Windscreen check: I’m just doing them a favour

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

We live in strange times, don’t we?

People are throwing ice buckets over themselves, Scotland’s on the brink of an historic vote, and, very soon, I’ll no longer be able to indulge in my favourite hobby of checking tax discs.

Yes, that trusty wee paper circle that has graced our windscreens for as long as we can remember has reached the ultimate expiry date.

In a mere six weeks’ time, car tax, like almost everything else these days, will be digital and will be monitored electronically.

I suppose it’s not too big a deal, after all we’ll still have to pay our car tax, but I reckon it’s a bit of a shame.

I am a bit of a snoop, you see, and, if I know you and you own a car, I guarantee I’ll have checked your car tax on several occasions.

And, if you regularly park in supermarket and shopping centre car parks in Scotland, chances are I’ve had a look just to check you’re legal.

I would say that I spot out-of-date discs two or three times a year.

I don’t call the police or anything, oh no, but, if at all possible, I will inform the vehicle’s owner of their misdemeanour in an annoyingly pious tone.

Something like, ‘‘Think you’ll find you need a new tax disc there’’ or ‘‘Have you checked your tax disc lately?’’.

“Mum,” my daughter will say if she’s with me, “you are beyond embarrassing.”

“I enjoy it,” I’ll say.

“What, rubbing people’s noses in it?” she’ll answer.

I don’t see the harm, to be honest. I’m sure these offenders would rather hear it from me than a law enforcement officer.

I’m doing them a favour.

But now, of course, it won’t be possible to help my fellow man, so you lot will have to fend for yourselves.

And I’m on the lookout for a new pastime, something innocent but helpful and something my daughter finds “beyond embarrassing”.

I’ll keep you updated on that front, but in the meantime I shall keep an eye on the antics of my own mother who can still turn her 50-something-year-old daughter’s face beetroot.