We fell in love with our house the day we saw it. Was it the lovely, bright floor-to-ceiling window in the living room? Well, that is nice, yes. Was it perhaps the neat and airy bedrooms, with one spare for mamma to rattle about in? Yes, that’s nice, too. The wonderful people who live next door? Certainly, a plus.
We fell head over heels with the house because we realised we could park in front of it.
Might sound like a small thing, but no-one who lives in this city will argue with that.
Funnily enough, ease of parking is never mentioned in Location, Location, Location, but that’s because those two are forever hunting houses for those swanky couples. You know, he’s a chartered money weigher in an investment bank and Tamsin owns a bijou business sourcing raw wool from flocks of heritage sheep on the Yorkshire Dales.
They’re on a tight budget of £759,000 which they got from a “modest inheritance”. The smallest house viewed is the size of medium-sized palace, fit for a dictator on the run. Parking is not an issue because the drive is big enough to hide a Panzer division in the shrubbery.
Yes, I have been watching a lot of daytime television recently.
Anyway, sorry, I digress. Prior to our triumphant return to deepest Leith, we lived in the Abbeyhill colonies, on one of those tiny streets that predate the internal combustion engine.
Parking was a challenge, and to make matters even more exciting, the Yorkshire Husband had fallen in love with a massive Rover 820. She was the size of an aircraft carrier. Her family nickname was HMS Indefatigable.
Mind you, she was a right old bank robber’s car, because under that stately bonnet was an engine that munched motorway miles and one touch on the acceleration gave your face the sort of workout Apollo astronauts got on take-off. I loved that car.
But, as you can imagine, parking that big old baby up in the narrow colonies streets was a test for the nerves and reflexes.
By the time we left, I could have headlined the Tattoo with a display of high-speed reversing followed by precision parallel parking in spaces so tight not even a cat’s tail could get through that bumper to bumper action.
In the ten years or so that we lived up there, we got one parking ticket, challenged and won. We never, ever double parked and we never parked on the pavement. If I couldn’t park outside the house, well, I sighed and parked a minute or so’s walk away, and that happened more often than not, and nearly always when it was chucking it down with rain.
Owning, driving and parking a car in the heart of a city demands consideration. Space can be tight and tempers can be short.
It’s hard enough to get around without these dozy parkers
I’ve been doing a lot of hirpling around Leith lately and I wonder what’s been happening to parking brains of some people.
Time and time again I find myself manoeuvring around dumped vans, and wriggling round muckle great 4x4s now really off-road, because they’re on the pavement.
Wheelchair users, mums with buggies and elderly folks with sticks are forced to sidle past or worse, find themselves on busy roads.
So, I suppose it’s only to be expected that someone would think that parking on a freshly planted flower bed is A-ok. At least it’s out of the way of those pesky people who use the pavement.
For the record, mate, it is not.
Pavement parking thuggery seems to be on the increase, along with double parking.
Saturday evening, about 8.00-ish. People are going out and buses are busy. Taxis should be whizzing about like molecules in the CERN reactor. Nope. On North Bridge, the traffic is tailed back to the Tron Kirk.
This road is a bit of a nightmare now, I said to the taxi driver, what with the St James. Ah no, said he. There is it is, pointing. A small car parked at the side of the Balmoral. The car, said the taxi driver, had been there for hours. As a result, the Bridge had lost an entire lane. Buses turning left on to Princes Street were forced to edge their way around and lost their chances at the traffic lights.
People came zooming up the inside lane, unaware that it was blocked, and tried to move out with the usual argy-bargy that causes. And all because one person had inconsiderately ditched their vehicle.
Given that there are more temporary traffic lights in this city than the regular ones, and that roadworks are so the rage, please, can we all have little more respect for our fellow city dwellers and park with a little more consideration, especially if we have two working legs? Look on it as gentle exercise. Your GP will thank you.