This article is taken from Stand 233, 20(1) May - July 2022.

Hilary O'Sullivan Offshore
He bought a tram-man’s pouch, the leather cracked like his own smoker’s fingers.  That day, travelling by bus to the lay-by, he felt that he’d made some sort of commitment to the ticket enterprise.

The lay-by was a curve of blond concrete, an ocean of spring wheat streaming behind it. A fence of twisted posts with wire between, broken by stile and fingerpost indicating a footpath through a scrubby wood. It easily took twenty cars, more on busy days when he had the side angle parking system working. He guessed the lay-by was a hang-over from an under-funded road scheme, remembered now only in maps, rolled, and stored in a council archive.   

On a good day, he could make £200; £5 per car, with two shifts of arrivals. The early ones came to beat the crowds; parents who had been up since before dawn dealing with over-excited children and  were gone by two or three o’clock; frazzled and spent up. Afternoon arrivals tended to be tourists cramming a couple of attractions into one day, or dads who only had the kids for Saturday or Sunday afternoon. There was, of course, ample paid parking at the Family Attraction, but many preferred to park in his lay-by and cut through to the main gate using the footpath, rather than trek across the mile of official parking fields.

A compact person with a military bearing, arran sweater, tram-man’s pouch and roll of tickets to leave on the dashboard. He walked up politely as they arrived, ‘Good morning Sir/Madam; lovely day for it,’ or ‘Shame ...
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