ROSENGARDWORLD. A WEEKLY COLUMN Number 10 - Saturday 2nd December 2000

A lot of people say that I don’t pay total attention to the road when I am driving. But I think it is very bad manners, if I have a passenger in the back seat, not to turn around when I talk to them. I was always taught to look at people when you address them. I wasn’t driving when I was told this…. I was only 5 at the time, but I can’t see why it should make any difference? OK I might have been doing 100mph down the Bayswater Road on Monday night when this last happened, but manners are manners.

Another thing that seems to upset my passengers, is that when I am driving I am usually.. all right.. always listening to Radio 4 (Yes I know.. I’m pretty cool huh?) talking on the mobile, and reading a newspaper all at the same time. I do hit the cars in front of me occasionally, but I am still not entirely convinced there is any connection.

Actually for someone who is not interested in cars and hates driving, it’s a mystery to me why I have three of them right now. One of them is a Rosengard. This is absolutely true. Actually it’s not. It is a Rosengart, but that’s close enough for my ego. It is French and was made in 1936 and was a war hero. The Nazis arrested my car because it was Jewish. I have the documents on me to prove it. One night in 1942 my car didn’t, which is why it was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo in Lyons. The details are not important. What happened is not pretty, (so please turn away from your screen now) .. The bastards took its wheels away.. and then they put it up on a block for the rest of the war! I won’t go on… You can turn round now.

As soon as I heard there was a car called a Rosengart I had to have one. When people asked me what car I drove I wanted to be able to say ” Why a Rosengart of course! What else?” Since I bought it 10 years ago not a single person has ever asked me what car I drive.

(If any readers are called Rosengart, Rosengard, Rosenberg, Rosenblum … or any name beginning with an R.. basically anybody out there in cyberspace.. who is thinking of buying a unique and very brave Jewish car, that can, on a very long straight road in perfect conditions hit 10mph. please contact me immediately. Oh boy! Do I have the car for you!)

Anyway getting back to my driving history. I currently have 9 points on my licence. Apparently if I get three more I win some kind of prize. I think they call it disqualification for the rest of my natural life.. Under the new ‘three counts and your out legislation.’

I am still waiting Counsels opinion on whether my previous criminal history- namely my juvenile court appearance aged 10, following my arrest for having said I bought my tube ticket at Shepherds Bush, when in fact I had got on at East Acton.. – would be taken into account I hope not. They might lock me away for life and throw away the key.

I got all my points in one 3 week period in 1998, which is not easy to do. It is amazing .You park on one Zebra Crossing for just half an hour, and suddenly you are surrounded by more policemen than you will see if you walk round London with a bomb in your hands for a week shouting “HELP! POLICE! I’VE FOUND A BOMB! My argument, that I couldn’t see it was a Zebra Crossing because I was parked right on top of it, did not impress them.

I appeared in 3 different magistrates courts on three consecutive days. At the City of London Magistrates Court, the prosecuting counsel said.”Good afternoon Mr. Rosengard very nice to see you again”.. and this was going up in the lift. He had prosecuted me the day before at Hampstead.

I get thousands of parking tickets. I am going to plead insanity at my trial. You see if there is an empty parking meter or a double yellow line..I am compulsively driven to park on the double yellow line. I am seeing a psychologist about it, but it’s not helping. By the time my half hour with him is up I have got another ticket.

In the ’80s I had my own parking warden who would come to my house every 6 months. I had my own account. She would say ” You have been a very naughty boy Mr. Rosengard haven’t you? You have 867 tickets, that’s £8670 to pay.” I would say “Really..are you sure?” and we would sit down have a drink. Afterwards she would say ” I must be off, just give me a cheque for £100 and we’ll call it quits” This went on for years. But unfortunately one terrible day she retired and for some reason they never replaced her. A great shame, I still miss Ethel.

You will not be surprised to hear that I am a regular customer of my local car pound. It’s like being a member of The Reform Club…the uniformed attendants greet me by name..and never ask for my ID.…they know me so well. They are a splendid group of chaps..they wash the car for me, the service is wonderful, and personally I think it’s cheaper than parking at the NCP.

I get towed away all the time. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Support your pound. They need your car.

A few weeks ago I was having a coffee on the King’s Road, when suddenly a friend ran in. “They are taking your car away! They are lifting it up!” I ran out. It was already about a foot off the ground. I jumped in. The winch stopped and the lifting man came up to where I was swinging gently. “Get out of the car.” he said. “No.” I said.

“We can’t lift it with you in it. It’s against the law” he said.

“Good!” I said “I am not getting out until you put me down.”

“I’ll call the police!” he said. “Good!” I said.

By this time a crowd of about 30 people had gathered. “Don’t you give in to them!” someone shouted.

The police arrived. “If you don’t come on down, Sir, I will have to arrest you for obstruction” one of the two officers said.

“Hang on a minute…” I said “I am going to call my lawyer on the mobile.”

I didn’t know his number so I called the speaking clock instead.

“Hello John….” I explained to my ‘lawyer’ the situation. All I could hear was “The time at the next stroke will be…

“Oh really…1836 Court of Appeal Precedent…. OK-.stay in the car? Thank you.” I hung up.

“I am sorry officer” I said “1836 case established precedent. High Court of Appeal Holmes V Regina…case of a hansom cab clamping…lifting I mean in Rotten Row…had to be put down …the cab…not the horse.”

“You are a very lucky man, Sir,” the constable said, as he gestured to the fuming lifter- man to lower me to the ground. If we arrested you, there would be a riot.”

I drove off with the crowd’s cheers ringing in my ears.

I got 200 yards down the road and a small fair- haired boy getting out of a Mercedes opened the door right into my wing.

55 years after the war’s ended and they still will not give up!