I’m sharing this so you can learn from my £35 parking fine lesson

Zella loves the smell of a real Christmas tree
Zella loves the smell of a real Christmas tree

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When six or seven people get a parking ticket in the same street at the same time, you have to wonder whether the signage is clear enough.

Now I’m usually the first to hold my hands up, dip into my purse and pay a parking fine.

I’ve had several. There was the one in a car park in Havant shortly after camera-activated parking tickets arrived.

Then there was Gosport Halfords (a mere minute or so late) and Morrisons – and now I’ve fallen foul of the ticketers of Portsmouth.

But I honestly don’t think this one was all my fault. Because it wasn’t just me, there was a whole row of us with glowing yellow envelopes.

My previous fines were for me being late. This one? It was down to confusion.

My appeal was turned down, but I feel the need to share the experience with you so that you can learn from my rather bitter £35 lesson.

Don’t just read the top line on a ticket machine. That’s the mistake I made.

Because it said something like ‘charges apply between 8am and 5pm’. To me, that means there are no parking charges after 5pm.

It’s a reasonable assumption, based on previous experience of car parks which charge during the day and not in the evening.

The council sent me a very polite and lengthy letter about how clear it all is, including photographic evidence of the signs. Thanks, that really cheered me up.

The picture I was sent was of a different sign on the wall and contained the line ‘no waiting 5pm – 8am ’.

What does that mean? I wasn’t waiting, I was parking, and parking charges don’t apply at those times.

Do you see my dilemma? There were a number of us in the same situation. Were we all there trying to steal parking? I think not.

The council tells me it can’t put up clearer signs due to some legislation or other, but I wonder if an FoI request about streets with the most parking tickets would reveal another reason?

I suspect that Exchange Road, behind the New Theatre Royal, is quite a cash cow.


There’s an annual dilemma in my house about when to put up the Christmas tree.

Too soon and we’ll be left with twigs for Christmas Day, too late and it’s hardly worth the expense (and boy, some trees cost a fortune).

But then, if you shop late, you can often get an ace bargain.

How simple it would be if we opted for a fake one? But out of everything about Christmas, the smell of the tree is my absolute favourite bit.

We also have to factor in the dog, who is reliving his puppy years at the moment with a particular fascination with balls of the tennis variety.

Luckily none of our baubles are squeaky, but they are all the right shape.

Dilemma, dilemma.


Apparently an ex-graduate from Oxford University is looking to sue the institution because he didn’t receive a first for his degree.

He says that’s because half of the teachers were on a sabbatical year in the unit in which he did poorly.

But why didn’t he do something at the time? It’s an interesting dilemma.

His whole argument is that his earning potential was stunted.

That’s probably what happened to me in my A levels – surely I would have been better off if I’d received three As?

But that was perhaps the fault of my O levels. Surely I would have been better off if I’d received 8 As?

Isn’t it better to focus on what you have, when you have it?