We live on a narrow lane, where there is no public parking. It's a dead end, or what we call in the UK a No Through Road. There's a sign at the entrance to the lane that clearly states this, and another sign that warns the lane only gives access to residents. Yet every day, and especially at weekends, there is a constant stream of motorists driving up the narrow lane in search of Arlington Row, Bibury's world-famous cottages, or a parking place.
The lane leads to Arlington Row, but by the time it gets to the cottages, it is a footpath, not a road. It seems to be impossible to convince someone with a sat-nav that it is a dead end, and not only that, but a dead end that becomes a footpath. They just refuse to believe you.
Visitors admire the old cottages of Arlington Row in Bibury The yellow car belongs to one of the residents
The sight of people trying to do a three-point turn on a steep, narrow road with stone walls in every direction would be amusing, if it wasn't for the damage that these vehicles do to the walls and the grass verges. Unfortunately, it very rarely is a three-point turn; it's usually a 17-point turn.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind tourists. I quite enjoy meeting tourists and giving them directions. It's a small price to pay for living in such a beautiful village. However, the village won't stay beautiful very long if it is constantly being worn away by tyres.
Some visitors seem very aggrieved about the lack of parking. Someone complained to me the other day that Bibury should make provision for all these cars. I told him I thought it was disgraceful that the 12th-century masons who built our beautiful parish church didn't throw up a multi-storey car park while they were at it.
My neighbour opposite has had her dry-stone wall knocked down twice within the past 12 months. The verge along my wall, which I would like to plant up with spring bulbs and perennials, is constantly rutted with tyre marks. We have both tried putting logs or lumps of stone along the boundary in an attempt to stop people reversing over the grass, but it doesn't seem to work.
My neighbour's wall, which needs to be repaired for the second time in a year
How do we solve this? We don't want endless signs all over the place, and in any case any signs or markings are often ignored. An Australian family recently parked their car at the top of the lane, on a double yellow line. When I pointed out this out to them, they insisted that they couldn't see the double yellow line.
I said that even if they couldn't see the double yellow line, it was obvious that their car was going to block the road to other traffic, to which they replied that British roads were all narrow, and we ought to be used to it by now. They thought this was hilarious. And people wonder why Bibury residents occasionally get a bit grumpy about the tourists.