Sunday 7 August 2011

The Limits Of Local Authority

Mr P Snr, myself, and the boy Puddlecote are just back from a very relaxing weekend on the coast doing the touristy bit by day, and availing ourselves of top-notch wine (well, not the lad, natch) and cuisine by night.

You may be interested in a little anecdote arising from our stay. While eating in one restaurant at around eight o'clock, we watched as a warden sniffed around a 'loading bay' with room for around five cars. Doing his job to the letter, he was intent on booking all those stationed there despite there being no way that anyone was going to be loading or unloading anything in the small street - composed entirely of restaurants - at such a time on a Saturday evening. In fact, the restaurant owners, who should be most concerned at the spaces being occupied if they were expecting deliveries, were taking it in turns to watch out for the warden before he arrived and put out the call to all their customers when he did.

While he was there, people scurried from the surrounding eateries and rescued their cars before he was able to issue a ticket.

All were removed in time except the one pictured below.

Now, I'm no expert on cars, but the general consensus was that this was a £200k motor and, although I've hidden the personalised reg plate, I can assure you that it would have cost a few thousand too.

The warden slapped it with a ticket; took two photographs for evidence; then took out his mobile and took three more from different angles with an appreciative smile on his face. He had to fight for room, mind, because the whole neighbourhood had come to take pics too, with many even posing next to it.

No-one knew whose car it was until around an hour later the owner and spouse left our restaurant duly sated, pocketed the ticket, then calmly got in and smoothly drove it down the road with a throaty growl.

Not too sure that he will have been much bothered about a £35 parking fine, to be honest.

Never has a local authority fine appeared more futile, and never their pompous power been shown to be more impotent.

Well, it made all those of us who witnessed it laugh anyway.


Curmudgeon said...

In Michael Winner's restaurant column in today's Sunday Times he says he regards a £60 parking ticket in Central London as basically a fee for parking.

Mind you, the problem with mentioning things like that is that it is only like to make councils more Stalinist to the detriment of all of us.

Simon Cooke said...

I recall being told a similar story about a woman who parked each morning on the double yellow lines out side Lady Royd School in Bradford. After 15 of so tickets, a warden finally asked her why she kept parking there despite the fines. Her reply "oh them? My husband pays them."

Bucko said...

Got to issue the ticket though. Rules is rules. Using a little discretion might be considered 'thinking'.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Curmudgeon & Simon: Another aspect that made me laugh was that this council - like all others - will probably bang on about 'equality' and how they are committed to it. Yet here is one operating a policy which gives a huge advantage to those with wealth.

Repeal the restrictions after a certain hour on a Saturday and everyone gets the same chance of parking there no matter their income. First come, first served (others had been warned by the restaurateurs before the Ferrari materialised).

Dick Puddlecote said...

Bucko: 'Discretion'? 'Thinking'? You've misunderstood the article ... we're talking local councillors here. ;)

Anonymous said...

Heaven forbid,where are we going
Richard,surely there is something
more exciting to relate to us
,the tormented underlings
Some poncy gent and tart in a super duper motor leaving some
mind distressing, over blown cafe
,ripped off for some overpriced
Frog Piss washing down half cooked
meat with daft names.
Heres hoping for an utter and total
collapse of the Western Monetary
Order and wipeout of the
plastic classes.

De Profundis

Sam Duncan said...

That's a 458 “Italia”, UK base price, before options, £169,545. 'Course, these are the sort of motors that appreciate as soon as you drive them off the forecourt, so the bloke has probably made £30,000 just by sitting in it looking flash: second-hand prices are indeed closer to £200k right now. So that'll pay for the tickets.

My old dad's Nissan, on the other hand, set him back £600. And if he has the audacity to park it in the space at his door that he used for 30 years until they put double yellow lines on it without so much as a by-your-leave, it'll get towed and they'll want £350 ransom.

Ain't life grand?

nisakiman said...

Back in the late 60s I was living in Bayswater, and I was working in direct sales. As a team leader, I was supplied with a car, which was on contract rental from Hertz. The street outside my flat (read bedsit) had two parking options - on a meter or resident's permit. With it being a hire car, the resident's permit was not possible, and as I rarely got home before 3am getting up at 8am to feed the meter wasn't on either.

So I got a ticket. Every day.

When the boot was full of scrunched-up tickets, I'd take the car back to Hertz on some pretext and get another one. (Car, that is).

I have often wondered if those tickets ever got paid. I actually made the effort to get up one morning to try to explain to the traffic warden that I didn't have any choice but to park there, but it was like pissing into the wind. These people are just drones. They aren't paid to think, so they don't. And the rules aren't made to accommodate anyone who doesn't fit into the 'regular 9 - 5 guy' identikit.

Bleedin' tossers, the lot of 'em.

banned said...

I get a parking ticket about every 6 months which I'm quite happy to pay since I park illegally for part of most days; I think that £70pa is good value for money.

J Bonington Jagworth said...

I've often considered recycling an old ticket in its little envelope by tucking it under the wiper when stopping on the double yellows. What are wardens supposed to do when someone appears to have beaten them to it?