The other day we took the troops shopping for the day. In any instance, taking 3 small children shopping is ambitious; but this was an even more elaborate mission. We were going to use the Park and Ride!
I was a little nervous, but my mother assured me that the buggy would fit on the bus and that the bus stop was perfectly located near our targeted shops.
We arrived at the car park, parked in a Mother and Child space, and began the usual unloading routine – buggy, baby 1, baby 2, no. 1 son, bags various, cuddly toys, fondue set…
As we loaded up, I became aware of other cars parking up in the parent spaces and then leaping out and heading towards the bus. Not a child in sight.
A single woman in her 50s pulled up in the space next to us and we decided to take action. My mother politely informed her, in case she had somehow missed the flourescent yellow painted sign of a buggy on the ground; that the space she had parked in was reserved for parents of small children.
“Oh” she replied, and started to walk off.
Undeterred, my mother shouted after her. “It’s just, you could get fined”, she said. I think she was hoping to sound like a friendly, fellow park-ee, and not a militant civilian parking monitor about to make a citizen’s arrest.
“Thank you”, said our middle-aged offender.
And kept right on walking.
We debated how disgusted we were, then set upon everyone else that parked in our aisle. By the time we’d finished, we’d had a full on debate of the slightly warm variety with one man; accosted an elderly couple in a disabled bay; and pulled faces at a very sprightly woman who popped her VW Polo into a disabled space and then approached the bus with the nippy disposition of an Olympic hopeful. She was so fast, we couldn’t even catch her to give her the benefit of our by-now, well-practised speech.
We got on the bus and tried to ignore the glares of all the people we’d reprimanded.
I was happy to discover that my double buggy was just that bit too large and unwieldy for the bus, so that all our visually impaired parking numpties had to squeeze themselves around the twins at some inconvenience. I did nothing to help them.
I’m thinking of suggesting a new parking symbol to the council. The word “LAZY” painted in flourescent paint with flashing lights and a sound effect. Just so all the charming men and women I met in Cheltenham at the Park and Ride last week, know exactly where they should leave their vehicles.