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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

 

Day on the Park

Another quiet day on patrol. This time my beat was out near the municipal boating lake where I spent a quiet ten minutes every other hour with not much else to do watching the odd flight of Swans come honking over like cybernetic geese. The place was almost deserted but for the odd dog walker.

There’s been a definite autumnal feel in the air although only the Horse Chestnut trees with their five bladed leaves are browning at the edges, the wild fruit trees heavy with berries, and I’ve noticed some very heavy crops of apples and plums overhanging garden fences all around the suburbs. I get the feeling we might be in for a cold winter this year.

Minor run in with some out of town builders who saw me coming and moved their vans before I got anywhere close. A couple of their younger guys felt courageous enough to shout witty imprecations like “Fuck off, cunt!” as they were bravely running away. I just kept on walking. Catch you next time guys.

Didn’t book many vehicles at all today. Most notable of which was white van man who was blocking the footway. I’d seen him a few minutes before while I was finishing writing up my observations on some limited waiting, thinking that the driver had spotted me and would scoot. He was perched on double yellow lines and clearly ‘in play’ so I logged in his details and patiently waited for over five minutes next to the front of the van. Normally this tactic has drivers running for their cabs shouting, “Don’t book me, I’m moving, I’m moving!”

As I’ve probably mooted before, booking commercial vehicles is a pain because we have to allow them twenty minutes for loading and unloading. Having to stop and book one can throw your entire patrol schedule down the toilet. On this occasion I saw nothing, no loading or anything apart from a mother with one of those double width pushchairs who was forced to take her precious cargo onto the road in order to get past. She gave me a look of irritation at the inconvenience white van man was causing, to which I replied with a resigned shrug. Another five minutes went past and still no sign of the driver, so I wandered off to the end of the road and took a quick peek round the corner to check on another stretch of double yellows. I could see the van quite clearly from my vantage point and still no movement. Went back and waited in front of the van for over ten minutes before printing and sticking the parking ticket firmly in place. An elderly man struggled past the van, took a sidelong look at me as I was sliding the ticket envelope under the windshield wiper and cackled, “Book him Danno.” No sympathy for the ‘poor oppressed motorist’ there I think.

Now I’ll say this for most of the local builders, they’ve got used to us and are generally pretty good about getting their permits. Some of them even know us by name and it’s all smiles and thumbs up because they know that we’ll cut them a bit of slack if they co-operate. Sometimes I’ll stop and pass the time of day. It’s interesting because you get to hear a bit of gossip about something other than parking enforcement. Especially from the guys who do building maintenance. They’re the ones who fix doors broken down by the Junkies and Wino’s looking for dry places to continue their self abuse. These builders board up plate glass windows smashed by aggressive drunks in the town centre, all that stuff. It’s just interesting to find out about what goes on when we’re not around.

On a quiet day like today it breaks up the monotony of patrol work. At least when I’m not wandering around mostly empty car parks.

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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.

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