If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 26 May 2011


Our local Tesco has a motorcycles-only parking bay. It's only the size of about one-and-a-half cars, and it's in the furthest corner of the car park, but the gesture is a welcome one. I turned up there today to get some provisions, and what do I see?

There were plenty of empty car spaces, some much closer to the store entrance. From the placing of the car, and the number of parking bruises on all four corners of the bodywork, I think we are dealing with a Special Needs Driver. Perhaps one should not mock the afflicted. But I am keeping this picture in the phone for the next time someone tells me off for 'wasting' a whole car space with a single motorbike.

So, owner of Chevrolet Kalos, registration CT55RPZ, I am watching you. Next time you park there, you may well be surrounded, on your exit from the store, by half a dozen bikes and some big hairy riders.

Who will politely offer to help you load the shopping into the boot. You won't want to refuse.


  1. I'm always a bit suspicious of people who leave their vehicles with the wiper blades part/all the way across the screen. How long does it take to switch them off first, and allow them to park, before turning the engine off??

    They will be the same numpties who drive along for days with rear fog lights blazing, or a completely flat tyre rumbling along the road.

    We all bitch about excessive government control, but people like your Kalos driver really do put forward a strong case for regular re-tests...

  2. What a bell end. What surprises me about biffs like these is why they can't see the obvious when the get out of the car; they've parked like a twat.
    On another note, not ever having been a biker myself, I've often wondered about mororcycle spaces at supermarkets. Can you get a lot of shopping on a bike?

    (Blogger won't let me log in)

  3. @microdave - worse than that, when they come to re-start, and it's no longer raining, the wipers will drag across the screen until they notice something is wrong and turn them off. Wear on the blades, scratches on the screen, but hey, it's only a car, nothing important. I don't think it's to do with the standard of driving as such, more that these days no-one seems to be taught mechanical sympathy. Cars are so reliable and no-user-serviceable-parts-inside that no-one seems to understand how they work any more, or care even if they do.

    @Bucko- Anna parked a few days ago in a designated space and came back to the car to find another car parked on the white line between them, leaving about six inches of gap on Anna's driver's side. She had to wait until the driver came back and pointed out the careless parking. She then had a tirade of abuse from the other driver, who seemed to think it was Anna's fault. Anna pointed out that she was parked there first, and the other lady drove off in a cloud of swearwords.

    I was in the car today, as it happens, because I had a week's worth to get. On the XT (top box only) I can get a good-sized shopping bag in, and with the Bonnie with panniers I can double that. So for the 'big' shop I use the car, but for a mid-week re-stock I always take the bike. Easier to park ... er ...

  4. A polite notice on an A4-sized self-adhesive (Avery Label type) sheet asking the driver to refrain from parking in an allocated space usually prevents recurrance.

    It should be stuck in the driver's eye-line on the windscreen.

    The key is to then thoroughly wet it.

    They may scrape off the scraggily bits of paper; removing the adhesive takes a little longer.

    I just wish enforcers would do that to the able-bodied c@nts who park in Disabled Bays.

  5. I like the idea of the notice for the windscreen. I reckon the printer-label type of paper wouldn't be adhesive enough (although wetting it is a sound move). There are some adhesives which need a hair-dryer and solvent to remove. I will investigate those.

    I totally agree with your remarks regarding disabled bays. Anna is a blue badge holder (has been many years) and to see an able-bodied young man leap from his company BMW having parked in one just to save a 100m walk sets the blood boiling. The best notice I heard of for this situation reads:


    Utter selfish bastards.

  6. Richard - Typical. Some folk just think they can do what they want and to hell with everyone else.

    I think I got all that about XTs and Paninis and stuff.

    I like the idea of a sticky label, however it would be a bit inconvenient carrying the printer around. Would a can of yellow spray paint not do the trick just as well?


  7. It's a matter of whether it's criminal damage or not. A sticky label is a sticky label, but paint is a little more permanent. When I was a cycle commuter, some of the guys I knew used to carry a squeezy bottle full of raspberry syrup and spray it on the windscreens of cars that endangered them. It's completely safe and will wash off, but it takes a while ... I never tried that, however. I always made sure I was far enough away for it not to matter. You can go pretty quick in heavy traffic on a pushbike if you need to. My retailation was always getting on my way and leaving drivers in the middle of their jams.

  8. To test how "easy" it is to scrape the wet Avery-Type label off a surface, try it when you've got a spare 1/2 hour. [Stick it on any glass or painted surface. That adhesive sticks like sh1t-to-a-blanket.]

    Then, consider the inconvenience suffered by a driver, away from home, with no suitable tools to hand.

    A few years ago the house I lived in had clearly-indicated 'allocated parking'. People tried it on "sorry mate, didn't see the notice"; they never tried it a second time.

  9. Parking like that is an indicator of a psychopathic personality (they aren't all cereal killers). There must be a graphic available on the interweb of a similar design to the blue badge but specifically for the phallo-cranial community. Or a lozenge label with "selfish c@nt onboard" to place on the back window. Be careful about sticking a label on, we had to be very careful (blutak) when posting notices of eviction on trespassing travellers' caravan windows. There's always a shyster lawyer to look after the baddies on a contingency fee.

  10. "The wipers will drag across the screen until they notice something is wrong and turn them off"

    I guessed you would pick up on that! But I've even sat behind people with the wipers working on a completely dry day.... The driving test should include some basic mechanical knowledge, but adding that would lead to howls of protest.

    Does anybody remember the regular winter occurrence of Vauxhall alternator belts screaming on the first day after the clocks go back? It's not so prevalent now, but left me speechless at how people could drive around with that sort of noise emanating from their cars...

  11. Selfish c@nt - a cockney perhaps?.

    Thanks for the link to the Criminal Damage page - very enlightening. Looks like Blutak is the only safe way of getting the message across. In that case, better to use Araldite and then leg it. No compromise!

    ("Phallo-cranial community" - very good!)

  12. @microdave - I have sat behind him/her too. And the multitudes who have the rear wiper going on intermittent when it isn't raining and hasn't rained for a week. Actually, that kind of thing is quite useful - if you see them doing it, don't get in the passenger seat. They can't manage a vehicle.

    Come to think of it, you don't hear those screechy belts much these days. It's better materials or better design, because it sure as hell ain't better drivers.

  13. @Bucko: I had a similar blogger log on problem starting on Tuesday. Try: start - control panel - internet options - privacy tab - click advanced button - click override - click radio buttons for accept 1st and 3rd party cookies - ok. I only do this for blogs like Richard's where the comment box doesn't pop up as a new box and change it back afterwards for safety's sake. There must be a simpler solution.

  14. That's the way I have it set, as I prefer it that way when I visit other blogs. If you guys find it easier with a separate comment window, I can do that.

  15. endemoniada_8827 May 2011 at 01:39

    Well, I can sign in to the Blogger dashboard, but it won't carry my profile on to the site. Doesn't appear to be a cookie issue, so it'll probably clear up as mysteriously as it arrived at some point.

    The missus does most of the shopping these days, but between marriages I could easily get a full week's worth of supplies for me and the cats on the bike. Just a combination of panniers, rucksack and a cargo net were enough, although I did use proper ratchet straps when I had to haul 50kgs of cat litter as well as the food. It's just one of those things you get used to doing - as long as the load can be secured and something like balanced, you can pretty much carry anything you need on a bike (...although medium to large items of furniture are best avoided).

    I don't know if there's a legal limit other than weight (lower of 150kg or 2/3 the bike weight, I believe) as long as it's not dangerously insecure. Guess there probably must be a limit to the sticky-outness you can get away with - maybe it's a metre as per motorcycle trailers?

    I'm still marvelling at the quality parking, though. It must hold some sort of record for combining lack of spatial awareness with lack of consideration. C@nt, indeed.

  16. I wasn't aware of any restrictions, other than the sense of humour of the policeman following you in the videocar ready to put you on Youtube. I hadn't hear of the 150kg limit, but you could be right.

    I haven't tried cat litter, but I did manage 120 litres of general-purpose compost once, on the Pan. Once centralised (and strapped down) it was fine.

  17. People who park in the wrong bays really, really get to me. I fly from Stansted 2 or three times a month and I noticed how many flash BMWs, Audis, Porches etc used the disabled parking bays nearest the terminal - and forgot their disabled badges!

    Trying to get someone at Stansted to take it seriously proved a big struggle until I decided to transform myself into a 'campaigner for disabled parking' and spoke to Stansted's press office 'before I speak to the papers' about the airports disabled bay policies. Ten minutes later little man in high viz came and slapped penalty notices on all the cars in blue badge bays without a blue badge. Yes!

  18. endemoniada_8827 May 2011 at 18:38

    @Brian - Can't quite see my local Sussex constabulary approving wholeheartedly of that...!

    @Richard - Did you get the comedy double-take thing from the cashier when they clock the bike gear and then what you're actually buying? That's something which never fails to amuse me.

  19. Update here.

    I wrote a longer response last night at work, but the PC there is set up in a strange way (it won't allow copy/paste within Blogger unless you are working in pure html, for example) and it swallowed my reply whole.

    Brian, thanks for the Youtube link. Very impressive! Makes my compost and weekly shop look amateurish.

    Derf, thank you for your concern and your activism. And doing that kind of thing is a lot of fun, too, don't deny it.

    Endo, I do indeed get the double-take at times. My favourite cashier is better then that, though. The first time she noticed the bike gear, she asked how I was getting it all home, and we had a bit of banter. The next time, it was 'lovely day to be out on the bike!', and later on 'don't you mind all the rain?' It's kind of flattering to be remembered and treated like a human being. I'll have to invite her for a go on the back some time. I'll rephrase that: a pillion ride.


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