Pyrrhic Victories, Life Drawing and finance

Pyrrhic victory : Parking a vehicle outside ones house is a luxury, only afforded to those lucky or wealthy enough to live in the countryside – those of us who live in inner city areas often have a struggle to park anywhere near our houses. I teach several evening classes and upon my return at 10.00pm I used to have to drive around for 15 – 20 minutes, searching for a parking space which was often up to half a mile away from my house. In the twenty years that I have lived in the City, parking has become a major issue – many of the houses in our road have been subdivided into flats and where one car used to park outside there are in excess of 6-10 cars, all vying for spaces. The issue is exacerbated by company vehicles which can take up two or more spaces ! There are also vast armies of well-heeled students, who all seem to own cars – adding insult to injury ! About ten years ago the local Council decided to make the area into a residents parking zone and this solved my problem almost overnight. Each house was allowed to apply for a free space and additional cars were made to pay a £50 surcharge. In addition commercial vehicles were discouraged from parking in residential areas. The upshot being that whatever time of day or night one was able to park within 50 metres of where you lived.

Six months ago a Conservative Councilor unilaterally decided to suspend the parking restrictions, leading to confusion and lots more cars again. Fortunately, we have a very good Liberal Councilor who fought and won the battle of the suspension and things almost returned to normal. That said any scheme can only be deemed a success when monitored and measured. It would appear in our case, that this is not happening – our residents parking scheme requires you to display a permit on the windscreen of your car and judging by the number of vehicles who are not doing so something is going wrong. Added to this, there seems to be a complete lack of enforcers which has led to some residents taking liberties. So in my opinion, the Liberals winning a victory over the Conservatives is only a Pyrrhic Victory and without the scheme being properly policed the situation will only get worse.

For those that are interested in the origin of the phrase “Pyrrhic Victory”, it stems from a battle fought between Pyrrhus’ army and the Romans, commanded by Consul Publius Decius Mus. The epirotic forces, although they won in battle, suffered severe losses to their elite army – the phrase is an allusion to the battle.

Returning to the 21st century Portsmouth, and returning from teaching my EXPERIMENTAL LIFE DRAWING WORKSHOP last night – I was delighted to park within 50 metres of my house ! Normally I wouldn’t mind walking a few hundred yards but late at night, when I am carrying heavy loads of teaching materials is not conducive to ones mood ! I live in hopes for the future but as a confirmed cynic, I suspect the worse. I will have to either give up teaching or start carrying far less to each class – the third option is to get out of the city all together and not do any more teaching – but unless I win the lottery, that is not a financially sound option !

It could be argued that I should walk to my teaching venue but with an A1 Portfolio, a large bag of drawing materials and another shoulder bag full of teaching aids, this is out of the question – Ho Hum !


About chriswoodartist

painter, print-maker and illustrator

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