“I’m going to write a strongly-worded letter to the council about this!”

THE Fiance has a bee in his bonnet about bad parking.

The worst offenders, he says, are tourists in Bowness, although the problem is apparently ‘widespread’ throughout the county.

“Nobody in Cumbria can park properly!” he fumes, when we come across another car parked haphazardly across two bays.

“They should pay twice for that! Or get fined! Or get clamped! Or get banned from car parks altogether!”

My suggestion that we park in the space a mere three metres away is not warmly received.

“That’s not the point!” he says. “I’m going to write a strongly-worded letter to the council about this!”

He speaks in exclamation marks when the topic is parking.

He also regularly rolls out the phrase ‘strongly-worded letter’, although as far as I know he’s never written one.

In fairness, I’ve only written a letter of complaint once, when I was pushed past the limitations of British politeness by a waitress who dropped food onto my lap, burnt my leg and ruined a pair of jeans.

Before blowing her bubble gum, telling me she was ‘soz’ and walking away.

But mostly us Brits seem incapable of managing more than an aggrieved tut, or at best A Bit of a Moan.

The French wouldn’t stand for bad parking. They’d leave an angry note, at the very least.

But the majority of Britons, I’ve found, simply get annoyed, sigh loudly and then get back on with their days.

We’re like a nation of Hugh Grant film characters, circa 1995.

“Well yes, I am slightly upset that you’ve burnt down my house, slept with my wife and turned all my children against me,” you can almost hear. “But hey ho, c’est la vie, and all that. No hard feelings, eh.”

Still, I think we’re getting better at being assertive.

Last week a woman pushed in front of me in the supermarket and I tutted, sighed loudly AND gave her my best ‘dark look’.

I think I really showed her who’s boss.

Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on January 30, 2014

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