The following is a tale of entitlement. Today I realised that I’ve been taking something for granted. It’s something that I appreciated the day we moved in, and I just forgot all of the pain that came before. That thing is my driveway. I hope people in heavily-populated areas without designated parking see this and decide to move based on this, because I didn’t have a clue how much this impacted my life until I started to look back on how it used to be.
Let’s take a trip, home by home.
Parent’s Home, Rushcliffe (Nottingham) – At my parent’s house, things were calm. We lived in a terraced house in a quiet estate, we had a little section with four houses, each with their own parking space next to each, plus room for three/four to squeeze. This is what I was used to. This was normal. This is where I’ve come from.
First London Home, Peckham – Switch up and we’re now in a South London estate. Way out from Central, so parking restrictions aren’t crazy, but it’s a different situation. There’s a single car park for about 25 cars (to an estate with about 40 homes). First come, first served. You get a space outside or you park in another estate. Things were good here. There was never a problem no matter what time of time I got home; there was always at least one space. Smooth.
Second London Home, Sydenham – We the moved into a newbuild with an underground carpark. It was the greatest from a parking viewpoint. Every flat had one space each and there was nearly a car’s worth of buffer between each. Our space was on the end of a row, right next to the door to the stairs and lift. We knew the car was always fine. We knew that we wouldn’t have to deal with frost in the winter. Perfect.
For the first three years, everything was fine. Then someone invented a new space next to mine. This slight inconvenience – the fact I couldn’t easily get in and out for my evenings of eBay collections and Freecycle runs – had me spun.
The fella got a polite note from me. The next day I discovered that he took it off and left the car there. So he got another. I was walking to the car when I saw him taking the second note off, and the don refused to move the car. The next day he woke up to a flat tyre (probably caused by the other person he was parked next to). This foolish man didn’t want smoke and moved the car in the end. Besides this incident, we had it perfect, but we had our first glimpse of what was to follow.
Third London Home, Bromley – The final leg of the London tour was meant to be as smooth as the rest. We lived in a small block – five properties with two commercial ones – and six parking off-street spaces. What can go wrong? The lettings agent can lie. It turned out that the space this Jack Godfrey from Acorn said was ours wasn’t. Nightmares followed.
We lived on a mini high street (of possibly six shops). In front of the building was on-street parking for about five cars, and it was the same on the other side. Unfortunately, one of those shops was a Sainsburys Local. Need I say more? It just wasn’t what we needed at the time.
Eventually we struck a deal to share one of the off-street spaces on evenings and weekends with one of the businesses (thanks to that first baby of ours). It meant we had somewhat got control over our parking and didn’t always have to stress about watching who was going in and out of Sainsburys for 10 minutes before we could park.
That wasn’t even the worst thing about the parking situation there though – the wickedest thing was that to get to the off-street parking, there was a drop-curb and gated entranceway. Guess how many people would leave there car right in the middle of the drop curb and block us either going in and coming out of out of our home.
It was too much. Road rage is one thing but residential car parking is territorial and I now realise it used to send me somewhere different. I still don’t regret honking excessively, cussing anyone or removing a single one of the tyre valves during that period. I hope you all learned a lesson.
Now, back in Rushcliffe – We have a driveaway of our own, big enough to fit two cars, and it’s all ours. If we emptied the garage, we’d have enough. There’s even a space on the road just for us two. It’s heaven. I’m in a better place now and I swear I’m not going through any of that again.