Real life

What parking disputes have taught me about Brexit

9 January 2021

9:00 AM

9 January 2021

9:00 AM

Our battle with the EU has given me an insight into the parking disputes outside my house. Or is it that the parking disputes outside my house have given me an insight into Britain’s battle with the EU?

Either way, I was reading through this Brexit trade deal we’ve accepted because we can’t be bothered to counter illogic with logic any longer, and it suddenly occurred to me why my neighbours persist in parking outside my house. And why, when I then park outside their house or someone else’s, I’m the one getting the funny looks.

People push each other about for no better reason than the way one horse kicks another in a field. Sometimes they want you to know that what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is theirs too, as a way of hoofing you in the face.

And so it is with the strip of unmade track outside eight houses facing on to the village green where I live. This nice area of communal parking, with ample space for every house to park two cars, has been complicated to the same degree the EU has convoluted our fishing waters.

Saying: ‘That bit of water next to our country contains our fish, so why don’t we all just fish the fish in our own waters?’ is too simple. Saying: ‘Why don’t we all agree to park two cars as near as we can to our house, ensuring we are not too far left or right for the neighbours to get into their spaces?’ —that’s too simple.

This is a shame because, as there are a good 16 parking spaces for eight houses, very little brainpower is needed to work out where each of us should park.

Of course, no Victorian cottage is quite wide enough to accommodate two cars in perfect alignment with it. Therefore, for neighbourliness, let’s all count out two spaces each, in our minds, from left to right of the parking strip, and calculate where our cars can be so as to allow everyone the same amount of space. Or, radical thought, let’s all just park anywhere?

No. No, no, no. From the way they like to park, one of our near neighbours’ attitude appears to be: ‘Don’t think you can park two cars here just because we park two cars.’

They like to park at an awkward angle, hanging over into the space in front of my house, and with their two cars lavishly spaced out with just under one car’s width between, so they are taking up a good three to four spaces.

If you follow their illogic, my options are: break up with the builder boyfriend so there are no longer two cars outside my house; sell one car so when he drives to work to earn a living every day I am left without transport to get to the horses to feed and muck out; park one of our cars on the high street and risk a parking fine; use the nearest public car park to our house, which is the car park by the public lavs — open all hours, if you please.

And so we park one car outside my house in the one space left to us and another car the other side of the overhanging neighbour’s two cars, partly in their space and partly in the space of a neighbour further down, who has another residence somewhere leaving ‘his’ area of the communal parking almost always empty.

When this neighbour does arrive back, however, he looks at one of our cars parked in ‘his’ space and tells either me or the BB: ‘This is my house, you know!’ And the BB tries to explain that our second car is outside his house only because someone else’s second car is outside our house.

I don’t think this deal is a very good one, but it was put in place when a previous occupant lived in our house, and I can see how it happened.

Perhaps this family only had one car, or perhaps, when they got hoofed in the face, they meekly gave away their second parking space.

The other day I came home to the neighbour’s car hanging over into my space as usual, parked in the other neighbour’s space because he wasn’t there, and as I walked back to my house, the overhanging neighbour stood in her front window filming me with her iPhone.

As I walked past, she held the phone out ostentatiously, leaving me in no doubt that the impertinence of my parking the same number of cars as her was being monitored.

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