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.

Last spot in Daneshill.

It’s been a while since I treated you both to the all-too-real nitty-gritty of actually parking in Stevenage.

Well, dear readers, this morning the four red capitals no one wants to see (FULL) greeted me as I approached Swingate. Two other cars were ahead of me, so around we all turned in messy 3-pointers and headed off to the alternatives.

Pulling out on to Lytton Way, you have two next-best options. Danesgate is a good bet, it fills up later and it’s not too far from the station – plus I like to think it’s a good overnight spot because it’s opposite the police station (not that it’s a factor today).

Daneshill is a bit of a loop round but you end up just as close to the station as Swingate – with the added bonus of being handier for the bingo if you’re that way inclined. In truth, it’s nearby whether you like bingo or not.

Thoughtfully, they’ve erected a sign on the corner telling you if there are spaces in Daneshill so you can make a snap decision between Daneshill and Danesgate. It sounds complicated but even after a rotten night’s sleep, I can still manage this level of split second decision-making.

As luck would have it, Daneshill was advertising spaces. Bingo, I thought (are you following me?).

There’s always a worry that the cars on front of you will take the last spaces and that just as you pull up to the barrier those for red letters will come back to haunt you. Well, blow me, if you remember as far back as the title for this post, you’ll know I bagged the last space in Daneshill. And what a curious little spot it is.

It’s an awkward little corner, tucked in behind another car. If you insist on knowing all the ins and outs, I had to pull a 5-pointer first in order to reverse in – minding the cement  bollards for good measure. It’s like the Krypton Factor for parking. And THEN I have to go and spend the day at work! Lunacy gone mad.

The British Car Parking Awards 2011.

Big news for the Gascoyne Way car park in Hertford. It’s been shortlisted in the Best Refurbishment category in the British Car Parking Awards. Yes, there is such a thing and Hugh Dennis from out of ‘Outnumbered’ will be giving out the gongs this year. At the InterContinental in Park Lane, no less!

The £800,000 refurbishment means that Hertford’s flagship multi-storey now has bigger spaces, electric charging points and upgraded CCTV.

“We’re delighted to be shortlisted for this prestigious award,” said Councillor Mike Carver, Executive member for planning policy and transport.

“We spent a great deal of time and effort choosing the right contractor and creating a design that would future proof the car park and it’s great to see this recognised on a national level.

The winners are announced on March 11. It’s by no means in the bag. Gascoyne Way is going head to head with Gatwick Airport Long Stay South and Bold Lane, Derby to name but two.

Nothing for Swingate, Danesgate, Daneshill, Southgate or St George’s. There’s always the British Car Parking Award 2012, I suppose…

I can’t help but think ‘if only there were a blogging category’. Modesty aside I reckon I’d be in with a shout for a Commended or something. If anyone knows anyone at the BCPA, put in a good word won’t you?



A moment for Fergus.

Yesterday, I got the last parking space in Swingate. Today I wasn’t so lucky. The barrier let me in but I was like a forlorn 7-year-old realising this game of musical chairs was over for me (though it didn’t stop the naughty red Focus behind me park in the illegal non-space).

Anyway, so on to Danesgate it was. Slightly further away from the station and the detour means I’d miss my train, but no matter.

On the tree by the entrance to Danesgate is a Missing Dog poster. Here it is:

I haven't seen this dog.

So I wondered if they’d had any joy. And on closer inspection there was a web address at the bottom of the poster, partially obscured by a drawing pin.

A quick Google and I’d found AlfiesLostDogs.com. It’s a site that aims to help people find missing dogs. Give them the details and they’ll put them into a template and send you flyers back so you can post them up in your area.

You can moan all you like about the art direction and typography (if you’re that way inclined) but there’s no denying Alfie (or rather Justine, his owner) has got his heart in the right place.

The site also acts as a central database that puts people who’ve found dogs in touch with people who’ve lost them. Another quick search turned up Fergus’s entry and the accompanying messages of goodwill.

Well dear reader, it doesn’t end well. Following the forum thread, Fergus’s body was found a few weeks after he went missing. He was by the side of the road, not far from where he was last seen. Touchingly, it seems he was heading back in the direction of his home but didn’t quite make it.

The web eh? A force for good, for community, for finding out that a random missing dog has gone to the big kennel in the sky.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Fergus the Scottish terrier.

Holiday in Danesgate and Southgate.

Just when Parking in Stevenage was in danger of becoming boring and monotonous (the very thought!) Stevenage Borough Council set about shaking things up by introducing tree-lopping season.

A pre-lop warning.

A pre-lop warning.

They put a little sign up to warn us that Swingate would have much fewer spaces for a couple of days, so on Tuesday I paid a visit to Danesgate, Wednesday I had to go as far as Southgate and Thursday back to Danesgate.

Look - here I am in Danesgate, of all places!

Look - here I am in Danesgate, of all places!

And I haven't been in Southgate since the snow!!!

And I haven't been in Southgate since the snow!!!

Friday it was back to Swingate. Any evidence of tree-lopping? No. But the whole week had been an incredible adventure nonetheless.

Incidentally, I learned that Barry Norman (who lives not far away) opened the Holiday Inn in the background, just over the way from Southgate. Obviously, rooms with a Southgate view are extra.

Misting up.

Got this new stuff through the post last week. Anti-fogging goo for the inside of the car windows and rain run-off stuff for the outside.

Does what it says on the er... box / tube.

Does what it says on the er... box / tube.

For some reason, my Focus seem to steam up like a mother. The recent cold snap has been particularly burdonsome. So I tried the anti-fogging stuff last week and by jingo it seems to work. I applied the raindrop-beading slime to the windows yesterday but my experiment has been foiled – no rain today. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating that is. More news when the weather decides to play ball.

Parking-wise. Swingate had a choice of about 4 spaces for me this morning. It’s half-term (and Monday at that) but that doesn’t seem to had any effect on the parking situation. Whether Danesgate chimes with the same statistic, for now I cannot say.

Miracle in St Evenage: Part Two

The bugger about blogs is that the entries appear in reverse chronological order which ruins a story like this. All I can say is, read the post below and then come back up and read this entry – unless you’ve already read the one below, in which case, welcome back!

Weirdly, the car that came out of the car park then went on to Danesgate my second-choice car park. Why? I can only imagine the barriers got the numbers mixed up and let an extra car in when there no spaces left. Either that or the last space was so awkward (and there are some buggers in there) they just cut their losses, saved some scratched bodywork and bailed.

As it was, I got the penultimate space in Danesgate – in a bloody awkward space. I have taken a picture to illustrate this. Getting out of there should be fun tonight…

My silver Focus, in the corner. Wish me luck.

My silver Focus, in the corner. Wish me luck.

Third choice

Not again...

Not again...

Denied a spot at Swingate for the second morning running. Admittedly I was running a couple of minutes later than usual – though I would still caught the train I was aiming for. A couple of corners away from Swingate I was greeted by the ominous sight of cars coming towards me – a sure sign that those 4 dreaded red letters were illuminated: FULL. I pulled a 3 point turn and headed off to Danesgate. What’s this? A car reversing away from the entry barrier? No red letters but he mouths “It’s full” to me. Well if he’s reversing I guess he’s not lying. Nothing else for it – off to Southgate. Plenty of spaces there but it’s a much longer walk for the station. That, added to my tour of Stevenage’s car parks has meant that I’ll miss not one but two trains. The next one’d delayed – just to add insult to injury. Shame the earlier trains weren’t delayed – but it never works like that. Ever.

Day off.

Bit under the weather. Rather than share the lurgie with my colleagues, I shall work from home today – so no thrilling updates from Swingate, Danesgate, Daneshill, Southgate or the St George’s Way multi-storey. I promise to make it up to you all tomorrow.

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