Thursday, 10 October 2013

Short observations on the school run

1. There are some parents who will always park on the double yellow lines outside the school (despite repeated warnings in the school newsletter not to do so). I am thinking of conducting a statistical study on this. My gut instinct tells me the results: it is likely that if you drive a Volvo or Audi 4X4, you are 110% more likely to do this than if you drive any other make of car.

2. Why does every middle class parent in London now seem to drive around permanently with a huge roof box on top of their (huge) car? I can't explain it. I mean, they're not going on holiday every week are they? Or perhaps they are....anyway, if we end up getting one, you might have to shoot me.

3. Dads on bikes (with kids on bikes behind) are the politest parents. When I'm walking Littleboy 1 to school, they always thank me for letting them by (they tend to be cycling on the pavement, but I'll forgive them that) and their kids even say good morning to my kids.

4. So far, virtually the only parents to say hello to me on a regular basis (at one of the schools) are non-British. What does that say, I wonder? Is it just that I've gravitated towards those people, having just spent time living away? Or are they actually friendlier.....

5. I've said it before, and will say it again. Britain needs schoolbuses! Shall I start a campaign?




16 comments:

MsCaroline said...

At the school where I teach, you are more likely to park on the sidewalk (parking on the yellow lines is the norm for everyone, since there's no space otherwise to drop off your child) if you are driving an enormous Mercedes or BMW SUV with diplomatic plates. The Audi and Volvo drivers don't have a chance!
I'm so sorry that people aren't being friendlier - I find that, later, when you eventually meet them, they're usually quite nice, and you can't imagine why they seemed so standoffish before you knew them. Don't they have some sort of PTA getting-to-know you thing for new parents, or is that just hopelessly American? Crossing my fingers for buses - but I don't have much faith you'll get them!

Nota Bene said...

Good observations! Volvo and Audi drivers are he worst in all situations, although I'd ass in those Toyota hybrids too.

Someone I knew always drove around with a box on top of their car; they drove into a multi-storey and smashed it to smithereens...made me laugh.

Ruth said...

2 and 3 (mums and dads on bikes here), and to a certain extent 1, are also fairly applicable to West Oxfordshire.
In terms of friendliness, it's a shame that people aren't being friendly. I didn't think most parents that friendly in mornings when my eldest started school, but now I think most parents are stressed out from trying to get children into school in one piece/on time. Most people are much more chatty and friendly at 3pm after a day without (at least some of) their children... I think to be honest I'm probably more chatty at that time also!

nappy valley girl said...

It's not that people are unfriendly exactly, it's more that I haven't connected with them yet and therefore they don't know me. I agree about the mornings - however I am less chatty in the afternoon, having rushed to get there from another school...

Was Living Down Under said...

It seems that some things are universal. The principal at our school comes out every morning and every afternoon to ensure that parents aren't blocking the driveway for the bus and are parking (or stopped) where they are supposed to.

As for friendliness - there is something about moving somewhere new that makes you aware of how difficult it is for people who have just moved. I recently met a woman who had just moved here from Melbourne. When I said hello to her and then invited her around for a coffee she just about fell over. Not too many people in these parts say hello either. I thought it was that there were a high number of new immigrants in my neighbourhood. Either way it's a stark contrast to the reception I received in Australia where people would share their number as soon as they heard you were new.

nappy valley girl said...

WLDU - you are right. It's because they know what it's like to be new. I was the same when new British people turned up in New York - I was really keen to be friendly, because I understood how they felt.

Expat mum said...

Hey - I drive a Volvo and i resemble that remark!

Melissa said...

yes - start a campaign for school buses. And yes, Brits are less friendly (speaking as a foreigner). Then again, Yorkshire folk are friendly!

Bee @lifeafterlondon said...

I am really enjoying your blog about your move although sad to think people think the brits aren't friendly! However, I appreciate the dreadful school run car crush that goes on. As for the roof top boxes I can only assume it's because the boxes are so big no one has any space in their houses to store them! personally we rent a box when we need one because it would take up a room in our not over sized house! Anyway lovely to read your blog and hope to catch up soon. Good luck with the continued reintegration into life in London!

nappy valley girl said...

Toni - You're OK, you're a Volvo driver in America, where a Volvo is actually quite a small car and not chosen by those drivers who tend to think they rule the road (you'll find them in the massive black minivans). Actually I have nothing against Volvos, they are a great car, but it is something about the drivers in our particular corner of London.....

Melissa - I think Londoners just take longer to warm up, that's all.

Bee - good point about the boxes, I hadn't really considered that. I thought it was some kind of new status symbol - you know, big car, box box, big family....

Iota said...

You mean you managed to renew your British passport without the roof box thing? Wow. Must have been in the days before it was the compulsory.

In fairness (and yes, we have a roofbox, kind of, well, we've been through a saga trying to buy one, as you know, and we nearly succeeded - we have the bars at least), unless you have a garage, it's hard to store one anywhere other than on the car top. We do have a garage, but it's full of stuff from both sets of parents who downsized and couldn't bear to part with stuff, unless it was going to a good home. Our garage seemed to qualify.

Elsie Button said...

Welcome back!! Just been having a good catch up :)

Your comment about the roof boxes made me laugh - I used to keep ours on (through laziness) but then scraped the top of it in a multi storey car park and almost ripped it off - I was v embarrassed!

Hope you are all settling xx

Jay said...

Oh dear, it's maybe a little different if you live in a rural place like I do. The children have a free bus to high school although it's not specifically a school bus and it's only if you live over a certain distance away. The private schools (fee paying) have their own mini buses (which are extortionate) which pick up pretty much outside your house. We have to pay for public transport for college though.
Our tiny village primary school is inundated with cars and has no footpath or parking around it, it was built pre cars, it's a bit of a free for all every morning and evening!
Sorry you're not finding them a friendly bunch, maybe it'll change soon?

nappy valley girl said...

Gosh I seem to have started a right old debate about roof boxes....I don't object to them per se (my brother in law has a Mini and a roof box which I think is perfectly justified). It's just that everyone seems to have one now, and it makes a huge car even huger. I wish I'd bought shares in Thule is all I can say.

Muddling Along said...

They've started walking school buses (basically crocodiles of children) where I live - quite cute and avoids some of the traffic pile up around the school - worth adding to your campaign?

On the parking thing - think there is a related issue that most of those double yellow parkers also can't reverse (yup my commute involves countrylanes...)

anita jolly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.