I’m from London originally: I’ve only lived in Rye three years, but my youngest was born here and my other child attends the local school; My wife and I have turned an unloved former holiday let into a home, and our entire life is now centred upon Rye. Whilst certain of its denizens still appear not to recognise my wife or I as we walk daily to and from our home near The Citadel, I was struck by the fame my car has achieved – the front page of The Rye Observer no less.
In the Boxing Day edition my car’s pictured with its back tire touching the white boundary, so I concede it’s not perfectly positioned, and the paper is justified in using it to illustrate the controversy over local parking.
However, though the camera rarely lies, it often fails to reveal the whole context. Firstly, our family car is parked close to our home. Secondly, my wife is usually dealing with two very young children, arms full of shopping, prams and other encumbrances. I wonder where the sharp-eyed local photographer recommends she park? Moreover, I wonder, with two screaming kids and a queue of traffic behind, if he’d be any more successful in slotting a large family car into the unforgiving bays?
The above example is indicative of the broader issues around the parking debate, and a reminder that community harmony is best served by looking at the issue dispassionately and objectively. As someone whose family lives in The Citadel 365 days a year, pays his council tax, has renovated one of the larger buildings, and spends untold thousands with local shops, businesses and tradesmen, it’s pretty gauling to face curtain-twitching and anonymous letters because we occasionally park our car in the vicinity of our own home.
At least my car’s new found celebrity has given me the opportunity to present the other side of the story. And to the anonymous letter-writers and photographic vigilantes, I do urge you to get to know the driver as well as the car – you might learn something about his circumstances.