Welcome to Marian Beaman with an archive post for the #Travel themed Posts from Your Archives.. a turbulent trip to London and a bit of a do with a Copper. When travelling in other countries some things get lost in translation.. even when you are speaking the same language.
Moments of Extreme Emotion: A Lunatic in London by Marian Beaman
I knew we were in trouble when the rotary path took us around Buckingham Palace and not directly to the Comfort Inn, Hyde Park, where we were aiming to roost for our stay. Never mind that the steering wheel on our dark blue Vauxhall was set to the right, opposite the American style. Or that Cliff drove on the left side of the road in order to turn right. Or that I as volunteer navigator was gripping the fine print of a touring map of London, my head bobbing up and down trying to match street signs with landmarks, occasionally screaming.
Our kids were through college, we had celebrated Joel’s wedding just days earlier, so as empty nesters off to London we flew in early August. We were not exactly neophytes to travel out of the country. After all, we’d been to Montreal, Banff, and Jasper in Canada. Why England should be a snap. They speak English there too, and I love the British accent.
We got some rest that evening and were up the next morning eager to explore London. The concierge at the hotel recommended a nice place to get some lunch. We finally found a car park (aka parking lot) close to our hotel before having lunch at the Swan Pub.
Now we had to figure out whether there was a parking time limit on the spot we had chosen. Okay, it looked like we were in a 2-hour time limit parking zone, plenty of time. So we got a sticker for one hour from the kiosk and affixed it to the windshield as directed. Mind you, we paid in British pounds sterling (clinky-clanky coins – not paper) so we heard the payment registering in the kiosk like in a slot machine.
Lunch was taking longer than we expected, so I leaped over to the car park to buy another windshield sticker to extend our parking time. Of course, we wouldn’t want to get ticketed on our first full day in London.
On our return, we were relieved to see that there was no parking violation displayed on the windshield. But we looked again, and “Oh, no,” we groaned, “there IS a suspicious piece of paper hidden under one of the windshield wipers!” I sprung into action and yelled to Cliff, “This must have just happened. I’m going to track down the policeman who gave us the ticket!”
Galloping down the sidewalk with citation in hand, I spied a London bobby who looked as though he could be on our parking patrol.
“Sir, (trying to hold my emotions in check) you gave us this parking violation ticket, but we have paid for two hours of parking, sufficient for the time used.” I urged him to check our windshield and he complied, walking back to the car with me.
With careful scrutiny, he replied, “I realize, Ma’m, that you paid the full amount, but the total parking time has to be reflected on one sticker, not two, even though the amount you paid was sufficient.”
“Well, that makes no sense at all,” I retorted. “We have paid the City of Westminster/London the full amount, why should it matter how many stickers are displayed on the car?”
Unruffled, the gentle bobby restated his case, emphasizing once again the city’s policy.
Now I have shifted into a higher gear of ire. “Well, I am shocked that you do not recognize that you have received payment in full. This is not right. I want to speak to your supervisor,” I insisted.
Reasonable, the patrolman made an effort to accommodate me. “I can call him, but you’ll have to wait. He is not available right now.”
“Fine! I’ll wait for as long as it takes,” I retorted, now more determined than ever. With this assurance, Cliff and I drove back to the street by our hotel, awaiting justice.
Soon I saw two bobbies both in black jackets, official hats, and shiny badges heading toward me.
By now, husband Cliff, usually the confrontational one, had ambled slowly toward our room in the hotel. Oh, so I see he’s not getting involved in this brouhaha. In fact, the next time I saw my husband was out of the corner of my eye as he was filming the spectacle from the second floor of our hotel while I was shouting at the bobby and his supervisor on the street below.
Determined, I stated my case again to both, and I was going to make sure that Mr. Bobby Supervisor saw my point of view. “I want you to rescind this ticket. The City has gotten more than enough pounds for the time our car was parked. It is unjust to give us this citation when we have done nothing wrong.”
And so it went on:
They: But you . . .
Me: But we . . .
At one point I was aware of being out of control but felt powerless to stop myself. So, like a crazy woman, I dug myself in deeper.
Apparently the officers had met deranged travelers before and to be conciliatory, they concluded that “By the time your case comes up in court, you will be gone.” Were they going to shoot us?
Moral of the story: When jet lag and culture shock collide, watch out for an explosion!
Can you relate to this experience? Do you have a tale of your own to tell? Add your story to my confessional . . .
©Marian Beaman 2015
My thanks to Marian for sharing this experience.. I have often got myself into a pickle with driving and living abroad. Please share your own adventures in the comments and I know Marian would love your feedback. Thanks Sally
About Marian Beaman
At one point as a teacher at Lancaster Mennonite School, I was addressed as Sister Longenecker. Then I turned fancy and became Beaman after marrying a blue-eyed, blonde-haired German boy from Washington State. His original artwork often appears on my pages. I wrote about our unlikely meeting here.
My love of books, along with a connection to students and colleagues, has made my years in education pure joy. I have spent more than 40 years teaching, finishing my career with 21 years at Florida State College in Jacksonville.
Writing dovetails with reading and teaching. My academic writing includes a multi-colored array of topics, ranging from “A Thousand Acres: Not King Lear in a Cornfield” for the American Popular Culture Association and “It’s Not Easy Being Green, Wal-Mart and Me,” recounting my neighborhood struggle to keep large oaks and tall pines from biting the dust.
Former Mennonite with a Writing Habit
A dream came true when I presented and published “God: Myth and Mystery from the Romantics through the Twentieth Century: Informing Global Religious Conflict” in magical Oxford, England. In 2011 Bedford St. Martin’s textbooks published “Facilitating Cooperative Learning,” the mantra of my most effective teaching techniques.
Now in my Third Act, I’ve embraced creative non-fiction with “Gutsy In Ukraine,” published in Sonia Marsh’s My Gutsy Story Anthology (2014), Volume 2. In September 2016, my story “Making Love Edible: Lessons from Fanny Martin Longenecker” was published in The Mennonite magazine.
Since beginning my blog in 2013, I’ve uncovered nostalgic photos, letters, and artifacts from my two Longenecker homes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many of which are featured here on my blog.
I publish my blog Plain and Fancy Girl on Wednesdays. Whether you are a commenter or reader only, I appreciate your noticing. Scroll down and subscribe to my weekly blog.
My work in progress is tentatively titled Tomato Girl, a memoir that reveals family secrets. I don’t think the title quite fits my story. You can contact me to make a better suggestion or offer a comment.
Connect to Marian
Facebook: https://facebook.com/marianbeaman (All my weekly blogposts are published publicly on Facebook.)
Rifflebooks: https://www.rifflebooks.com/profiles/136032 (I have published 111 book reviews on this site.)
If you would like to participate in the new archive series then here are the details.
The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog since you began blogging up to October 2017 and you simply send the link to those blogs to email@example.com
You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.
So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 600 posts from 150 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.
The deal is that you also help promote the post by sharing on your social media and responding to the comments.
Previous participants are more than welcome
The theme for the new series is travel.
- Places and countries you have visited,
- Different cultures,
- Exotic food you have discovered when travelling,
- Modes of transport – cars, bikes, horses, RVs
- Camping Trips,
- Road trips,
- On the road for work,
- Train Journeys,
- Travel themed music,
- Planes and airports,
- Ships and other marine vessels,
- Humorous adventures etc.
Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Sally