Autumnal Swingate.

Just this really.

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Parking Like A Twat in Stevenage.

When I started this blog way back in 2008 I thought I would be the only person taking an interest in the parking habits of those in and around Stevenage. How wrong I was. Since that time, a Facebook group has sprung up – Parking Like A Twat in Stevenage – an event so improbable, I thought I’d dreamt the whole thing up. Can we be twinned somehow?

School pick up time and this bellend decides to park so accurately.......twat.

“School pick up time and this bellend decides to park so accurately……. twat.”

But no, it’s real – and the photos are genuinely taken in Stevenage. Even Swingate gets in on the act. Not that this part of the world has a monopoly on twatty parking, but it’s rare for someone to not only set up a group so geographically specific, but for others to contribute – pretty regularly as it turns out. Stevenage is not short of people who park like twats. We bring forth exhibits B, C and D.

Could not believe this woman!! Swung her car in like its normal space, didn't care that it was sticking out on a bend!! She grabbed a big trolley so guessing she wasn't just popping in for a pint of milk! Gives woman drivers a bad name!!! Billy hunt!

“Could not believe this woman!! Swung her car in like its normal space, didn’t care that it was sticking out on a bend!! She grabbed a big trolley so guessing she wasn’t just popping in for a pint of milk! Gives woman drivers a bad name!!! Billy hunt!”

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Amazing. Having started on Facebook in June 2013, it already has 4,959 Likes – that’s about 4,959 more than Parking In Stevenage. Hats off to them. I for one will be parking with added care, knowing that this community is watching…

I don’t know much about art, but I do know these need a little context.

Stop stop stop stop stop! I need to caveat this. Since writing what’s below, I’ve discovered that this is the work of St Francis students in Letchworth. It’s a good school with an impressive theatre. Really, you’d never think a school would have a theatre of its own that’s so well-appointed. So, I’m hoping even the parents concerned might agree that in the grand scheme of the history of art, there are better examples than this. Is this the reason First Capital Connect lost their franchise?

I applaud the use of the community to help bring some colour to what could be a dreary environment (though I do question why a Stevenage school wasn’t asked to supply the art). That being the case, would it not be apt for whoever arranged this to give these artworks some context and recognition to the students behind them so people can appreciate then a little more. Otherwise, people tend to think the worst. Myself included. So here’s what I wrote in my ‘ignorant phase’.

I’m trying not to offend. I’m not an art critic but I’m about to criticise some art – in the very loose sense of the word.

A short while ago, Stevenage station underwent a bit of a makeover. Very nice tiling all around. A real breath of fresh air – tarted up the place no end. Then someone had the bright idea of breaking up all this lovely tile-work with some culture. So here we see what I can only imagine is specially-commissioned ‘art’ for the station.

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Someone has deliberately done this with the authorities’ permission. Or have they? Would everyone else assume someone else gave permission for this to go up?

There’s a handshake growing out of a path with a park bench with Mr Benn on it. Then there’s a tree and office block growing out of another hand. Not to mention the isometric train up on one rail or some people in black morph suits playing dangerously next to the unguarded tracks.

I hate to be harsh in case the person that did this is really proud of what they created. Is it a competition winner? Someone really young? Or ill? It’s hard to say. But this commuter doesn’t think they’re very good. At all.

I’ll leave it there.

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Is Elon Musk parked up in Swingate?

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You’d expect a Tesla really…

The times, they are appearing on Stevenage platform.

Great news for my eyes. I can now see train information from my normal waiting spot on Platform 1.

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No, my eyesight hasn’t improved; they installed new displays along the platform so none of us have to squint into the distance any more.

To be fair, Stevenage has undergone some big improvements in the time since I’ve been commuting through (and parking) here.

When did they install them? Not sure – didn’t notice them until this morning. It’s my eyes you know…

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Big news! Little Waitrose.

I was complimented on this blog yesterday – which, niche as it is – doesn’t happen very often. I immediately felt guilty. It’s been neglected, passed over in favour of things that aren’t Parking In Stevenage. So this morning gave me the perfect opportunity to right that wrong.

King’s Cross has finally completed its last phase of gentrification. That final piece of the jigsaw is in place. That key indicator is now present. That beacon of ‘honestly-priced goods’ for the middle classes and above is nestled in the armpit between the ticket office and the currency exchange. Do you need a different currency to shop in Waitrose? I thought it was just accents. Maybe you can change those green charity discs for Fortnum’s vouchers…?

This, according to Jackie Wharton, director of convenience for Waitrose, makes me a “transumer” (*heart sinks*) just by walking past it. A collision of transport and consumer. I guess colliding ‘consumer’ with ‘commuter’ was a real bastard. Consummuter? Commusumer?

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So if you’re travelling from the family pile to the big smoke or simply hammered and starving for some organic kale and free range cous cous, your prayers have been answered.

Little Waitrose, King's Cross

Daneshill barriers are properly down.

It started as a very frustrating morning. Plenty of spaces in Swingate and Daneshill, though plenty of cars already there. But with no warning or explanation, both car parks were closed. For what? I don’t know. Nothing got painted, lopped, trimmed or demolished, so no idea. I ended up in Southgate of all places – yeah – I know!!!

But on the way back, the random closing while some cars were already inside had obviously caused havoc. This was either an official or unofficial way to deal with the situation…

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A ‘hustle alarm’ is a thing.

Unfortunately this alarm does not signal a highly sophisticated scam conducted by a gang of lovable, wise-cracking transatlantic con artists on an unsuspecting but unsympathetic ‘mark’.

On your marks...

On your marks…

It is in fact the alarm that sounds a few seconds before the doors shut so that staff can laugh at travellers weighed down with kids and luggage as they make a last ditch attempt to board the train before they become one with the doors as they close slowly and determinedly on them.

Sadly, I’m unable to attach a photo of this sound at present.

10 new spaces in Swingate

This is possibly the biggest thing to happen in Swingate since the installation of the new card machines – I do miss the old animation of a Cadillac rolling through the display though.

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They’ve done away with the Voluntary Service building which was a glorified portakabin crossed with a PoW camp hut.

By my calculations it has added 10 new spaces to Swingate. This is good news. I also had the good fortune of being the first to park in the newly painted spots. Made of winning, I am.

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The trickiest spot in Stevenage.

This is, without doubt the most difficult space to park in Stevenage especially when all the surrounding cars are all parked up. Take a look at the silver Focus tucked in on the right.

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What’s more, it’s also under a tree giving birds eight hours to use my car for target practice while I’m at work.

There was no way in forwards. Cars on all sides. Insurance-tastic. However, with judicious use of the kerb, it’s possible. Just.

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