Next time you park, spare a thought for the residents

Zella was hoping for a few fallen trees
Zella was hoping for a few fallen trees
Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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I live next to a school. Before I did, I used to think that anyone who chose to live next to a school must have surely thought about what that means and what it entails.

For the first few years it was fine, when my children went to the school and I was back and forth on foot because I didn’t need to go anywhere in my car.

To the person on whose drive you are ever so slightly encroaching, it’s 10 minutes of annoyance, two or three times a day, every day, every week.

But now, less bound by school times, I do sometimes need to get my car out during drop-off or pick-up.

Anyone who lives in a similar situation will understand the pain of having to negotiate other people’s parking.

Cars that lip just a little over your driveway so that the angle you have to back out is excruciating (think Mike Myers turning his buggy around in Austin Powers).

Back and forward for a fraction of a millimetre gain. And that’s while making sure there are no toddlers about to disappear under the wheels.

Then there are those who choose to walk their children in the road, because obviously it’s a school and everyone knows there are cars on a school road.

This goes on all the time, day after day. And mostly I ignore it, because mostly I don’t need to get my car out.

But when I do, the looks of consternation from parents standing in the road, with young children, dogs, pushchairs and other parents, make me feel as if I am the one in the wrong.

So this is a plea. When you drop off or park in a residential area, whether for school, Scouts, football, or whatever, spare a thought for the people who live there.

Around shops, doctors’ surgeries, the vets, work – wherever.

To you it might only be a quick stop, so what’s the issue? To the person on whose drive you are ever so slightly encroaching, it’s 10 minutes of annoyance, two or three times a day, every day, every week.

I calculated once that I’m captive in my own property for two-and-a-half hours a week.

Factor that against how many school weeks there are and it turns out I am imprisoned for a mighty long time.

Next time you park, or congregate, or have a pop at a resident who might look less than pleased with your presence, remember that they too have lives they need to lead.

Ever wanted to write a play? This is the course for you

How fantastic. The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth has asked me to run a play-writing course.

Excuse the shameless promotion, but I’m very excited about being given this opportunity.

Not only will I be working in a great theatre (and who wouldn’t be excited by that?), I will also be teaching and writing (two great passions of mine).

If you’ve ever wanted to write a play, but didn’t know where to start, or need someone to crack the whip, this could be the course for you.

It’s Saturday mornings from 10am-noon, starting on February 27.

Book your place today as numbers are limited.

The New Theatre Royal website has all the details and the box office people are very friendly too.

I feel guilty saying it, but I wanted trees to be felled

I feel rather guilty saying this, but I woke up on Monday morning after a night of wild winds and was disappointed.

I’ve had my eye on a few neighbourhood trees which have got larger and larger and could, in my opinion, do with a good uprooting (or at least shedding a strategic branch or two).

You know what it’s like, when you realise your light is being cut down, or a view that you enjoy is being interrupted.

And although I know the benefits that trees bring and how beautiful they are, sometimes I think clearing up after one or two of them being reduced or felled would be a whole lot cheaper than clearing up all the roof tiles.

Which came down by the bucketload, creating a rather fine view of my roofing felt.