Published: 06:00, 28 April 2021
| Updated: 14:35, 28 April 2021
"The best view comes after the hardest climb" – an inspirational quote which probably doesn't apply to the man from Bromley who spent more than half a decade trying to park in every bay of a Sainsbury's car park.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Gareth Wild, a dad-of-two and production director, took to Twitter to reveal the completion of his unusual project – including diagrams of the superstore car park in Walters Yard and advice for fellow parking enthusiasts in the area.
Speaking to KentOnline, Gareth explained what possessed him to take on the challenge: "I do the weekly shop in our family and I've been going to the same Sainsbury's for the last 16 years.
"And it was only six years ago when I said to myself, 'wow I could probably park in every single one of these spaces given enough time', and time is on your side when you're doing the weekly shop.
"It's a long time to do anything, let alone something as trivial as this. I've been through three different cars in that time.
"I find enjoyment in the little banal things in life."
On his Twitter thread, which has been favourited more than 50,000 times, he explained to his perplexed and delighted followers that disabled and motorbike spaces could not be counted as he was not a blue badge holder nor owned a motorbike.
But he does have children, so including the parent and baby spaces there were 211 spaces for him to conquer.
The car parking enthusiast said: "I also assigned different zones – the more I say it the more stupid it sounds – to each of the areas so each time I went it was easier for me to know which ones I still had to tick off, rather than a scatter gun approach.
"I wanted to go into it fairly clued up, because when you're doing something this daft it's important to be thorough."
Throughout the six-year slog, Gareth discovered some spots that were almost impossible to snag, requiring a few extra late evening trips.
"When you're doing something this daft it's important to be thorough..."
He said: "Without getting too technical, when I say B7 and B8 you'll know exactly what I mean. They were really difficult to get. I don't know what it is because they're not even great spots but people seem to love them.
"So I went down one evening for snacks quite late and I managed to snag B8...ooh that was quite a moment in my life."
When our reporter asked if the snack run was an excuse to tick off the coveted space, Gareth laughed before replying: "I'll never tell."
Not wanting his hard work to go unused, Gareth has posted a handy diagram of the best – and worst – parking spaces available in the Sainsbury's car park.
According to his map (pictured below) there are just 11 'god-tier' bays but as many as 29 to avoid.
Reasons to not use certain spaces include their proximity to trolley bays and their walking distance away from the store.
To keep himself from obsessively driving down to the car park daily and finishing the project in record time, Gareth stuck to weekly shopping trips and the odd top up shop to complete his mammoth task.
Sometimes that meant hanging around waiting for an as-yet unticked bay, much to his children's frustration.
He said: "My kids are quite young, they're two and four, and they have no patience whatsoever, so if I'm sitting idly by waiting to try and get in a spot they're screaming at me.
"Sometimes you've got to park where you've got to park, and give up on your quest."
Although many would balk at the sizeable task Gareth set himself, a glance at the replies on Twitter suggest many other people have taken on similar projects.
Keith Schofield replied: "Huge respect sir! I'm a car parking space nerd like you. I visit maybe 500 different companies/hotels/supermarkets per year, from Aberdeen to Cornwall, and repeat the same 500 year on year. I will only park in the same space at each place each year, can remember them all."
And Paul Gailey tweeted: "I did it with potholes last year in my town for e scooter usage. 70+ so far photomapped with @what3words and classified by severity for safety. Dull but worthy."
Now Gareth has conquered the Bromley superstore car park, we asked him what the next big project could be.
He said: "We've actually got a Lidl that's opened up just down the end of my road so considering that – I'm an equal opportunities car parker.
"Bromley's got some amazing car parks. The Glades is really top tier, but you're talking over 1,000 spaces there...I'll be there forever."