A hat, a notebook and a pencil…..

What is it about a person in a hat with a notebook and a pencil that seems to make us shake in our shoes?

I remember town parks and gardens in England always had a superintendent with staff who seemed to delight in telling children to ‘keep off the grass’ or point to signs that said ‘no ball games’. One of them seemed to have it in for some of my young friends – asking them their names and ‘where do you live’ and writing it all down in a little note book.  It was usually me who was the one charged with keeping an eye out for the ‘parky’ (park keeper)which was fine because kicking a soccer ball around certainly wasn’t my idea of fun.  I’d have my nose in a book hoping I’d catch a glimpse of ‘that man’ before he caught a glimpse of us!

We also were very wary of police – in those days they also had a hat, a notebook and a pencil.  The thought of what your parents would do to you if one of them knocked on your front door and then consulted their notebook was enough to turn me and any of my friends off misbehaving for life.

All those feelings came back yesterday when I drove to Camberwell (a near the city suburb about 35kms from my place)   I’d been using the train for the past few Tuesdays but the weather has changed to much cooler…..even wet some days….and after getting ‘a bit on the wet side’ walking back to the station last week I decided it was time to check out the drive / park close by option for future wet days.

Don’t believe everything they tell you about heavy traffic in the city (Melbourne) – the heaviest I encountered that morning was right on my doorstep!  Canterbury Road from here all the way to Elgar Road was bumper to bumber, cars trucks buses bikes (both push and motor) you name it, I’m sure all the residents out in the east were going west.  Oh what a difference it was after I turned left onto Elgar Road, and made my way down to Riversdale Road – almost as if everyone had stayed in bed that morning.  Then of course there were the trams to contend with along Riversdale Road….nothing for it but accept it’s ‘trundle along behind and hope to overtake somewhere.’ ….but not while the tram is stopped…..which wouldn’t have been too bad if it was before 9am……but after that parking is allowed in the clearway zone next to the left kerb so it’s down to one (and a bit) lanes 😟

Anyway I had a fair idea of where I was going to park, just had to hope there was a vacant spot!  Free parking is very limited in most places these days and if there’s one thing I don’t enjoy it’s paying to park.  How do you think I get to enjoy my overseas trips – by not paying for parking lol. I’m about to turn into the car park when I saw a figure walking out of the first lane –

Mmm it’s the parking inspector.

One of those people similar to the ones I remarked on earlier – one who walks around in a hat with a notebook and pencil – only these days they have a little machine and a dreaded piece of chalk in their hands!!

(Not this actual one though)

Bugger – two vacant spots and he’s standing right there!

If I drive in I’m sure he’ll turn round and mark my tyres…..if I go round the block whats the chance they’ll stll be there.  Surprise Surprise – he started to talk to someone and moved off into the next lane.   Hooray, panic over, I needed about three so that meant I had the two hours before he returned to check marked tyres and a bit more from then.  Wondering if you’re going to get a parking ticket is not the best way to spend a morning so there were smiles all round when I returned and there was nothing tucked under my wiper blade 😊

Isn’t it ridiculous for a grown woman to be wary of someone who is just doing their job.  Like the kids in the park or skylarking in the street I’m not trying to cheat the system, I just don’t want to be on the receiving end of their perceived ‘wrath’ if I fall foul of one of them.

18 Replies to “A hat, a notebook and a pencil…..”

    1. No wonder all the shoppers at my local supermarket run in terror when they see me arrive, notebook and pen in hand…hat on head! Now I know why! But I’m only looking at my shopping list! 😉


  1. Not heard of chalk marking tyres, new one on me. I think we were brought up to abide by rules and to fear anyone with a smidge of authority.


    1. Cathy ‘we’ have lots of free council run car parks but there is often a time limit set say 2hrs or 3hrs and to stop people parking there all day and to give everyone a fair go parking inspectors walk their beat marking the tyre with chalk and then issuing a fine if the cars there when they return in say 2hrs time.


  2. The days of trams delaying traffic has passed. Now, it more likely that traffic congestion and the sheer number of cars on the road delay trams. Trams often full of many people, well perhaps not the 70 along Riversdale Road. I detest Camberwell Junction, even though it is where my father grew up. The traffic and congestion is beyond the pale and Burke Road is a nightmare. Go back to catching the train.


  3. We have the same dread here, trying to return to the car before the meter expires and we get a ticket. It’s expensive enough to park without a ticket.


  4. In San Jose we have ‘guatchimen’…you pay them, and if they see a parking inspector about they will get you a short time ticket for your windscreen. They are well worth the money you pay them…
    Otherwise it is the private car parks which generally fill up early in the morning with people working in the city.
    I remember the park keepers of my youth…those spiked sticks and the military style caps…


    1. Oh I forgot about the spiked stick supposedly for picking up litter but also used for menacing/threatening little people. And yes the hats I remember had a peak like the bus driver had on his hat lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We were checking pockets and bags for change for the meter so we could see the movie last Saturday. Then we read the fine print on the meter: No charge on Saturday! WooHoo!


  6. Happily, we do not have parking meters, in our city. Had them in the past, and they were not good for business.

    As you say, shopping with a deadline, is not fun.

    But, as someone else said, some places can be filled early, with workers, leaving no place for shoppers.



  7. Fortunately we don’t have parking meters here in town. When I read “a hat, a notebook, and a pencil” I thought you were wandering about and writing. It made me happy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. many parking meters here in Auckland – but many of them do not accept coins – you pay with your card or similar (not that I know, have no car), and some sort of ticket is issued or maybe something else…

    and yep there are the “chalk” men roaming about – but also a new breed of “clampers” who are even more nasty (apparently) – tow trucks in other zones like no parking in the morning/arvo to do with rush hour traffic usually 7-10am and 4-6pm – dedicated bus lanes, also lanes if 2 or more people in vehicle ->on some motorways enter ramps.

    a lot of people use “park n ride” but often the parking lot has less capacity..and if you aren’t early enough – you’ve looking for somewhere else to park, not always good bet…


    1. I’ve heard about the clampers – tv programs galore showing their antics. The 2 or more in a car freeway lane is closer to the city here but the bus lanes are all over.
      Traffic can be a problem for us all Cathy whatever mode of transport you use.
      We are encouraged to use public transport but like you say try to get a car park close to the train station is a problem and not everyone hya bus running along the end of their street – to get them to the station to catch the train into the city 😊


  9. We have ‘chalk markers’ here as well. I guess the idea is, they come back and if we haven’t moved on, we’ll be caught! Or there’ll be a ticket or some such punishment. And yes, I appreciated that they are only doing their job!


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: