Tuesday, July 26, 2016

if you notice this notice you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing

When we moved into our house in June 2010 one of the things my late predecessor warned us about was not to leave any vehicles parked on the pavement out at the front of the house, in contravention of the double-yellow markings. Not such a problem for us as we've got a driveway which can accommodate up to three cars, but it's occasionally tempting for visitors who don't want to go and park up round the corner for some reason - heavy stuff to load and/or unload, general laziness, that sort of thing. Leave your car there for a NANOSECOND, we were warned, and the long arm of the law will display its great vengeance and furious anger; and you will know their name is Gwent Police when they lay their vengeance upon thee.

Turns out that while this may have been true in the heady days of the mid-to-late-noughties, it isn't true any more. I don't want to get all EVIL TORIES WITH THEIR CUTS AND AUSTERITY AND THAT on your ass, but it is nonetheless true that most forces have seen numbers cut and, as much as I'd like police priorities to be primarily focused on my personal comfort and convenience and more generally being the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness, that shit ain't the truth. And one aspect of the cuts has been the general slackening-off of illegal parkers getting their collar felt.

Our little section of pavement is a bit of a honeypot for the illegal parker, as it happens, as there is a handy rank of shops over the road (Spar, kebab shop, post office, chemist, betting shop) with limited parking in front of them. So there's an understandable temptation for people to just pull up on the kerb, dash across the road, pick up a large doner and chips and then be off again. And in a sense I don't mind that, as long as parkers display a minimal level of sense and park in front of one of the many generous sections of wall that are provided (picture courtesy of Google StreetView, just in case that wasn't obvious).

It's really only when people ignore the wall sections and park across the end of our drive that annoyance ensues. I have on a couple of occasions arrived back from picking up the girls from school/nursery/childcare only to find a car abandoned across our drive with freely available sections of wall on either side.
Hazel has experienced the same thing and as she's more prone to getting all irate and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE about these things she suggested getting a sign made that we could put on our gatepost. So she and her sister Paula cooked up some wording and Paula got a sign made on a classy bit of Welsh slate as a birthday present. That was in May but I've only just got round to putting it up.

I should reiterate at this point that I had nothing to do with the wording other than auditing the spelling (at Paula's request). My personal view is that the words "Polite Notice" on a notice of this sort are either a) redundant, since it's obvious, or more likely b) passive-aggressive bullshit, since it's not really polite at all. But I really didn't feel that I cared enough to get involved. Anyway, the sign is up now, so we'll see whether people oblivious enough to park across a clearly visible driveway are inclined to stop and read a sign and modify their behaviour based on its wording. Personally I have my doubts.

Ironically, we've had fewer problems with inconsiderate idiots just lately, as the pavement space by our front wall has been partially occupied for the last three weeks or so by a small silver Nissan hatchback. It's parked quite neatly in front of the wall, so it's not inconveniencing us in terms of being able to get in and out, and it's positioned in such a way as to make it impossible to just swing onto the pavement and end up blocking our drive; you'd have to swing onto the bit of pavement in front of the house next door and then reverse back. Clearly people aren't going to do that, since the whole point of the manoeuvre is to park and abandon the car as quickly as possible with minimal repositioning.

But, on the other hand, it's clearly been abandoned, and sooner or later someone's going to set fire to it or break in and start sleeping in it. The reason it's no longer being driven becomes clear if you use the DVLA's vehicle enquiry service to look up its tax and MOT status: while it's taxed until the beginning of September, it doesn't have a current MOT. And sure enough if you have a sneaky look inside there is even an MOT certificate refusal printout on the passenger seat, which reveals some minor-sounding electrical issues and some more serious-sounding exhaust and emissions problems as the reason for failure.

In keeping with my low-ish level of concern about the situation I've been indulging in some gentle low-level trolling of Gwent Police on Twitter, just to try to prompt them to take an interest. I suspect that when I finally decide I'd like it towed away I may have to ring up and register some sort of official request, though.

1 comment:

The black rabbit said...

Yes. You're (obviously) quite correct about the cuts to Rozzers. Our lovely PM (who also happens to be our bordering MP at Maidenhead) is widely despised by local Rozzers here (I know a few of them)... so good luck with your car removal service from now on.
And yes I share your thoughts on the words "polite notice" 'though I suspect (I know actually) I'm far less "meh" about such words on signs than you.
I'd argue the words aren't so much redundant, rather it's not the sign-maker's right or prerogative tell the sign reader how polite or impolite their sign is. That's the sign-reader's personal and subjective right.
Incidentally, I've just put a sign up outside our gaff which reads:
"Polite notice. You are a TWAT. Ya get me?"