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1 AN OLD LAND ROVER
STORY 37 SELLING A TORCH ON EBAY
Where my dearest becomes a traffic warden and repays old debts
Below is a transcript of the description on the original Ebay advert
A GENUINE MINI MAGLITE
THIS IS NOT A CHEAP IMITATION AS FOUND IN CHRISTMAS CRACKERS
SIZE 15 cm or 6 inches in old money
It comes with 2 AA half used batteries
There is a spare bulb in the end cap which can also be used to hide secret messages, radio bugs etc if you are of the James Bond persuasion.
This torch is now surplus to requirements as my beloved has lost her job as a traffic warden, not because she doing the job improperly, much the opposite. Over a ten week period she had made our village a place where vehicles did just not want to be. The ones that did violate our quiet backwater did so in trepidation and fear that my dearest was on patrol.
Over the years we have had yellow lines painted on most of the main roads with various parking restrictions in the side streets, but the village had not had its own traffic warden. Therefore drivers took little notice as there had been no one to enforce the law apart from the occasional visit by a city warden on his scooter. That was until a few months ago.
The local council seeing a pecuniary opportunity decided each village should have its own warden. My little Kicker of the Codpiece who had connections with some councilors was offered the job in our fair village.
My wife does not inhabit the same world that we do. Her world is a very special place populated by various characters that live in her somewhat befuddled brain. These range from Long John Silver to Hercule Poirot the Belgian detective. She just seems to live in this Walter Mitty world. For instance she recently went to a fancy dress party as Clint Eastwood in The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Most people would just assume the character for the duration of the party, not so my little Sir John Giulgood oh no, we had ‘Clint’ complete with smelly cheroot moseying around the house for 2 weeks before and after the party. Dinner would be served to the words Ok punk make my day have you got six brussel sprouts or seven. Or more unnervingly she would suddenly jump out in front of you pointing her fingers and going BANG BANG then blowing the end of her finger to clear the smoke. “If I really had a gun you would be dead by now” she would drawl. She did not need a gun, you get someone the size of my wife suddenly appearing in front of you, and you stood more chance of dying of a heart attack.
You take a person like this and give them a uniform and its not just a job it’s a way of life they actually become the uniform it seems to fit them like a glove or in this case like a black bell tent with yellow stripes. In fact the image of a rather large bumble bee springs to mind.
She also took it upon herself to be Traffic Cop, Roadside MOT tester, and yellow line cleaner. The torch was for her nocturnal duties, since she treated this job as 24/7, never resting in her quest to bring the rule of law and order to the local streets, to make this village a safe place to live. It had always been a safe place to live but my wife had seen too many ‘Police, Camera, Action, series on the television.
There were also some old scores to settle with certain members of the community who had at one time or another got on the wrong side of my wife. She has as most women, got a very long memory.
In our village there are two distinct classes of resident. There are those that have wealth and those that do not, there is also a grey area in the middle consisting of people who have not, but try to convince themselves and others that they have got.
As I stumble through life I find in the main that the naturally wealthy person is a normal balanced individual who does not draw attention to the fact of their wealth and treats it in an offhand way. On the other hand the grey area people have to shout and draw attention to the fact that they have money. It was these people whom my dearest was going to go after, the sort of person who is totally inconsiderate to others as they think they are a cut above the mass.
Publicly the best way to show your wealth is to either show off your flashy jewellery or your flashy car and to let the commoners know that you are above the law as it equates to them.
This is no more apparent than at the local junior school. Desmond Morris when he wrote the book, The Naked Ape could have just used one page and written large on that page would have been
STAND OUTSIDE A JUNIOR/INFANT SCHOOL AT THE END OF THE DAY AND STUDY THE BEHAVIOR OF THE PARENTS.
All life is there, the community status, competition, rivalries, fights, posturing, hierarchical structures, family bonding and fragmentation. This is a microcosm of society in general.
It starts with the positioning of the child pickup facilitator, (ie normally a large 4x4) relative to the school gates. Parking close to the gates ensures that most of the other mothers and fathers have to pass your vehicle to pick up their offspring. There are two ways of parking close to the gates. Either you get park there all day, or you arrive a few minutes before school closing time and park on the yellow lines, outside the school gates or as close as possible blocking residents drives or on the verges.
Those closest (This is invariably those parking on yellow lines) stand by the side of their motor, this proudly proclaims that they have gained the high ground the best territory, even though by doing so they are breaking the law. When their offspring come out of school they will be immensely proud of their parents for winning the best spot and will smugly smile at their friends who have to walk the extra yards to their car.
The roads around the school have parking restrictions to protect the well being of the pupils. That their safety should be put in jeopardy by inconsiderate parents is of little interest. What is the safety of children when weighed against the social standing? Surely to be at the front of the queue is worth a broken bone or the odd fatal injury.
School finishes at 3.30 pm.
The law abiding parents now have a problem do they turn up early and therefore “win” their place easily or do they leave it nail bitingly late (normally the working mother) and so increase the excitement as they turn the corner hopefully to find that Johnnies mother (who is at home all day) has not won the best spot……Again. The working mother already feeling a failure because she has to work to feed her kids is made to feel worse by the fact that she normally is just on time and has to park half a mile away and rush to the gates past parents who have already collected their kids in a timely manner who look accusingly at her for leaving her child parentless at the gates, or even worse still sitting in the classroom.
This “Child Collection Anxiety” is a well known syndrome causing much stress and marital disharmony and is the subject of many books. It is now thought by child psychologists that this syndrome is the cause of a lot of the bad behaviour in school children, for not only is the parents standing in society judged at this time but also that of the child by other children.
My wife who was a working mum was normally the parent late to collect her son, was the one to suffer the smug stares of the more affluent parent, who being good parents collected their child on time, shame on you.
Now it was payback time.
As I said earlier our village had not had a traffic warden and so 10 minutes before the school closed the sight of a black clad person with a wooden leg sauntering nonchalantly towards the school did not arouse anxiety that is until they saw the badge TRAFFIC WAARDEN. Those parked legally just stood and smiled whilst others parked in front of drives and on verges ran to their vehicles and for many minutes all that could be heard was the banging of doors and the revving of engines as parents rushed frantically to find the nearest legal place to park. These parents though were small fry, the big fish would turn up in a few minutes just before closing time and expect as always to park in front of the gates.
My wife stood at the gates as a small crowd of interested parents stood behind her.
2 minutes to go and the parents whose habit it was to always arrive just on time and park on the yellow lines, turned up, some seeing my wife sped on. One though ignoring this oik in a black uniform tried to stop, thinking how dareshe tell them where to park. To stop this, my wife just stood in the path of the motor. The enraged driver tried to nudge her out of the way but she might as well have been trying to push a house down as my dearest stood firm, the driver got out to remonstrate when in a blur my dearest had covered the windscreen in parking tickets, not just one but dozens she then stood menacingly over the driver daring her to do anything. The driver sheepishly got back into the car and in anger with the screeching of wheels drove off her view obstructed by the tickets, only to crash into another parents car who was about to park on the yellow lines.
The crowd were enjoying this immensely when the bell went and the kids came pouring out of the school the children whose parents were normally there waiting stood forlornly as other parents picked their child up. Several minutes later the angry out of breath parents turned up yelling and swearing at my wife who with an angelic smile just stood there knowing today she had dealt a great blow for justice and she felt sooooohhhhh so good. Tomorrow may even be better.
She was up bright and early, 3 am to be precise. My wife lives her life on the principle that it is a 24 hour occupation and even though it may be 3 am the laws must still be upheld, I talk here of the dreaded double yellow line, or no parking at any time law. Most drivers interpretation of this rule is that it is only meant for use in the daytime when it is busy and parking on those yellow lines would cause problems but not at 3am This did not help the several dozen motorists who woke up to find a parking ticket on their windscreen. Her net spread wider, people who parked outside the newsagents, chemists, post office etc just to pop in for a short while also found parking tickets upon their return.
To placate her tidy mind she put tickets on all those parking slightly over a line or not centrally in the parking bay. She even put a ticket on a red car parked between two green ones on the basis of bad colour coordination.
Then she started on weddings and funerals lurking behind bushes and walls ready to pounce.
She measured the distances from kerbs and junctions so that should cars be parked an inch out they would receive a ticket.
As she walked down the street phones would be ringing as neighbours warned each other, dashing out to make sure they are parked correctly and in colour coded order. Woe betides the owner if a wheel is found out of alignment or the most heinous crime of all parking half on and off the verge.
It wasn’t long before no more tickets were being made out as all the motorists knew that to flaunt the law would bring consequences. What had been a cash cow for the council was now running at a loss. It would seem she had cleaned the streets too thoroughly and made herself redundant. They did not ask for the uniform back, and she still hangs around the school at closing time just to keep them on their toes.
It has been a few weeks since she was made redundant and in that time anarchy has returned as motorists realise there is no warden. What the council have done is to ask my wife to do the job on a rotational basis i.e. working for a month and giving out hundreds of tickets. Then when revenue dropped, stop for a month during which time the motorists would go back to his old ways. Then start again until the revenue dropped. My wife though declined as she had now got a job as a car park attendant which involves far less walking on her wooden leg and also the hours were more sociable.
02 March3rd day of sale Just had a message from Matt about posting to Sweden. The wife got very excited on seeing this as only last week she bought a wooden spoon from Ikea for her couldren, and has been prattling on about the clean design and functionality ever since. So I suppose we can now look forward to Rarakor och Raggmunk and lots of herrings. She doesnt know how to cook these things but when has not knowing how to do something ever stopped my little toxic pickle from doing it. As I said above she tends to live in a Walter Mitty world that is themed on what is twirling around her brain at the time. Even as I write this she is starting a lot of words with Sv or just V instead of W............. I do despair at times.
Just a thought Matt. The postage rate I gave you may be cheaper if I left the batteries out. So if you win just hold off on payment until I check it out at the post office. (That is if it hasn't burnt down again by then).
03 March 4th day of sale
Oh joy our first bidder, this is so exciting, a person called 'potfcc' obviously an Ebayer not to be trifled with. 184 score with 100% feedback. This is a person who knows about torches and can spot a Maglite bargain. Someone who will not be left in the dark during the next power cuts. On the other hand you will be stumbling about in the dark stubbing toes on steps and trapping fingers in doors, and why? There is no need for this, with a bit of forward planning YOU could be the one to flick that switch and move painlessly and effortlessly around in a darkness lit by a Mini Maglite. The first step in that forward planning is to bid on a torch, my torch. Go on you know it makes sense.
Imagine. Its the middle of the night, all is quiet, not a thing stirs. SUDDENLY you hear a noise on the patio beneath your window.
(Or if you live in a bungalow outside your window.)
(Or if you live in a cellar above your window.)
( Or if you life in a penthouse... .....No more this is getting silly.)
Anyway you go and investigate, you have not got a torch. The noise outside gets louder you have to investigate, but its dark. Oh how you wish you had bid on that torch Foggydave was selling. You open the back door and step outside ..............You are then trampled to death by a rampaging herd of Woolly Mammoths out for a good time. What price now for the torch as they scrape you of the slabs? No more barbys for you, oh no.
So you see it makes sense to prepare for these little eventualities.
Once again as in other auctions I think its time for a rousing speech.
St Ebays day speech.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers:
A poem by Kajikit.
You do not truly
With nothing between you and the Dark
are you game
I have never been as scared in my life
I do not need to see to believe
and I fear
** (FoggyDave's Maglite)
After a fierce round of last minute bidding the auction was won by a young gentleman named Adrian from Braintree. I wonder if it was the last poem that convinced him.
The thing between me and the dark is my wife 'Mistress of the dark wobbly thing' who would see off any demons who had the temerity to invade our bedroom. The only thing to send a chill down my spine at night is the sound of my wife 'The toxic pickle' in the shower because normally afterwards she wants to do things .......Urgh...... The thoughts put me right off my breakfast.