Poo Diddy

It’s 3pm on Sunday and as we drive past a car garage, the husband decides on a whim he might want to buy a new sports car. 

This is classic behaviour for a man who has just reached 35 years of age, I think. So, for now, I am going to play along.

We enter the Porsche garage and the husband immediately sets about sizing up the car he’s after. I’m not sure what car it is exactly but it has the word ‘turbo’ in its title.

My limited experience of luxury car garages is that unless you arrive in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, wearing shades and lots of bling, you largely get ignored.

When the husband wanted to buy his last car three years ago, he walked into Leeds Audi to hand over the readies – and simply couldn’t get anyone to serve him.

This happened on two occasions and eventually we were forced to drive to Wakefield Audi, where there was no end of car salesmen queuing up to help us. Unfortunately, the one we ended up with was called Julian and had recently recovered from a nervous breakdown.

Here’s what we learnt about Julian: he has a phobia of tomatoes and instantly shakes and vomits at the sight of them; he can’t stop biting his nails; he appeared to know nothing about the cars he’s attempting to sell.

In fact, Julian was so useless that for some unfathomable reason, he forgot to input any of the husband’s optional extras onto the computer system so that the regional manager of Audi actually had to phone through to the production line in Germany to sort Julian’s mess out.

Still, we grew very fond of Julian and talk of him often. The husband is still planning on sending him an anonymous crate of tomatoes in the post as a thank you.

Back at the Porsche garage, in true form we stand around for about half an hour, patiently waiting for someone to see us. Eventually, the manager disappears into the back room and re-emerges with the most hapless salesman he can lay his hands on. This new simpleton goes by the name of Vinnie and is a thinner, more pudding-brained version of Vinnie Jones.

Inevitably, Vinnie has only just started working at Porsche and knows nothing about the model the husband is interested in.

‘He’s another Julian!’ I whisper. ‘It’s a code red. Evacuate! Evacuate!’

We say goodbye to Vinnie and climb back into the car. The husband concludes that although he likes the Porsche, he thinks he still likes his current car more, even though it is exceedingly dirty.

We arrive at the gym and I hand the keys over to the guys at the car wash.

An hour later, we exit the gym. Now that it has been washed and is gleaming again, the husband decides that he still loves his old car.

Having the car washed is the best £5 we’ve spent this year.

Still, I decide to surprise the husband with new number plate. This may be a foolish move, as the husband doesn’t like showy personalised number plates.

After a lot of delicate negotiating on the phone with a man called Dean (Mean Dean!), I finally close a deal on a plate with the husband’s initials.

There’s a reason I call him P Diddy and it’s not just his love of shower puffs.

1 PDD arrives in the post two weeks later. I proudly unwrap it and present it to the husband.


He squints at it for a while. ‘From a distance, I think it looks like 1 POO,’ he says.

I narrow my eyes.

‘I know what you mean,’ I said.

‘In fact, it looks more like ‘I POO’, he adds.

‘It’s not that bad,’ I said. ‘After all, everyone DOES poo.

‘I POO, you poo… we all poo.’

‘I’m going to be driving around in a car that announces to the world I POO,’ says the husband, shaking his head.

‘Oh dear,’ I say.

Belligerent Bill… and his Crocodile Smile

An encounter with Belligerent Bill this week – my first since the angry email I sent, lambasting his hypocritical, self-imposed parking rules.

He was polishing his car in the visitor space that I often use and – astonishingly – actually waved chummily to me as I drove past.

Avoiding eye contact, I parked up and scuttled sheepishly to the door.

‘Katy!’ he called cheerily, clutching his chamois leather. ‘You can park back here if you want. I’ll move my car for you.’

‘It’s okay…’ I said. ‘I’m going back out shortly…’

photo (5)

Move his car for me? Really? This seemed extraordinary behaviour coming from the meanest, most selfish man on the planet to whom my last words were, ‘Please don’t bother me with any more of your silly messages and practice what you preach…

I smell a rat.

He probably wants to lure me back in with his crocodile smiles before smothering my front door in 100 ‘NEVER PARK HERE’ Post-It notes.

Well… Bill, my friend, two can play at that game.

Belligerent Bill

After locking horns with SuDick and my weary battles with Greenclaws, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I’ve entered a cold war with another of my tiresome neighbours; I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m the problem.

Bill from Apartment 2 is one of those ‘I’m-alright-Jack’ characters, who is perfectly pleasant when you bump onto him in the corridors but underneath his friendly facade, lurks a selfish and mean-spirited man.

Bill and I were muddling along quite well (with a neighbourly wave here and there) until one evening the husband accidentally parked in Bill’s parking spot rather than our own (if you knew The Husband and his acute absent-mindedness, this is a perfectly plausible mistake).

The next morning we found a note on our car saying: ‘NEVER PARK HERE AGAIN’. I was a bit taken aback. The mask of friendly Bill had slipped.

Outside our apartments, there is an unofficial parking bay which people occasionally use if they’re too lazy to park in the proper car park down the hill. Bill, in particularly, was a regular user. However, at a recent residents’ meeting we collectively agreed that we shouldn’t park there as it was causing an obstruction to others.

Initially, Bill took this new rule very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that if anyone ever parked in that spot, he would leave one of his NEVER PARK HERE notes on the offending vehicle. Like SuDick, he was another retiree with too much time on his hands (and a seemingly never-ending supply of post-it notes).

A month or two elapsed – until, to my amazement, Bill started parking back in the very spot himself. I couldn’t believe it. Talk about double standards.

It was time for some payback.

Spotting his car there one morning, I scampered rapidly back into our apartment, grabbed a post-it note of my own and wrote: DO NOT PARK HERE.

‘Ha ha! A taste of your own medicine, Bill,’ I thought, as I gleefully slapped it on his windscreen, before heading down the hill to clamber in my own legally-parked vehicle.

However, as I drove back up from the car park… Oh no! Bill was there – standing by his car and brandishing my note, a look of pure rage etched upon his ruddy face. I attempted to maintain an air of superior indifference as I beetled past. But we both knew I had been caught red-handed.

I thought nothing else of the incident until I returned home that night and found my post-it note back slapped on my front door for all to see, with a new message scrawled on the bottom.



The cheeky swine. I was furious. And in my fury, hastily bashed out the following email:

Dear Bill,

I’m assuming it was you who left a post-it note on my front door today stating: ‘Get your facts right’ regarding your obstructive parking on the driveway this morning.
I’m not sure what facts I need to ‘get right’. Did we not have a new rule not to park up against the side of the building, which we all agreed to adhere to at the last residents’ meeting? In fact, I have noted other occasions when your car has been parked there in the last fortnight.
What is even more baffling is that you regularly leave ‘Do not park here’ notes to other drivers parked in that very same spot. I’ve seen you attaching them, in fact, in little clear plastic sandwich bags tied onto the driver’s door handle.
This to me, seems to be the ultimate act of hypocrisy; clearly one rule for you and a different rule for everyone else.
Please don’t bother me with more silly messages. Perhaps you could just put into practice what you regularly preach.
Kind regards,
Apt 3

Seconds after hitting the ‘send’ button, I regretted it. It was a bit strong, I thought anxiously. Even The Husband (bcc’d in) was shocked by my venom.

I spent the next few weeks skulking down the corridor and tiptoeing to my car, hoping never to bump into angry Bill again.

Until one morning, I hopped in my car and was just plodding up the drive when the engine suddenly cut out. I just about managed to pull over. I turned the key. The engine coughed slightly and then nothing… I had broken down.

And worse still, I was now parked myself in the illegal parking space! Surely this could not be happening.

With a heavy heart, I had no choice but to abandon the car for the whole day, with a giant note pinned on the windscreen stating: CAR BROKEN DOWN. AWAITING RECOVERY.

I could just imagine Bill’s smug smile when he saw my sad, malfunctioning vehicle occupying the much-maligned spot – before being carted off to the garage.


Bill had won.

And he didn’t need a post-it note to tell me.

The Big End

I had a very random thought today: What is a car’s Big End exactly?

My childhood was dominated by my father perusing his maps and then attempting to drive down various pot-holed roads, always in a vehicle completely unsuitable for such ambitious pursuits.

And each off-road adventure always resulted in my mother clinging onto the dashboard as the car bumped and banged along, crying, ‘Slow down! You’re going to DAMAGE THE BIG END!’

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