Hertbeat Highlights of 2009.

Hertbeat is the local radio station I listen to as I drive to park in Stevenage. As a rule, I’m only in the car for 15 minutes but they do a mean podcast featuring the week’s best bits. So here is my own look back at Hertbeat Breakfast’s Greatest Hits of 2009.

Chris, Steve and Dawn (in that order).

11. Steve caught with his trousers down.

It’s true, vacuuming in the summer can get very hot. You’ve got sunshine combined with the hoover pumping out warm air. So how do you keep your cool? Steve decided that being home alone, he was quite within his right to remove his trousers. So imagine his surprise when the Next delivery lady turned up at the back door with a package for Steve only to be confronted by Steve’s package.

And what really made her day was that Steve was wearing his Next pants.

10. The Quest for the Brown Bin.

Hertfordshire County Council are upping the ante when it comes to recycling, introducing new bins for different types of rubbish. This was launched amid much fanfare, but one prominent resident couldn’t join in because they hadn’t given him a brown bin. Steve was reduced to covert midnight missions by the light of his iPhone, sneaking his garden waste into neighbours’ bins.

Steve now has his brown bin, so let’s all try to move on with our lives.

9. Winter comes to Hertbeat country.

In early 2009, snow blanketed our little corner of the UK. Steve arrived on time for his show but couldn’t unlock the gates to the studio because they were iced up. As he was due on air, Steve had no option but to shin over the gates and cover himself in snow in the process. But he made it on time – Dawn take note!

8. Dawn stalking Barry Norman.

Dawn went to the opening of a new deli (not New Delhi) with Barry Norman as the star attraction. Thinking this could be the ideal opportunity to invite him on the show, she blew the stationery budget on gold pens and wax seals to create an invite worthy of Mr Norman. She came away with a signed jar of Barry’s pickled onions – though she did damage it when she dropped it, peddling up a steep hill in Stevenage on her bike.

7. Hertbeat Apprentice.

For a while it sounded like it wasn’t going to happen as all Steve had was the music and a desire to be called SirSteve. But after weeks of wannabes battling it out, Carl Pendlebury won his own evening show on Hertbeat – even though his mum and dad had to ferry him to the studio and back because he couldn’t drive. Bless.

6. 100th Hertbeat Breakfast podcast.

It wasn’t a vintage podcast in the context of some of the previous 99 shows, but it was a fantastic milestone to have reached nonetheless. Happy Hundredth, Steve and the team!

5. Dawn’s dates

Her loss has been our gain, providing us with endless entertainment as her misadventures in love lurched from the ridiculous to plain disastrous. Particular favourites were her slagging off the Brazilian guy she sat next to on a plane and subsequently going out on a date with him, and the man who was weird because he ate all his chips before he started on his burger. Can’t remember if that was the same guy that leant in for a goodnight kiss and received a firm handshake from Dawn.

Dawn may well have found her man, though he doesn’t sound real. His habit of opening her car door for her keeps confusing her into thinking he wants her to drive. He gets up early to cook her breakfast and de-ice her car – though she still has to climb in through the boot when her locks freeze up.

4. Dawn’s willy-towel incident.

Having arrived at her sister’s house in Italy, Dawn felt the need to visit the bathroom to freshen up. She felt much better after washing her face with the small green hand towel – the special towel her sister’s boyfriend uses for wiping down ‘his bits’.

3. Hey Mr DJ.

Who would have thought tha Steve would become a published author in 2009, rubbing shoulders with best-sellers like Kate Price and David Beckham on the nation’s bookshelves. Joining forces with a Russian illustrator / podcast fan, Steve is donating profits of the sale to a local charity. A win-win-win situation for all concerned.

2. A baby Folland.

This is a story that ran for 9 months of the year, culminating in an overdue arrival foe little Fraser. Never mind that Dawn and Benedict forgot to ask what he was called when they spoke to the proud new father.

1. Team Leotard.

For all the joy that becoming a father can bring, top spot has to go to the iconic Single Ladies video from the breakfast team. Who knew that this enterprise would explode from a small studio in Hitchin to backing Beyonce on tour all around the world. Perhaps the best thing about it is Chris’s shame at having taken part, coupled with the fact that the story followed him relentlessly wherever he went and just grew and grew.

All change at King’s Cross.

I must confess, I got lost at King’s Cross this morning. I felt a bit like a tourist. The sort that stops suddenly in front of people and then turns 180 degrees, ploughing through the masses against the tide.

Why? Because they’ve just changed the layout and opened the new Northern ticket hall. They’ve been working on it for months and now they’ve drawn back the mysterious veil and, er… unveiled the new entrance to the Underground.

I give you... the Northern ticket hall.

They actually opened it all up on Sunday, but I hadn’t noticed until this morning. I probably doubled back on myself a tad but even so, it seemed like I had to walk MILES through brand new Star Wars-style labyrinths just to reach the Victoria Line. Just when I thought I was nearly there, I’d turn a corner and discover a new set

Death Star meets Transport for London.

So if anyone else has struggled with the new layout and your Google search has led you here, I have some good news – here’s a map to help you find your way:

Click to see a bigger version.

I’m going to experiment getting in and out using the new layout. I’ve already identified where I went wrong, so I’ve got some work to do. I need to make it as indoors as possible as the temperature has plummeted in recent days. ┬áStill, it looks like the end of being locked outside by TFL staff when it gets busy. Saints be┬ápraised.

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