Jumper on the roof.

Don’t you just hate when someone selfish wants to top themselves and in the process inconveniences hundreds of commuters who just want to get home rather than shuffle off this mortal coil? I know I do.

Thankfully I wasn’t caught up in this incident at Stevenage station late in Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Reports from 106Jack and the Comet tell us that a suicidal 19 year old was at the centre of a 3 hour standoff with police.

He’d climbed up on to the roof of the station (no mean feat) which meant the authorities felt compelled to shut down the electricity supply to the overhead lines. That meant that the trains in the area weren’t just paralysed, they had no lighting either.

Passengers had to wait in the dark for 3 hours until they were evacuated and led along the tracks to safety and coaches to take them onwards.

Now I sympathise with the plight of a young man whose outlook on his own life is so bleak he’s willing to take it, but there must be more considerate ways to go about it. Think ‘Do I really want end it all?’ but also ‘Am I going to muck a lot of people about by (nearly) going through with it here?’

Apparently it all ended peacefully and the usual combination of a hospital visit and police charges followed.

Riding side saddle.

There are one or two variations in carriage layout on the First Capital Connect trains. One anomaly in these layouts is the occasional row of 3 seats facing sideways.

Three flippin' seats in a row.

Obviously, human nature being what it is, people go for the end ones first in the hope they’ll have a free seat beside them for the journey. This is exactly my situation this morning.

However, today of all days, I’ve bought a coffee and there’s nowhere to put it but on the ground. There’s a panel to my left that looks as though it would fold out to form a perfect shelf for the job but it looks like you need a National Rail issue tool to unlock it. Foiled.

Coulda shoulda woulda.

Looking up at King’s Cross.

So we now know the new station concourse opens on March 19. We also know that they plan to knock the existing one down and create more space out front (didn’t you know – keep up!).

Truth be told, there’s been work going on all over King’s Cross – laying new floors, revamping the building alongside platform 9, 10 and 11 as well as work on the roof covering platform 0 to 8 (yes – King’s Cross has the distinction of having a Platform Zero).

They have now unwrapped much of the covering they had up while they renovated the roof and the massive glass frontage at the, er… front of the station.

Here are a couple of views of the new look ‘upper area’:

Glass roof by day.

Glass roof by night.

Danesgate closed. Daneshill needs re-calibrating.

For some reason, Danesgate remains closed. There is no work that I can see being done on it. For half the time, the tarmac was covered in snow anyway.

The knock-on effect is of course that the Danesgate massive are encroaching on Swingate’s turf, so it’s gets full earlier. I’ve been caught out twice on this.

Both times, I’ve ended up in Southgate which is a long old schlep to the station (comparatively). Happily, the Daneshill sign says there are spaces. “Salvation!” – maybe I’ll catch my train after all.

Daneshill is a funny old place. It’s shaped a bit like a ‘W’ and you enter in the middle, so you get to a bit where you have a choice: left or right. I take a chance on right. No spaces. Doesn’t matter. That just means the space must have been the other way (left – if you’re paying attention). No joy. The sign said ‘SPACES’, the ‘FULL’ sign wasn’t lit. Where’s my space? Not in this car park.

Walking back from Southgate, you get a good look at Daneshill from the ramp leading up to the Gordon Craig Theatre/overpass. And there they are: 3 cars forlornly manoeuvring around the ‘W’ looking for an empty space that isn’t there. How existential can you get…?

Snowy Stevenage.

Today made it 2 days on the trot in Southgate. Some kind of record. Impressive, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Yesterday I was here because inexplicably, Danesgate was closed and Swingate and Daneshill were full.

No idea why Danesgate was closed. Funny time to do work on it. They’d have to clear the snow before they could do any road marking. Must have been something that just couldn’t wait.

Being late due to dropping my son off for the school bus this morning, I assumed the situation was the same as yesterday. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Walking to the station from snowy Southgate I could see Swingate had a space or two and Daneshill was open for business again. Gah.

On the far left is the church St Andrew & St George, Grade 2 listed - the largest parish church to have been built in this country since World War 2.

Stevenage Fire Station straight ahead.

So tonight I have needlessly long traipse back to the Focus ahead of me. Oh well, it makes a change from Swingate every day. I could even go for the record 3-in-a-row on Monday.

One can of course have TOO MUCH excitement in one’s life…

One day my international conglomerate will occupy this entire building.

The big reveal: set for March 19, 2012.

Hot off the Twitter press, the powers that be are saying the hoardings come down on March 19.

Very exciting for everyone, not just us commuters that get diverted a slightly different way every day as they lay the flooring bit by bit.

And what does this vision of the future look like? A bit like this:

It's all hover boards and retina scans from here on in.

I especially like the woman on the far right wiping dog shit off her shoe – click to enlarge it and you’ll see what I mean.

Craving more info? Click below for the lowdown, including this bombshell, “…the current concourse will be demolished revealing for the first time in decades the Grade I listed Victorian fa├žade which has been fully restored to its former glory.”

King’s Cross official announcement >

King’s Cross passengers offered a glimpse into the future >

Want more piccies? here you go:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Walkern white-out

Once again, a few flakes of snow cause chaos, wreak havoc and do all the other hyperbolic things the news says it does.

How does this affect Parking In Stevenage? It means I sacrifice the Focus for the BMW. But why, the Beemer’s crap in the snow, right? Dear reader, you are not wrong. With that knowledge, my wife commandeers the Focus for the school runs. Fair enough, I’ve just got a 10-minute run into Stevenage; she’s weaving across most of Herts and crossing the border into Essex. But about that nice new Fiat 500 you bought her for Christmas? That’s what I thought. But apparently changing gears in the snow could be awkward (?) and besides, what if it got damaged? It seems that the Focus is not only sure-footed in slippy conditions, it’s also expendable should anything untoward occur.

The toughest part of my journey is getting the BMW out of the private close we live on. Fortunately it’s downhill to the road, so at least that’s in our favour. I could have done without the car parked across the street from the close. It’s a steep little run and it would be easy to slide into his passenger door. Anyway, that negotiated, it was an east run to Swingate.

But of course getting there is one thing, finding a spot is a different matter. I don’t mean finding a vacant spot’s a problem. If anything, there were more spaces available than usual, but the issue facing me this morning is illustrated below. We’re reduced to parking from memory.

White Lines... Er, where?

Rather than just random anarchy, everyone’s done their level best to park where they think the lines should be. It’d be interesting to see if a sudden thaw revealed how close we’d been. A bit like ‘The Cube’ but outside.

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