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Car Park Charges

21st November 2023 @ 6:06am – by Stephanie Richardson
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The Women's Institute vs. the Parking Charges Menace

A Fable of Triumph over Adversity

A long time ago, in a vibrant village, let's call it Audlem, where gossip flowed like tea at a WI meeting, a group of cunning ladies faced an unexpected foe, the impending transformation of their beloved free parking haven into a coin-operated calamity! But fear not, these ladies of wit and wisdom were not about to let the parking charges menace rain on their parade.

It all began when Anne, (names have been changed to protect the innocent), the unofficial ringleader of Audlem WI, and a regular patron of Williams and the Coop wine dept, discovered a diabolical plot to strip away the village's cherished free parking privilege. Rumours swirled through the village's knitting and painting circles, the village chippy and even Pau's, where they like to try on running shoes just in case they decide to take it up. Soon enough, several ladies huddled together in Anne's living room, sipping tea and sherry whilst plotting a rebellion that would go down in Audlem history.

Armed with knitting needles, sassy anecdotes, and sheer determination, Anne and her gang devised a cunning plan to thwart the parking charge bandits, let's call them Cheshire East.

Sue, another seasoned organiser, decided that the best way to protest about this parking charge nonsense was with a proper British tea party. The group of WI ladies gathered at the village memorial, each armed with a teapot, cucumber sandwiches and home made lemon drizzle cakes. As the aroma of Earl Grey wafted through the air, they sweetly informed the local population that parking charges were about as welcome as a fox in a henhouse and they should join the WI rebellion.

Their local website, rushed to assist. Photos were taken and the ensuing publicity machine sprang into action! This ensured that all their efforts would be fully reported and they were ready for the Granada TV cameras, dressed in the appropriate afternoon tea attire, hats being mandatory!

As Anne's knitting skills were legendary, she decided to put them to good use. The WI ladies and volunteers embarked on a covert operation to 'yarn-bomb' any parking payment meters that were in place, covering them in realistic knitted Muppet caricatures. I can't possibly say whom they looked like but some CE council members spring to mind. The message was clear: You mess with our parking, we'll mess with your meters!

Recognising the power of a silver haired serenade, the group organised a flash mob of sorts. Dressed in coordinating outfits from the Charity Shop that would make any synchronised swimmers jealous, they descended on the car park. After fuelling with bacon baps from Oxtail and Trotter and with walking sticks and umbrellas at the ready, they performed their version of 'The Haka'. In a carefully choreographed dance routine, arranged by Pritchards Dance Academy, they swayed, slapped their thighs and chanted 'No charges, no fines, no double yellow lines'. With bulging eyes, sticking out of tongues and other fierce facial expressions the parking attendants fled, never to return!

I don't think they'll make Strictly just yet!

In the end, the Women's Institute prevailed and Audlem's free parking remained intact. The Cheshire East parking charges menacing plans slunk away, defeated by a group of ladies armed with knitting needles, tea cups and a whole lot of moxie! As the sun set over Audlem, the victorious ladies strolled arm in arm to the nearest pub, where they celebrated their triumph with laughter, gossip and a resounding chorus of 'Jerusalem'. The parking meters stood as quirky monuments to the indomitable spirit of Audlem's villagers.

And so the village's free parking legacy lived on, a testament to the power of the Tea Fuelled Rebellion of 2023 and the knitting needles of justice.

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