The comfort of standing.

We have some relatively new rolling stock on the line, courtesy of Thameslink or Great Northern or someone.

Setting off a little earlier than usual, I get a train I don’t often take.

Sadly I don’t get a seat, but being one of the first ‘standers’, I find a corner to lean against.

Not only that, but I bagsy a small ‘cushioned panel’ at hip height. A ‘cushel’?

Well, it’s not the same as them declassifying First Class but I’ll take it.

Swingate blackberries.

Yes, you can hunter-gather in Swingate in August. Slim pickings the rest of the year, though there was a pair of jeans in the bushes a while back. And that duck.

Duck in Swingate.

It seems only right to break the dormancy of this blog to bring you reports of a mallards malaise.

This bird seems to conducting be a one-duck sit-in. In protest at what, we just don’t know.

More when we have it. Back to the studio.

Now where’s my car?



You know summer’s over when…

 First day back at work after my summer holiday (which was a bit of a washout, truth be told) and what greets me on my way to the station?

Paul Laidlaw (far left) is at it again. The man must live in Pantoland all year round. He writes, directs and stars as the Dame at the Gordon Craig every year.

And he is good. He looks very much as home on stage wearing pans for a bra and flirting with the dads in the front row.

Be sure to book your tickets early so that isn’t you (if you’re a dad)!

Autumnal Swingate.

Just this really.


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.


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.



Is Elon Musk parked up in Swingate?


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.


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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