Saturday, November 01, 2003

Possums and Parking Inspectors

After our sad news this am, we packed the children in the car to go and visit my sister-in-law Beth and her partner Paul (we had planned this a while back) The eldest was going for a sleepover with her auntie. They live in Elwood, quite close to the beach which would have been nice if the weather was a bit more clement, but as it was bitterly cold winds were lashing and thunder-clouds threatening. We went for a walk on the beach anyway.
When we first arrived there, Beth & Paul took us into the spare room to show us a little cardboard box with a towel inside...huddled in the towel was a baby possum that they rescued from it's mother's pouch. The poor mum had fallen out of the tree near their stairwell and was quite deceased. Having extracted the young animal, they rang a number for injured wildlife and were given another number for a person relatively local to them who cares for native wildlife in distress. The nearest person lived in Hawthorn (not that relatively local really...) After we left Beth drove with number 1 child to take the Possum there. Her new company car, which has all the latest bells and whistles broke down on the way there. As she says, it almost gives you a cardiac arrest with all the alarms and such that go off if you try and start it without your seat-belt on, but it did not have any alarm for the park-brake being left off, so if left in neutral, could roll away (not that that happened mind you, just an example of strange design faults). The car also had an electronic fuel gauge that happened to be faulty..which was the cause of the car coming to a halt in this case. The sun must have come out for a rare brief stint, as it was getting hot in the car for the two travellers (3 if you count the possum) so they got out to stretch their legs...they hadn't walked 3 metres (approx...... 9 feet) before another little car zoomed up and a parking inspector jumped out and proceeded to give Beth's car a ticket..."umm...that's my car" she said to the inspector "it's broken down" "you have to be standing by the car if it's broken down" the parking inspector said..."Ah...I'm right here..." Beth said to the woman...."you have to be standing by the car if it's broken down" she repeated pedantically. Beth explained that she wanted to stretch her and our little one's legs..."Have you tried to start it?" asked the parking inspector..."well, yes...it broke down, it won't start" "try it again" Beth got in and tried to start it thinking "I bet the bloody thing's going to start this time...my luck!" but it didn't start. So the parking inspector lightened up and "let them off" also radioing the other parking inspectors in the area to let them know this breakdown was legit...apparently they drive around covering every street every 10 minutes or so! (such is the power of revenue raising from parking violations...ever wonder why there never seems to be enough spots to park in? It's in the local councils fiscal interests.) Better to ride a bike or catch public transport if you can...if it's there. Beth finally got through to the roadside service people on her mobile phone and got moving again....So, the baby possum was safely delivered to the possum-person and Auntie Beth decided to take Number 1 to Luna Park
[Listening to: Naval Aviation in Art? - Frank Zappa - Strictly Genteel: A Classical Introduction to Frank Zappa (02:42)]

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