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…

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A big shout out to Ardeley School. And their blog.

ardeley school blog

This is a thinly-veiled or not-even-veiled-at-all attempt to direct the Google bots over to the blog I set up for my daughter’s school.

It’s a lovely little village school with around 65 pupils. There’s a farm over the road and a village church next door. It really is an idyllic place to begin your education. Of course I’d recommend it – I’m a governor there.

One last link: Ardeley School’s blog >

It’s not you. It’s me. I’ve been… writing another blog.

For anyone that gives a toss, I started this blog because I like writing. I work in advertising and I write ads for other people all day, every day. People like to add their opinion, change my ideas. Sometimes it makes them better (yeah, right!). Sometimes I wish they’d leave well alone.

So this is Parking In Stevenage. All my own work – a true reflection on what I think is good. And while many of my colleagues were busy penning blogs that delved into the dark arts of marketing or digital or branding or whatever, I didn’t want to compete in that space; this was my playground and I could choose the most inane, tedious topic to document. Fact is, it’s getting even more tedious after 3 years – I’ve gone right through the bottom of the barrel – there’s just splinters where that used to be. But no – that won’t stop me or this blog. Parking In Stevenage will live on!

However, I’ve been distracted. I’ve looked elsewhere – outside of Hertfordshire, even. I now anonymously co-edit The London Egotist – the only site I know of that talks specifically to London’s creative community – adland and all the associated specialisms. If you’re interested, check it out. It’s actually very good. Yes, I would say that, wouldn’t I…

Duncan Norvelle has a stroke.

That’s not a double entendre, he’s in hospital recovering from an actual stroke.
The strangest thing – I found the Chortle web page with the news open on my phone with no memory of clicking on anything or any knowledge of the story in the first place. Bizarre.*
However, my blog stats this morning would alert me to something being amiss. Over 600 hits across the weekend for the 2 or 3 Duncan Norvelle-related articles on here.
As I’ve mentioned before, you can see which search terms bring people to Parking in Stevenage. Duncan Norvelle is the single biggest puller here and there are plenty of variations on a theme. What’s striking is that among all the ‘married/gay’ search strings, not one person has searched for ‘is Duncan Norvelle OK?’ or ‘how is Duncan Norvelle?’. That’s a bit sad.

Back in ’93. The only excuse for that polo – and very feeble at that.

So I shall ask. How’s he doing? Well according to his agent Tony Jo, Duncan has been in hospital since April but expects to come out (of hospital!) in 2 or 3 weeks. And another 80’s variety trouper Stu Francis will be filling in for Duncan’s appearances while he’s recovering.
Now you’ve had your Norvelle fix, feel free to look around the blog. You’ll find exciting news about car parks close to Stevenage railway station. Though if you have a heart condition, perhaps you’d better give it a miss.

This has also afforded me to glean some more vital statistics on the great man, thanks to the news coverage – and this specifically from the Blackpool Gazette: “He has three children, Sophie (with ex-wife Trudi Dean), Yasmin (with former girlfriend Tina Hall) and Jack (with ex-wife Jane Lindsay). ”

*Just figured it out – a link from a mate’s tweet, clicked on and forgotten. And relax.

How did I get here?

A reconstruction.

WordPress tells me what search terms bring you to my blog. It doesn’t identify you personally – I just see a list of search terms and how many hits I got from them.

Dwarfing all others, Duncan Norvelle is the most popular search term. Is he gay? Is he married? Etc.

But in addition it does give me a fascinating window on to the kinds of things you good citizens of the internet are looking for.

This is a new type of post. I will update this from time to time with my favourite search terms. And I shall start with these:

– Sue Holderness legs
– Ford pigeon
– man superdry back
– silica gel Stevenage
– duncan norvelle gardener
– kepi blank
– illegal parking on grass
– Brian Blessed wife swap
– Stevenage Taliban
– Tesco ad where man pushing a car all over the place
– crossdress air force
– lost black glove
– “showing a bit of leg”
– how much does Duncan Norvelle cost to book
– wiki duncan norvelle please leave me alone

Stevenage mourns a genuine heroine.

I was going to do my usual trivial update but yesterday saw an event that is infinitely more significant than the height of Stevenage’s street lights (tall as they are).

After a private ceremony in nearby Little Wymondley,  Dr Karen Woo was buried in a cemetary just outside Stevenage, the town she grew up in.

So, who is Dr Karen Woo? Karen was one of a humanitarian party of 10 killed while bringing medical aid to some of the poorest people in Afghanistan 4 weeks ago. They were ambushed, lined up in a forest and reportedly shot one by one.

Dr Karen Woo.

At first the Taliban claimed responsibility and then another group. Then the Taliban distanced themselves from the attack and vowed to find the perpetrators. Regardless of who carried out the attack, it’s pretty obvious it was cowardly in the extreme. And they’ve now deprived their own people of a team of brave medics who had so much yet to give – not to mention her friends and family of someone they referred to as ‘irreplaceable’.

She was due to marry 2 weeks ago and had just ordered her silk ballgown for the occasion.

Anyway, to put a little humanity into the statistics, here’s a link to Karen own blog, last updated 2 weeks before her untimely death: http://explorerkitteninafghanistan.blogspot.com/

It’s a fascinating read – but a curious experience to share in her obvious lust for life while at the same time knowing she’s no longer alive. It puts all our lives into perspective and certainly knocks this blog into a cocked hat in terms of significance.

The thing is, she would have known of the dangers, must have recognised her family’s concerns for her safety, yet she followed through on her desire to do good in the world and show the Afghan people not all Westerners shrug off civilian casualties as easily as our governments and military. In fact, her Wikipedia entry says that she gave up a lucrative post with BUPA to join the International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Strange then to think that she was just as familiar with Lytton Way, Fairland Valley Park and the Lister Hospital as much as the Afghan province of Badakhshan.

Others have summed up her contribution more fully and eloquently elsewhere, so I’ll end this small tribute here. The motto that accompanies the Stevenage coat of arms reads, “The heart of a town lies in its people”. Stevenage can rightly be proud of Karen.

Parking in Stevenage is One!

cake
Wow. Who knew? One year and 1,556 page views later, Parking in Stevenage is still going strong. We’ve covered shopping trolleys, transvestites, Duncan Norvelle, Lewis Hamilton, hats and gloves – all human life is here!

It feels like such a significant event – like the anniversary of Google or Amazon or the internets.

“Why did you start this blog in the first place?” you’re not asking yourself. Well I’ll tell you. It was as much for my own amusement than for any other audience (fortunately). I don’t have to submit my first draft to anyone else to approve. I’m my own boss. I can write what I like. For better or worse.

So thanks to Swingate, Danesgate, Daneshill, Southgate and St George’s multi-storey for having me. To Stevenage station for giving me somewhere to catch the train from. And to First Capital Connect and National Express for transporting me from East Herts to King’s Cross (and back again).

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank both my readers for sticking with me. Believe me when I tell you, things can only get better – that’s probably quite easy for you to believe, truth be told.

Here’s to another 365 days of Parking in Stevenage. It’s gonna be real!

Kind of a big deal: part 2

I work in advertising. Predominantly advertising on the web. Industry magazine Revolution does a column each month called ‘Blogs I can’t live without’, written by a guest luminary. Incredibly, ‘Parking in Stevenage’ made it into the column this month. We are all famous! Everyone’s reading it. Servers are groaning under weight of all this traffic. Well done for fighting your way through the melee to read this very post. So who’s the industry mover-and-shaker that can’t live without good old PiS? Oh yeah, it’s me. No time for modesty, I demand to be read!

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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