« Previous | Main | Next »

Who's right? Paddy? Or me? There's only one way to find out. FIGHT!

Eddie Mair | 15:33 UK time, Thursday, 1 January 2009

But since we're civilised people we're going to argue the toss right here on the Blog.

Paddy O' Connell got a parking ticket and he's NOT happy.

He writes here about his experience...and I reply underneath that. Feel free to add YOUR comment when you've read them both.


"In the middle of December, I got a parking ticket, which I want to dispute. Here in the office, colleagues disagree, telling me to pay up and shut up. Please give your advice on what you'd do a/. As the person who received the ticket and b/. As the person who received a letter from me asking for clemency.

Here are the facts, m'lud:

In December, I rode my motorbike to a London Borough for a BH interview at a primary school. (I wasn't looking for a classroom place.) The street was empty, and I paid for one hour at a pay and display machine. As I left, a teacher remarked if I had time I should take a look at the unusual building next door. When I got there, I found it had a café, and a volunteer who had a few minutes to spare offered to show me around.

I got back to my bike, finding that I'd been ticketed five minutes after the expiration of my ticket. This is my personal responsibility, and not the BBC. But I want to write a letter saying this.

Dear Head of Parking Services:

I was lucky to attend a Primary School in your borough for work. I was meeting teachers and children in your Borough on a pre-arranged meeting as part of my professional duties. On leaving, I was urged to take a look at the unusual church next door. On the spur of the moment I went for a quick look round. By luck a volunteer said although it was closed, he had ten minutes and could give me a quick tour. I also had a cup of coffee. When I emerged, I'd been given a parking ticket.

I don't dispute the vehicle is registered to me, nor that I had over-run the stay. But the ticket was issued in a totally empty street, five minutes after my time had expired.

Will you waive the fine, on the grounds that whilst curiosity killed the cat, it shouldn't to kill the spontaneous urge to see the sights of your Borough. You could also allow greater discretion in the empty streets to allow more time before issuing penalty notices.

Yours faithfully."


"If I was the person at the Council I would tell Paddy to get lost. In another Borough. Would it have killed Paddy to feed the meter or move his bike? I'm sure the borough is full of wonderful places but its money from parking meters which will help pay for them. It's annoying, of course, but should the good people of the borough be denied the income that's rightfully there's theirs (!) just because Paddy was being nice and is a borderline national treasure?

I didn't even try to dispute a ticket when I'd accidentally double parked having taken three heavily pregnant women to hospital after I'd spotted them in labour as I was delivering meals on wheels. There's a time and a place, Paddy. I'm SURE the public will side with me."


  • 1. At 4:04pm on 01 Jan 2009, Charlie wrote:

    Paddy, Amanda's right Cough-up - that is, if you're not doing so already..!

    You have no defence, let alone a valid one.

    Old sayings survive because they're more-or-less true. "Curiosity killed the cat". True. And it sure got your tail nailed this time!

    As Ben Franklin(?) once said, time is money and as you now know, that's also the truth!

    "Discretion" "Discretion..?!" Have you lost it Paddy?

    Lawyers go forth and breed at the slightest opportunity..! Never, mention that word (Discretion) again. Please.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 4:04pm on 01 Jan 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    Well I did manage to get off a car park ticket recently when I though I had bought a ticket for the correct length of time (70p) but didn't notice that the 20p piece hadn't registered so I'd only paid 50p. I got a ticket but managed to write my way out of it, with my best High School Education letter. I did, however think that I'd paid the correct amount for the time I left it.

    Paddy's situation is a bit different though. I wonder if he realised while he was going round the church that his parking time had expired? If so then his conscience shouldn't let him try and get off the fine!

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 4:14pm on 01 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:


    (a) Chalk it up to experience. Disputing it freezes it at the lower rate until the council tells you to pay up, then you have the argument with someone who is unaware that this has gone for review and tries to sting you for the higher fine anyway whilst trying to maintain that it is "people like you" that are entirely responsible for the congestion in the city. I'm not at all bitter that Portsmouth City Council did this to me after issuing a ticket timed incorrectly which you can only dispute if you have an independent witness apparently...

    (b) "Who is this guy? Is he for real? Why is he even allowed to ride a motorbike if he can't use a watch or a parking meter correctly? It's people like him that are responsible for congestion in the city! Has he got any witnesses that can testify under oath that they clearly remember the road being entirely empty who weren't involved in this whole adventure? No - thought not."

    Does this help?

    I think I'm with Eddie on this one.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 4:16pm on 01 Jan 2009, Sid wrote:

    Pay up, move on ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 4:24pm on 01 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Paddy - If you do choose to send the letter (a) find out the name of the Head Of Parking Services - this shows determination, (b) revise the first sentence of the final paragraph and add a ? at the end - they're bound to check spelling and grammar first and this will count against you and (c) remove the final sentence of the final paragraph - trying to make a helpful suggestion might be perceived as trying to tell them how to do their job. This really doesn't go down well.

    The only person I know who has successfully appealed a ticket was parked partially over the end of a double yellow line outside their student digs. They emptied the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag over the part of the line in question and tried to claim that it was obscured by the Council's failure to maintain the roads properly and that this amounted to entrapment. They were successful. Two days later the yellow lines were repainted in their road and they received a personal letter from the Council advising them of the parking restrictions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 4:26pm on 01 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    Paddy has no defence. But the Council is wrong. Our local authority does not charge for parking a two-wheeler. Life in London for the driver must be torture.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 4:27pm on 01 Jan 2009, Gillianian wrote:

    Paddy, be nice - send the fine inside a Happy New Year card, and then make a resolution not to be so easily-led in 2009.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 4:28pm on 01 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:

    "As I left, a teacher remarked if I had time..."

    But Paddy, you didn't.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 4:34pm on 01 Jan 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Paddy, I'm afraid Eddie's right on this one. (I know, it's a rare occurrence!)

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 4:47pm on 01 Jan 2009, paddybh wrote:

    Thanks for the tips. I say that all I'm arguing for is a kinder, weekend world, whereas Eddie is locked in a PM weekday business-type mode. I can see that I am going to have to pay this anyway, but what's wrong with an official who writes saying " Today is your lucky day. I'm wiping the fine, even though I don't have to!"

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 4:55pm on 01 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:

    "...but what's wrong with an official who writes saying " Today is your lucky day. I'm wiping the fine, even though I don't have to!""

    The "Magic Mushrooms" you're taking Paddy is what's wrong. For your sake if not me, your audience. Change them.

    Please. Pretty Please..?

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 4:58pm on 01 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Paddy, Yoiu are wrong, you cheap barsteward. Pay up and shut up. Happy new year.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 5:00pm on 01 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Paddy, Look at it this way. You went into a church and got a parking ticket for doing so. Proof that there is no God. Write a thesis about it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 5:13pm on 01 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Eddie, I've never had a parking ticket and I'm dlooby annoyed about it. See if you can get my council to pay more attention to where I park.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 5:16pm on 01 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    C 1, Didn't Franklin also say, "No matter how you shake and dance, the last few drops go down your pants."?

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 5:50pm on 01 Jan 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    A-ha! The Log in facility seems to be fixed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 5:53pm on 01 Jan 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    PS Only THREE pregnant women? Call that an excuse?

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 6:16pm on 01 Jan 2009, justfloating wrote:

    The crime of being distracted. A wholly human trait. Sadly there are some that have compulsive disorders that could never manage to lose themselves in the moment and will never get a parking ticket.

    It is a sign of someone that engages fully with the people around them at the time. Pay it, and stand tall that you do not conform to the councils idea of "normal" person.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 8:06pm on 01 Jan 2009, Gillianian wrote:

    A front-page news item in today's local evening paper tells me that some streets are ''earning'' some of our local councils up to £1000 per week in parking fines. The cash is invested in the road network, apparently.
    So Paddy could try asking the London Borough to dedicate the filling-in of a particular pothole to him....a sort of sponsorship deal ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 8:19pm on 01 Jan 2009, paddybh wrote:

    Sorry to keep going on about this. As I left work tonight, I got the message from the postings here that I should pay up. What did I then see on my bike, but ANOTHER ticket, on a public holiday too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 8:27pm on 01 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:


    You've been "moderated"!

    Ha, so, it's not only me..!

    What-on-Earth could you have said..?

    Will "we" ever know..?

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 8:56pm on 01 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:


    ...commit the crime, do the time, or, pay the fine..!

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 9:10pm on 01 Jan 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Eddie is CORRECT and for Paddy time to be a mature student of history...and pay the fine.....

    ~Dennis Junior~

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 10:25pm on 01 Jan 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Yeah, bank holidays don't count when it comes to motoring. If you drive just across the end of a bus lane on a bank holiday monday you still get the fine just as if there were any buses using it. Or any other cars around, come to that.

    That may not apply to motorbikes, but it certainly did to a car. :-(

    You just have to pay up and put up with it. Be grateful it doesn't put points on your licence as well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 10:29pm on 01 Jan 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Oh coo, we now get preview of our comments -- but a space after a full stop may get taken away. That is seriously strange! The post above, for instance, had 'it full stop space Or', and it has come out with no space. Waaah! I wasn't being illiterate, honest...

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 10:45pm on 01 Jan 2009, nikki noodle wrote:

    Paddy (10 and 20), I am with you!!!!

    Not because there is a single shred of justification that would sway a jury comprised of even 12 two-wheeling BH presenters and their 'Long Handled Spoon'-winning listeners; nor because you have now got one more ticket than I got; nor because you charmed your way into ten minutes in a 'closed' church; nor (finally) because I seem to always end up on the side without a leg to stand on.

    This is more than a issue of Right v Wrong.

    This cuts to the very core of What It Means To Be A Civilised Nation - the right to "sometimes have fines waived indiscriminately by a low-ranking beaurocrat simply because someone writes in and asks nicely!!!"

    Now that would make a snappy placard.

    Nikki Noodle, (Mr).

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 11:00pm on 01 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Paddy (20) - Now that is unkind.

    Unfortunately you're probably dealing with an authority which has targets to meet and a rule book to follow and is incapable of applying discretion. I do have some sympathy with you on that one.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 11:32pm on 01 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Paddy: Just tell the Powers that Be at Whatever Borough(s) that you know people who'll fix it for you if They pursue you for payment ...... ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 11:34pm on 01 Jan 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    Paddy - For the price of two parking fines, you could buy a secondhand bicycle.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 11:35pm on 01 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh, and Paddy - we're all looking forward to hearing the trailer for BH tomorrow and the note of disdain that you'll doubtless have in your voice as you address Eddie .....

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 11:41pm on 01 Jan 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    Oh no not another one, that's a bit unfortunate... This calls for desperate measures - tell them Jonathan Ross borrowed it

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 11:52pm on 01 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    More seriously, and for what it's worth, if you're really unhappy about these tickets, Paddy, and feel that there are extenuating circumstances, you should perhaps appeal, if only because you'll be hating yourself if you don't.

    My SO appealed a ticket earlier this year under different circumstances and the authority didn't offer any evidence, so the case was thrown out. Would the kind person who showed you around the school be prepared to confirm the time you returned to your bike? Five minutes is, I'd say, a bit draconian - though I suppose they'll only say 'Rule is Rules, guv!'

    Anyway, at least we all now know that the Beeb isn't paying you guys enough if parking tickets make you this angry.

    P.S. You may remember a little incident, Paddy, when I became unwittingly involved in an incident involving you and the BBC library, which makes me ask - Do you make a habit of being late, I wonder? ;o) [I am pulling your leg in the friendliest of ways, btw!]

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 00:04am on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    PPS to my posts above:

    Is it too late to nominate Eddie for the iPM Hero Award for his service to pregnant women and Meals on Wheels?

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 00:54am on 02 Jan 2009, jonnie wrote:


    I can believe Eddie said that.

    It's part of all this Scottish stuff we have to endure.

    Compose a nice letter, tell them in a subtle way - the circumstances, - and the job you do at the Beeb!

    Give us feedback when you get the next letter. - oh and mention this thread on the blog!

    We could start up a Facebook (Save Paddy) group? ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 08:17am on 02 Jan 2009, gossipmistress wrote:

    Oh Dear, dropping like flies at our place now - vomiting bug has really taken a hold. We're a bit like the crew of the Black Pearl.....

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 08:34am on 02 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    5. para2 - Kx. confused - who shifted the rubbish before the lines were repainted? Strikes me there's a demarkation issue pending.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 08:43am on 02 Jan 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Paddy: you say you were ticketed "five minutes after the expiration of your ticket" but you don't mention how long after the expiration time you got back to your bike.

    Doesn't matter - I'm so anti bureaucracy that I'm with you. It almost seems that parking meter ticket officials are lying in wait for you, though, having had one ticket it does seem a little lax of you to have incurred another in such a short space of time.

    Eddie: "the income that's rightfully there's" think that should be "theirs" so I'd like to issue you with a spelling fine ticket, the payment of which is to buy Paddy a beer/glass of vino when you are next out.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 09:03am on 02 Jan 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Tee-hee, Lady Sue, it's good to see another pedant joining Val and me (Official Pedants, Spelling and Punctuation Division)

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 09:04am on 02 Jan 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Ahem! Space needed between 'me' and '('.

    Oh, dear, formal warning coming up...

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 09:08am on 02 Jan 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    (38): Frances, I did feel terribly pedantic and know I am lining myself up to be shot down next time I make a typo or spelling mistake, which I inevitably do when I'm tapping away in haste trying to get a point I feel strongly about across in a hurry!

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 10:05am on 02 Jan 2009, annasee wrote:

    I did enjoy reading this thread in the early hours of this morning. Quite made my day. I fear Paddy is in the wrong this time. I mean, I would call "extenuating circumstances" something like tripping and breaking your leg whilst away from your vehicle, and thus being unable to reclaim said vehicle at the appointed time. I don't think just "being a bit vague about the time and getting caught up in a most interesting visit to a nearby building" really counts. And by asking for 'discretion' from the parking attendants about the time they ticket people, are you not encouraging a cavalier attitude to their duties? I mean, they have rules for a reason, surely. Otherwise, you'd only have to offer them a BH honey spoon, and the attendant would say "Sorry Sir, didn't recognise you there. Of course you can park here. All day. Keep that 50p in your pocket. Don't worry about the meter. I'll see to that. You carry on Sir"
    Is that the sort of society you want us to live in, Paddy? Is it? IS IT?

    Oh I see. It is. Forget I spoke then...

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 10:13am on 02 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    TJS (36)

    I couldn't believe the front of them actually doing it, photographing it and sending it in with their letter of appeal. I think it speaks volumes that the council didn't come round and inspect but just waived the fine.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 10:14am on 02 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    How do tickets on motorbikes remain in place on a rainy and blustery day? And how does this dilemma dovetail into the discussion?

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 10:14am on 02 Jan 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    A BH honey spoon? Who could resist? Apart from Eddie, of course.

    Paddy, you do realise that parking towards the end of the month is most dangerous because the rotters have to make sure they fill their quotas, don't you?

    Lady Sue, so do I. Post in haste, repent at leisure. But as a former proof-reader/editor, I know that I can spot other people's mistakes easily, while my own are mysteriously invisible until I hit the 'post' button, at which point they suddenly glare out from the screen at me in all their hideous wrongness ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 10:50am on 02 Jan 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    44: Frances: me too! Me too! Ex editor/proof reader and my own mistakes invisible.

    I note (and am rather chuffed) that Eddie has amended his text.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 10:53am on 02 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    I like the way it said there was a lot of traffic on the blog and we were discussing parking tickets.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 11:00am on 02 Jan 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Giggle, DMcN.

    Lady Sue, well done! True interactivity. Ten Pedant Points for you, I think.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 11:33am on 02 Jan 2009, Gillianian wrote:

    Wow Paddy - that's so generous of you to give another donation to the Council!
    Now as well as the Paddy Pot-hole, you can sponsor a wonky paving slab ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 11:40am on 02 Jan 2009, paddybh wrote:

    Thanks for the moral guidance. It's now emerged that in his entire life, Eddie has only ever received one parking ticket. His view and sid, annassee, qualifiedloon and many more is that I should pay. I can add more detail in that yes Lady_Sue, by the time I returned to the empty street, my ticket had expired by 20 minutes. On the question of conscience, I did know that I'd bought a ticket for one hour. So reading above, I can see that it's hard to persuade the jury that parking on two wheels in a empty street should cost a £40 fine. I'll pay up and shut up, but oh-what's-been-lost-and-oh-what-could-have-been-if-only-things-had been-different.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 11:42am on 02 Jan 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    There once was a parking attendant
    Who issued his tickets dependent
    On the time on the ticket
    So it’s not really cricket
    To plead with his superintendent.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 11:43am on 02 Jan 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    I see paddybh is still being moderated. Post more young man.

    Are you sure the second ticket is not a pm joke one?? I would not put it past the editorial team to do such a thing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 11:45am on 02 Jan 2009, pmmolly wrote:

    Paddy-It's a fair cop!
    Bet you don't do it again.


    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 11:47am on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Paddy: Eddie (as you should know by now) is a Saint.

    However, Sinners (in my humble opinion) are Much More Fun!

    P.S. I think Eddie's currency is quadlattes, so can we translate £40 in their equivalent? Am I guessing it would correlate to around 12 Eddies?

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 11:49am on 02 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    50. The metre is all a-kilter.

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 12:01pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Jester: Whoever heard of a metre wearing a kilt? ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 12:02pm on 02 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    re: Staff holidays, lack of things to talk about. Eddie paid the fine for Paddy in order to get this show on the road.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 12:06pm on 02 Jan 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    52: Molly: he DID do it again...

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 12:14pm on 02 Jan 2009, Charlie wrote:


    "...but oh-what's-been-lost-and-oh-what-could-have-been-if-only-things-had been-different."

    Indeed. For "us" all. For a start, we might still have "American camels, the short-faced bear..." and indeed, the Clovis Culture....

    Paddy, had you, on your fateful day been riding the short-faced bear, I wonder, would you have returned to find a "ticket" jammed in his hind-quarters..?"

    God certainly does move in mysterious ways...


    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 12:14pm on 02 Jan 2009, Blogpolice wrote:

    Were it not for post 49, I would have said to fight it. A 10% time allowance - 6 minutes on 1 hour - would be a reasonable time allowance for error. The time clock and your watch may not be in synchronisation.

    However since you have now admitted the true situation I think a period in clink is required for attempting to pervert the course of justice ....

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 12:20pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Paddy (49), after that admission, I think you should feel grateful it is only forty pounds.

    Incidentally, the occasion when my SO appealed he did so on the basis (true, incidentally!) that he hadn't been issued with a ticket. That the ticket wasn't issued led him inevitably into being presented with the larger fine. A bit hard on a chap when he didn't even know he had a ticket!

    I think the point about quotas may have something to do with this, and I wonder whether there are other instances where parking attendants (I know, they're called something else now) 'invent' tickets to make up their quotas.

    And when you think about it, this is all a case of one person's word against another's. Or it can be. So, is there a case for attendants having to make a photo record of the issue of the ticket?

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 12:24pm on 02 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    I'm not condoning this but a local man paid his fine in an unusual way before Christmas. I did chuckle at the time.


    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 12:29pm on 02 Jan 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    Big Sis - With the new arrangements here, the Parking Attendants (and that that is what they are now called, the Traffic Wardens having been dispensed with) always take a digital photo of the parked car when they issue a ticket.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 12:32pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Loon: That sounds very sensible to me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 12:34pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Karen: I like the way the man confidently says that he has several cars so the attendants will find it hard to track him down - Hasn't he heard of the DVLA?

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 12:35pm on 02 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:


    May I offer some advice?

    Ray Kroc of "McDonald's" fame, wrote what follows and, I understand, Sir Marcus Sieff often referred to these words:

    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

    Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

    Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

    Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

    Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

    So Paddy, what to do now?

    Well, pay-up is my advice, because in the spirit of impartiality, for which this Blog is known(...?!), I've also sent Mr Kroc's advice to the various Head's of Parking Services at all London Boroughs...

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 12:37pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Piper: :))

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 12:57pm on 02 Jan 2009, annasmummy wrote:

    Def with Paddy on this one. What do you lose in sending the letter? Nothing in my view. You might make someone at the council smile before they reject your appeal out of hand.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 1:01pm on 02 Jan 2009, TouchMyMusic wrote:

    As much as i'd like a world in which people didn't hand out parking tickets in an over zealous matter, sadly they do. I've been fined for being a couple of minutes late back to my car too. It's annoying of course, but hey - rules are rules.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 1:03pm on 02 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Big Sis (64) - I loved the bit about the judge sniggering. I'm wondering how much was spent bringing this to court in the name of saving Suffolk's Council Tax payers £15. It got widely reported in the local press - I'm also wondering how many others have sent in cheques written on toilet paper. The department that processes these payments could now be staffed by Andr*x puppies for all we know.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 1:16pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Karen: Yes, I wish I'd been a fly on the courtroom wall ....

    I'm sure that if the parking enforcement offices were manned by Andrex puppies, the world would be a better place ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 1:25pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    And meanwhile, in your neighbouring county, Karen, the following story goes on and on:


    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 1:48pm on 02 Jan 2009, HoldThemToAccount wrote:

    Technically, of course, Eddie is correct.
    However, I am siding with Paddy on this because Eddie's post contains the following
    "but its money from parking meters"
    when I think he really means
    "but it's money from parking meters".

    Surely the Chief Exec of the Borough in question would welcome the publicity resulting from a good-humoured seasonal pardon?

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 1:51pm on 02 Jan 2009, pmmolly wrote:

    Lady Sue (57)

    Did he? Crikey !
    I'd better read it again....
    Good job I'm not the judge!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 1:52pm on 02 Jan 2009, Charlie wrote:


    Mind you, thinking about it; Excuse? Who needs one? Excuses are for Wimps! Obstinacy is what's required and Obstinacy, clearly, has it's own rewards:

    "City Will Slash That Parking Fine, if You Ask
    Published: January 1, 2009
    In a city of markdowns, where bargains are prized, New York officials have been offering sharply reduced fines on parking tickets for almost three years and, remarkably, the deep discounts have gone largely unnoticed.

    Any driver who challenges a parking ticket — in person, in writing or online — is offered a substantial, guaranteed reduction for most fines, under a program the city quietly introduced in 2005."


    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 2:05pm on 02 Jan 2009, beardedian wrote:

    Big Sis (64), I don't think the council are allowed to do a blanket search of the DVLA database to find out which cars are owned by the acquited so that they can target him.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 2:20pm on 02 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Beardedian: I hope you're right, but I'm not entirely convinced ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 2:22pm on 02 Jan 2009, Squirrel wrote:

    Next time, use public transport.. Then you will really have things to complain about! Pay the fine man.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 2:33pm on 02 Jan 2009, Charlie wrote:


    Cynicism is probably warranted:


    "Councils were originally given 24-hour access to the DVLA’s huge database, via a computer link called the Web Enabled Enquiry System (WEES), to make it easier to trace the owners of abandoned cars.

    But a document produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reveals this access has recently been ‘enhanced’ to allow authorised council staff to police environmental crimes.

    The DVLA said WEES was accessed last year by a total of 271,563 by local councils - at the rate of more than 700 checks every day.

    North Cornwall District Council used the system in an attempt to trace somebody suspected of horse fouling. Test Valley Council in Hampshire used it in a graffiti inquiry, while Chorley Council in Cheshire used it to check on the owner of a car leaking petrol in a car park."

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 2:50pm on 02 Jan 2009, 2nd_of_JECLE wrote:

    As much as I dislike parking fines and as much as I think Paddy is a jolly decent chap, I'm afraid I cannot support him for 2 reasons.

    1) He overstayed his ticket.

    2) He used the phrase "a pre-arranged meeting". You journalists use the prefix "pre-" with total disregard for the english language. Use of the phrase "an arranged meeting" is perfectly adequate since the use of a past tense already tells us the arrangement has already occurred.

    While I'm at it, I'll also mention ....


    Never mind the parking fine; he should be fined just for writing "pre-arranged"

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 2:56pm on 02 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    Paddy; Lets' take this back. Action:

    1) establish whether your Council Chief Exec and/or any chief officers park for free.
    2) if this is the case, take your story to the local rag
    3) Cite revolution

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 3:25pm on 02 Jan 2009, Charlie wrote:


    The Council might cite "evolution"

    Anyway, an interesting area and IF paddy's self-employed, I'm sure he's already onto "Other Answers 4)" on the site below. If he's salaried, there's a useful tip (assuming its correct) about parking - not that any of it helps in anyway with Paddy's "Fine"


    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 3:38pm on 02 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    Charlie - shouldn't that be best answer chosen by voter. ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 3:46pm on 02 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    OK so how many times do we reckon Eddie will use the word "fine" during the BH trail tonight? ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 3:50pm on 02 Jan 2009, Eric McNair wrote:

    "A PCN may be issued as soon a pay and display ticket has expired. No ‘grace period’ is required. 1 minute, 11 minutes or 51 minutes - there is no difference."
    I assume this is the legal situation and not simply Richmond Upon Thames' local regulations. However, some local authorities will consider 'a reasonable time' prior to issuing a PCN. Check that the form is filled in correctly in all respects.
    a) appealing stands a reasonable (about two thirds) chance of success
    b) pay up, given your undoubted extreme wealth :)
    c) appeal, win and give the equivalent sum to charity
    NB this does not constitute advice :)) !!

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 3:59pm on 02 Jan 2009, jackhigh2747 wrote:

    Paddy ol' son - Parking tickets are part of our life in this wonderful modern life, just smile,curse quietly and pay up.
    Ain't life wonderful....

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 4:01pm on 02 Jan 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    Karen I reckon 8 fines and 2 chuckles.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 4:14pm on 02 Jan 2009, Happyhomeworker wrote:


    Looks like you're stuck with the fine.

    It is a well known fact that parking attendants pay no attention whatever to the common sense of the situation, so the fact the street was empty makes no difference at all to the "Let's make money" brigade.

    I have avoided a fine in a railway car park by the simple method of ignoring it and hoping they wouldn't bother tracing me - they didn't. I got the ticket for parking in a space reserved for motorcycles in the uncovered section of the car park. All the motorcycles park in car spaces in the covered section (hence why I had to park in the motorcycle section that day) so I felt a certain sense of injustice.

    So will there be a piece on parking tickets on BH on Sunday?

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 4:23pm on 02 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:

    The Council subsequently apologised. BUT, did they drop the fine in recompense..?

    "Parking fine sparks poetic muse"

    A driver was taken aback when he received a poem in reply to his appeal to try to get a parking fine quashed.


    "Park only and wholly in a clearly marked bay.
    That's what the signs in the car park say.
    Note 'no exemption' and just in case, as well.
    They add 'improper use' as a caution. How swell!

    But you parked on the kerb when you might have gone elsewhere,
    And you could have let your people out to taste the Keswick air.

    Thus returning to your car you find it sporting a new flag.
    The parking man has been and you have been had!

    Your family's had a grand time in Cumbria's premier spot.
    The guest house fold were friendly and the food was oh, tip-top.

    So much to do, you must return - those Aussies want a spell,
    Of staying 'mong the lakes and hills, though here they call them fells.

    I hope you'll choose a Lakeland base in Allerdale next year.
    It's great to visit, live and work - that's why I live here.

    But when you stop please park with care, be sure you'll not get caught.
    If parking's hard in Keswick, why not try Maryport."

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 4:47pm on 02 Jan 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    I can't believe how many posts on this thread! Hasn't everyone got work or something better to do than get so deeply involved in this debate? (Says she, deeply involved).

    Paddy and Eddie: you really have hit on something that touches every heart.

    Paddy: why don't you send in a hand drawn picture of a seven-legged spider like 'Your Man' in Australia did in payment of his gas bill? He was an amateur artist and sent in the picture reckoning it to be worth the $275 they were asking. It was on 'Have I Got News For You' a week or so ago. When he received a letter back pointing out the spider only had seven legs he offered to draw an eighth one for no extra charge thereby showing his benevolence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 4:51pm on 02 Jan 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    At least it was just a fine and not a clamp


    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 5:01pm on 02 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:


    Ho, ho, ho,

    Read your remarks too quickly and thought you said:

    "At least it was just a fine and not a spank"

    I was thinking, some people pay good money for both of those.

    Maybe, for some, a good spanking to accompany the fine would soften-the-blow? Now, there's a thought.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 5:21pm on 02 Jan 2009, xspecs wrote:

    To change the subject slightly but still remain topical (hospital car park charges) the other night one of my colleagues was called in to an emergency case at 2.15am. He parked in the deserted car park close to the front entrance, but still in a proper parking bay.

    When he returned to the car he found he had been issued a £25 parking ticket at 3.50am because he had not used the staff car park (much further away).

    Full marks to the parking attendant for being around at that time!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 5:23pm on 02 Jan 2009, Stewart_M wrote:

    Piper This blog does tend to encourage double entendres and misread sentences. Lomg may it continue!

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 5:28pm on 02 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:


    Amen, to that!

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 5:29pm on 02 Jan 2009, Piper wrote:


    Or, should that be: aMen, to that?!

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 5:39pm on 02 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    xspecs(92) The way round that is to leave a note in the windscreen explaining that you're taking your pregnant wife to maternity as she is in labour. This only works if (a) the hospital has a maternity unit and (b) unlike a former colleague of mine you don't try to pull this stroke too often. He got caught after he'd used the same note 4 times in 6 weeks. Security got suspicious and started noting the date, time and registration numbers of people who used this. Apparently most of them were staff who were on call.

    It did bring about a change though in that a restricted number of official permits were issued for use by staff on call. I'd certainly no desire to walk 5 minutes from the staff car park in what is pretty woodland in daylight for a call out at midnight!

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 6:14pm on 02 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    6. That wasn't me on the wireless, it was Mrs Jester. She got a new dress for Christmas and likes showing it off.

    Coming Dear!

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 6:51pm on 02 Jan 2009, chatterisgirl wrote:

    I must agree with Paddy - I came to the "smoke" for a visit to the Records Office and found a street round the corner that had 8 car park spaces. I was the only car parked. I was a bit naive coming from the sticks to see how much I had to pay to buy the second car - I mean - park my car; and I did not have enough change to pay for the three hours that I wanted. I had notes and a credit card, but apparantly it is unreasonable to want to pay for a £10 parking ticket with anything bigger than a £1 coin. I paid for as much as I could with the change that I had; went to the records office for an hour and then when I went for some lunch I had some change to buy the last hour. I put both tickets side by side in my car window to show that I had paid for three hours and no longer. When I returned after being parked for a total of 2 hours 45 minutes I had a fine. When I phoned to ask why, I was told that it was against the rules to "feed the meter." I was annoyed as a) I only had to do this 'cause meters only take coins b) I did not exceeed to total time allowed on "one" ticket and c) I WAS THE ONLY ONE PARKED IN ANY OF THE SPACES

    My heart felt sympathies to Paddy one this one.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 9:23pm on 02 Jan 2009, Bina Cossar wrote:

    I believe anyone has the right to appeal. Traffic Wardens do not always get it right. I had the misfortune of receiving a parking ticket a couple of weeks ago. When I arrive back to my car, I could not believe my eyes. I got into my car and looked at the ticket it read 13:07. I looked at my watch and it was only 12:55. I immediately saw red. Got back to my office and contacted the council. The kind gentleman on the other end of the phone was apologetic and asked me to put my appeal in writing which I did. I enclosed the parking ticket and a cheque for the penalty. I did not believe a positive outcome. However, on my return from my ski holiday last week there was a letter from the Council waiting for me. Not only did they apologise for the mix up they returned my cheque and offered me a parking permit for one of the local car parks. I cannot thank the council enough for using their common sense. More people should challenge parking tickets or other penalties.

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 08:57am on 03 Jan 2009, Charlie wrote:


    If I understood what you said on PM last evening, you've now paid the fine which is the real topic on this Blog.

    However, you were reticent to discuss the matter of the second "Fine"...

    Why would that be I wonder?

    Why not ask Eddie to put the issue on the Blog and, you know "us lot" we'll do all we can to help(?!)...

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 09:57am on 03 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    From what he said, Charlie, I think Paddy is reserving the issue for discussion on BH tomorrow.

    Mind you, for those listeners who don't follow the Blog, the whole discussion last night must have been a bit of a mystery ;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 11:23am on 03 Jan 2009, Charlie wrote:

    Ah, thanks for that Big Sis.

    Unfortunately I "had" to be doing something else whilst Eddie and Paddy were talking so didn't get the full account. Some Bosses are SO unreasonable...

    So, two things to look forward to. The New Dr Who and BH!

    A good weekend is shaping-up...

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 10:31am on 04 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    A whole hour without mentioning his 'troubles'. Paddy is to be congratulated.

    He did, however, mention PM twice, but in different contexts. I wonder if that was the result of a bet with the Lord Mair?

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 3:15pm on 04 Jan 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Paddy, on the grounds that the programme 'starts with its listeners', why not suggest this saga for a story on iPM?

    You might end up being famous on the wireless, even!

    *ducks to avoid torrent of paper balls made up of unpaid fines of one sort or another...*

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 01:17am on 05 Jan 2009, Hugh_Jaeger wrote:

    Paddy O'Connell knew the rules and broke them, but he has now accepted not only his fine but also a healthy dose of righteous disapproval from listeners.
    However, each of London's 33 boroughs has a different set of motorcycle parking rules, which leads many riders into innocent mistakes if they visit an unfamiliar borough. 15 London boroughs allow free motorcycle parking in pay and display bays, 17 allow it in residents' bays, and 19 allow it in residents/pay and display "shared" bays. Two London boroughs allow motorcycles in meter bays without paying. Another expects motorcyclists to pay and display, despite the obvious impracticalities that Thejestersang (43.) rightly points out.
    Few London boroughs have adequate signs explaining their local rules, so unfamiliar visiting motorcyclists have scant chance of knowing unless they always check their destination's rules beforehand and never visit any unfamiliar borough just on the spur of the moment. I once paid several visits to a customer in one borough, paying and displaying for my motorcycle each time, before I saw a parking attendant who told me that motorcycles could park there for free.
    One helpful motorcyclist has collated all 33 London boroughs' rules onto a free website, from which one can download a neat A5-size tabulated summary to print out and carry in a motorcycle jacket pocket:
    Of course it might help if all London boroughs were to harmonise their parking rules, or at least provide enough clear signs to tell motorcyclists their local rules rather than leave unwitting visiting riders to guess or risk getting fleeced.
    I apologise for treating motorcycle parking so seriously and at such length when the rest of you were having such fun! Please continue...

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 09:41am on 05 Jan 2009, Thejestersang wrote:

    Hugh. A comprehensive response indeed, but why is the A5 leaflet not given away to motorcyclists at dealers, mechanics, MOT stations etc? It would be well received I imagine.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 11:37am on 05 Jan 2009, annasee wrote:

    Hugh - that was very informative. What a ridiculous state of affairs. I think iPM should deal with that story. Maybe interview the Mayor to see what he proposes to do to harmonise the situation London-wide.

    Obviously it in no way exonerates Paddy though, since he's admitted he paid for the meter, then overran the time.

    Wondering about the status of his second fine though, since he didn't mention paying it. Are you going to FIGHT them Paddy? Do tell, we're all agog here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 12:36pm on 05 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    H_J 105, I don't ride a motorcycle or live in London. Back to the fun....

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 3:36pm on 05 Jan 2009, littleFluffyFi wrote:

    I'm a bit late to this one I know - sorry been on my hols up to sunny Scotland for Hogmanay...

    Anyway, Paddy, you have my sympathies but I think I have to also side with Eddie on this occasion. However, as I said, you do have my sympathies - parking wardens do seem to literally appear from nowhere the second your meter expires! A few years ago my SO and I pulled over (on single yellow lines) so that I could pop into the estate agents to pick up some property details. I was only in there for about a mintue when someone came in and said that they thought I was getting a ticket so I ran out only to see the warden writing out the ticket right beside the car where my SO was still sitting in the passenger seat, completely oblivious to her presence, reading the paper!! I shouted STOP....but alas too late! Anyway we appealed and the fine was cancelled.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 7:37pm on 05 Jan 2009, Fifi wrote:

    Fi - it must be so nice to live in a world where monotasking is OK!

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 10:30pm on 05 Jan 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I've had two parking fines in my life, and both were cancelled on appeal.

    One was in London. I left a meal early just to get back to my car before the payment in a meter ran out, only to reach it and find a ticket already in place giving a time *ten minutes later than it would run out of money in five minutes' time* and no traffic warden (for such they were in those days) anywhere in sight. I took a photo of the meter and the ticket next to each other, and then rang the council and complained very determinedly. They backed away (probably with their forefingers crossed in front of them) when I started mentioning that I had been at lunch with the editors of Private Eye....

    On the other occasion I got a letter in Bristol about non-payment of a fine in London, giving the number of my car. I looked at it and realised that the time it gave was on a school day and I could produce about thirty witnesses that I had been collecting my four-year-old from the local primary school in Bristol in that car and less than half an hour later than the offence had been committed. I mean, as I told them on the phone, I drive quite fast but that would be ridiculous...

    And those incidents are why I no longer think (if I ever did) that parking attendants never make mistakes. :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 11:23pm on 05 Jan 2009, Hugh_Jaeger wrote:

    Chris (111), I'm not at all sure that the parking attendant in your second story merits any blame.
    In 2001 I moved home and sent the DVLA a change of address for each of my motorcycles. One was an historic machine with a registration mark that happened to spell out the make and model of a modern sports car. The DVLA refused to issue a new V5 for it, saying that I wasn't the registered keeper of that registration mark.
    I had bought the machine a decade earlier and the vendor had given me the correct part of the V5. He said he also had an old log book for same the machine, but he couldn't find it and subsequently he never forwarded it to me. Years later this log book was used to clone my machine and apply for a V5, and the registration mark was then sold as a cherished number. There were thus a 1990's car and a 1960's motorcycle carrying the same registration mark, and neither the Post Office nor the DVLA noticed until I changed my address.
    In the 1980's a friend of mine once caught a cherished number dealer advertising the registration mark of one of his cars for sale without his knowledge. Another time my same friend saw a car drive past him in the opposite direction carrying the same registration mark as one of his cars.
    If a parking warden issued a ticket for your car in London while you and your car were actually in Bristol, I suspect someone else was using your registration mark on their car. A dodgy Londoner with a habit of parking illegally might well seek to evade penalties by cloning the identity of a car they'd seen 120 miles away in Bristol. Unless of course they could get themselves a set of Nigerian diplomatic plates...

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 10:44pm on 06 Jan 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Hugh_Jaeger @ 112, I have come across 'ringer' number-plates before -- in a BBC programme, as it happens, in which a Welsh farmer got a London parking-ticket for a vehicle that was [a] in Wales and [b] in a garage and [c] without an engine on the critical day -- but this wasn't such an occasion. The chap I talked with on the phone went and looked at the photograph (the vehicle had also been partly on a pavement) and came back and told me that it was a white van and that the number was the same as mine except that two of the numbers, an 8 and a 6, were transposed. He did ask me first 'what sort of car do you have?' and then when I said 'a red cavalier estate' he gave me the rest of the information. We got almost friendly, one way and another. :-)

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.