Yikes. Calamitous day yesterday. I was not in the house when the post arrived and my wife had opened various envelopes by the time I got home.
"Look at this," she practically yelled at me, waving a piece of paper at me. Up closer I could see that it had a black and white photo of a car on it.
“ It's a hundred pound parking fine.! Sixty if we pay it in fourteen days. What the hell were you were doing?”
My stomach turned over as quickly as my mind went fuzzy. A parking fine ? When? I could not remember any time recently that I had parked and got a penalty notice on my windscreen.
I took the paper from her hand and stared at the image . It was my car and my registration but I couldn't recognise the location. It must be a mistake, I thought.
The fine was there in bold text, as was the date. What was the date? Then it dawned on me. I had pulled into a country park last week when I was away on a contract . I had bought some lunch and planned to listen to the radio and have a nap.
It was good to get away from the client's office for a break. I remembered that there had been signs about a parking charge but I had figured that if a parking warden appeared and I was in the car I would just drive away. I had not bargained for camera surveillance.
The image of the car had been taken from up high. Somehow they must have tracked that I had not bought a ticket. This was definitely big brother. Drones are one thing but cameras in a car park in a woodland setting are way over the top. What if I had taken someone there for a secret assignation. Not only would I have a parking fine but my wife would have seen me and another person in the front seat.
I could just make out my head and body in the photo, stretched out snoozing at that point. Imagine if it had showed someone giving me head. Not that it would of course because I don't cheat but still.
I explained all this to my wife, telling her it was just a lunch break and I hadn't been there more than half an hour. I thought she would see my point of view and that it was unfair and unjust to have remote cameras doing this sort of thing. She did not.
"Sixty pounds – sixty pounds. I can’t believe you would be so stupid."
"Look," I said. "I am sorry, OK . I’ll cover it."
"That’s not the point. I could have had a new dress with sixty pounds."
"I know. I’m truly sorry and I’ll just have to find some fresh work to pay it off."
"You can and in fact I’ll find it for you. My friend Sandra wants her Charity shop painting. She can’t afford much but I am sure that she would pay sixty pounds for two days hard work. I will call her in the morning."
"Oh come on. I can find better work than decorating."
"Maybe. But this will teach you a lesson at the same time."
Right there and then she picked up her mobile and called Sandra. In only a few moments of conversation the two had arranged for me to start painting on Monday when the shop is closed. Sandra was apparently delighted to pay such a small charge.
"Now get the cheque book and the Punishment book. You can sit there and write up sixty strokes with the cane. I will deal with the book this weekend so that you are focussed for Monday."
With that she flounced off to have a bath whilst I made supper.
The punishment book now has 152 strokes of the cane, as well as the paddle sentence and the hairbrush. Part of me hopes she will not set the list to zero in the space of one weekend but another part is excited at the prospect.