Neighbourly parking.

It’s a Thursday, traditionally not the busiest day in Swingate. Busier than a Friday but not as busy as a Tuesday, obviously.

But lo and behold, the sign said it’s full. And it is. A hasty 3-point turn later, I’m on my way to Daneshill. Result: spaces.

Ahead of me there’s a car that’s vaguely familiar. As I park up, I see the driver rushing past to catch her train. It’s my neighbour Debbie and together we’ve bagged the last two spaces in Daneshill. Yay!

I guess that’s why they invented the word ‘serendipity’ (on the exact same day as ‘irony’ – fact).

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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…?

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.

Stevenage Leisure Park: wrong side of the tracks.

I was looking for an image of Stevenage Leisure Park and I found this, courtesy of craigyt.co.uk

Super job. It’s perhaps not quite as grim as this in real life. At night with the bright lights turned on, one feels strangely drawn to SLP’s many attractions.

A former Stevenage resident (currently living in Russia) has pointed out to me her delight at seeing the SLP signposted at a ‘tourist attraction’ complete with official brown road sign. It looks like this:

This denotes a 'pleasure or theme park'.

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