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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008
    The two free men of Fazakerley
    Highlight of the day: a joyous exchange with a man in a hospital car park. The usual queue to get into the main car park, people waiting for others to exit, man on the barriers in soaking wet rain allowing them through slowly, one in, one out. As ever, I won't wait. There must be other places to park. I'm on the hospital's offenders list for once slotting my vehicle into a half-empty consultants-only (pah!) parking area and consequently receiving a letter telling me 'do that again and you're fined'. I swerve around the queue's back vehicle and chug along past A&E and maternity to an overspill car park a quarter mile away from where I want to be.

    You have to slide into a right-hand slip lane and wait at barriers to get into this overspill car park. Two vehicles are in line here as I approach. They're static, but from the road it's clear that there are at least two free spaces visible. As I pull up behind the second car that driver's impatience defeats him and he drives away. This is where the joyous exchange took place. At the moment I noticed that the car park entrance had been blocked by two orange traffic cones, the man in the first car jumped out and moved them out of the way. Hooray for another blow against sanctioned officiousness!

    The man-who-moved-the-cones looked over his shoulder at me as he stooped to get back into his car. Sensing that he may be feeling a little guilty at his small act of disobedience, perhaps nervous that I might be critical of what he'd done or maybe spoiling for a nark, I decide to make it very clear to him what I feel about his actions. Broad grin; thumbs up. Which he returns. We direct our vehicles, in turn, under the obeisant electronic barrier, slot them neatly into those available spaces, and emerge into the rain as the two free men of Fazakerley.