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June 2006 - Waiting Restriction

What on earth are those idiots, that we laughingly call a government, rambling on about a bloomin' drought for?  Do you think they are secretly syphoning off most of the country's water for some evil purpose that they're not telling us about?

I reckon they've quietly built a pipeline all the way under the Atlantic so they can pump the stuff across, and flog it off cheap to that Reverend George Dublya and all those crooked cronies of his.

And, if its pontifications about the impending drought are to be believed, the Department for the Elimination of Farming and Rural Affairs appears to be about as knowledgeable about the amount of water sitting around in our reservoirs as the Home Office is about the immigration status of some of their cleaners.

Water shortage?  What (expletive deleted) water shortage, I'm tempted to ask, as I return from not managing to watch another day of rained-off cricket to find my water butt has overflowed across the back lawn for the fifteenth time this month.

After that meteorological disaster which was called May, I sincerely hope that flamin' June manages to live up to its name.  I'd like just a day or two off to dry out, if that's not too much to ask.

Talking of a day or two off, I see I've got just about that long between Test Matches to hastily put fingers to keyboard to enthral you all once again with yet more of that witty prose which is Nick Harvey's Comment.

Now, having already taken one vicious side-swipe at our duly elected leaders in the preamble, I hate to start this month by boring you all to tears with quotes from a tedious government publication, but I fear that that might be necessary in order to fully explain what comes later.

When it comes to the colour of lines which may be painted upon our highways, that home of all useless information, The Highway Code, is pretty specific about what shades are, and are not, allowed to be used.

After dragging on at great length about the many and various types of "white" line which might be observed across, along the side, or down the middle of your average carriageway, the publication then comes up with the two classics, "Waiting restrictions indicated by yellow lines apply to the carriageway, pavement and verge" and "Red lines are used on some roads instead of yellow lines".

I hadn't actually realised the bit about yellow lines applying to the verge until I went off to do this particular piece of in-depth research for this month's edition.

So, then, all these cars that are parked on the grass, just behind the yellow lines, with signs on them saying "Nice little runner, only 3,000, phone 07700 900654 for details" are actually breaking the law.

Oh, by the way, just for the benefit of all you Lynne Truss fans out there, it's actually the cars that have got the signs on them, not the yellow lines.  I know the sentence is wrongly constructed, or possibly, even, constructed wrongly, but I don't care, it looks good, so I'll not be changing it!

So, why, Nick Harvey is forced to enquire, is dear old PC Plod still busying himself rushing around to give me an ASBO for my actions with a wayward hosepipe, when he ought to be having all these ad-hoc car sales sites closed down and their stock towed away to be put in the local crusher?

Anyway, surprise, surprise, I digress.  How unusual!  I was intending to discuss with you, this month, the hue of the continuous mark or band made on a road surface.  Well, that's what the Concise Oxford reckons I'm on about, when I look it up, anyway.

You see, I was proceeding about my business along the highway the other day, probably heading in the direction of a cricket match which was about to be rained-off, when I noticed that some contractors, no doubt acting on behalf of the local authority, had been repainting the lines along the side of said highway, indicating the locations at which one is, and is not, permitted to park.

Compared to the normal variety of yellow line, I observed that these brand new ones looked totally insipid.  I can best describe them as a sort-of lime green shade.  Given the total lack of sunshine of late, I would even proffer the opinion that they might accurately be described as "ready-faded" lines.

As I proceeded further on my way, through this ancient borough, which had perhaps better remain nameless for the moment, for fear of the shame I might bring down upon it, I came to the location of what must have been the change of paint batch at the time of application.

As suddenly as a foreign prisoner is released back into the community to re-offend, the line at the side of the road changed from the previous, pale lime green, to a new, deep dark orange colour.

I can only assume that it was at this point that the contractors must have realised their previous colouration error, thought they'd better get the next batch a more reasonable shade, but then rather over-corrected with the replacement paint recipe.

The lime green colour looks pretty awful on its own.  The orange colour looks pretty awful on its own.  The point at which the change occurs, right in the middle of a continuous stretch of road, half way between two junctions, looks totally stupid.

I'd love to bring you a picture of this terrible mess, but sadly, I don't think you're allowed to park at that particular point on the road to get your camera out.  Probably a very wise move on the part of the authorities, fearing even more shame being poured down upon them, if I sold the photograph to every tabloid in the country.

Mind you, here we might just have a very interesting legal technicality, possibly worth a bit of further examination under the jolly old Acme microscope.

There are all these stories that you hear about yellow lines not being completely legal if the little bar at the end of them hasn't been painted correctly.  I've never been quite certain whether that's a true story or just one of those urban myths, so have never got round to pushing my luck by trying out the theory for myself.

What I am certain about is the exact wording of those quotes I gave you earlier from The Highway Code.  After all, they must be right, I got them from a web site.  They definitely talk about yellow lines and red lines being used for the waiting restrictions.  Nowhere is the shade of yellow precisely defined, neither is there any mention, anywhere, of lime green or orange being allowed to be used for the lines.

I suppose, if you pressed them, they might well argue that orange is simply a mixture of some of the red and some of the yellow, so it's possibly best not to park on that particular bit of the road, but I reckon that nice Mr Rumpole could have a fine time in a courtroom defending me on the charge of parking on a double lime green line.

I'm trying to decide, however, whether I'm brave enough to try out this theory and abandon the replacement racer, carefully positioned above the insipid lime green line, to the likes of PC Plod and Mr Warden.

Of course, I won't have enough time to do it for most of this summer.  I've far too many Test Matches to keep an eye on till the autumn arrives.  That's on the assumption that we have the odd dry day's play in the middle of this drought, of course.

Would anyone else out there like to try the theory out in place of me?  I could let you know the exact grid reference for the lines in Calne; in complete confidence, of course.  Send your offers, as usual, on the back of a ten pound note, to the normal address.

Hey, another little aside before I go.  I thought I'd leave this one to the end, rather than confusing the plot earlier on.  Did you know that if you've got a hosepipe ban in force in your area, because Mr Bliar's sold all your local water to the Yanks, then you're not even allowed to use your own hosepipe to transfer water from your own water butt on the flat roof of your rear extension, where you collect your own water off your own main roof, down into your own back garden, to water your own vegetables?

So much for eating five portions a day, then!

If you do use your hosepipe, I expect you're liable to end up with one of those ASBO things, which, incidentally, Bill Gates' nice little spell checker didn't know anything about until I told it about them, further back up the page.  Just occasionally, Mr Gates' little spell checker does show it's got good taste, you know!

Okay, it's time I wasn't here any more, methinks.  I need to get out into the garden and take the hair drier to the lawn before I can mow it.

More of this old rubbish next month, on July 1st to be precise; that's provided I've dried out enough by then.  I think it's Nottingham then, for the next lot of rained-off cricket.  Right, I'm off, where's me bucket?

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