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Monday, January 31, 2005

 

Passing the Starbuck

Today my self imposed boycott on companies who are reputed to have fired or intimidated bloggers began to bite properly. Let me explain; in our household we have taken to using the word 'Starbuck' as a verb and adverb as well as a noun.

'To Starbuck' meant to pass time amiably with coffee and good company.
'I Starbuck' First person present tense
'You Starbuck' Second person.
'He Starbucks' Third person.
'She Starbucks', 'We Starbuck', 'They Starbuck' catch my drift?

In answer to the question 'Where are you and what are you doing?" The answer, on my day off has often been "I'm Starbucking." Unfortunately now that my favourite coffee bar has appeared on the boycott list, I have to 'pass the Starbuck' and use another more european, coffee bar. Hi ho. Life's a bitch but caffeine is always caffeine.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

 

Peace has been declared

Readers will be pleased to know that peace has been restored to the Sticker household by strategic bombing of the affected area with Cadbury's Cream Eggs. A spokesman said "We didn't want to, but the Cream Egg was the only option available under the circumstances."

The anti cream egg faction did not reply, mainly because she was stuffing her face despite being on a 'diet'. Further developments will be reported,
 

Gimme dat good ole PMT

I come off a Sunday short shift to a house like a cat fight. Dog is hiding under table. Hamster is cowering at back of cage with paws over ears and even the Goldfish is tucked out of sight in the depths of his tank. I get the feeling I should do likewise.

It must be PMT. Mrs Sticker is in ferment. Elder and younger teenagers are spitting and screaming at each other like two highly territorial moutain lions. I think I was safer booking a psychotic drug dealers BMW. This is no place for a sane man to be. Although this state of affairs seems to come round once a week rather than once a month. 15 year old kicks off at 18 year old for something or other. At 15 kids seem to have no mental brakes and go careering around emotionally crashing into everyone else. Not that 18 and whatever age Mrs owns up to are better. Up for a 'Conflict and Aggression Control' training course on Tuesday. This may prove useful.

Have elected to follow the safest (cowards) course and cook sunday dinner, put on chunkiest headphones and hide in the kitchen. Now where did I put my kevlar helmet and anti-stab vest? If there was space in the garden shed that's where I'd be.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

 

No more TV

Well, I haven't bothered switching on the TV since I posted that it all seemed to be makeovers, soaps and biased news. Haven't had any withdrawal symptoms, seem to be well informed on a slightly broader range of issues and made my own mind up about a series of issues. More time to walk my dog and just talk to my friends and neighbours. Got a few jobs done, caught up on my reading, improved my French a little and am wondering what to do with that inert lump of plastic and glass in the corner. The kids think I'm crackers for not wanting to watch 'Celebrity Big Brother' and my wife is reserving judgement.

Celebrity. Now there's a subject for an excellent half hours rant. Wife has seen soap box sliding out of its hiding place and has gone to phone mother in law before going out to watch TV in another room.

I seem to recall a criticism from an earlier age about the cult of celebrity. Something by Plato or Socrates being fed up of these perfect bodied oafs traipsing around being the font of all wisdom. So they had teenagers in ancient Greece? No wonder the Parthenon is in ruins.

We occasionally get the odd 'Sleb' or TV presenter passing through our neck of the woods. So long as they don't break the parking regs I can cope with that. One of our guys mentioned that some overpaid dickwit of a footballer was in town. His heavy was driving this enormous gas guzzling 4x4, which kept on stopping on the same no waiting restriction until one of our number was sneaky enough to catch him bang to rights. Footballer wasn't bothered, £60 was just so much loose change to him. My problem is that these guys seem to think that just because they get paid yay more than the average guy, the rules don't apply. Walking to a car park is below them. Do you see where my argument is heading?

The parking rules are there so the streets don't get clogged up. They exist so everyone gets a chance to park, rather than one greedy sod hogging the same space 24 / 7, blocking residents out or preventing lorries from loading and unloading. Being a 'Celebrity' just makes you a more obvious target that's all.

This is not to say that I begrudge someone else the wealth and fame derived from their particular talent. Nothing of the sort. Providing they are talented and /or clever enough to exploit this. Just so long as they don't get the idea that they are above the law. Hells bells, if I was fortunate to posess such photogenic features / sporting prowess / talent it would not exempt me from breezing around making a nuisance of myself. Just because you were in the lead role in a movie will not stop you getting nicked for clagging up a red route.

There are some celebrity types who you can take a liking to; Take Linford Christie, one of Britains best Olympic sprinters. Ran into him in a hotel in Wales once. Nice bloke, approachable, no entourage but quite miffed when people kept on coming up to him saying "Hey, Linford. Do you know you're in the same hotel as Bill Sticker?" Have seen him in our area, walking around having parked properly. As far as I'm concerned the man is diamond. It's the arrogant "Do you know who I am?" wazzucks that get my hackles up. The answer is usually "Yes sir. I do know who you are - but if this is your vehicle it's illegally parked. Have a ticket - to you £60."

Well its Saturday evening, there's alcohol on tap and I'm feeling quite mellow. Bye for now. I've got some reading to do.
 

Passing thought

In some of the on street jeers we were on the receiving end of yesterday, one has just popped into my head. "Is this what we pay our council tax for?" Well actually - no you don't. Local Government Parking Services are self financing. Our wages come out of the parking fees and fines levied on car parks and illegally parked vehicles.

So essentially we are a 'free' service.

More ranting on pet hates later today.

One more thing. Have seen people getting fired for their comments in their personal blogs. Have made the personal decision to boycott any company that has done this. Anybody else in favour?

Friday, January 28, 2005

 

I hope you know I'm feeling very depressed....

Lot of abuse on the streets today. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual “Why don’t you get a proper job” ironic remark from an obviously unemployed person. I say obviously because said person was swigging from a plastic bottle of ‘White Lightning’ strong cider and stank worse than a Weasels week old Y-fronts. So unless he was in disguise – it was a very good disguise if he was – no employer in their right mind would employ someone in that state. Some old lady made rude comments about my parentage as I was booking a car in a disabled bay. All delivered en passant and to my back of course – none of them, aside from the old lady, had the guts to look me in the eyes and repeat their remarks. Plenty of cheap shots about ‘Little Hitlers’ – Nothing little about me. I’m just over six foot tall and a bodybuilder - not remotely Bavarian looking.

Must be the weather. I must say my normal sunny disposition was certainly one sparkle short of a charisma. Just drizzle, drizzle, drizzle. Not good solid rain at all, just the insidious kind that leaches the warmth out of your bones and drags you down.

One of the other things that depressed me even more was some godawful anthropomorphic shop display with cutesy fluffy talking animals. Pornography for children. Beatrix Potter type stuff. That sort of thing bothers me because it says that things are different to how they really are.

Hold on a second. What do I mean by pornography for children? Read a dictionary. Pornography is sometimes defined in court as material that tends to deprave and corrupt. What more corrupting influence than portrayal of unnatural, unrealistic behaviour to impressionable minds? What do you think? Discuss.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

 

Morrisons Employee - blog casualty

It is with sadness that I note the disappearance of the Morrissons Employee weblog. It looks like the blog has been deleted as another using the same name has taken it's place.

Will delete the link with a heavy heart.

 

Restrained mirth

Town this week seems to becoming infested with a peculiar subhuman sect known as CHAV. WTF possesses anyone to want to be one? Come on for crying out loud. Are they so desperate for peer group approval to choose a peer group which no other bugger in their right mind is desperate enough to aspire to?
Holy smoke! (Said the vicar as his cassock caught fire) Roll on Armageddon. Humans as a species do not deserve to survive if this is the best we can do.

Maybe this is what causes mass extinctions. At a certain point in a species development it begins to suffer from an evolutionary implosion. Although no one has found the fossil remains of a Tyrannosaur with a Burberry baseball cap on yet (However, if you are a paleontologist and know different - I'd love to know.). Could Trilobites in their millions have died of embarrassment because too many of their young were degenerating into this subspecies? Is this what happened to the early giant marsupials? Never mind meteorites and massive volcanic eruptions, it must be a pretty tough thing for any parent to find one of these creatures slumped on the sofa hogging the TV with it's Playstation on full volume. No wonder the suicide rate is up. Perhaps eugenics should be seriously considered.

One of our lads booked a beat up looking 1990 Ford Fiesta on double yellows today. CCTV reported he'd just left the street when a group of these immature baseball cap tracksuit wearing cretins appeared from their hiding place and were holding a discussion group over the Penalty Charge Notice. It looked like they were having trouble understanding it because it wasn't in text language.

Made a comment on Dave Copperfields (Coppers blog) blog about Chavs not being computer literate enough to build their own web prescence only to be directed to an entire Internet world of Chav. Chavscum, Chavworld and Chavtowns being three of the most 'popular'. Most of these are hate sites, where Chavs are quite rightly ridiculed, reviled and castigated. See what you think.

We as Traffic Wardens have been told that under no circumstances should we challenge aggressive and obnoxious Chavs as they might run home crying to mummy. Despite that, I still think the idea of the 'weaponised' CCTV system might be a good idea. I think I've just found a new use for it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 

More Bullshit.

Bit of a quiet day today. There was some talk around the rest room about some of the guys getting threatened while on patrol. Personally the only threat I ever got was from a woman who seemed to think it was her god given right to park on a bus stop. I issued the ticket and then had to put up with over ten minutes of outraged female in full rant mode. Rattled me a bit at the time but my teenagers in full hormone rage have tried to give me far worse. Without much success I might add. When the shouting begins I just clam up and switch off.

In light of yesterdays blog entry, I've not bothered with the TV and sourced my information off the Net. Take for example 'Global Warming'. It seems to get blamed for everything. There's a storm - It's Global Warming. It's cold this week (For crying out loud it's January!) - It's Global Warming. We (Europe) had a hotter than usual Summer in 2003 and a wet(ish) Summer 2004 - It's Global Warming. My dog is shedding more hair than usual - It's Global Warming. My piles are acting up - It's Global Warming. Forgive me if I'm starting to sound a little sceptical here.

I'm no climatologist. Weather is just something I work in. Rain, shine, wind, snow. So long as it doesn't blot out the road markings or flood the road I'm out there in it. So I had a look at what the real Climatologists say. Turns out that the case for global warming isn't cut and dried by any means. It's like my Dad always taught me. "There are lies, damn lies and statistics." and "Don't believe what you read in the papers." According to some studies by some extremely clever people, conditions at the moment mirror climatic variations in the 1930's which flipped into a series of really cold snowy winters in the 1940's. Click here or here to see alternative views which challenge some of the current media hype.

I remember a quote from a Physicist once who was of the opinion that another Ice age is overdue and it may only be Co2 emissions that are keeping it at bay. On the other hand, if what the alternate view says is right, we won't be needing extra sun tan lotion, we'll need skiing lessons. See you on the piste!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

 

Why do I dislike Natasha Koplinski?

Funny what goes through your head when a member of the general dyslexic is going apeshit at you. Today's incident was when I'd just nicked a Jag, bang to rights, for parking on a no loading restriction on double yellows. Said Jag's owner, a real Arthur Daley type, hat, sheepskin jacket, the whole shooting match, was giving me a good verbal tongue lashing. He didn't notice my eyes glaze over with boredom as he went into his closing "I'll be reporting you to your superiors" remarks. As if they'd be worried. At the end of his tirade I treated him to one of my Mr Spock cocked eyebrow looks and world weary "Write to my office if you think I'm in the wrong sir." Upon which he stormed off, mouthing imprecations about my forbears that only my mother and father would know about. How did he know?

While said Jag owner was shouting the odds I recalled my own sour mood this morning having seen the BBC TV Breakfast News. BBC TV, yes. Breakfast, yes. News - not really. Is it just me or has the Beeb lost the plot? Where's the journalistic professionalism it once held the high ground on? All I saw and heard were politically loaded questions with no discernible purpose while the boy / girl team of Turnbull and Koplinski smarmed their way through a restricted news content.

Saccharine. That's the word I'm looking for. Sweetly false. The "We're nice people and anyone who doesn't agree with us is stupid / foolish / bad." attitude of the head boy and girl at school. All right, Ms Koplinski is very attractive but doesn't really have much news credibility as far as I am concerned. To be quite honest I'm thinking of listening to the Radio in the morning and would if it wasn't all so vacuous.

Is it just me or is British TV now almost completely shite? Soaps, Holiday, Makeovers seem to be the mainstay of the programmers. I haven't watched anything on ITV for months. BBC1 is mainly no mans land in our household. Channel 4 news is okay but is going downhill. Decent Dramas are the exception rather than the rule. New comedy shows don't make me laugh like the live stand ups at my local club do. Seems like mediocrity is the new standard. Even the BBC's web site has less real news on it than ever before.

Maybe it's time to ditch the TV.

Monday, January 24, 2005

 

General mumblings

Having a swan through a few sites after a day of dealing with the general dyslexic. I'm sure all the people I booked today could read the double yellows and other restriction signs, but chose to ignore them. All they need do is pop a coin in a meter, get a ticket out and they're covered for the next hour or so. They could save themselves sixty quid when we catch them.

Nice day to be out and about today. Not much traffic in town so the air was reasonably fresh. The sparrows were coughing in key for once.

Sometimes I wonder about my fellow humans. They make so many excuses why they can't do something, when with only a little effort they would achieve their goal. Sorry to be a bit of a monomaniac but lets take parking for example. A 'scientific study' has come up with the result which says some women can't read maps or park properly because they were exposed to testosterone in the womb (On BBC.co.uk - where else?). From my own observations in the great laborotory of the streets it looks like honours are even in the parking stakes. I know for a fact that my wife can park better than me. Most of the people we book for parking across two parking bays are male. Looks like some study group has spent public money to come up with even more utter bollocks. As for map reading - my two teenage stepdaughters are great at navigating. We only have arguments over where we're going. Even though I've been driving accident free for the past ten years, I still think that, apart from her occasional fault with signalling, my wife is at least as good as I am. So think about that Jeremy Clarkson - all I've got to say to you is Nurburgring. The Scotsman has an interesting take on the matter. Why do Men's cars burst into flame more often? Overheated crotch caused by sexual frustration? Spontaneous combustion in the trollies caused by a combination of acrylic seat fabric and fast driving? There's a PhD in there somewhere for someone.

Isn't reality fascinating?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

 

Well would you adam & eve it

I'm seriously chuffed. People out there are actually reading the trickling insanity of my impassioned outpourings (Thank goodness for Rogets Thesaurus). I'm not the only one to be exasperated / entertained / driven to apoplexy by the irrational, ignorant and fucking inconsiderate behaviour of my fellow humans. I'm not alone! Hooray!

Thank you fellow bloggers. I shall continue to read as many of yours as are literate and entertaining. Ta ever so. Keep up the good work.

Just an additional thought here. Have been checking out some of the first hand blogs and what a journo might call 'Primary news sources'. There's a hell of a lot more going on in the world than get reported from the Governments propaganda office, a.k.a. the Blairite Broadcasting Corporation. A lot of news doesn't seem to filter up to national level. Anyone whose politics are deemed to be remotely right of centre (President Bush, despite getting a majority vote) gets ridiculed or sidelined. Hello, I thought that broadcasters had a mandate to be impartial or am I hopelessly naive?

Yep, I'm hopelessly naive all right. Life ain't fair. If it was I would have a better job / bigger house / no beer gut / no debts or overdraft. Life's a bitch and then you find out what's really happening.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

 

Blue Badge Bitch

Of all the people who annoy Traffic Wardens, the 'Disabled' have to come pretty near top of my personal list. By 'Disabled' I don't mean people with severe motor impairment / dysfunction / malformation who have a genuine need to park close to shops. The people I refer to as 'Disabled' (Note inverted comma's) are those who aren't really disabled at all. The 'I suffer from asthma' or 'my knee twinges in wet weather' scam mongers. The lazy and the greedy. The ones who can comfortably run a half marathon or visit the gym three times a week, but can't be arsed to carry their shopping to the car park, or are simply too tight fisted to pay for parking.

According to some studies this (See BBC article) accounts for around a third of all badges issued. That's right, one third (700,000) of all blue badges you see are being fraudulently used / been dishonestly obtained. Makes you wonder doesn't it?

These are the people who block streets, park in bus stops, on school zig zags creating problems for everyone else while honest folk park considerately and cough up. Nothing, apart from senior management (a.k.a. 'Them Upstairs'), pisses Traffic Wardens off more than these inconsiderate bastards. Few things give us more satisfaction than getting one of these malingering sods bang to rights. We get the power to ask to examine these badges hopefully in June this year along with the new moving vehicle powers. So we'll be having a crack at the gits who flout all the traffic laws that the coppers haven't got time for.

We know when the blue badge scheme is being abused then you see one in the window of say, a sports car like a Subaru Impreza ST7 dual Turbo or Big silly 4x4 BMW X5. I mean, come on. How dumb do you think Traffic Wardens are? How does someone with serious motor impairment get in and out of the restricted cockpit that is the drivers or passenger seat of a two seat sports car? Or clamber in and out of something as high off the road as a big 4X4? If you can manage that, you're fit enough to walk half a mile while shopping. Besides, the fresh air and exercise will probably do you more good than two weeks medication and bed rest.

My problem is that having to hang around to observe the abuse interferes with all my other patrol duties. We keep getting mixed messages from 'Them Upstairs' about this. First they want us to report blue badge scheme abuse, then when we do we get the local Councillors barking at us. Then we get told that we aren't doing enough and need to focus on booking more offenders because the number of parking tickets issued has gone down. One of these days when I really want to get fired I am going to tell everyone to fuck off and let me do my job properly before publicly accusing them of complicity in aiding and abetting fraud. I will get fired for it. But just to witness the shocked disbelief on their anal retentive little faces when I do it will be worth every syllable. Just as well this blog is anonymous ain't it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

 

An Observation

Whilst on my daily perambulations through our town centre today, at the top of the High street I passed some students handing out leaflets. Out of courtesy and curiosity I read their leaflet. It was headed "Marks & Spencer Humiliates Palestinians". My first thought was - how do M & S, a european based retail chain humiliate a group of disposessed people in the Middle East? Do they loudly and pointedly refuse to serve them in the food hall, whip them out of the stores in full public view? Disallow them from using the changing rooms? How do they humiliate Palestinians?

Not one of the demonstrators had what I considered a coherent answer so once home I dug out my dog eared copy of "The Idiots guide to Middle East Conflict" (This is a real book and very useful.). However, it failed to shed any light on the subject, short of the fact that Marks & Spencers have Jewish, possibly Zionist, owners.

Having, albeit briefly, read up on Zionism, I found myself thinking "So whats so bad about purchasing otherwise useless land and establishing a community that makes the desert bloom?" For the uninformed, one of the fundamental tenets of Zionism is that they (Zionists) should not take territory by conquest but purchase to practice their faith and their way of life on. You don't even have to be Jewish to be a Zionist!

From what I can make out, the original problem comes from the early days of Islam in the 7th century AD, when for whatever reason, after apparrent years of peaceful coexistance with various Jewish communities, Mohammed fell out with them because they would not accept the superiority of his faith. Okay, so what? Thirteen centuries later I couldn't tell an Israeli from a Palestinian on pain of pain.

To me the situation seems to be like one of those legendary Ozark mountain hillbilly feuds. No one really understands why it started but everyone, Israeli, Palestinian and sympathisers alike, are busy getting in their revenge for the last revenge upon their revenge, if you see what I mean. I'm still none the wiser. How does Marks and Sparks humiliate Palestinians? Do tell.

I couldn't work out why these white middle class kids were so fired up about a cause they could have no real depth of understanding about, being neither Israeli nor Middle Eastern. Being neither, I contented myself with issuing their VW Camper Bus with a parking ticket for not having a valid pay and display ticket.

Got to stay in character haven't I?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

 

CCTV: A Modest proposal

One of the problems of CCTV in catching miscreants in town centres is its passivity. All it can do is watch. Gather evidence for later prosecution. Even fitting loudspeakers to it wouldn't do any good. There would just be a lot of collateral heart attacks as the speakers boom "YOU IN THE ANORAK! DO YOUR ZIP UP YOU PERV!" or "DROP THE KEBAB SON - IT'S NOT WORTH IT!" and other such admonitions. Every poor soul with a dicky ticker within earshot would keel over thus creating an even greater public order problem.

Here's my proposal; How about fitting each CCTV camera with a laser sight and well zeroed in rifle. That way, with a suitable calibre, say the same round used in the Barrett .50 snipers rifle, a well trained CCTV operator could stop individual troublemakers in their tracks. Say the usual pillock who enjoys his saturday pint and a fight gets stopped before he can do any real damage, say sireing more cretinous bozo's like himself. Gang fights halted with a short, well aimed burst. Even moving vehicle offences like illegal right turns could be dealt with by putting two quick rounds through the offenders engine block. Think about it. The ignorant git in the Range Rover carves up the OAP in the Metro and gets a wrecked engine. All the Police need do is turn up and arrest the survivor(s) (If any).

Result; Law abiding citizens can go about their day to day business without fear of being attacked, accosted or run down. Consider this; a (conditionally) safer world. Attempt to mug an OAP - Blam! Try to rob a bank. Pow! Park on double yellow lines during a loading restriction Takatakatakataka!!! All the Police need do would be to cart off the casualties and arrest them or bury them depending on how good the CCTV operators aim was.

Public order is no longer a problem. It could work. Trust me, I'm a Traffic Warden. Evil, moi? Surely not!

Monday, January 17, 2005

 

A Call to be armed

Take time off, what happens? All the exciting stuff happens. Came back from two off duty days to see an equipment request on the message board in our rest room. One of my oppo's, having served a series of tickets to some very naughty people over the weekend, caught such grief from them he put the following equipment request in;

1 x New uniform hat band & badge
1 x New style blue bomber jacket
1 x Smith & Wesson .357 revolver
1 x bullet & stab proof vest
1 x kevlar helmet
5 x Claymore mines
1 x Barrett 0.50 Snipers rifle
1 x AKM Assault rifle with folding stock
1 x Warrior fighting vehicle with 20mm cannon
Assorted ammunition for above items
Ear plugs

I think he's upset about something. Feel the same way sometimes myself. Currently debating emigration with my wife who wants out of Britain. The whole country feels cramped somehow. No new horizons, too many rules and taxes. I know it's my job to enforce some of these rules, but you know sometimes you get a feeling of 'Why bother, let the bastards go to hell in their own handbasket' takes over.

Anyone got a job in Canada or the USA?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

 

Bill Stickers day off

What does a Traffic Warden do on his / her day off? Do they practice minor cruelties like the taunting of Guinea Pigs, clamping the kids Tonka Toys and pasting Penalty charge notices on the goldfish bowl? Not really. All work and no play makes jack etc.

Fairly routine really. There's always the domestic stuff and minor DIY tasks. Shopping. Walking the dog. Occasional day trips to various places. Drinking Coffee. Going to the movies / theatre. Reading stuff like Gibbons 'Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire' (Honestly!) and perhaps a light hearted delve into my Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams collection. Personally I find cooking rather theraputic.

Even in my local pub it's amazing how people don't recognise you out of uniform. Almost like being invisible or having a secret identity. Take off the cap and uniform and you're a different person. Some of the younger members of our crew go clubbing (Not baby seals! Nightclubbing! - Oh I don't know though.), others are into fishing, even remote control models (There's always one.) I even suspect we have a closet trainspotter amongst us. Just goes to show really, we're all human to a greater or lesser extent.

Well that's all for now. Time to walk the dog. Again.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

 

Naughty Harry

What a load of bollocks the tabloids write. Prince Harry goes to a private fancy dress party, just for a laugh he wears the insignia of a defunct right wing regime from the 20th century. Result: He gets pilloried and villified for it. Should he be allowed in the army? Yes of course. The armed forces need young men, not politically emasculated wussies who would get wiped out while agonising about whether they should pull the trigger.

Personally I like the Royal family, they add colour to what would otherwise be a grey and unbearable island. I don't think Harry should have been forced to apologise either. They should have arrested the offending editors, slung 'em in the tower for summary beheading and subsequent display of heads for the tourists to take pictures of.

My question is: What bad electoral news, like the Blair/Brown rift, are Murdoch's minions trying to cover up? We should have more proper news in newspapers, or am I asking too much from the daily tabloid press?

Meanwhile, back on the street; best ticket of the day - A Rolls Royce. Bang to rights. Almost as good as the arrogant sod with a big silly black X5 BMW I notched up in a disabled bay last week. The flasher the car, the more obvious the target. I think I win our weekly sweepstake for 'Most expensive car of the week nicked'. Hooray!

Cups of coffee: 2 Tickets issued: 8 Irate Motorists: 0 Blisters: 0

Sight of the day; One very badly dressed transvestite with poorly fitting wig, mini skirt, fishnet tights, horn rimmed glasses and 5 o'clock shadow. Hmm, almost pointed him in the direction of Waterstones where he could buy a copy of "What not to wear".

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

 

Bloggers at risk

Just had a quick scoot round some of the more well known (Infamous) blogs. This free speech mullarkey can be a bit dangerous to your wallet, especially if you run it under your own name (I'm not really Bill Sticker - surprise, not.).

There are employers out there who are a bit thin skinned when it comes to criticism in the public domain. Mine included. So I'll only say this - despite the fact that our parking department turns over (rakes in) something in the nature of several millions in revenue per annum, we get tenth rate uniform kit and dodgy road markings to enforce. Irate motorists who haven't read the highway code I can deal with, being scruffy because my jacket is already fraying at the edges is another matter. Almost as if our employers don't expect us to stay the course. Have some faith guys. We're in this for the long haul - unless we get fired of course.


 

Idle thoughts

Cups of Coffee: 3. Tickets issued: 2. Stroppy motorists: 0 (Wow!) Blisters: Ouch!

Between one thing and another this isn't such a bad way to make a living. The pay is better than being a Supermarket Shelf Stacker and once out of the office, you're your own person. No time to be bored. Every day as they say, is a whole new ball game.

Got shanghaied into sorting out the office today. Looks like it's just my turn in the barrel from the leftover bits I picked out of the chair, computer keyboard etc. Lot of sirens around threeish but not much for our chaps to do in terms of keeping the streets moving.

Management came poking their noses around and rumours abound about revenue from car parks being down. So? There's a retail slump going on and people are staying home and paying off their credit cards instead of ramping up more bills. Besides, when we were hired to do this job we were assured that we wouldn't be judged on the amount of tickets we issued. You can't book people when they don't break the traffic laws. Methinks those naughty auditors are going around frightening Managers with fairy tales of what happened to the last Manager who let their budget overrun. Ooh dearie me.

Sarcasm level: moderate

Monday, January 10, 2005

 

Diary Monday 10th January

Cups of coffee: 2. Tickets issued: 5. Stroppy Motorists: 1. Blisters: 0.

Approached by slightly officious member of public today. Was addressed in thus fashion; "What powers do you have?"

I replied: "Well sir, I can issue parking tickets, order motorists to move on from parking restrictions etc. What more do you need to know?" Did not say. "I've also got X-ray vision, Super breath, and can leap four Range Rovers in a single bound." Was very, very tempted though.

Sarcasm level: High.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

 

Dear Diary

Cups of Coffee: 3. Tickets issued: 5. Stroppy Motorists: 1. Weight: Don't ask. Blisters: 1.

Not a bad day today. Kicked more people off double yellows than I actually issued tickets. Bit draughty in our neck of the woods but no roofs blown off etc.

Mary the Manic Meter Maid has just joined us and in determined to show how tough she is next to us mere wimpy males. She'll learn the hard way, when most of her tickets get challenged and overturned.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

 

Security Leek

Since many drivers out there in Joe Public land have a huge blind spot when it comes to responsible parking, we have regular trouble spots that need the occasional 'raid' to keep the local roads clear. Earlier this week myself and a colleague went to a place known to us as the Fairy Godmothers to tick off all those naughty fairies camping on the double yellow lines and blocking the road. Just as we got there and tooled up to go booking, the bad guys were literally pouring out of the premises in question and speeding away. Curses, foiled again!

For those of you who consider Traffic Wardens one of the 'boils on the arse of the world', consider this; When some inconsiderate sod has parked in such a manner as to block traffic, don't you cuss and fume at them? Don't you want to see their skin flayed from their backs and made into tasteful table lamps? It is our job to deal with these pesky varmints and stick fines on their windscreens.

At first we suspected we had a traitor in our own ranks, warning them of our imminent arrival. After in depth questioning we ruled that unpleasant contingency out. Now we suspect that they either have an illegal scanner tuned to our frequency and are listening out for us or have a lookout. Tut, tut say I, this isn't cricket. It just makes this partiucular venue a bigger target than before. We'll just be a bit more discreet and devious about it. Ahahaha! Ahahahah! Beware!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

 

Getting off a Parking ticket

We’ve all done it. Stopped on double or single yellows longer than we should during a restricted period. Hung around in a parking bay without buying a ticket. Dropped off passengers on a ‘Red Route’ or clearway with only the slightest twinge of conscience. Maybe even stopped on a Taxi rank to get a bottle of plonk from the off licence. When you come out you find you’ve had a parking ticket slapped on your pride and joy from one of the new Local Authority Traffic, Parking, Patrol, Enforcement, Officers, Attendants, Ambassador, Warden or whatever and you don’t feel justice has been done. What do you do then?
Say that the new fangled Traffic Warden has you apparently bang to rights, you can still challenge or appeal the fine and stand a good chance of getting away with it. Just keep your head and follow the rules laid out below.

Rule 1: Do not under any circumstances, act aggressively, swear, complain, threaten or try to turn the issuing officers lights out. You’re just wasting your time and theirs. Any challenge you might make to the ticket after you have acted in this way will automatically get thrown out. Be nice, even if the officer insults you (Which he / she won’t – these guys are picked and trained to be cooler than a large tub of Ben & Jerrys.).

Rule 2: Do not try to get the Traffic Warden to take the ticket back – they can’t.

Rule 3: Do listen carefully to anything the Traffic Warden says. If what he /she tells you isn’t absolutely 100% true this may be your ‘get off the ticket’ excuse. Write down, verbatim, or record anything he / she says. If push comes to shove this is evidence that might save you the cost of the fine.

Rule 4: Do have a good look at them. Are they properly dressed and clearly identifiable as a Parking Enforcement Officers? If, for example an officer is not clarly wearing their patrol number / hat etc then you may be able to wriggle out of it at the NPAS stage.

Rule 5: Do have a good look around at the road markings – Are they clear and complete? Look at the signs at the side of the road detailing the parking or stopping restriction. Do they contradict each other? Take a photograph if at all possible. Collect evidence. Take your time (But not too much – on Red routes they are pretty quick at towing your vehicle away. That costs more than a parking ticket to get out of.)

Rule 6: Do keep the ticket. Don’t throw it away in a fit of pique. This is your evidence that one has been issued. Wait until you get home and have had time to cool off before checking the details. Read it carefully and follow the instructions for challenge precisely.

  1. Write a polite letter to the issuing authority detailing why you should not have to pay the fine. State your reasons for believing this to be true and send in copies of any relevant photographs, transcripts of what was said at the time, confusing road markings, evidence of breakdown or being told to stop by a Uniformed Police officer or Traffic Warden (Don’t forget to take their patrol number if this happens.). Don’t send in a work of fiction. You won’t be believed but your extravagant claims might be passed around the office to lighten the dark winter months. Even Traffic Wardens like a good laugh sometimes.
  2. Send the letter in immediately. Don’t wait for postal notification to arrive.
  3. If you don’t think you’ve got a snowflakes chance in hell, coughing up early generally gets you a 50% discount on the fine.
  4. Trying to forget all about it is a bad move as the issuing authority will simply send it via Northampton County Court who will set the bailiffs on you if you don’t pay the fine. These guys will impound your vehicle if they can.
  5. Wait a couple of weeks after you have sent your letter. You should receive one back from the issuing authority either stating that your claim has been upheld or that the fine still stands.
  6. If the fine still stands – don’t panic. You will still only have to pay the fine at its discounted amount.
  7. Or you can go to the next stage of the process which is;
  • Contact NPAS, the National Parking Adjudication Service. Write them a nice reasonable polite letter detailing why you think that the parking ticket should not have been issued. Don’t forget to send them a copy of statements and photographs etc.
  • Wait two weeks. You should by now have a letter from NPAS telling you whether the fine has been upheld or not. If not, then you can breathe a sigh of relief and try not to be caught in future.
  • If they have upheld the ticket you do have the option of going to judicial review but this involves solicitors and will cost you a lot more money, time and effort than the parking ticket would have done in the first place. Not really worth the candle unless you are a specialist solicitor of course.
  • You still, even at this late stage have the option of paying up at the discounted rate.

    A few examples of dodgy road markings include;
  • Improperly terminated double yellow lines
  • Top dressing obscuring double yellow lines
  • Obscured road markings (Leaves, snow etc.)
  • Dirty or illegible parking signage
  • White on blue parking restriction signs (NPAS generally throws these out.)
  • The old dashed single yellow line is now meaningless.
  • Remember that if the signs and road markings are not exactly as the Highway Code dictates you may just get away with it.
  • Spend a few pennies at W.H.Smith or your local book shop on a copy of the Highway code and read it carefully.
  • Get in touch with your local Council and ask to see copies of the Traffic Regulation Order for the location you got the parking ticket. Does that match the signs and road markings? If the yellow lines and restriction plates don’t match, this may also invalidate the parking restriction or at least make it unenforceable. Have a good look at the position of the signs too; if they don’t match the road markings or are difficult to see or read you stand a good chance of making a successful challenge or appeal against the fine.

Oh yes. One last thing - You didn't find out from me.

Monday, January 03, 2005

 

Damn politicians

While my brain and body recover from festive season TV and too much turkey I got to thinking. Have been mulling over the news on CNN, BBC and Google you understand; With regard to the tragic circumstances of the Christmas Sunday earthquake and subsequent Tsunami in south east Asia. I feel it is unfair to say that Tony Blair should have cut his freebie holiday in Egypt short. It is nothing short of political point scoring. The odious little man would only be back here claiming credit for what the British public are doing without any political intervention. Same as he usually does.

Maybe thats what politicians are all about - claiming the credit while some poor low level public servant does all the work on his / her tod without their direction - then interfering when one of their mates falls foul of the problem. Sounds like most of our local councillors really. Anything for a vote. It would also explain the parlous state of the local Parking restrictions.

On that theme; if all these politicians are as good as they would have us believe, the moment any similar disaster threatens they should be flown immediately to the area so threatened and take the place of all those poor, innocent, useful people who might otherwise be killed and do King Canute impersonations on the beach / volcano / fault zone / meteor strike target - with live TV coverage of course so we can see how good they really are. Make them earn the over inflated pensions that come out of the taxpayers pockets.

Gosh - I sound like an anarchist. An anarchist Traffic Warden? Well fancy that. Instead of giving transgressors of the parking laws Penalty Charge Notices I could let their tyres down and spray paint their vehicles with anarchist slogans.
 

New year & resolutions

Looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow. Back to the confused mish mash that makes up the Traffic regulation orders for our town. Double yellow lines that can't be enforced, dodgy road makings and signage. At least the air is reasonably fresh and I'm not stuck in an office with people I can't stand.

Instead I'll be stuck out in the wind and rain giving tickets to people I can't respect because they have no respect for others. Could be worse. At least I can claim my R/T set is on the blink if my manager wants to give me the run around.
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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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