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Thursday, August 03, 2006


Yap yap yap

There’s a pub near the town centre on a stretch of road with a pay and display restriction. There are signs every ten metres (At least) and four pay and display machines within thirty metres in any direction. All of which we have to check every time we go past. Lots of shade, so during the hot weather this is a very popular beat with most of us footsloggers. Not too stressful but plenty to keep you occupied.

The pub however, is a bit of a hot spot as far as we are concerned, as the landlord’s regulars like to park their cars opposite for free, despite the fact that the restriction is well signed. The landlord of the pub does not like us, which is fine by me, as I don’t think much of his prices, and in my humble opinion he can’t keep a decent cellar, no matter what anyone else thinks. In my misspent youth I lived within staggering distance of two very fine hostelries, and can tell the difference between whether a beer has been kept properly, just by the taste and body. I may not have been to university, but I do know some things.

All the above notwithstanding, I don’t drink there, so his opinion of me and what I do matters not one iota. Another thing about this character is his affected upper middle class accent. It’s about as genuine as Camembert cheese made in China, and even less convincing.

A few months ago it was a slow day and I was walking past this particular pub on my way back to end shift. Almost dead opposite was a line of three vehicles, and no amount of peering into footwells etc showed a valid pay and display ticket. Checked the lines and signs which told me there was a good hour to run on the restriction, so being a conscientious sort, I punched in the vehicle details and set the clock ticking. Next on the list was to check the nearest pay and display machines to see if there was a fault. (If all the machines in a street are out of order, legally speaking we can’t book). Nope, everything was tickety-boo (If you’ll excuse the pun).

“Excuse me!” Breathless motorist turns up at my elbow. “Not got any change have you?”
“Not allowed to carry it sir. It’s to do with bribery and such.” I responded.
“Shit. Er, my cars over there and I haven’t got any change for the machine. “ He indicates the middle of the three cars. “Know where I can get any?”
“Try the shop round the corner.”
“You won’t book me will you?” He gives me a look like a kicked puppy.
“So long as people are honest with me sir, I don’t have a problem.”
“I’ll only be five minutes.”
“Okay.” I’ve got the rest of the street to check anyway.

Sure enough, when I return to the spaces opposite the pub almost ten minutes later, the vehicle in question has a fully paid up ticket on the dashboard. Good man. I like honest people. The other two unfortunately, couldn’t be arsed, and are about to receive the Bill Sticker award for dishonest parking.

Photographs, check vehicle details and I’ve printed and signed both tickets just prior to slapping them on the windscreen. At this point I become aware of a rattling, thumping noise from across the way. I ignore the window knocker and stick the first ticket on the windscreen. A pub window squeaks open.
“I say! You!” Comes this awful yapping voice. It reminds me of one of those stupid little dogs that just can’t stop yapping, you know, the ones with the Ap-ap-ap bark that make you long for them to catch terminal canine laryngitis. I know who it is, and I’m not playing. “You! Do you know what time it is?” How does he get off talking to people like that? “You! Parking Warden!” Now I put my head up and turn to look at his suffused features peering out of the window. “Is that really necessary?” He yaps at me.
“Is what necessary, sir?” I leave an extra long beat before the ‘sir’ so he knows I don’t mean it.
“It’s almost five o’clock!” It’s actually four twenty six, and the restriction still has over half an hour to run. Besides, the guy is a known troublemaker and hates us, so I feel no urge to be merciful at his particular behest.
“These vehicles are in contravention, sir.” Is all the explanation I’m giving him; then I turn and finish booking the second car. Photograph ticket in place on windscreen. Job done.

“You fucking bastard!” He shouts at me from the open window as I leave the scene. “You utter fucking bastard!” A couple of passers by look over at the pub window, wondering what all the fuss is about. I wander off to a quieter location to finish doing my notes and leave him to his apoplexy. Just to be on the safe side I call it in as an ‘abusive incident’. Not that anything happened about it. Nor that it was really worth reporting. It was just covering my back in case he made some spurious complaint. He’s not worth the aggravation.


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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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