Glad Tidings

December 21, 2008

My loves, I bring you glad tidings – there is a Father Christmas! Yes, as unlikely as it seems, the Jolly Red-cheeked Rotund One is alive, kicking and bringing in, I do hope, a decent wage – at Southwark Council! I know this because I have just been let off a parking fine and there is no other rational explanation.

The story started way, way back in the summer – remember, those times long ago when hedge funds were something only impoverished gardeners talked about and you could pop into Woolworths any day of the week for pick ‘n’ mix, without being coshed over the head by rabid grannies desperate to get their mitts on the last Best of Val Doonican CD in civilisation.

It was in these halcyon days that the treasures and I zoomed to delightful Peckham to watch Wild Child, which, if you have any sense, you will have given a wide berth to. Ostensibly, I was going because one of the daddies from Child One’s long ago NCT group had a part in the film – Jason, you were fabulous! – but of course, in reality I was taking the dears because I have a very soft spot for any old junk movie. I shall be off to see Twilight with them in a minute …

Anyway, we parked as near as we could to the cinema, which involved broaching a carpark of unparalleled dankness. In adorable Peckham, you would have thought, car park owners would invest in the odd light and would splash a bit of paint around. But no. The place was dark, full of looming concrete pillars and matching menacing shadows, even on a summer’s evening. Not the place to linger with tender young children around. I got a ticket – but the machine cut off the time at 7.30 pm, even though I was still merrily shovelling in coins. I tried again, knowing the film would finish late – and the machine cut off again at 7.30. Oh well, I thought – any warden will know I tried my best and paid over the odds, and the machine is clearly faulty. I didn’t investigate the dark corners of the carpark for other machines as I had no wish to disturb the dear crack addicts/muggers/stabbers as they went about their business.

Sure enough, when we came back after a wonderful evening’s entertainment, a parking fine, or Penalty Charge Notice, adorned my windscreen. I did not do my usual act, of falling to my knees, wondering why God has cursed me, and beseeching the fates to take my soul now this minute, as I had no desire to alarm the children over-much and, besides, the ground was filthy and would have ripped my tights.

Many exciting letters to and fro with dear Southwark then ensued, with them inviting me pressingly to the county court to settle the matter, while I declined with regrets, and referred them to their tiresome statutory duty to provide working ticket machines, rather than spend their every waking minute arguing with me. Ah, all those hours closeted with lawyers have certainly paid off. And certainly helped.

And now, just when I need it most, Santa himself has stepped off his sleigh at this busy time of year to cancel my PCN. Thank you, thank you, Santa, and I was always sure that it was really your reindeers’ footprints in the butter.

By the by, Child Two asked me the other day, as I opened the post, ‘why do you get so many Christmas cards from lawyers, Mummy?’ Sigh. My little ones do ask good questions. My resolution for 2009 is to have fewer cards from lawyers, and more from people.

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  • jenny smith December 21, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Well done, DD, getting one over the council is always worth celebrating.

    Never been to Peckham. I’ve always said I’d tour all the parts of london i’ve never seen. That is on my list. And Thamesmead too – and Kensal Rise. the list goes on,……..

  • Nunhead Mum of One December 21, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Oh my……you must have been a good girl!

    Living as close to Peckham as I do I always am keen to distinguish between Peckham and Nunhead…..we even have our own “Welcome to Nunhead” and “Dulwich 3/4 mile” sign.

  • Susanna (A Modern Mother) December 22, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Lucky you, Christmas came early!

    So I take it that you just don’t happen to have a lot of friends that happen to be lawyers? 😉

  • Lindsay December 22, 2008 at 5:39 am

    I used to have a standard plea with Wardens and the like. I used to say I had “my woman’s problem” and was caught short! This embarrassed the usualy male warden and I was let off the hook. However, being 63, a woman’s problem clearly does not exist any more – I am busily thinking of some plausible excuse to use next time! Happy Christmas!

  • Hadriana's Treasures December 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Happy Christmas and all the best for 2009! And yes…I am watching Wallender…only two more episodes to go(recorded on good old fashioned video tape). Hoping there’ll be more. Hx

  • rosiero December 23, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Have a great Chrsitams DD and wishing you health and happiness in 2009.

  • rosiero December 23, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Oops… should have read “Christmas” and, no, I have not been on the mulled wine!!!

  • splodge December 28, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Well done – that’ll teach the rotters not to have a properly working ticket machine!

    You were lucky your car wasn’t clamped as happened to us – can’t argue as they don’t un-clamp until all the loot has been handed over.

    Hope your Christmas was magical.

  • DulwichDivorcee December 31, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Oooh, Jenny, I’d do Thamesmead and Kensal Rise first, if I were you …not that I want to dampen your enthusiasm …..

  • DulwichDivorcee December 31, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Dearest NMO, I am so, so clear on the boundaries between Nunhead and Peckham, never fear ….I’m sure I’m not imagining that Nunhead is twinned with Nirvana, n’est-ce pas? xx

  • DulwichDivorcee December 31, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Ah, Lindsay, if you’re telling me that women don’t have any problems at your very young age, then I can’t wait to be it! Happy New Year x

  • DulwichDivorcee December 31, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Hi Hadriana, have you caught Montalbano, too? Is fab, much better than the books ….and I’m not just saying that because TL bought me one for Xmas …. Happy New Year x

  • DulwichDivorcee December 31, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Hi Rosiero, I know you haven’t been at the mulled wine, been looking at your blog, and well done you for foreswearing the booze too to help Greg. Very saintly. I’m afraid I need all the red medicine I can get at this time of year! Happy New Year x

  • DulwichDivorcee December 31, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Ah, but Splodgy, I have had my car clamped before, and certainly didn’t get the money back then, they are total rotters I agree. Hope they don’t get you in 2009 x

  • 小貓咪 August 10, 2009 at 8:15 am