree.
Since Friday we’ve had a number of people coming up to us in the street, telling us about suspect packages. All we can do is call it in to CCTV and hope like hell it’s a case of over anxiety on the part of the public. One nervous woman even reported one of our own vans for ‘lurking suspiciously’ at the end of her street. In one respect she was correct, but the only people ‘at risk’ from that particular suspicious vehicle would be illegal parkers.
Not that any self-respecting terrorist would leave any bombs in our little corner of Chavland. Firstly; there’s nothing to blow up that wouldn’t be cheered to the rafters by the locals. The IRA passed us by for years. There’s something vaguely insulting about that when they even deigned to bomb Solihull (A suburb or Birmingham, England) in the 1970’s. Secondly; there’s nothing remotely American around here apart from the usual fast food franchises. If there was a Michelin terrorists ‘Where to bomb’ list, we wouldn’t even get a mention.
Bearing this in mind, we’re not that concerned about the random actions of psychotic madmen with bombs. We’ve got enough problems from the general dyslexic as it is. It’s the psychotic madmen (And women) in cars that keep us awake at nights.
That and those flaming sirens.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Arrogant white bastards
Trouble with this weather is it brings out the arrogance in middle class white people. Your mere presence elicits such comments as;
“Don’t you dare look at my car!” (I’m sorry, but ugly things fascinate me.)
“I’m a personal friend of the chief constable!” (Yeah, right. I bet he doesn't know you.)
“I’ll be speaking to my local councillor about you officer 5-1-bloody-5.” (If you have a clue who he/ she is.)
“Don’t you dare read my number plate!” (I wasn’t, but I will now.)
The kind of person I describe is generally physically well formed, white, middle class (& generally driving a vehicle, the value of which is measured in hundreds, rather than thousands of pounds.), plays cricket, tennis, badminton or squash (Never rugby or football – too rough my dear.), wearing fake designer sunglasses and often fake tan. In fact, ‘Fake’ just about sums them up.
They are the biggest braggarts in the bar, with the least to brag about. They take the credit for other people’s hard work. They never, ever admit that anything is their fault, even when it most obviously is. It’s almost classic sociopath behaviour.
Thinking about it, such behaviour is not peculiar to arrogant white middle class bastards, it is a particular sub set of inferiority over compensation, which can be found in all races, creeds and colours. Perhaps you know someone like this.
Just a word of advice; if you think that such a person is your friend – beware. They sell out faster than a corporate raider on amphetamines. They go to pieces so fast other people get hurt by the shrapnel. For them, integrity is something that happens to other people, or ‘suckers’ as they like to describe them. It almost hurts me when they get away with it.
Oh sod it. It’s been a hot day, and I deserve a bloody good rant.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Blue Badge bitch v 2.0
For everyone’s information, let’s get the ground rules straight. A blue disabled badge does not entitle people to park on:
Taxi RanksNor does it allow them to park in such a way that they are blocking a public thoroughfare
Active Loading restrictions (Single or double kerb
To be concise; if there is no disabled person being transported in a vehicle, that badge is invalid and the scheme is being abused. So whoever is displaying the badge deserves to lose its use.
We catch them every day.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Think about it; what if you couldn’t have a little sneaky weekend with a beloved on the quiet without MI5 / MI6 / SOGAT / Megabank corporation / the world and his wife knowing about it? What if unwanted / embarrassing relatives could get your address and details from one source so that there was no hiding place? As Muriel quite rightly points out, all of us have things we wish to leave behind in this life; unhappy childhoods, miserable schoolmates, eccentric / dangerous ex-partners (It’s good to stalk), ‘difficult’ family members et al. ID cards would make dodging ones unhappy past impossible, whilst not having the slightest effect on organised crime or terrorism.
The commercial opportunities I foresee would be Hotels & other businesses not requiring ID and guaranteeing anonymity, solicitors offering confidential services, accommodation address services with confidential couriers and a whole black economy based on cash only. I know these exist already, but ID cards would push generally law-abiding sorts like you and me into using them. Businesses that demand ID might even see a falling off in trade, because people will not want their entire life history available at the touch of a button to every Tom, Dick or Harriet. The economic implications are tremendous, see this little pastiche from the Rockall Times, which hits the nail right on the head.
Well, it lends veracity to the saying “Every cloud has a silver lining.” The thought of all those moneymaking opportunities fair makes my palms itch.
The LSE’s report on the situation makes for interesting reading too.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
At the time of the Birmingham pub bombings, I was in college. I recall that no Irish person was able to poke their nose above the parapet for a full fortnight afterwards, such was the general anger of the populace. More than a year after the Tavern in the Town and the Bunch of Grapes were bombed, there were still groups of guys looking to turn their lights out. As a result of the pub bombings, Paddy bashing was almost a spectator sport in the late 1970’s.
Here’s a little message for any Jihadi visiting this blog. You think that Britain is now burning with fear? No. You made a mistake. You underestimate the British people. You think that a few explosions can cow them? That viewpoint is severely flawed. As you are about to find out. As a lot of little bullies down the years have found out.
On a lighter note; best wishes to all the Emergency Services in London, you made it look easy. Wish I could have been there to help in some way, if only by keeping the roads clear for you.
Sick leave surprises
Checked the news sites and saw the items about multiple explosions in the centre of London. Man, I did not know the French were so pissed off about their failed 2012 Olympic bid and isn’t this a bit extreme?
Seriously though, what is the point of killing civilians like this? If it’s a protest against G8, it’s a pointless one. If it’s religious extremists, it only devalues their cause. If it’s our old friends the IRA – aren’t they starting to get what they want? If it’s Al’Qaeda related who cares? Lets have the death penalty back; or at the very least shoot on sight. Whoever perpetrated these acts has to be prepared to pay for the lives they have so arbitrarily taken.
Wonder if the Civil Contingencies act will be invoked? If so we’re all in for a very scary ride.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
(Link found courtesy of Rottweiller Puppy)
Now amongst other things, I’m a student of natural history and a little bit sceptical about all this Global Warming malarkey. Have the protestors really got it that wrong? Are we simply on a climatic upswing, which is a part of the natural cyclic behaviour of a small, unregarded yellow star some 93 million miles away from earth? Known to you and me as ‘The Sun’ (And I don’t mean a certain tabloid newspaper).
One of the things I always wonder about is records of historical climatic disasters(?). In England, the considerable shingle bank known as Chesil Beach was thrown up in ‘A Great Storm’ in the 18th century. In the same century, we have reliable historical data that the river Thames froze over. Tree ring data points to a period in the late 10th century when it was much warmer known as the ‘Little Climatic Optimum’. Check out these links here and also here.
So, does this mean all those guys in skid lids picking fights with coppers on double bubble and then some are just blowing off a little steam? Are we all making a fuss about nothing because, with the end of the threat of Nuclear annihilation which I grew up under, some people are actively looking for things to be frightened of? Maybe they just want an easy answer? Whoa, now that is really scary.
In this life, I have learned that the easy answers are almost always wrong. Too many times the facts are bent to fit the theory instead of the other way round.
Until we accept what we are as a species (Tribal and predatory) and work on ‘bottom up’ local solutions, we’re going to be stuck with the same old same old. These are only my observations of course and only the opinion of one Parking Enforcement Officer. All I can do is ask you to check out the links and facts for yourselves.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Sic Transit Gloria Monday
Anything remotely electronic has gone down quicker than a cheap hooker for a hundred pound tip. Must be the rain and humidity. Management has been going apeshit all day because nothing seems to work, oh yes guess what; it’s all our fault. By mid afternoon, most of the guys on duty just gave up and went “What?” whenever challenged.
For my own part, on the supposition that “discretion is the greater part of valour”, I stayed on the more obscure parts of my beat using the pretext “Well it hasn’t been checked recently.” This kind of gets me off the hook and still looks good statistically, so my performance rating comes out looking mean and keen (Which I haven’t been today thank you). I’ve just been out smelling the flowers, making my presence felt, sheltering under archways and just generally being visible.
The end result of which means I’ve been wandering round with an irritating smirk on my face all day. Not many tickets (1), but then I haven’t been trying very hard.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Just having a day
Apart from yesterday’s incidents with the abusive ‘customer’, lost child and mislaid credit card, the Live 8 protest didn’t seem to make much difference in our unregarded little corner of Chavland. The streets were heaving with shoppers and it was hard to update your notes while being bumped and jostled every five seconds by self-absorbed shoppers for whom manners and consideration for others seem to be an anachronism.
In the end, I skived off to a side street and made myself as inconspicuous as possible so I could get up to date. Just another average Sunday on patrol really.
Dipstick of the year award courtesy of "World of the Grunt"
Saturday, July 02, 2005
We do nice things too…
While I was still spitting feathers about the personal abuse (Although not out loud in public), I got a call on the radio from CCTV. Apparently, someone had lost their child in one of the parks and there were no real Police or PCSO’s around to deal with it. As it was on my way back to base, I looked in on one of the small council owned car parks just in case. Didn’t see any missing child, but retrieved a brand new credit card from one of the pay and display machines. Opened the offending machine up to clear the blockage and put card in an envelope to hand in as lost property. Next thing I know there’s a tugging at my right trouser leg. Lost child stood there, cute as a button, with an impish grin on her four-year-old face. “Have you seen my mummy?”
Radioed in location to CCTV to say child was found safe and would they call the parents to come and collect her. “Er, 515, roger that description. Have you on camera. Can you stay where you are?”
“Okay.” Says I and ended up waiting and nattering to this quite bright little girl, trying to keep her amused (Playing word games etc.) until distraught Mother turns up an hour later. Big emotional scene by Mother. Little girl cool as they come. Mother scoops up errant offspring with floods of tears (Not a word of a thank you to old 515) and bustles off to car. Driving out of the car park, Mother (Whose preciously precocious child I have been babysitting for the past hour) scowls at me as though I was a paedophile caught abusing her daughter (Well I suppose I am only a Parking Enforcement Officer). I shrugged, then just as Mothers car is pulling out into traffic, little girl waves and blows me a kiss, which made me smile. Maybe there’s hope for that little girl.
Credit card and owner were reunited shortly thereafter, courtesy of yours truly and CCTV. No thanks from the person who lost it of course, but we’re used to that. Still, the cheeky grin on that little girls face made up for it.
I must be getting soft in my old age.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Cromwell would be proud
New Labour are actually creating a hothouse situation where religious hatred will be driven underground and find, within a newly repressed wellspring of free speech, a reservoir of volcanic hatred. I would like to make it perfectly clear right now that I did not vote for these guys.
Within my bunch of mates at work, we have a number of represented religious beliefs, including Moslem and Christian. Everybody gets on because we can all defuse our cross-cultural tensions by cracking jokes about our belief systems and ourselves. Laughter is the social grease which allows a wide range of belief systems to coexist in an enclosed space without punch ups. Yet, this is the very vent that the current government wish to close.
This bill means that I will not be able to go and see one of (The exceedingly funny) Moslem comedians. I will not be able to go and watch a play critical of Christianity. I may even, horror of horrors, have to hand over my much loved copy of Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’, and that’s not going to happen without a fight, I can tell you.
As far as inciting hatred is concerned, if someone is shouting abuse at you because you are Jewish / Moslem / Christian / Zoroastrian / Hindu / Jedi etcetera they should be nicked for conduct liable to cause a breach of the peace. The existing legislative framework to deal with hate crimes of that nature has been in force for some time.
Under the new bill, quoting certain passages out of various holy books could possibly land you in chokey. Parts of the Bible or the Al’Quran are quite vehement in their denouncement of those whose belief system differs from their own.
It’s a really bad can of worms to open folks, and I’m just glad I’m a Parking Enforcement Officer and not the poor bloody copper who gets tasked with arresting someone under this piece of half baked legal tat.
Next thing to happen, our Cromwellian government will want to ban Christmas, Easter or any part of the religious calendar. As for religious festivals, I say keep ‘em all. This way everyone gets their religious holiday (Derived literally from ‘Holy Day’) and we all rub along. Apart from the chav dickheads who can’t tolerate any viewpoint but their own educationally stunted world view.
The last time this kind of thing was tried was back in the time of the interregnum in 17th century England. Fortunately, it didn’t last long and the populace dug up Cromwells corpse and nailed it to a church door. The censorship of that time rapidly fell into disrepute and disuse and the populace all got back to business as usual. May the same happen to this lot, although maybe nailing them to a church / temple door might be a little extreme, for heavens sake, it might be a listed building.
Please check out the following links:
The Guardian Online
The Jedi’s View
The Daily Telegraph
- Name: Bill Sticker
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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.
E-mail address : billsticker at gmail dot com
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