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Mid-life parking

In honour of its almost-eighth birthday, my car was today given a celebratory MOT at a garage neatly tucked away behind a bijou Tudor-style parade of shops in Ham.

The benefits of this garage are: they have a motorcycle business (this apparently makes them far superior to others which might be closer to home); they answer their phone and had a convenient date free; they could also deal with some obscure problem with boat-trailer wheels; they have previously got our car through its MOT with minimal fuss; and – possibly more important than all the above, to me at least – they are situated near to a very pleasant riverside walk where I can achieve my daily exercise and podcast-listening targets whilst waiting for them to do whatever it takes to satisfy the regulations.

I duly dragged myself out of bed earlier than is customary, put on some presentable clothing, waited for my headache to disappear after meds and coffee, and set off, ensuring first that the aforementioned trailer wheels were in the back.

On arrival, I remembered one of the downsides of this particular garage. Although the Tudor-style parade of shops sports several excellent cafés and shops, by being so neatly tucked out of sight, the MOT centre suffers a lack of easy parking space.

This was quite bothersome, especially as it was still only 9am. Hmm.

Well, they would be moving it into the workshop shortly wouldn’t they?

So I just drove vaguely into an area near the office, stopped the engine and got out.

I tried to drop the keys off with a taciturn* young man in the office who turned out to be from the motorcycle department and who simply marched off wordlessly into the workshop to find the MOT man. I trotted after him, swerving neatly around the protruding front end of my car. The much chattier and twinklier MOT man took my keys and I waved elegantly (what, at 9am? probably not) towards my car, stating that I had ‘left it over there’. And added ‘Can’t really say parked, can I?’ – laughing as I appreciated more fully the jaunty angle and complete lack of actual parkedness on display.

And I genuinely didn’t care. This is definitely a benefit of my advancing years. I couldn’t care less if they thought I was ditsy or incompetent. From experience, I know I could have executed the most incredible manoeuvre onto the proverbial postage stamp and they would have neither noticed nor cared. Quite right. As far as I am aware, untidy parking is not a valid reason to fail an MOT either.

I have, in fact, spent years parking neatly to disprove the myth about lady drivers, struggling with stupid-sized vehicles in stupid-but-smaller-sized par cark spaces – and in fact I am excellent at what I believe is known as ‘parallel parking’ (ie beside the kerb, which is where my car has always had to live, outside my house, hence I’ve had lots of practice). But it makes no difference – it will always be the one time I get it wrong, or when someone else has left the car straddling two spaces and I go to pick it up, that people will laugh at me. Actually I don’t suppose anyone really did laugh at me, other than my own parents and brother, but they laughed at me for most things anyway.

So, it’s good that I don’t care any more. I can be as brazen about it as I like, especially – not wishing to be too stereotypically judgey – with my still-too-blonde hair.

Anyhow, proving my point, the car passed. Hurrah!

And I noticed that they had very carefully parked my car to await my return, conveniently pointing outwards the way I needed to drive it and absolutely perfectly parallel to the car beside it.

Point made.

Still don’t care.

*taciturn. Possibly the ponciest word I’ve come up with in a while.

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