Birmingham motorists are going parking mad in Sheepcote Street - because a helpful sign has been removed.
It was large, clear and distinctive and it stood at the beginning of the large parking bay opposite Birmingham's Crescent Theatre. Its unmistakable message was that that the bay was for coaches and buses and that car drivers who parked there would be liable to a penalty.
Now, however, Birmingham City Council has removed the sign, while leaving its unadorned post as a souvenir of happier times, survived by a second, smaller sign at the far end of the bay.
The second sign carries a bus symbol and the words, "30 minutes: no return within one hour." On the road near to the second sign is the word Buses. It used to say Buses Only, but it is clear that an official attempt has been made to obliterate the Only.
The trouble is, motorists arriving at the bay don't see either the little sign - particularly if a bus is parked there - or the painted road. And it takes council enforcers only a very short time to turn up with a lorry and tow away their innocently-offending vehicles.
The Crescent Theatre and nearby restaurants have become gathering-points for distraught motorists - who have probably been further misled if they have glanced across the road and seen that the bay opposite, just outside the theatre, is clearly designated for parking. Many of them have even bought parking tickets at the meter on the Crescent side of the street.
Unsuspecting parkers who then walk into the theatre foyer are apt to have the error of their ways pointed out by Crescent members or full-time staff. More dramatically, helpful thespians put voice-projection techniques to good use when they open a window in the upstairs bar and shout across the street about the peril in which motorists have placed themselves.
I would not have thought it was beyond the wit of man to replace the missing sign with a big notice stating that the bay is for coaches only. Alas, current regulations no longer permit signs to talk about coaches: unfathomably, they have to be buses these days.
Not that semantics actually matter: the important thing is for the current confusion to be ended pretty swiftly - and the good news is that the council's Highways Department says it is considering installing signs that will achieve this admirable objective.
How long it will take remains to be seen. After all, here are easy pickings for the two men who drive up and down Sheepcote Street several times a day in a white council lorry, with a camera to photograph the victim's car and a crane to take it away.
Meanwhile, Crescent visitors find a notice in the foyer: "Patrons are advised not to park in the bay opposite the theatre. . . Cars which are parked there are regularly being towed away by the council."
* It's hard work being an amateur actor. Hall Green Little Theatre's current production, Dealer's Choice, centres on a card school in the East End of London, so members of the cast have had to learn to play six sorts of poker, plus one that one of the characters invents.
And they use blank playing cards that prevent an audience member from spotting a clearly wrong-coloured suit being put down.
* It's interesting to note the popularity of plays based on death - and their tendency to be comedies.
Two that instantly spring to mind are Joe Orton's Loot and Ivan Menchell's The Cemetery Club - but Lichfield Players are about to come up with another one. Shelagh Stephenson's The Memory of Water won the Laurence Olivier Best Comedy award in 2000, with its examination of the return of three sisters to their childhood home for their mother's funeral.
It's poignant, but it's fun as well, and it will be at the Lichfield Garrick studio from June 1-3 and June 7-10.
* It is always sad to hear of the demise of a theatre group - in this case, one of Britain's oldest operatic societies.
The City of Stoke-on-Trent Amateur Operatic Society has closed the curtain on 110 years of amateur music-making. Its members took the seemingly inevitable decision at an extraordinary general meeting of a group that has not put on a production since 2001 after watching years of successive losses on shows.
Business manager Robert Clarke said, 'There were not enough bums on seats, so the shows we were doing were making losses. We also had difficulties in finding volunteers to do the necessary jobs behind the scenes.'
The money that the society has left behind goes to its youth section, which has continued to present shows during the senior group's barren period.
* The organisers of this year's Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, which will run for three weeks at Buxton from July 29, are delighted to have obtained a posh new digital piano for the festival club.
Having spent so much time moving pianos from one room to the next, they thought it was important to choose a replacement that was easily manoeuvrable - and this one certainly is.
Unfortunately, they report that the amplifier that goes with it needs four strapping chaps to lift it.