It seems as though I am an American menace to British society. At least for today I am.
The following is an excerpt from the Dudley.gov.uk website in reference to 'Parking in Dudley.'
"Through civil parking enforcement, the council aims to tackle congestion caused by illegal and inconsiderate parking which causes problems in our towns, whether you're driving, cycling, on public transport or on foot."
This is the story of how today I was basically labeled a problem-causing "inconsiderate motorist" and penalised by the money-grabbing opportunistic cash-collectors working for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (aka Civil Enforcement Officers).
Like any other Saturday, I set off for a one-to-one tuition assignment I hold near Kingswinford. I arrive at the house as I have been for the past several months and spend roughly an hour of my time helping a pupil achieve higher academic performance -- a good deed some might say. And like any other Saturday, I park my vehicle in the same exact location outside the family home -- shown in the photo above (exhibit A).
I ask at this time that you note how I am far off the road away from any markings, alongside the wall adjacent to the drive of the property, and most importantly, not otherwise obstructing the vision or footpath of any pedestrian on foot, pushing a pram, or in a wheelchair.
Folks...I park here...EVERY WEEK. Every week my car takes on this stance and remains as such until I finish my work and return home. Every week I come, I park, I leave and never ONCE have I returned to my car to find upon the windscreen a yellow and black Penalty Charge Notice as I did today.
However, today it appears as though Civil Enforcement Officer number 24 had reasonable cause to believe that at 14:44 a contravention had occurred and that a penalty charge of £70 is now payable. What was my violation, you may ask?
'Parked in a restricted street during prescribed hours.'
HUH?! WHAAAA?! Seriously...I mean, we all speak ENGLISH here, right?! That doesn't even make ANY sense!! There are absolutely NO signs posted anywhere along the ENTIRE STREET to indicate any parking restrictions, not to mention I was parking outside a residence on their pavement and no where IN the street.
I would like to personally ask Civil Enforcement Officer 24 in what way I caused any infraction in this case...because you all KNOW that this fiesty American most definitely phoned her husband immediately to come meet her at the property to bring her 14.2 megapixel Kodak so she could obtain photographic evidence by which to challenge the validity of this ticket. The property owner and guardian of the student I tutor even took a drive up and down the road to see if there was a sign somewhere that was overlooked and questioned that 'surely if I had a PCN, so should the neighbours who are parked the same way on the other side of their drive.' He assured me that any guests who have ever come to their home in the time they have lived there have ALWAYS parked where I was parked and not once has anyone ever received a PCN.
Hmm, sounds like a certain Civil Enforcement Officer has a quota to meet this month and went a bit Nazi on his/her little ticket machine. That, or someone surely wee'd in their Weetabix this morning...because it doesn't make logical sense otherwise.
Needless to say, a letter is being drafted at present to challenge this bogus charge and Dudley Council are going to have a pint-sized, pregnant and disgruntled American to deal with first thing on Monday morning.