This was the first.
I dropped off my wife at Waitrose (one of the smaller shops sans onsite parking). I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a parking place, and so parked â€“ you've guessed it â€“ on double yellow lines.
Three days later I experienced the unbridled joy of the parking ticket. Such is life. There was no one to blame but myself... and yet... an unbidden thought, perhaps not even that... maybe the germ of a fledgling idea.
In the days that followed, the germ grew into a short story involving... you've guessed it: a traffic warden.
I'm sure my traffic officer â€“ I have become very possessive, even though I have no clue as to his/her identity â€“ is charm personified. The traffic warden in my story, however, is anything but charming.
His nemesis, on the other hand, is the most charming, self-effacing old man you could ever hope to meet. His name is Samuel Prite and whoever meets him, has occasion to remember the encounter.
I passed the story around, and was surprised at the reaction. "Who, or what is the old man?" was the most common question I was asked. Thirty three stories later, I am still being asked variations on the same question.
Today, Samuel has introduced, and appeared in thirty three stories. Seven in the first book; thirteen in An Old Acquaintance; and thirteen in the soon to be published A Reunion .
I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I found a parking space.