I’ve been loitering around North London looking at flats for several weeks, actually living in North London since yesterday, and today increased my parking ticket tally by 100%: to two.
London has things called Red Routes. These are main road arteries out of the city that have to be kept clear to keep the massive volumes of traffic moving. However, on some Red Routes there are sections of kerbside where you can stop your car for loading or unloading, for up to twenty minutes. That was fine yesterday morning, when I pulled up outside the Hi-Fi shop to pick up my new home cinema system. But I had to go back this afternoon to exchange a faulty remote control, and made the mistake of leaving the car in the loading zone again.
A couple of minutes after I’d gone in the shop, a police van pulled up in front of my car and two officers got out. They didn’t seem to be paying any attention to my car, but the guy in the shop told me to keep an eye on them so I completed my business quickly and hurried back to the car.
Needless to say the officers did stop because of my parking, and so I spent the next ten minutes being lectured at the side of the road by a policeman about ten years older than I, and ten inches taller. I freely and quickly admitted that, on this occasion, I had not actually been loading, or unloading, but had in fact just been doing a bit of shopping, but he wasn’t about to let me off that easily. Instead I had to hand over my licence and wait by the car while he went back to the van to check me out. I reddened slightly as I felt the people in the nearby cafe looking on, and that feeling didn’t get any better when the officer came back, informed me that the car was indeed mine and that it was insured (“Oh really? Thanks. I had no idea”), and then delivered the second half of his lecture before finally letting me go, ticket in hand.
I drove off, £50 worse off and feeling angry. Angry with myself of course, but it’s much easier to direct your anger at the other party, so I muttered rude names under my breath as I went. Well… you never know… they might have one of those special long range spy microphones, mightn’t they?