Sunday, 3 November 2013

Car wars -- a polite notice!

car warsHave you ever been in a situation where you've ended up taking on someone else's pet hate or obsession? I've recently discovered that I have!
We live in what should be a quiet road. The road itself is a dead-end leading to a local church and an old Manor house and farm. Our house is one of a row of terraced cottages which were originally built for the managers and workers of a local blanket factory now demolished with new houses where the factory used to exist. We don't have a garage and the front garden isn't large enough to park a car. This didn't bother us as there seemed to be plenty space on the road outside our house to park. Shortly after moving in we became acquainted with our next door neighbour, an older gentleman who kept 4 retired greyhounds. He was pleasant enough but we soon discovered that he has one main topic of conversation,cars parked in our street that are not owned by any of the residents. He's obsessed by it! He especially gets upset if they dare to park directly in front of his house.

Over the years he's been known to phone the police to report cars as being abandoned or stolen. He's had numerous arguments with the occupants of a rental property around the corner which doesn't have any parking of its own who've parked in our road. He's even reported another neighbour, a policeman, for illegally parking cars for sale on our street. He's constantly harassing the police about it but there's nothing they can do as it's a public highway. On one occasion a policeman told him to park really close to the cars and to persuade the rest of us to do the same so that the drivers would have to knock on the door to ask us to move and let them out. The idea being that we would get the chance to ask them politely to be more considerate of the residents when parking in future. I found this quite amusing and declined to do so. Over the years the whole topic of parking has become a frequent topic of conversation among all the residents of the street.

But gradually over time I've found myself starting to be a bit niggled by this. I've been smitten by the parking virus. It started one day when I came home from shopping and had to park outside one of the houses at the far end of the street. It was raining heavily and I had several bags of shopping to carry from the car to the house. By the time I'd finished I was wet, grumpy and fed up! And so the rot set in. Now if I arrive home and there's someone parked outside my house I glower at the car, constantly checking to see if it's gone yet. I must admit that I've not gone as far as parking so close to the car that they can't get out, but I did once put a 'polite notice' under the windscreen wipers of a car that was parked outside a neighbour's house, without moving, for over a week. In my defence it was the house of an elderly lady who has carers popping in several times a day, plus her daughter who is often laden with her mum's laundry or shopping, she even brings her mum all her meals.
Frustrated lady
This might sound like a bit of a rant, not to say a bit ridiculous, but this has been going on for several years now. 

So why have I chosen to write this now? For my sanity really! For the past week there's been a car parked outside my house. Every morning when I open my bedroom curtains there it is! I go out for the day and when I come home, it's still there. It's golden frame and vacant eyes mock me every time I look at it sitting there, in my space! Various scenarios have run through my head from acts of vandalism to doing as my neighbour has done in the past and reporting it to the police. I did place a 'polite notice' on it but removed it the next day. In town today I bumped into some neighbours and this car came up in conversation. These neighbours think that it has been abandoned as the driver's door isn't properly closed and it has an air of being dumped. Who knows? Perhaps I'll give it a couple more days and see if it has been reported stolen.

We're not being completely 'unpublic' spirited, (apologies if that's not a word). We realise that sometimes people will need to park here. However, at the end of the row of houses there's a large hedge with plenty of room for several cars to park along side it without inconveniencing anyone and all we ask is that people have some consideration for the residents and park there instead of in front of our houses. Is it too much to ask?

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