Tidbits - the written word

Lamenting Lambert

Perusing my old files, I came across this little verse that I had been inspired to write and send to the Council Parking Officer, back in 1998. Our local car park had changed its policy over the Christmas period and was now offering a free half hour of parking, with every minute over that being chargeable.

Having not seen the small print saying one had to take a ticket regardless of whether paying or not, I found that my five minute stop attracted a fine of £30.00. Despite the fact that the car park attendant saw me pull up and read the sign from a distance, he did not think to tell me that, under the new rules, I should take a ticket. Feeling I had been unjustly charged, I wrote to the Parking Officer – Mr Lambert – he refused to reconsider my plea. When I sent the cheque for the amount due, I enclosed a short verse to prick his conscience.

I did not receive a reply…

…Below is the verse that accompanied my hard earned money.


To The Parking Officer

Dear Mr Lambert.

Lamenting Lambert…. 

(copyright: Deborah J. Barker 31.12.97)

Please accept this small donation
For a fine it cannot be
I committed no offence,
Though you find that hard to see.

“Free Half Hour Parking”
I read with some surprise.
A pleasant one indeed,
But a cruel trick in disguise.

Those words were written large,
Not so those underneath.
So to other hapless souls,
This warning I bequeath…

If you think you don’t need glasses,
There’s an eye test sure to show –
In Basingwell Street car park
The small print deals a blow.

Beware the sly attendant
Who sees you leave your car
And thinks not to shout a warning,
But observes you from afar…

Having watched you leave the vehicle,
Sure that parking’s free,
He’ll stick a notice on it
And sidle off with glee.

For you see, there is a catch here,
Free parking there is, true,
But if you don’t take a ticket,
He’ll slap a fine on you.

Returning within  minutes,
I saw the wretched paper,
Astounded, checked the sign again
What a bloomin’ caper!

One machine was broken,
T’other not much better,
And when I asked the chap in charge,
He said to write a letter.

You really have amazed me,
Your Christmas Spirit’s fled.
Scrooge was quite a charmer
Compared to what you’ve said.

I was confident in writing,
That, common sense prevailing,
You’d see this great injustice
But my sense of humour’s failing…

Please don’t waste my money,
Tell me how you’ll use it….
Five children here could do with it
So please, do not abuse it.

May the New Year bring you joy,
May parking fraudsters pay
And may those of us who do no wrong,
Not suffer ‘long the way!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow www.theglowstudio.com.

One Comment

  • Katie Gates

    This is wonderful! I love the idea of confronting the powers-that-be with some well-written verse! (Wouldn’t it be nice if parking signs were written in rhyme? Even if they were, though, the actual rule would undoubtedly be implied in some sort of indecipherable code.)

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