IAM pleased to see that we will soon be allowed an extra 10 minutes after a parking ticket runs out, before we can be hit with a fine. A change in the law this month will mean that we can whizz back to our cars – in all on-street and off-street council parking places – knowing that we won’t be met with a ticket for being a few seconds over time. It happens so easily. There is just one more vital task to do, such as buying a birthday card and stamps, so you pop into Smiths, dash to the till, then … oh no. You skid to a halt behind a long, slow, snake of people.
You have two choices: put your items back on the shelf – or resign yourself to the possibility of a fine.
People I want to prod with a big stick are those who produce their purses at the last minute, then buy six hundred lottery tickets.
Or shoppers just buying a newspaper and rubber bands, but ponder long and hard on whether to buy the giant-sized chocolate, which is always on special offer at tills. Don’t they know the Government has banned us from eating sugar?
My worst story of getting a parking ticket happened, ironically, on a day that I was supposed to interview a traffic warden.
That morning I had stubbed my toe on the bed and, as it was at right angles to the rest of my foot and Mr F was on his way to work in Westminster, I drove myself to Hillingdon Hospital, where they confirmed it was broken.
Back at the Gazette offices, which were then opposite the Civic Centre (now the Slug and Lettuce pub), there were no vacant spaces so I risked parking on a yellow line.
There was no way I could attempt a long walk from a multi-storey car park. Sure enough, I got a ticket.
Hobbling down to Uxbridge Police station to quiz my traffic warden would have been the ultimate definition of adding insult to injury so I postponed it, popped a few pain killers and went home to administer ice (toe and drink).
Later that week my Gazette colleagues mischievously reported my awful day in the paper under the headline Toe-tally Ruined.
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