"Be careful, they are red hot in Newark!"
These were Bev's last words as I dropped her off at work. It was my good deed of the day because of the rain. She was referring to our lovely traffic wardens.
I had been put in a position of trust and I had my list ready...£200 into our bank account. Transfer the cost of the painting frames from my personal account to our joint account. Have my glasses fitted. Be at the doctor's surgery by 10:20. Pick the frames up from Hills. Varnish paintings. Prime and paint the frames. Do not get a parking ticket.
Outside Hills (no parking between 8:00-6:00) I parked as soon as they opened and rushed in taking care to look up and down the street for an orange jacket. It was deserted. I put a sign on the windscreen to say I'm picking frames up and left my hazard lights on. No problem I thought.
I was the first customer and within a minute I was bundling the frames into the back of the car. I nipped back in and was handed my receipt and card. When I left the shop I glanced to my right and spotted the female warden suddenly picking up speed not twenty feet away. I ran round the car and jumped in, started the car, indicated and pulled off in one swift move. I left her standing, ruddy faced and out of breath. I reckon she could see my smile in the rear-view mirror as I sped off.
My next stop was the banks, so I headed for Morrison's Car Park. As I approached, I realised I didn't have a pound for the ticket machine so I quickly pulled into a 30 minute parking area and ran up the hill to the town.
Can you recall how stupid you feel when you push the door open only to realise the place is closed and you only succeed in breaking your wrist...or your nose on the glass? It was worse for me because there were two people waiting for it to open. "They don't open until half-past". "Oh, right", I said.
This meant that I would only have 15 minutes to visit two banks and run down the hill to the car.
To pass the next 10 minutes or so, I took a stroll around the corner and saw the very same warden taking photos of a car and slapping a ticket on the windscreen. She looked happy and I swear there was a glint of recognition in her beady little eye. I decided to call her Bertha...in my mind.
I was about 7 minutes late as I raced down the hill just as a traffic warden was coming in the opposite direction...it was Bertha! "I don't believe it", I thought, as we passed and exchanged glances. The words came back to me..."Be careful, they are red hot in Newark!" Bev will kill me!
Imagine my surprise when I reached the car to find no ticket.
Next stop was the opticians, so I parked in another 30 minute parking space and ran for five minutes into the opticians to have my glasses fitted. She was very polite considering how horrible I was to her last week. I began to panic at how long she was taking to get the frames right but decided against being the grumpy old man again.
I was late by the time I reached the car and guess what? Bertha was nowhere in sight. No ticket.
Next stop was the doctor and yet another 30 minute parking space. I walked into the surgery bang on time...and spent the next twenty minutes looking at the clock in the waiting area and seeing everyone being called but me. I felt sure that Bertha would be approaching my car soon and would get me this time.
Life is good.
Oh, the doctor's appointment was to have my ears syringed. I can hear everything now...it's incredible!