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Urban Living

This bay window of mine is a life saver; I sit at the table, looking out and hoping that I will find some inspiration from passers by. Each day I see so many different breeds of dogs; bulldogs, German shepherds, boxers, poodles, and dogs of the Heinz variety, and people of all ages; the older ones are usually making their way to the local GP surgery, and carers and children returning from the school across the road. I even get to see the nursery children in the big buggy, going to the local park. The nursery staff are always so good with the children, and they appear to enjoy their jobs, which is a bonus.

It’s a busy wee road, especially when the expressway is closed, and the traffic is diverted past my house. Parking is a premium, in fact it is like gold dust-much coveted by bowling club members during the bowling season, rugby supporters during the rugby season and patients who drive to the GP surgery. You’re probably wondering why I mention the parking; let me explain the rollercoaster ride, that is called parking outside my house.

On a public holiday, parking is relatively easy, but on auction day at the auction house across from me, we are often subjected to what seems like a convoy of range rovers and jeeps, all visiting the auction-perhaps to buy, maybe sell, or more likely to catch a glimpse of our local auctioneer celebrity. She often parks outside my window, and I am always surprised to see a tv person getting out of the car. I’m sure she is lovely, but these auctions do tend to make parking my car very problematic.

And then there’s the bowlers; they often arrive in various models of cars, but to be fair they tend to car share; I have always thought that to be rather considerate of them. They arrive, wearing their navy bowling jackets, and carrying small black bowling bags; I don’t think there is anyone under the age of sixty.

Because I live on the corner house, the closest parking space to the surgery is outside my house; and almost invariably they will park in the middle of the space, which is for two cars-so annoying!

I have to admit that the rugby supporters annoy me the most; they park at least one hour before kick off, and I refuse to move my car if there is a game on. I can see them from a mile away; the rugby jackets, hats and scarves give them away. If they beat me to a space, I can wave good-bye to that space for at least three hours; and some will even go to the pub, leaving their car to the next day. A close second is the regulars from the pub opposite my house; sometimes, instead of going home first and walking to the pub, certain individuals will park in front of my window, and leave the car till morning.

If I wasn’t so law abiding, I might be tempted to let their tyres down (this happened to me years ago, when I parked in Anderson), but conviviality prevails, even though I sometimes fantasise about slashing their tyres; thankfully the street cameras prevent me from doing so.

Then there’s the politics of parking the car; the street has very large trees, but there is none outside my house. In the summer, the trees shed rather sticky leaves, which make quite a mess of one’s car. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this; yes, the two spaces outside my front door are the most coveted spaces on the street. It has become a game, so to speak, waiting for the neighbours to move, and retrieving the space. You may wonder why I don’t get a driveway; conservation area status may sound good when selling your house, but it makes planning consent rather convoluted and very time consuming.

Although lockdown was a difficult time for everyone, it was great to always have a parking space; driving to work (key worker) was a dream come true, taking at least ten minutes off the time it took to get there, because of the reduced traffic! As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.

As I sit here, wondering when would the best time to drive to my daughter’s house, it’s probably wise to first of all check if there is rugby game tonight, just in case I lose my space. I sometimes feel as though this obsession with getting a parking space is verging on insanity, but when I bump into my neighbours getting ready to move their car into the vacated space, I realise that this is an inevitable consequence of urban living.

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