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7:51pm on Wednesday, 4th March, 2009:

Parking in Portsmouth


I was in Portsmouth today, being an external examiner for the penultimate time. It's a much different place to Essex: they have perfunctory yellow plastic stand-up boards outside the male toilets announcing that cleaning is in progress when it isn't, whereas we have cones.

I left the hotel this morning at 8:25 so I could get to the University building by 8:40 to begin looking through the various documents associated with the courses assigned to me. I duly arrived on time, only to find that the car park was entirely full. This being a university in the middle of a town, they didn't even have a muddy field I could park on like we do at Essex. I had to drive back to the hotel and then walk in.

Actually, though, the hotel doesn't have a car park. It's built above a vast underground car park associated with the nearby shopping centre. You get your car parking ticket validated by the hotel, so you don't have to pay. Except, as I'd now checked out and then returned, I'd used my get out of car park free card. It cost me 8 quid when I left in the afternoon.

It's a pretty good car park, though. Every place has a sensor above it, and a light showing red if it's occupied and green if it's free. There are matrix signs all over telling you how many spaces there are in each direction from each junction. One of them said there were 2 spaces: I turned, and sure enough there were 2 spaces. It's a very civilised system, assuming people in Range Rovers can be arsed to park in just the one space.

On my walk in, I bumped into the Head of Department. One of the perks of his job is that he has a special parking space allocated for his exclusive use, but no-one had told the white van driver who had decided to stop there so he could go into the building and do some kind of maintenance work. Consequently, the HoD had had to park some distance away and walk in, too.

So, not just me then!

I've only one more of these vists, then my 5-year tenure is up. I really must have a look around HMS Victory before I stop going...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).