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harpenden April 2014

NOW promoting local businesses organisations and events since 2006

choose local first

Look inside for... NOW at the Public Halls Battle of the Bands

Easter Holiday Fun Consumer Advice NOW The Hoo’s Kids Book Fest Kimpton 50th May Festival

What’s on and more

read ‘the NOW magazines’ monthly

To Advertise: 07983 588313



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01582 766728 for seasonal opening times


Spring Plants

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Welcome to April

Whether you’re in Harpenden or St Albans we’re sure you’ll agree that a trip to Verulamium Park to see the herons is a must this month, and then you’ll realise why we couldn't resist this months’ cover picture. Looking for something to do over Easter have a look at our very colourful centre pages with lots to do for all the family. Summer feels like it’s on the horizon, it’s amazing how much happier people are when the sun shines, so get out there and smile at someone today! And of course don’t Egg-cellent! forget if you need What do you think of a local business the funky hairstyle of pick up your the crazy chick on copy of the cover? ‘harpenden NOW’ or just read it every month online.

jane & wendy

NOW in the Garden


pots of veg

NOW at the Public Halls 12 music, comedy & poetry

The Big Sing 16 come & sing

Kimpton 50th May Festival 20 wall to wall fun

Easter Holiday Fun 24 egg-stra special fun

The Hoo’s Kids Book Fest 26 books, books, books

The Herons Are Back 30 come & see the chicks

Consumer Advice NOW 32 Three Counties Radio

Dance Through the Decades 41

cover picture courtesy of Genevieve Leaper

The Dark Blues

To advertise call 07983 588313 / 291

What’s on in April 42 & May 44 Index of Businesses 46 Deadline for May: 10th April

accountants to windows & doors

THE FLOWER SCHOOL “Come and be Creative with Flowers”

Flowers and foliage provided for every workshop. Just bring yourself! ‘FABULOUS FLOWERS FOR YOUR HOME’ FLORISTRY COURSE Five week course running on five Thursday evenings in the calm and relaxing atmosphere of the Victorian Schoolroom at Childwickbury, using stunning early summer flowers! 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd May & 5th June 7.30 - 9.30pm £145 ‘CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW' INSPIRED FULL DAY WORKSHOP Back by popular demand, a glorious relaxing day immersing yourself in stunning flowers. Sat 10th May 10 - 3pm Childwickbury. Delicious lunch included! £80 "PERFECT PEONIES" WORKSHOPS We all love peonies and June is the perfect time to create something wonderful with these luscious flowers. Weds 18th June 7.30pm - 9.30pm Victorian Schoolroom, Childwickbury £35 Fri 20th June 10 - 12 noon The Flower School £35 ‘FLOWERS AT OXFORD’ Day trip to an inspirational floral extravaganza. Fri 22nd August 9.30am - 6pm £56 (see website for full details)

07906 655641

To Advertise: 07983 588313


A Place in the Country?

It’s the thing that so many dream about … the beaches, harbours and beautiful smugglers coves ...give up the stressful day job and the battle of on either coastline. commuting to London each day; start a B&B or buy a We must say though that we do miss certain things in place with holiday cottages and hey presto … life in Harpenden, especially the cocktails and food at Bar the fast-lane is no more and you finally have time to Azita and obviously our friends that live there but we smell the roses and the fresh morning air. Well that’s do absolutely love our new life and many of our the plan: pick a simpler life and find more time to friends have already been to see us here. Our son spend with the family. So many people want to do it even said he didn’t need any Christmas presents last but the idea can seem daunting. What if it doesn’t year because he had everything! From a fabulous work? What if it’s too quiet for us? All you climbing frame, tennis court, trampoline and are you in can see is risks and it may be something table tennis table to a pool table, badminton that’s hard to reverse if it doesn’t work need of some and darts; what more could he need! He has out. And that’s why so many people think even found he has loads of children to play peace and with during the holidays when they come about doing it, but don’t. We lived in Harpenden for many years tranquillity and stay in the cottages. and loved everything it had to offer, of our guests commented in our guest away from One book “Thank you so much for a perfect week from the restaurants and pubs to the small it all... in a perfect location. Not often do the boutique style shops and lots to do in the children say ‘why do we have to go to the area. However 10 months ago we held beach,’ but that’s how much we have all enjoyed our our breath and did take the plunge. We bought a stay at Redyeates Farm”. lovely 17th century farmhouse overlooking beautiful rolling Devon countryside within 3 acres of gardens If you are in need of some peace and tranquillity away and various buildings with the prospect of changing it from it all in a beautiful 5* cottage with all the home around to have two luxury holiday cottages. It was comforts, or are looking for somewhere relaxing to hard work and still is, but it’s a completely different stay for a family celebration of up to 16 people with a ball-game. Our 8 year old son now goes to his French Chef if required, we would love to friend’s houses where he feeds lambs and shears accommodate you and will also discount the price sheep! He gets covered in mud and comes home by 5% if you mention this article. We are also exhausted and happy. We thought we were moving happy to talk to anyone wishing to take the plunge to a sleepy little village, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s themselves – it’s not as daunting as you may think so family orientated that all the pubs allow children, so and is certainly the best move we have ever made! an evening out for the whole family is the norm. On Redyeates Farm top of all this we now regularly have great days out with either Dartmoor or Exmoor just 12 miles away & Country Cottages (we are right between them both) and we can go to 01363 866072



With the harsh wet winter finally behind us many of us are now turning our attention to the garden. Our lawns have taken a severe battering over the last few months and are desperately in need of some TLC. Supagrass have been at the forefront of lawn treatment for over 5 years and offer services including fertilising, weed killing, moss control, scarification and hollow tine aeration Supagrass really can help you get your garden looking great - a leaf clearing service and patio cleaning are also on offer. Mitchell Clement set up Supagrass in 2008 and has a background of 13 years in the lawn treatment business. With three branches in total, the company covers North London, Hertfordshire, Surrey and the Thames Valley. Mitchell described his business as reliable, efficient and personable and said he was supremely confident customers will not be disappointed. He explained: “We always try and give customers what they want and do our best to achieve it, no matter how long it takes. Even though we have in excess of 2000 customers, directors still go out and do surveys and meet the customer. Having a personal interest is the only way to do it.” With a background in the service industry, Mitchell began working in lawn treatment after helping his father who owned a lawn treatment franchise but had little support from the franchisor. So he decided to open his own business in 2008. He said: “I wanted the support I felt we deserved. I thought I know how to give service so I’ll do it myself. Directors go and do 90 per cent of our quotes and estimates and we try and accommodate customers’ requirements where possible. We do believe we give a better service.” There’s even more reason to start using Supagrass - If you book two patio cleans in 12 months, you’ll receive a 15 per cent discount. Existing customers who recommend a friend get £20 once he or she is signed up – that offer is on going Mitchell said: “Before our treatment most of the lawns I see are full of moss, weed or are sparse – most need a bit of TLC. Everybody likes a nice lawn. With a relatively inexpensive treatment, lawns can be vastly improved.” For more information go to or call 020 8365 9955



NOW in the Garden Grow a productive patio! If you don’t have space in your garden to grow your own, why not include some fruit and vegetable plants on your patio? Most seed companies, including Thompson & Morgan and Suttons Seeds, offer a range of compact plants ideal for containers, windowboxes and raised beds, and if you choose carefully, they can look as good as they taste. Try these simple ideas this spring. Windowsill salads Growing lettuce from seed in a large pot or windowbox couldn’t be easier. Choose looseheaded, cut-and-come-again varieties, and sprinkle the seeds over the surface of a mixture of seed and multi-purpose compost. Cover the seeds with a little more compost. The seedlings will appear in about a week, if you keep the compost damp, and the leaves will be ready to harvest in 4-6 weeks, when they are around 15cm (6in) high. Cut the plants down to 2cm (1in) from


the soil, but leave the little stumps to resprout, to give you a second helping a few weeks later. Mediterranean mix Tomatoes, chillies and courgettes are perfect for pots on sunny patios. Buy a few young plants, or sow seeds indoors in small pots, and plant outside in May, covering your veg with fleece if frost is forecast. You could try grafted plants, which tend to be more disease-resistant, such as Suttons ‘Twins Collection’, which offers two delicious tomato varieties on one plant. Plant your tomatoes in large pots of John Innes compost, with a couple of long canes to support the stems. Water regularly and feed weekly with tomato fertilizer when the flowers appear. by Zia Allaway. Learn more gardening tips at Zia’s Gardening Workshops in Harpenden. Visit workshops or call 07770 780 231 to book your place.



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Harpenden Film Society

Weds 2nd April: Wadjda cert PG subtitled 8pm You would have to have a heart of stone not to be won over by Wadjda, the 10 year old heroine who enters a religious competition in order to raise money to buy a bicycle. Directed by a woman this is the first ever film made in Saudi Arabia. Weds 16th April: Rush cert 15 8pm Great film about the 1970's Formula One rivalry between British playboy James Hunt, and German Niki Lauda. "A fast and furious treat" Fabulously entertaining, and not just for petrol heads! Harpenden Public Halls Members £3.50, £5 for non members

The St Albans Film Festival is returning for its 2nd year and promises to be even bigger and better. Filmmakers both local and from across the globe will showcase their talent and receive recognition in the form of festival selection and the opportunity to win awards and cash prizes. Film-lovers can see some unique and fantastic films and celebrate the superb filmmaking history of St Albans. What to expect: Film Premières - Workshops Talks from Respected names in Film Networking Events - Entertainment Family Screenings, and lots more



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NOW at the Public Halls Battle of the Bands Sat 5th April 7pm, doors open 6.15pm Adult £12, under 18’s £10 01582 713333 A charity event where local youth bands perform original compositions and covers will be judged by celebrity musicians Harry Judd from McFly and Ed MacFarlane and Edd Gibson both from Friendly Fires. It will seek out the best up and coming local bands and raise money for the Eyes Alight Appeal, set up in 2010 by Izzy Judd and her family. The appeal supports those cared for by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT). Izzy said “Eyes Alight is totally inspired by my brother Rupert who tragically suffered a serious brain injury in 1997 as a result of a car accident. My husband Harry and I are very excited to be collaborating with Harpenden Lions for ‘Battle of the Bands' which will take place on Rupert's birthday in our local town of Harpenden. The event will raise funds for the Eyes Alight Appeal and particularly for Kent House (where Rupert lives) for a much needed extension to their communal living space. We couldn't think of a more fun and appropriate fundraiser and we hope that the Battle of the Bands competition will educate and inspire young local musicians and all for a wonderful cause close to our hearts!”

Matt Richardson Thurs 10th April 8pm £10, 16+ only Hugely entertaining comic in his award winning Hometown Hero show. One of the hottest and most exciting acts on the comedy circuit, Matt has appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Sweat the Small Stuff to name but a few!

Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular Fri 11th April 7.30pm £20 A live musical celebration of the kings of swing Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Every song is an absolute classic including 'Come Fly With Me', 'Under My Skin', 'Mr Bojangles', 'Lady Is A Tramp', 'That's Amore' and many more favourites.

John Cooper Clarke Thurs 10th May 8pm £19.50 Britain’s best loved performance poet, rock star, movie-star, comedian and cultural and social commentator.

Dave Swarbrick Sat 24th May 7.30pm £10 in advance, £12 on the door Swarb is one of the most highly regarded musicians produced by the second British folk revival. His work for the group Fairport Convention from 1969 is usually credited with leading them to produce their seminal album Liege and Lief (1969) which initiated the electric folk movement. Here he appears with the all-female trio of Said The Maiden.


Harpenden Public Halls Southdown Road, Harpenden 01582 767525

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In November residents of St Albans were put to the test to see if they really could sing! The challenge was set by T Jae Cole, experienced choir director and professional singer “I wanted to see what the community could really do with their voices! We all sit at home watching shows like The Voice and X-Factor, but what is our talent? I challenged St Albans to prove that together they CAN sing!” T Jae had only five weeks to put a choir together from scratch to sing in the ‘Carols on the Hour’ at St Albans Cathedral in December and it’s still going strong and new members are always welcome. The BIG Sing has already been a BIG success in Essex, London, Milton Keynes and Kent and now has over 600 members. The choirs are open to everyone – you don’t need to have a fantastic singing voice – just bring your enthusiasm! There are no auditions – the weekly rehearsals are very relaxed but most of all fun! The songs taught are pop, motown, contemporary, inspirational, soul and gospel. All with uplifting and motivating lyrics! We aim to unite people with music and have seen the choir members grow in confidence, experience the thrill of performing on stage, make new friends and belong to a new choir family. There are also advanced choirs (The BIG Sing Pro), children's choirs (LITTLE Sing), Singing groups for babies and tots (TINY Sing), school choirs, and corporate singing choirs. T Jae has worked with communities, schools and universities around the UK. He is also a well established session singer and has worked with Westlife, Dappy (N-Dubz), Blur, Florence & the Machine, Tina Turner and Tom Jones. The BIG Sing in St Albans takes place every Wednesday at: Abbey CE VA Primary School, Grove Road, 7pm - 9pm, £5 per week, pay as you go Don’t miss out on The BIG Sing – let’s show our community that together we really CAN sing!!


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Kimpton 50th May Festival Friday 2nd - Monday 5th May This years’ Festival promises to be bigger and better with 4 days of action packed events with ‘50’ as the theme. Mary Hyde event organiser and great niece of Ron Hyde the village milkman who started the May Festival 50 years ago says; “I used to ride on the floats as a young girl, so now it’s great to be part of the team that puts on this great festival for future generations” The events start on Friday 2nd May with the Art Show opening night in the 13th century church and an exclusive English Wine Tasting Event hosted by Mark Buckenham of The Wine Society. Also Friday night will see a charity Firewalk on hot coals by some plucky villagers, Kimpton doesn’t do boring! Saturday night’s concert ‘Kimpton Entertains’ has helped launch a few showbiz careers and Sunday night showcases ‘Brains of Kimpton’ while the new ‘Music Night’ has music galore with ‘Modfathers’ providing a great Paul Weller tribute act, supported by other awesome local bands. Children’s activities include fairground rides, candy floss, a football tournament and maypole dancing. Arena events on Saturday include the world famous ‘Titan the Robot’, whose unique blend of comedy, street theatre and music creates a show unrivalled in the world today and has led him to appear alongside superstars including and Rihanna. Step into the future 50 years with an experience you'll never forget. The English School of Falconry Display Team will be offering a unique and truly spectacular show alongside Jazz bands, 10k fun-run, a craft fair, Morris dancers and traditional music sessions – it’s wall-towall fun. Make sure you’re part of it!

Second Battle of St Alban’s be there! As part of Sandridge900+ the Medieval Siege Society will be re-enacting The Battle on Bernards Heath 17th & 18th May 10am to 5pm Archery, Craft Displays, Field Market, Living History, Pyrotechnics and a Trebuchet!

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Country Fair Sun 20th - Mon 21st April 11 - 4.30pm Adult £3.50, child £2.50, under 5s - free Stockwood Discovery Centre 01582 548600

Easter Egg Festival 21st April Easter Monday 2 - 5pm The earliest record of eggs being cooked and given to the villagers to celebrate Easter took place during a visit to Chenies Manor by Edward I in 1285. This Easter there will be egg and spoon and sack races and Easter egg spotting throughout the house, alongside entertainer, Dee Ridley, Chenies Manor's resident magician and Mark Garton the "Ultimate Chocolatier" who will be demonstrating his art in the manor kitchen. A great afternoon for all the family to enjoy.

Playing the Dream Sat 12th April 11am free A free 45 minute public theatre by Full House, packed full of exciting characters, magical puppets, music, mayhem and madness! Two talented actors use vibrant storytelling and slap stick humour to delight and entertain old and young alike. The play is set deep in the woods where fairies and sprites laugh, joke and play tricks on passersby. Stockwood Discovery Centre 01582 548600

The Extraordinary Egg Sat 5th April 10.15 & 11.15am

Lego Exhibition Sat 26th April 10 - 5pm The Lea School Association are hosting it's exciting annual LEGO Exhibition to raise funds for the school. There will be loads of Lego activities for kids of all ages, Fantastic Lego models on display, ‘Build your own’ competition, face painting and much more... £3 in advance, £4 on the door, under 2’s free Enter the Lego competition to ‘Build your own Creation’ which will be displayed for all to admire and vote for at the exhibition. Visit the website for more information and tickets The Lea Primary School, Harpenden

Join egg curator Douglas Russell as he cracks open an enormous ostrich egg, revealing the amazing features that allow it to protect life so perfectly. For ages 8+ £3.50, advance booking required Natural History Museum, Tring

Free ‘Play in the Parks’ during the Easter Holidays, just turn up! Tuesdays 8th & 15th April 12 - 2pm Rothamsted Park by the Rose Gardens AL5 2LR 2.45 - 4.45pm Redbourn Recreation Centre AL3 7PP Wednesdays 9th & 16th April 9.15 - 11.15am Marford Road, Wheathampstead AL4 8AY Thursdays 10th & 17th April 12 - 2pm Marquis Lane Open Space AL5 5AA


Easter Eggstravaganza Sat 5th - Mon 21st April 10 - 5.30pm Looking for some egg-stra special activities during the Easter break? If so look no further than a visit to Willows Farm Village with a choc-o-bloc programme of egg-ceptional entertainment for all the family. Shake your bunny tail with the Easter Bunny as he guides you through the Bunny Hop; Revel in the chocolatey treats as a reward for finding the hidden eggs in the Easter Garden; Find the fluffy chicks, the bunnies of Hoppity Hills and all their adorable animal friends in The Farmyard; and lots more. Willows Farm Village, London Colney, St Albans 0870 129 9718

Cadburys Easter Egg Trails Fri 18th - Mon 21st April 10 - 4pm Put on your wellies, and discover the secrets of the woodland at Ashridge, answer questions along the way to win a yummy chocolate egg. £2.50 per child Ashridge Estate, Moneybury Hill HP4 1LX 01442 851227 Fri 18th - Tues 22nd April 11 - 4pm Complete the trail exploring the Downs and win a yummy Cadburys chocolate egg! There'll be lots of family Easter fun happening too, all in the glorious surroundings of Dunstable Downs. £2 per trail Dunstable Downs Chilterns, Gateway Centre Shop, LU6 2GY 01582 500925

Easter Basket Making Tues 8th April 10.30 - 12 noon Make your own Easter basket from recycled materials. Older children can learn how to weave a basket from newspaper coils, while younger ones can make a simpler version. We will be using paper, paint, sticky bits and glue – so wear your messy clothes! Call Melissa to book on 07930 222567 or Suitable for ages 3 - 12 Harpenden Public Halls


Explore a magical world of books The annual Hoo’s Kids Book Fest has confirmed yet another impressive line-up for their celebration of literature at the magical Luton Hoo Walled Garden on Sunday 11th May. The festival, now in its third year, crams a feast of family fun into just one day and audiences can expect to see some of the biggest names in children’s books bringing storytelling to life with pirates, beasts and stripemongers... This year you can meet two of the UK's most acclaimed writers for Young Adults; Robert Muchamore, author of the bestselling Cherub series and award-winning Sophie McKenzie, who has won the prestigious Red House Book Award as well as Richard and Judy's Best Kids Books. Younger readers have the chance to see Jim Smith, author of the ribtickling Barry Loser and winner of the 2013 Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Join the birthday celebrations with Miffy who turns 70 this year and Kipper who is 25. And to commemorate WW1, children can plant poppies in the walled gardens. There's also a spotlight on comics with talented teen Zoom Rockman hosting two workshops

alongside publisher The Phoenix Comic. Zoom was named as one of the 'brightest young talents' in London as part of the Evening Standard's list of the hottest 25 under 25s. Meet the illustrator Hannah Marks, cut paper artist Vanessa Stone and author Dawn Finch all from Hertfordshire. Add to this a host of familyfriendly activities including tree painting, wigwam building and visits from popular children’s characters and you have the perfect day out for all the family. Meet the authors, discover new books or try your hand at drawing, there’s something for all ages. Whether you're after slapstick humour, crime solving or live drawing, you'll find it all in this magical day. Oh, and you can find out just what a stripemonger really is... Tickets from WH Smith's, Harpenden and Oxfam, St Albans. Money raised assists in the restoration of the Walled Garden. Luton Hoo Walled Garden Sun 11th May 10.30 - 5pm


Holiday Workshops and Term Time Classes in ST ALBANS


07949 293463

Do you have a skill or interest you would like to share with primary school children? We deliver a wide range of exciting after-school activities and need leaders who want to share their passion with children, anything from

Crosswords to Cupcakes, Sudoku to Science Experiments, Music to Maths. Latin, Sports, Maths, English, Science and Media Skills are particularly welcome. Short and long term opportunities available. Further details and rates of pay are available on our website. Mandeville Primary School, St Albans & Chaulden Junior School, Hemel Hempstead

Spiral of Success for Pupils! Two Herts primary schools are planning exciting changes to their curriculum. Mandeville (St Albans) and Chaulden Juniors (Hemel) work in partnership as Spiral Academies Trust; they plan to extend their curriculum to offer a diverse range of skills and activities to pupils. “We recognise that there is so much more our curriculum can offer” commented ExecHead, Amanda Godfrey, “We want pupils to have the opportunity to try something new and have time to learn from experts with a real passion for their subjects”. This innovative approach offers older children the opportunity to learn in a different way; when the traditional school day finishes at 3.15pm older pupils stay for an extra hour working with new staff. “The end of the day will not just be ‘more school’ but a very different approach, taught by a fresh range of enthusiasts”. Spiral is recruiting leaders who want to

share their expertise with children. “We are looking for Suduko and crossword enthusiasts to introduce a new approach to Maths and English, First Aid and Cookery enthusiasts” added Cherry Newby, Headteacher of Chaulden Junior School. Cathy Longhurst, Headteacher of Mandeville is keen to use the opportunity to add new subjects to the curriculum. “I’m very excited about having the opportunity to teach Latin, which is a fascinating language to learn and a wonderful foundation for understanding so much more about the world”. Spiral Academies Trust is now recruiting a wide range of specialist teachers and coaches to provide their innovative curriculum and is keen to hear from potential teachers with traditional and non-traditional backgrounds who can offer their skills and talents. Anyone interested should visit


Registration Opens in April

Wheathampstead Village 10k Race and 2k Fun Run This annual event organised by parents from Beech Hyde Primary School raises money for the school will take place on Sunday 18th May. The races have raised £80,000 since they were first held in 2000. The event takes place in the Marford Playing Fields, Wheathampstead, and now attracts up to 900 runners for the 10k race and around 600 runners of all ages for the 2k family fun run. All runners receive a medal at the end of their race. For further information and an entry form visit The event has been oversubscribed for the last five years, so runners are advised to book early. Late entries for the 2K fun run can be submitted on the day between 9am and 9.50am, but no late entries are accepted for the 10k race.

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The Herons Are Back The popular ‘Date with Nature’ is back in St Albans, offering a chance to get closer to nature with the RSPB. We may have had a winter of rain storms and floods, but that doesn’t stop the grey herons of St Albans returning to the trees on the lake in Verulamium Park, ready for their nesting season. Grey herons lay eggs and raise young earlier than many other birds and so have a difficult job incubating the eggs and keeping their chicks warm, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures. Last year there were seven occupied nests in the park. The RSPB will be situated at the edge of the lake until 28th April, from 10.30am to 4.30pm, to show visitors the fantastic birds. The RSPB has installed a nest camera on the island that will transmit live images of the nests to a television screen at the viewpoint. They also provide telescopes and binoculars and spotter sheets for the kids. Debs Allbrook, RSPB’s Date with Nature Project Officer says: “Although we have had issues with the recent flooding and bad weather, we hope this year that our camera will be able to show visitors close up action of the herons as they raise their young throughout their stay in the park. If all goes to plan and the herons do as we expect them to, visitors should get amazing live, close-up views of the activity and antics of the herons and their offspring.....And we have already counted 13 occupied nests this year with 8 birds sitting on eggs, so it’s looking to be a good year!”

Photos: Hungry chicks - Malcolm Hunt / Newly hatched chick Genevieve Leaper / Nest building herons - David Tipling

Dawn Chorus Sunday 13th April 5.15am

Few of us appreciate the fantastic chorus of our birds at the start of the breeding season, as the cock birds call to attract a mate, and establish a territory. So it’s definitely worth getting up early to listen to them! ‘Friends of the Nicky Line’ will be joining the Harpenden branch of the RSPB to hear the dawn chorus in the YWAM woods, followed by breakfast at the cafe . Entrance to the site will be from the drive by the bridge in Ambrose Lane, Harpenden, parking at the factory car park. The starts at 5.15am prompt. There is a choice of breakfast, either bacon butties, or continental, please make your choice when booking. Cost is £6 per head, book early as this event is very popular, and numbers are limited! Contact 01582 765443 / 01582 763560



Consumer Advice NOW

one I’ve been quoted already. The whole job takes about an hour, but it’s an hour well spent if you’ve saved £50 or more. You also need to consider cashback sites like ‘Quidco’ to see if you can save further money by taking insurance out through them. Armed with all the information, I call my existing insurance Jonathan Vernon-Smith is the Sony Award winning mid-morning show presenter for BBC company and let the negotiations begin. I opt for the “if Three Counties Radio. During his consumer hour you’re thinking of leaving us” number and explain that I’ve he helps listeners with their consumer problems been a customer of theirs for some time and am rather and now shares his advice here with you. disappointed that they are expecting me to pay more for my insurance. I tell them I’ve found another company that will beat their price. I ask them to see what’s the best price they How to Get the Best Car Insurance Deal can offer me (I never make the mistake of showing my hand If you’re like me, you will find car insurance renewal time one at this point). 9 times out of 10 they come back with a price of the most irritating experiences. With every passing year I that’s even better than the best price you’ve found from the get a little older, a little more mature, a little more alternative company, but if not, you’ve then got that up your experienced behind the wheel, I NEVER make a claim and sleeve. yet my insurance company feel it’s acceptable to ask me to While I’m on the subject of car insurance: pay a more. Why? Well they hope that most customers are 1. Add another responsible driver to your policy. Insurance too busy to quibble over an additional £30. They hope we’ll companies consider you to be a lower risk if you’re married just put the letter aside and allow it to renew automatically. or in a partnership and put your other half on the policy. The fact is if you haven’t made a claim or changed your 2. Consider protecting your no claims bonus. If you are circumstances, you should expect your insurance to go unfortunate enough to have to make a claim, this will prevent DOWN not UP. Therefore it’s very important that the savvy the policy from soaring. consumer ensures this happens. Let me explain how I do it. 3. Take the motor legal protection cover. In a dispute it can When I receive my renewal notice, I go online and use some be invaluable. Probably the best £25 you’ll ever spend. of the comparison websites (‘Go Compare’ and ‘Money 4. Try to accurately predict your annual mileage. There’s no supermarket’ being just two). I put in my details and see if I point in you being insured for the risk of driving 20,000 miles can beat the renewal price. Please only compare with good, a year if in fact you only drive 2,000. reputable insurance companies. There are always some 5. Be honest with your insurance company. Lying may save (that no-one’s ever heard of) that come back with a price you money initially, but if you get caught out, your insurance that’s very reasonable. Life is too short to have car will be invalidated and you’ll face a MASSIVE bill! insurance from a useless company though, so don’t make Happy motoring! this mistake. I then get quotes from companies that are NOT Why not tune in weekdays from 9am at BBC on price comparison websites, e.g. ‘Direct Line’ & ‘Privilege’. Three Counties Radio. Without fail, I always find an insurance company that wants my business and is prepared to offer a reduced price to the


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‘Five Miles to Fabulous’ bike ride Time to spring clean your shed! If you find your old bike in there, why not dust off the cobwebs, pump up the tyres and head out into the wide blue yonder. Ladies can join a short and gentle Saturday morning ride with the South Herts CTC ‘Five Miles to Fabulous’ group. This months ride is on Saturday 5th April, and starts from Harpenden Railway Station, meet by the bike sheds of course! Departing 9.30am and planning to visit Redbourn for coffee.


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Wellbeing - The Case for ‘Hearing Well’

Of all our senses hearing is the most important; always on, always alert, always at the disposal of others. Hearing is our shared Social Sense that others regularly rely on, expecting us to hear them first time, accurately. Hearing well feeds our curiosity, logic and emotions. It’s the nourishment our brain craves to form a response. Hearing well provides us an opportunity to help others, shape opinion, create reaction and challenge ideas. Hearing It drives business, relationships, love and life. check-ups

are the only way of being confident that you’re hearing well, catching every nuance in every conversation

We all know our hearing changes throughout life, so gradually that we don’t even know we missed that all important comment or insightful aside. It’s always nice to be involved, to be part of the action but a small change in hearing creates subtle changes in our personality and affects our wellbeing. This minor shift can have a major impact if left unchecked.

helps keep a brain healthy too as we strengthen areas of the brain through frequent use and stimulation. Science is lifting the lid on the wonders of how the brain functions and our interaction with the world around us. Studies have identified how links between the parts of our brain responsible for hearing and listening work seamlessly in partnership with areas that look after memory and concentration. There is sufficient evidence to link reduced hearing ability and an increased risk of memory loss. So you can see it’s really important to maintain healthy hearing. Apart from a rudimentary check whilst at school you probably haven’t thought about having your hearing checked now that you’re all grown up. You probably benefited from school dental check up’s and eye tests which you have carried on into adulthood. Hearing check-ups are the only way of being confident that you’re hearing well, catching every nuance in every conversation.

Staying in control of your wellbeing is the foundation of a healthy life. At Harpenden’s renowned Hearing Healthcare Practice we recommend routine hearing checks throughout life Our sense of hearing is one of only a limited so that you can be confident you are hearing well at number of routes we use to get information from the all times. Our complimentary hearing check-up will world around us into the deepest recesses of our confirm that you are hearing well and on top of any mind. The brain relies on our senses providing subtle change. But if you’re already aware that your ongoing stimulation, especially hearing and vision. hearing range has shifted, you should book in for a When the brain doesn’t get the nourishment it full detailed assessment so that you guarantee your needs the structure of our brain physically changes. inclusion with everyone else who is hearing well. Sometimes one area of the brain will take over In Business. In Leisure. In Life. Hearing Well. another that may be no longer “pulling its weight”. Contact Hearing Healthcare Practice in Harpenden Recent research findings have discovered at other on 01582 767218 or info times an area of the brain will shrink due to lack of sensory nourishment. We know that regular exercise is the best way to keep us healthy and well. We now know that this



The amazing history of The Dark Blues Little did Nigel Tully think that he would end up living on an 1100 acre farm near Flamstead when he started the ‘The Dark Blues’ while studying Physics at Oxford University in the 1960’s! A contemporary of The Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks etc, Nigel always wanted to play music suitable for dancing and to pick great tunes which people already knew and loved. The band’s early repertoire was classic rock ‘n’ roll and R & B; as the decades rolled on they added all the current styles from motown to reggae, soul and funk, and tunes by Abba, Madness, Adele, Jessie J, and Kings of Leon. Their ability to fill any dance floor immediately was rewarded by a string of prestigious bookings, including several for members of the Royal Family (they played for Prince Charles’s 21st and 40th birthday parties at Buckingham Palace), and overseas parties in exotic locations ranging from Thailand to Bermuda and Jordan to Oman. It’s not unusual for well-known musicians to be at ‘Dark Blues’ parties and to want to sit in with the band. Famous guests include John Lee Hooker and Stevie Winwood in the ‘60s, Eartha Kitt and Benny Hill in the

70’s, and more recently Tim Minchin, Rumer, Mel B and Jamie Cullum. All enjoyed playing with the high-calibre musicians who make up ‘The Dark Blues’, with its tight rhythm section and brilliant singers and soloists. Apart from leading ‘The Dark Blues’, Nigel is also chief executive of NYJO, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of the UK, a world-class big band which had its own televised BBC Prom in 2012 at the Albert Hall. To hear ‘The Dark Blues’ for yourself, why not go along to their next big charity party at the Herts Showground on Saturday 31st May, it’s going to be the party of the year!

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Minchin, Rumer, enjoyed playing ns who make up t rhythm section ists. Blues’, Nigel is , the National UK, a world-class elevised BBC all. yourself, why not rity party at the day 31st May, it’s ear!


What’s on in April 42

1st Talk: Harpenden-related pictures in the St Albans Museum’s collection by curator of the Museum, Harpenden’s Small Public Hall, Harpenden Local History Society meeting, 8pm 3rd Bach’s John Passion St Johns Church, Harpenden, 01582 462024, Amici Voices, 7.30pm, adult £15, child £5 4th Martha Reeves & The Vandellas The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488, 7.30pm, £23.50 Folk at the Maltings Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans, 0844 870 0887, 8pm, £10 5th Battle of the Bands see page 12 The London Welsh Male Voice Choir High Street Methodist Church, 01582 766797 eves only, 7pm, £20 Swan Lake The Vienna Festival Ballet Company The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488, 2.30pm, £22.50, £14.50 Walk: Crime & Punishment meet outside Old Town Hall, St Albans, 2.30pm, adult £4, child £2 6th French Market Hatfield House, 10am - 4pm 8th Talk: Cottage Garden Plants Roundwood Park School, Harpenden Gardening Society, 8pm, £3 10th Matt Richardson Hometown Hero see page 12 10th -12th High School Musical Abbey Theatre, Westminster Lodge, St Albans, 01727 857861 11th The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular Show see page 12 UB40 The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488, 7.30pm, £32 seated, £28.50 standing 12th & 13th East of England Food Festival Knebworth House, 10 - 5pm 13th - 15th Hansel & Gretel Hawthorne Theatre, WGC, 01707 357117, £12, family £40 14th Soroptimist Women's Group Meeting Greenwood Park Community Centre, St Albans, learn about the St Albans Food Bank, 7.45pm 18th & 19th Easter Trail Knebworth House

11 - 5pm 18th - 20th Harpenden Fun Fair Harpenden Common 19th & 20th Easter Art & Craft Show Redbourn Village Hall, work by local artists 20th Famers Market Hatfield House 10 - 2pm 20th & 21st Jousting @ Knebworth 26th The Great Curry Run St Georges School charity fun run in aid of ABF The Soldiers Charity search ‘The Soldiers Charity’ 24th Illegal Eagles The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488, 7.30pm, £24.50, £22.50 25th Amalfi String Quartet Rothamsted Institute, 01727 731000, in aid of Grove House, £20 Bouncers & Shakers Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, 01707 324300 26th Gloria! High Street Methodist Church, 07834 484989, Harpenden Music Makers Choir with The Concentus Brass Ensemble, 7.30pm, adult £12, concs £10 student £5 The Live Music Project The Tuesday Club + The Vulz + Chameleon Boy + Dodo Bones, Trestle Arts Base, St Albans, 01727 850950, 7.30pm, free, 14+ 26th & 27th Working Heavy Horses Chilterns Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles, meet heavy horses Joshua, Samuel & Harvey who live & work at the Museum 27th St George's Day Parade Rothamsted Park / Harpenden High Street, Scout & Guide parade, 2pm 29th Talk: Dr Edward Wilson, Captain Scott’s South Pole expedition colleague, confidante & friend Harpenden Local History Society AGM, Harpenden’s Small Public Hall, 8pm 29th April - 3rd May Annie St Albans Operatic Society, The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488, £17.50 see page sn 30th April - 2nd May ‘Murder in Company’ performed by High Street Players, High Street Methodist Church, £7 first night / £8 other nights / £9 on the door, 8pm

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The Life Story Specialists For more information and a free introductory meeting contact Sally Gray on 01582 861407


What’s on in May 44

1st Lecture Series: 'Herbs and Witchcraft - the Facts behind the Fiction' Verulamium Museum, St Albans, 01727 751810, 7.30pm, £8 4th RAF Sprint Triathlon Beating the Bounds starts Kingsbury Watermill, St Michael’s Street, St Albans, led by the Mayor & follows the medieval town boundary, 2pm, free 5th May Day Celebrations British Schools Museum, Hitchin Brass & Organ Spectacular Tom Winpenny St Albans Cathedral, 01727 890290, 1pm, free 8th - 11th Living Crafts at Hatfield House Hatfield House, 0845 205176, 10 - 5pm 9th Folk at the Maltings The Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans, 01727 864511, 8pm, £10, £8 10th The Grand Vintage Fair The Jubilee Centre, St Albans, 01582 831481, 10 - 4pm Brambleton Model Railway Open Day Highfield Oval, Ambrose Lane, 2 - 5pm Orchestral Colours Rimsky-Korsakov 'Scheherezade' by St Albans Symphony Orchestra, St Saviour's Church, St Albans, 01727 857422, 7.30pm 10th & 11th Arts For Herts Markets St Albans Town Hall, 10 - 4pm 13th Talk: Bordering on Insanity by Timothy Walker Director of Oxford Botanic Garden, Roundwood Park School, Harpenden Gardening Society, 8pm, £3 Jon Richardson: Nidiot The Alban Arena, 01727 844488, 8pm , £19.50 14th Lunchtime Organ Recital St Albans Cathedral, 01727 890290, 12.30pm, free The Solid Silver 60s Show The Alban Arena, 01727 844488, 7.30pm, £26.50, £24.50 15th - 17th The Thirty Nine Steps Memorial Hall, Wheathampstead, by WDS, 8pm, £8 from Manor Pharmacy, Wheathampstead 15th - 24th 'Round & Round The Garden' by A Ayckbourn, Abbey Theatre, St Albans, 01727 857861 16th Grumpy Old Women The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488, 8pm, £20

17th Bring & Sing - Mozart: Requiem Hardynge Choir, High Street Methodist Church, 0845 475 1664, 6pm An Evening of Burlesque The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488, 8pm, £22 17th: 10am - 4pm 18th: 12pm - 4pm Exhibition: Art@St John's St John's Church Hall, St John's Road, paintings, photography & crafts, free 17th & 18th Re-enactment: 2nd Battle of St Albans pg 20 18th St Albans Charity Cycle Ride 19th - 24th Dreamboats & Petticoats The Alban Arena, St Albans, 01727 844488 24th Organ Recital St Albans Cathedral, 01727 890290, 5.30pm, free 24th & 25th Herts County Show 25th Harpenden Farmers Market 10am - 2pm 27th Talk: The Nickey Line Harpenden Public Halls, Harpenden Local History Society, 8pm 31st Friends of Cosne Quiz Park Hall, 01582 763826, Harpenden’s town-twinning organisation with France, fish & chips, £10, all welcome, 7pm


Index of Businesses

Accountants Hicks TaxAssist Accountants

19 18

Aerial Installations Concorde Aerials Harpenden Digital Services

23 23

Bicycle Repairs Cycletech Hertfordshire


Biographer Bound Biographies


Blinds Harpenden Blinds


Bowling Club Batchwood Hall Bowling Club


Counselling / Sex Therapy Michael Stock Dance & Drama Stagecoach Theatre Arts

35 2


Oven Cleaning Ovenmaster


Painters & Decorators CB Decorators M & M Decorating

17 17

Pet Care Personal Petcare

30 47

Electricians I & B Electrical MLC Electrical Selmon Electrical Services

22 23 22

Financial Management AMR Financial Management


Photographers I & W Photography

Flooring Creative Wood Flooring


Picture Framing Leading Art @ Bloom


Plasterer A. Merson Plastering


Flower Arranging Workshops The Flower School


Car Body Repairs Prestige Paint Shop Ltd


Foot Care Golinska Foot Care


Car Servicing / Repairs M Chapman Auto Services Ltd


Charity Grove House Hospice


Children’s Art Classes FineArt4Kids!


Cleaning Big Yellow Cleaning Company Carpet Brite ChemDry Domestico Harpenden Power Wash Merrivac Murray’s Cleaning Services Computer Repairs Ken Hodson

11 11 13 15 14 13 11 20


Education Mandeville Primary School


35 35



Cabinet Makers Sequoia Bespoke

Chiropodists Julia Reading Kathy Witchard

Hot Tubs A5 Hot Tubs Indian Restaurant Shapla Restaurant

17 16



Domestic Appliance Repairs Leigh Hibon

Builders A & E Building & Joinery David Lewis

Chimney Sweep Poppins Chimney Sweep

Holiday Let Redyeates Farm & Country Cottages

Gardening / Landscaping AR Landscapes Ltd Garden Life Landscapes Greenshouse & Gardens P & B Services Supagrass

7 5 9 9 6

Gardening Workshops Zia’s Gardening Workshops


Plumbers DJ&M Plumbing Services Ltd 21 & 47 Prestige Plumbing & Heating Services 21 Pond Maintenance Maltby Aquatics Women With Waders

7 7

Property Maintenance Nick The Handyman


Removals TS Removals


Security Maximum Security Systems



Golf Club Verulam Golf Club

Tree Surgeons Fircroft Tree



Health & Fitness The Fit Lab

Tyre Fitting Big D’s Tyres



Window Cleaner Harpenden Window Cleaning


Garden Nursery / Centre Bridge Valley Nursery Burston Garden Centre Gas K25

Hearing Services The Hearing Healthcare Practice

2 5


Windows & Doors AA Window Repairs 33 Cloudy2Clear back cover Markyate Windows & Doors 32 Sash Restorations Ltd 33

Commemorating the Fallen of WW1 Join The Royal British Legion to keep the memory of those lost in the First World War alive for future generations. They would like the 1.1 million men and women to be remembered by those alive today. The website allows you to search for a fallen Service man or woman and remember them with a personal dedication. The inspiration for this came from a 14 year old school girl, who on a tour of the Battlefields said “ was a shame for some people to have dozens of poppies while others had no-one to remember them...” Please be a part of this act of remembrance and visit


We have made every effort to ensure that any material published in harpenden NOW is correct and can accept no liability for a ny errors or delays in publication or distribution, harpenden NOW accepts no responsibility for its advertisers.



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