The sight of traffic
wardens taking photographs of illegally parked
vehicles heartens me. I imagine them spending
long, enjoyable evenings archiving the pictures.
Perhaps, in old age, they might review these
albums and relive the joy of each ticket. It is
good for people to take pride in their work.
I was delighted, therefore,
when a warden asked me to photograph him with his
most recent prize. I obliged and returned his
I didnt know
you chaps liked to be photographed with the cars,
I dont usually
bother, he replied. Its just
this is a 1927 Bentley. Ive been searching
for one for months. Now Ive only got one
more type of car to get.
You target specific
cars? I looked puzzled.
Oh yes. Heres
He pulled a thick volume
from his bag and flicked through the pages. There
listed, were hundreds of vehicle types - with a
neat tick against each.
You must have booked
some many times?' I ventured.
explained, once Ive bagged one, I dont
give a ticket to another of that type. What would
be the point?
To enforce parking
regulations? I pondered stupidly.
He glanced at me
quizzically for a moment, then continued with his
former enthusiasm. Twenty years Ive
been working on this collection, he
announced, and when I get that last car, Ill
What is your last
car? I enquired.
A 1967 Morris Oxford,
coincidence. I drive a 1967 Morris Oxford.
I pointed towards my vehicle at the end of the
His face lit up like that
of a child might on Christmas morning. Can
I see it? he said.
you with it, if you like, I offered as we
Dont take this
the wrong way, he said, but is it
Its on a meter.
I consulted my watch. Its got another
Its the traffic
wardens code of honour, he explained,
we can only tick-off a vehicle if weve
booked it for an infringement of traffic
He stopped at my car and
furtively glanced up and down the road. He pulled
his wallet from his pocket, withdrew four ten-pound
notes and pressed them into my palm. I can
give an on-the-spot fine of thirty pounds, if you
get my drift?
No problem, I
smiled. But youve given me too much.
Please keep the
change, he said. Youve been
awfully good about this. They taught us in
Traffic Warden College that all motorists were
evil bastards who should burn in Hell. I guess
that may have been a little harsh.
He glanced at his watch and
his manner transformed. Excuse me sir,
he said officiously, your car is illegally
parked. I must impose an on-the-spot fine of
thirty pounds. He right eye closed to give
a long, conspiratorial wink.
I returned three of his
notes. He wrote his final ticket, hands shaking
and with tears of joy dripping from his cheeks.
Thank you so much,
he said sincerely as he handed me the paper. He
opened his book and placed a tick in the final
space. Then he removed his peaked cap and uniform
jacket, thrust them into a nearby wheelie-bin and
skipped joyously away.