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Episode 16: The Car Park PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Eager   
Sunday, 25 October 2009 00:00

"Are you going to the Trumpet? Colwall Green ? Pixley ? Can we come with you ?"

Nick Fisher, the bill sticker, is sticking posters around Trumptonshire. The posters are telling the people of the shire that they are too fat and that they need to lose some weight. The posters read: "Why don't you cycle to work or walk to the shops instead of using your car?" This is followed by some facts and figures about obesity and ends with the exclamation: "Ditch Your Car!"


Roger Varley, the chimney sweep, pulls up next to Nick on his motorbike and sidecar: "What's all this then, Nick?" Asks Roger wiping sooty black sweat from his forehead.

"It's the latest message from the council," Nick tells him. "They want to get people out of their cars to try to make 'em lose weight. Says here we're all too fat."

"Ha! Fat indeed. They ought to look at themselves. Fattest man in the county is the Mayor himself."

And with that said Roger Varley, laughing at his own good wit, heads off to the town centre. He needs to see Mr Clamp to get his weekend veg shopping in.

Mr Clamp is already serving Doctor Mopp when Roger turns up. "Pound of onions, there you go."

"I say Clamp have you heard anything of these council plans for the town car park?" The doctor asks.

"Why what have you heard, Doctor Mopp?"

"Only that they're going to build a brand new library there," the doctor tells him.

Mrs Honeyman, the chemist's wife, turns up, her baby on one arm and a melon in the other.

"A library with a post office in it," the doctor continues.

"I heard it was a printers they were putting in it," Mr Clamp interjects,"least that's what Mrs Cobbit the florist told me."

"But Mr Munnings is the town's printer," joined in Mrs Honeyman, "and Mrs Dingle runs our post office."

"Ah, there's the trouble you see. People just aren't using libraries like they did in the old days. It's all play stations and websites these days. People don't read books anymore. So they are looking for new uses for the library - adding a post office or the like," Doctor Mopp tells them.

"So why are they building a brand new bloody library, then?" Asks Mr Clamp.

"Ah!" nods the doctor raising his eyebrows; Mrs Honeyman frowns.

"Well," says Roger Varley, "that explains the posters about ditching our cars. They ain't going to have need of a car park if we don't have cars no more."

"Why whatever do you mean, Mr Varley?" Asks Mrs Honeywell picking up the nearest cucumber.

Roger told them all about the council posters he'd seen Nick Fisher putting up.

"Well I never," says Mrs Honeyman when Roger had finished. She turns and quickly makes for the door.

"Where are you going, Mrs Honeyman?" Asks Mr Clamp.

"I'm going to tell everyone. Absolutely everyone. We can't have this. I'll see you all down the Town Hall in an hour and we'll find out from our mayor exactly what is going on."

"But Mrs Honeyman," called Mr Clamp, "you haven't paid for your cucumber." But she was gone. "Oh well, I'll just put it on her tab, I suppose."

An hour later and it looks like the whole of Trumptonshire has descended on the Town Hall. An angry looking crowd has assembled in the market square overlooked by the statue of a young looking Queen Victoria. On the steps of the Town Hall the flustered looking Mayor is flanked by Mr Troop, the townhall clerk, with Policeman Potter on one side and PC McGarry number 452 on the other.

"Now, now stay back! C'mon, keep your distance there!" PC McGarry warns the crowd in a rather unfriendly manner.

"I'll handle this, PC McGarry," declares the rather rotund and pompous Mayor as the crowd start shouting at him.

"You could lose a few pounds yourself," shouts Mr Carraway the fishmonger.

"Where am I supposed to park when I'm working?" Shouts Mr Wilkins the plumber.

"I lives a good few miles out of town. Where am I'supposed to park me tractor when I come into town?" Shouts Farmer Bell.

"You get on your bike yourself!" Shouts out Mr Crocket the garage owner.

"Where do you expect the tourists to park their cars?" Shouts Mr Platt the clockmaker.

The Mayor looking quite stunned and confused raises his hands to silence the crowd. "Hang on! Wait a minute! What is it you are trying to tell me? One of you, please, just one..."

"I'll tell you, Mayor," answers Mrs Honeyman, "this town, I mean us, we can't believe that you are planning to do away with the town's car park in order to force us from using our cars. That's what!"

"What the... Ah, I see," smiles the Mayor, "no, no, no, you've got it all wrong. These are two seperate issues. We need a new library and the only place we can put it is in the car park. And as for the walking and cycling poster, that's for your own good, to help you lose some weight."

"You could lose a bit yourself, Mayor," shouts Mr Clutterbuck the builder.

"And where do you get off telling us how to live?" shouts out Mr Robinson the window cleaner.

"Do we really need a new library, Mayor? Don't government statistics show that libraries are in a state of terminal decline?" Asks Doctor Mopp.

"You'll see, doctor. This new library will be amazing. State of the art. A beautiful building. A showcase build that people will come to visit from miles around." The Mayor beams.

"And where will these visitors park?" Asks Mr Platt as the smile fades from the Mayor's face.

"I'm not fat. I can't ride a bicycle. And I love my car," states Mr Crockett the garage owner.

"Look people I'm only trying to help," pleads the Mayor, "we all need to lose a bit of weight, get a bit healthier. I mean I think we've all been guilty of having a few too many of Mickey Murphy's delicious walnut cakes."

"Oi," cries out Mickey Murphy the baker, "how dare you, sir. Leave my cakes alone. And where am I supposed to park my van when I'm delivering?"

"And where will I park my car when I come into town?" Asks Mr Dagenham the travelling salesman.

"And where are my staff supposed to park every day?" Asks Mr Cresswell the biscuit factory owner.

"Well there you go," answers the Mayor, "biscuits indeed! I think you'll find there's more important things than biscuits. Do we really need all these biscuits in our diet? I mean do we really?"

"How dare you attack my biscuit business, Mayor. I'll have you know my biscuits are loved all over the county. I have a very successful business and its my taxes that help keep your office heated and nicely furnished."

"Look I'm not telling people to boycott cakes and biscuits."

"What are you saying, Mayor?" Asks Mr Dagenham.

"I'm saying we should all be more responsible and cycle to work."

"I don't like cycling - it's not safe," says Mrs Cobbit the florist.

"I don't see you cycling to work, Mayor. Are you going to ditch your car?" Asks Mr Dagenham.

"And sack Philby, your driver,?" Asks Mr Robinson.

"I've got an idea for you," shouts Mr Cresswell, "why don't you use the Town Hall car park for the new library build? You won't be needing it, will you Mayor?"

The crowd as one start laughing at the Mayor who has gone completely red in the face. The Mayor turns and says something to PC McGarry and then returns to face the crowd. "I'm afraid the library build in the town's car park will be going ahead. This is the decision of your elected representatives at Trumptonshire County Council, who are themselves supported by English Heritage. I'd like to add that your local council also fully supports these plans. We are now well into phase two of the planning. Your concerns should have been raised during phase one."

"But you've moved the goalposts," someone in the crowd shouts.

"That's all I have to say," replies the Mayor who turns and heads towards his chauffeur driven car.

"You heard him, show's over, move along now, come on move along!" PC McGarry eyes the crowd menacingly as he touches the tip of his truncheon.

The two doors on either side of the face of the town's clock open. A mechanical tune starts to play and the figures of Sir Rufus and Lady de Trompe emerge to strike the hour on the bell. The crowd disperses.


Don't miss the next episode: Medieval Night

Mr Carraway the fishmonger is seriously injured during the town's jousting competition. Can Doctor Mopp save him?

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 09:06