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st albans

NOW

February 2014

Look inside for... St Albans Pancake Race Lambing Day Greenwood Park Cricket Club

Snowdrop Days Out NOW at the Cathedral NOW at The Alban Arena Launch of New U3A Group

What’s on and more...

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Welcome to February

February is often a month for new things, from making wedding plans to the arrival of newborn lambs and of course the beginnings of spring, with crocuses and snowdrops hopefully appearing everywhere. Every year we plan to join in the St Albans Pancake Race, and this year is no exception, if we can get our act together we’ll flippin’ well be there this year, so hopefully see you there... Jane is delighted to have finally sorted out her back garden, and we can’t wait for the summer so at last we can sit out on a nice sunny day working on the magazines together. And Wendy is looking forward to her husband coming back to work in London after working away for the last 6 months...but might struggle with the remote control handover!

Flippin’ Good Fun!

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St Albans Pancake Race

NOW at The Alban Arena

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music & comedy

NOW at the Local Theatres

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Maltings & Abbey Theatre

NOW at the Museums

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gadgets, goggles & a mystery trail

NOW at the Cathedral

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tours, services & concerts

NOW for a Local Walk

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step on it!

Consumer Advice NOW

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BBC Three Counties Radio

St Albans Chamber Opera

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Valentines Quiz night

And of course don’t forget if you need a local business pick up your copy of ‘ NOW’ or just read it every month online.

jane & wendy To advertise call 07983 588313 / 291 jane@thenowmagazines.com

www.theNOWmagazines.com Deadline for March: 10th February

Pet Proofing Your Garden

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keep cats & dogs at bay

Snowdrop Days Out

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see them in all their glory

What’s on in February & March Index of Businesses

42 44 46

accountants to windows & doors

To Advertise Contact 07983 588291 or jane@theNOWmagazines.com

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St Albans Pancake Race Tuesday 4th March 12 noon St Peter’s Street

Flippin’ Good Fun!

We are looking for teams of 4 people! If you would like to take part or know a business or community group that would, please email: ann.austin@stalbans.gov.uk

Pancake Facts ♦ Over a lifetime an average person will eat 7,300 eggs. ♦ Brits will eat 52 million eggs on Pancake Day, that’s 22 million more

than on a normal day. ♦ Just about every country has its own version of the pancake,

such as: buckwheat flour galettes of Brittany; sweet Cretan tiganítes of Greece; Moroccan semolina baghrir and Russian buckwheat-flour blinis. ♦ In the village of Olney, Shrove Tuesday has been celebrated with a pancake race since 1445. It is said the tradition began when one harassed wife heard the shriving bell and ran off to church, still clutching her frying pan. ♦ The largest pancake ever tossed measured 15 metres in diameter. ♦ The world record for pancake flipping is 349 flips in two minutes.. ...join in the St Albans Pancake Race and try to beat the record!

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Choir Offers Hope for Snorers!

If you suffer from snoring or are fed up at being kept awake by your partner’s nocturnal noises, joining your local Rock Choir could be the answer to uninterrupted sleep. Joining a choir can help boost people’s mental health and wellbeing and, scientific research has shown that singing can also help reduce snoring! Local Rock Choir leader Abigail Smith explains: “Singing helps to exercise and strengthen muscles in the soft palette, which is where the snoring vibration occurs...We’re always receiving emails and letters from choir members telling us how much being in Rock Choir is helping them to feel happier, increase their confidence and even lose weight. So this is yet another bonus!” Rock Choir member Dagmar Rathbone says her husband has noticed a difference since she joined Rock Choir: “Apparently my snoring is now quieter, “says Dagmar. “My husband says I’ve gone from a tank to a motorbike!” Abigail runs Rock Choir’s fun, weekly sessions in Hertford, St Albans and Watford. To book a free taster session or find out more, call 01252 714 276 or visit www.rockchoir.com

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NOW at the Alban Arena Peppa Pig’s Big Splash 5th Feb 1pm & 4pm 6th Feb 10am & 1pm All-singing, all-dancing adventure, full of songs, games and muddy puddles! Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise 7th Feb 7.30pm A spectacular rock ‘n’ roll show where the music plays the leading role! The St Albans Gang Show 12th - 15th Feb 7.30pm, Sat matinee 2.30pm Be prepared to be blown away by the talent of our young people in St Albans. The Straits 16th Feb 7.30pm This unmissable evening of music is a must, for anyone who appreciates great musicians. Chris and Pui Roadshow 20th Feb 11am & 2pm Please help Chris and Pui (CBeebies’ Show Me, Show Me) find Old MacDonald’s animals, and Humpty, The Duke of York, King Cole and Little Bo Peep. Beth Nielsen Chapman 21st Feb 7.30pm Returns with a tour in support of her new album ‘Uncovered’. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy 22nd Feb 7.30pm Said to be the finest drummer in the Rock field. Carl Palmer’s stunning band “The ELP Legacy” play the best of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Fairport Convention 23rd Feb 7.30pm Hailed as the originators of British folk-rock music and one of Britian’s best-loved bands. Jason Manford First World Problems 25th & 26th Feb 8pm Everybody’s favourite northern comedian with a wealth of comedy anecdotes, misunderstandings, and audience banter. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain 28th Feb 8pm A funny, virtuosic, twanging, awesome, foot-stomping obituary of rock and roll, and melodious light entertainment in a collision of post-punk performance and toe-tapping oldies. www.alban-arena.co.uk

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The Alban Arena

01727 844488


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NOW at the Maltings

HOMEWORKS

Hold Off The Earth - an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet 6th - 8th / 13th - 15th Feb 8pm £12.50 Peppermint Muse Theatre Co presents a bold, haunting re-imagining of Shakespeare’s play. Film: Animat’s Belleville Rendezvous Reanimated cert 12A 21st Feb 7pm £10 Presented by St Albans Film Festival and UHArts When her grandson is kidnapped by the French mafia during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her dog Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters, an aged song-and-dance team to rescue him. Faustus 1st March 2pm / 7.30pm £11 / £9 When a brilliant but arrogant academic, gets the opportunity to learn more about magic and the universe than any of his peers, it seems a chance too good to miss. But the price for such wisdom and riches is a high one – his soul. Packed with dancing, singing, and a 1940’s jazz inspired soundtrack, an energetic and memorable production. Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans www.maltingsartstheatre.co.uk www.ticketsource.co.uk/ovo 0844 8700 887

NOW at Abbey Theatre The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare Company of Ten 27th Feb - 8th March 8pm Matinée: 2nd March 2.30pm Valentine and Proteus, two inhabitants of Verona, each seek the woman of their dreams. What follows is a scintillating kaleidoscope of a play which keeps the audience entertained throughout. Can there be a happy ending? With more twists than a lover’s knot, this play has humour, hidden identity and even a dog! Abbey Theatre Westminster Lodge, St Albans 01727 857861 www.abbeytheatre.org.uk

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Unusual Romances From the deepest, darkest depths of mid-winter comes a heartwarming glow: Valentines’ Day. But not every pairing is a match made in heaven; some love stories are short stories, and others fail to spark at all. Here’s a selection of more unorthodox teenage love stories. The Fault in Our Stars

Midwinterblood

John Green

Marcus Sedgewick

Terminally-ill Hazel is living on borrowed time thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, but just when she thinks her own story is already written in the stars, into the Cancer Kid Support Group walks Augustus. Tragically heart-breaking and yet funny to boot, this is a brilliantly-written story of two individuals, coming together in the most unlikely of places and finding that life is often full of the most exquisite pain.

Eric and Merle love each other but are separated by time and space. If you’ve ever thought that you lived another life, in another time, then spare a thought for this pair. The novel has seven stories which span the centuries, from ancient civilisations to the not-toodistant future and find Eric and Merle trying desperately to return to one another. Reincarnated as lovers, siblings, and even mother and son, they are repeatedly drawn back to each other. In this, the most unusual of gothic romances, the pair will eventually have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky

Always being on the periphery and one of life’s observers certainly may seem to have its advantages. Fifteen year old Charlie is the ‘wallflower’ in question and through a series of letters, reveals his fears about starting high school. Unusually for him, he is quickly befriended by a Senior called Patrick and becomes ingratiated into his group. Far from being another lighthearted high-school novel, the book tackles issues such as homophobia and incest. Charlie has a tough road ahead of him as he tries to come to terms with his past and learn to embrace his future.

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Ketchup Clouds Annabel Pitcher

It’s not just desperate women who start penning letters to people who are in penitentiaries. 15 year old Zoe decides to unburden herself of her story to a prisoner on Death Row. So terrible is her secret that she feels she can’t reveal what happened to anyone else and so Zoe writes to Stuart Harris in Texas. Zoe’s tale is packed with teenage angst, with the right smattering of humour thrown in. Her letters of betrayal and the most terrible of love

triangles will have you hooked right up until the last page. Stargirl Jerry Spinelli

Millions of readers have fallen in love with Stargirl, as does Leo, whose heart this kooky, alternative girl wins when she turns up at his high school. Jerry Maguire had his girl at ‘hello’; Stargirl only needs to smile for Leo to fall for her. She’s quirky and imaginative; a mysterious being with a celestial name and no one quite knows where she’s from or where she’s going. Whatever your age, Stargirl will stay with you, like a brand new friend. Every Day David Levithan

Whenever you think you’re not quite feeling yourself, spare a thought for ‘A’. Every morning, A wakes up in a different body, and it’s been that way since A was born. The instability and uncertainty has become the only constant in A’s life. That is, until A meets Rhiannon. On that fateful morning, A wakes up as none other than Rhiannon’s good for nothing boyfriend, Justin. From 24 wonderful hours grows a longing to be near someone and with someone, no matter what it takes.


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NOW at the Museums 24th January - 13th April Exhibition: Gadgets and Goggles Weird and wonderful inventions dating from Queen Victoria to the 1950’s, free. Museum of St Albans 6th February 7.30pm Lecture: The Wallplaster at Roman Verulamium Please book Verulamium Museum, £8 22nd February 11am - 4pm Murder at Verulamium Museum: Who Killed the Curator? An interactive murder mystery trail through the museum for families. Verulamium Museum, £5 per group 2nd March 2pm The Well-dressed Governess with costume historian Gillian Stapleton. Please book Verulamium Museum, £10

6th March 7.30pm Lecture: Gadgets With Maurice Collins, collector and owner of the artefacts on show in the current exhibition ‘Gadgets and Goggles’ at the Museum of St Albans. Please book Verulamium Museum, £8 8th March 10am - 5pm Community Book Fair An opportunity for community groups to fundraise by selling used books, free to participate and to buyers. Verulamium Museum 22nd March 7pm - midnight Steampunk Ball With Steampunk Band ‘Ghostfire’ Museum of St Albans, £15

Museum of St Albans Hatfield Road 01727 819340 Verulamium Museum St Michael's Street 01727 751810 www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk

Chapel memorial windows rescued Stained glass World War I memorial windows from Wheathampstead’s demolished Folly Methodist Chapel have been donated to St Albans Museums Service after being found on eBay. An anonymous donor saw the windows for sale on the auction site after the chapel was demolished in 2006 and bought them to save for the future. The names of 12 men who lost their lives during World War I are shown on the windows, they are: S Bandy, C Carter, F Gray, M Harrison, H Izzard, H Lawrence, G Minal, A Munt, A O'Dell, G Pearce, G Upton-Roberts and H Wilson. The inscription along the bottom of the windows reads: “Their Names Liveth For Evermore 1914-1918” The memorial windows will be displayed this summer in the temporary exhibition at the

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Museum of St Albans to mark the centenary of the First World War. The windows came from Wheathampstead’s Folly Chapel which was built in 1887 and used for over 100 years as a Methodist chapel and Sunday School. The chapel closed in 2004 and the windows were taken out of the building before it was demolished.


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NOW at the Cathedral Epiphany and Candlemas Carol Service 2nd Feb 6.30pm A beautiful service of music and readings, sung by the Abbey Girls Choir and men of the Cathedral Choir. More to Explore: The Tower 2nd Feb 3pm Our extremely rare Norman crossing tower comes under the spotlight. Take a close look at its structure and its restoration. Lunchtime Organ Recital 12th Feb 12.30 Timothy Ravalde, Assistant Organist, Chichester Cathedral Free, with retiring collection in aid of Cathedral music funds. Family Discovery Morning - Wear and Tear 20th Feb 10am - 12.30pm The oldest parts of the Cathedral are over 900 years old. Come and explore how the building has fared over that time. Free, but donations gratefully received Abbey by Night Tour 26th Feb 8pm and 8.30pm See St Albans Cathedral in a whole new light on this unique, atmospheric tour which gives you the rare chance to explore it by candlelight. As darkness descends, you will be guided around the candlelit venue by monks and historical characters who bring to life the building’s remarkable history and highlights. The tours last approximately one hour and start with a drinks reception 15 minutes before the tour start time in the Abbot's Kitchen at the Cathedral. Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban 01727 890283 www.stalbanscathedral.org

St Albans MusicCity

15th - 23rd March

Immerse yourself in the twilight leafy metropolis that is St Albans MusicCity! St Albans has a rich musical history and continues to foster a vibrant scene. This is a celebration of that scene which encompasses everything from traditional folk, blues and jazz through to indie, metal and pop across all the key music pubs and venues in the district! As part of St Albans MusicCity 2014 The Pioneer Youth Centre will be hosting a special celebratory (all ages) gig on the opening Saturday followed by an after-show gig at The Horn. The Pioneer Youth Centre will also be the subject of a complimentary exhibition at The Museum of St Alban, for the whole of March, celebrating their integral role in the St Albans Music (and skateboard) scene, from The Zombies to Enter Shikari and beyond. MusicCity will remind you of the variety and quality of local music venues and promoters who make St Albans such an amazing city all year round! There will be opportunities to join in workshops and open mic sessions as well as special events around the district. Programmes can be picked up at all participating venues and from the Tourist Information Centre or downloaded at www.stalbans.gov.uk/musiccity www.lemonrock.com/musiccity For further information contact grae.wall@leisureconnection.co.uk Voices photographed at Pioneer Youth Centre

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Nick The Handyman All aspects of Property Maintenance ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Kitchen Fitter Tiling & Carpentry Fencing & Roofing General Brickwork Patios & Driveways Electrical Repairs Painting & Decorating, Inside & Outside No Job too Small Free Estimates References Available Friendly & Reliable Service 07737 284711 nick.morgan87@googlemail.com

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and venue compliments, demonstrating the perpetual popularity of magic and illusion, it truly has something for everyone, with striking apparatus and inexplicable sophisticated magic from Dr Bondini and Jezo bringing up the rear with his comedy flair, hilarious Kidnapped audience interaction and bright new Sunday 16th Feb conjuring genius – all ably supported by 1.30pm & 5pm a beautiful assistant of course! Sell A Door Theatre Company With huge illusions, silly tricks and presents: Kidnapped above all great magic, this show is sure “If life were easy, where would to make you go ‘WOW!’ all the adventures be…?” £12 An adventure tale for all the family, Old MacDonald Had a Farm Kidnapped tells the story of Davie Thursday 20th Feb 2.30pm Balfour as he survives shipwreck and come and relive the delights of this murder to dramatically escape to the most charming of tales told with a Highlands of Scotland. captivating combination of live action, Ideal for family audiences aged 6+ puppetry and animation by one of the Adult £15, concs £12 UK’s leading theatre companies, The Peoples Theatre Co. Wow! This Show is Magic! Tuesday 18th Feb 2.30pm Adult £9.50, concs £8.50, family £32 A smash hit in early 2013. This Hawthorne Theatre magnificent family show deservedly received fantastic reviews and an Welwyn Garden City www.thehawthornetheatre.co.uk immense array of positive audience

NOW at the Hawthorne

Spring Circus at Van Hage Saturday 15th - Sunday 23rd Feb Roll Up, Roll Up the Circus will be back this Spring. Enjoy the new acts of John Lawson's Circus for 2014. Tickets £6 per person, under 2's free and are required to sit on parents laps. Non-allocated seating, on a first come first serve basis. Van Hage Garden Centre Great Amwell, Pepper Hill, SG12 9RP 12 noon, 2pm & 4pm

Half-term crafts @ Mill Green Museum Tuesday 18th - Thursday 20th Feb 10am, 11.15am, 1.15pm and 2.30pm Tues - Dragon Puppets, Weds - Clay Dragons, Thurs - Dragon Prints. For ages 4+, no booking required, £3 per child. Mill Green Museum, Mill Green, Hatfield, AL9 5PD

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Banish Those Winter Blues Often, you can cope with the start of winter. It may be dark, cold and wet, but the early months are full of celebrations to lift your spirits until the New Year and its ‘fresh start’. A few weeks later, your resolutions are in tatters. The days are still dark, meaning you drag yourself out of bed and then feel like the day is over by dinner time. You may be just fed up, but you could be suffering from ‘Winter Blues’. So here’s how to survive the winter. Let There Be Light! Lack of sunlight can increase melatonin levels (making you sleepy and lethargic) and reduce serotonin levels (affecting mood and appetite). It’s also thought to influence your ‘body clock’ (your circadian rhythm that controls body functions). So spend time outside. When indoors, try to work or relax near a window. A sunrise clock may help you wake up; they aim to bring your body out of sleep gently, by gradually increasing the light they emit. Stay Warm If your body is fighting to keep you warm, you’ll feel sluggish and struggle to concentrate. Keep yourself as warm as possible; wear layers and heat your home adequately. What about spending time somewhere else warm and cosy a pub or library? Eat and Drink Healthily Warm, stodgy food and extra tea and coffee seem tempting when we’re chilly and low, but resist – think hot but healthy. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables of different colours and choose low sugar, low fat alternatives to stodgy puddings. Healthy soups are a great winter warmer, as are fruit teas, orange juice with cinnamon, honey and lemon, or malted drinks

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made with skimmed milk or hot water (but beware versions loaded with fat and sugar). Socialise There’s scientific proof that the company of others, particularly if laughing and hugging is involved, is great for our wellbeing. So invite friends round, go visiting and attend sociable gatherings wherever possible. Exercise Exercise will warm you up, increase your immunity and alertness and make you feel good too. So wrap up for a walk outdoors on brighter days, and find an indoor activity you enjoy, perhaps an exercise or dance DVD or video game. Whatever you do, your mind and body will feel better for it. When you’re not just blue, but SAD Over 2 million people in the UK suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a more severe form of Winter Blues. SAD is at its worst from December to February when days are shortest, and causes either depression, or mood swings. Sometimes stress or trauma such as bereavement or a new baby seems to be a trigger, and it’s most prevalent in 18-30 year olds. If you’re a sufferer, you can help yourself by: - Following the Winter Blues advice above - Trying a light box: Therapeutic light boxes, available to buy or rent, produce light that’s at least ten times as intense as normal daylight. Rent one first to see if it works for you. - Seeing your GP: They may suggest counselling or CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) or in some circumstances, antidepressants or a structured course of light therapy. For support and information on SAD visit www.sada.org.uk/ or www.sad.org.uk/ by Alison Runham


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NOW for a local walk Enjoy the countryside on your doorstep with the popular ‘St Albans, Harpenden & Villages Health Walks’. Led by trained volunteers the walks take place whatever the weather, cater to all ages and abilities and are a fantastic way to get more active, have a good natter and improve general wellbeing. Best of all they are completely free! The following walks are planned for the coming months: Highfield Park Mondays 9.30am, Tuesdays 1.30pm Charters Health Club car park, Hill End Lane, opposite Spar Wheathampstead Tuesdays 10.30am Meet at the public car park behind The Bull, East Lane, Wheathampstead, AL4 8BL Hatching Green Thursdays 10.30am Hatching Green, Redbourn Lane, Harpenden, AL5 2JP (on road parking only) Mackerye End Saturdays 1st Feb, 1st March and 5th April, 2pm Meet at the public car park behind The Bull, Wheathampstead Greenwood Park Fridays 2pm Meet outside Greenwood Park Community Centre, Tippendell Lane, Chiswell Green Bricket Wood Sunday 16th March, 10.30am Moor Mill Pub car park, off Smug Oak Lane, Bricket Wood Heartwood Forest Sunday 16th Feb and 27th April 10.30am Meet in Heartwood Forest car park, High Street, Sandridge www.hertslink.org/cms/healthwalks

Old Times 17th - 19th February ‘Old Times’ will be the first play by Harold Pinter presented by the society in its 67 year history. Set in a farmhouse in the early 1970s, the play explores the relationships and memories of three characters relating back to the 1950s and their time in London. With Pinter’s interest in power relationships it is no surprise that it shifts from one to another throughout the play and in this way he keeps us gripped by the beguiling properties of the eternal triangle. Memorial Hall, Marford Road, Wheathampstead, 8pm Tickets £8 from Manor Pharmacy, Wheathampstead & Harpenden wheathampsteaddramaticsociety.co.uk

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February 1972 - a month to remember

1st Feb France requested the extradition of Klaus Barbie after Nazi hunter Beate Klarsfeld found him living in Bolivia. He was convicted in 1983 and died in prison four years later at the age of 77. 3rd Feb The Curse of Tutankhamen claimed another victim - allegedly. As the boy king’s mask was being placed on a plane in Cairo, to be flown to Paris, the museum’s Director of Antiquities died, surely proof of a curse many said... 4th Feb The Iran Blizzard, the worst blizzard in history, began. Over the next few weeks it killed more than 4,000 people, burying villages under as much as 26 feet of snow. 8th Feb A state of emergency was declared throughout the UK due to the coalminers’ strike and dwindling stocks of coal. 15th Feb A US patent was granted to Willem J Kolff for the invention of the world’s first artificial heart. 17th Feb Prime Minister Ted Heath narrowly won a vote in the House of Commons on whether or not to join the ‘Common Market’, after throwing all his toys out of the pram and ‘threatening’ to resign.

17th Feb The VW Beetle became the most popular car in history on production of the 15,007,034th model. The previous record, 15,007,033, had been held by the Ford Model T. 21st Feb Richard Nixon became the first US president to visit Communist China. 23rd Feb Elvis and Priscilla Presley separated. They had married on 1st May 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. 24th Feb Twenty eight men on board a Russian submarine were killed when fire broke out while it was submerged. Twelve survivors were trapped inside the vessel for three weeks as it was towed from the Arctic Ocean to the Kola Peninsula. 25th Feb Members of the National Union of Mineworkers voted to end their strike in return for a twenty per cent pay increase. Three of the best-selling singles this year were: Telegram Sam - T Rex I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing - The New Seekers Have You Seen Her - The Chi-Lites Other 1972 facts: √ The Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar made its West End debut √ The BBC quiz programme Mastermind was first broadcast √ The first episode of Emmerdale Farm, a soap opera set in rural Yorkshire, was aired on ITV √ Petrol was about 35p a gallon √ The average cost of a house was £7,300

Retired? Semi Retired? The University of the Third Age

NEW group opening in Chiswell Green What is the U3A? We are a self-help organisation for active retired or semi-retired people, providing educational, creative and leisure activities. LAUNCH MEETING Thursday 6th March at 10am Greenwood Park Community Centre Chiswell Green Please come along and find out more!

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Consumer Advice NOW Jonathan Vernon-Smith is the Sony Award winning mid-morning show presenter for BBC Three Counties Radio. During his consumer hour he helps listeners with their consumer problems and now shares his advice here with you.

Knowing when to go to court! Thankfully most consumer disputes can be settled through effective and firm dialogue. If not, there are programmes such as mine that offer assistance for those finding it difficult to resolve their consumer complaint.

dependent on how much you are suing for, but this will be outlined when you proceed with the action. If you are successful, the defendant will have to pay your costs as well as the amount you are claiming for.

Some cases just cannot be resolved, no matter how hard one or both parties try. It’s for these cases that the small claims court can be very helpful.

It is also worth noting that you do not need a lawyer as it’s relatively straight forward, and as long as you’ve been reasonable and sensible in your dealings with the company or tradesman, you stand a good chance of getting a favourable judgement.

Firstly, DO NOT RUSH TO COURT. In my experience, judges often look unfavourably at customers who are seen to take a company to court too quickly. It makes the consumer look unreasonable which never bodes well, always try to resolve the complaint between yourselves first. Consider the small claims court your last resort and it’s essential to have kept a record of your conversations and correspondence. When you reach the conclusion that (within 6 years of the dispute and for amounts up to £10,000) the company or tradesman is not prepared to resolve the problem, you must write a letter of intention. Make it clear in the letter that you have tried hard to offer them opportunities to resolve the problem and that you would like to offer them one final opportunity. Allow them one month from receipt of the letter to respond, and make it clear that if you do not hear from them, you will lodge papers with the small claims court. Send the letter recorded delivery and ensure they have received it and signed for it.

In many cases, mediation is offered as a way of agreeing a course of action. The result of this is not legally binding, and most often I would advise you to proceed with this where offered. It doesn’t prevent you progressing a case to a judge if unsuccessful. However, turning it down can made you look unreasonable. If things go your way, the judge will award in your favour and will request that the defendant pays you a sum of money (either the whole of the amount you’re seeking, or a proportion of it). They will be given instructions as to how to pay it, and if they fail to do so, you can instruct county court bailiffs to recover the money. You can also escalate the case to the high court for a further fee and instruct the high court enforcement officers to chase your money. Taking a company to court can be a daunting prospect, and I would always suggest obtaining advice from your local citizens advice bureau who will give you tailor-made advice on your specific case.

If they still show no interest in resolving the dispute, then you have an important decision to make. Will you go through with your threat of Why not tune in weekdays from 9am at BBC court action or not? If you decide on the former, Three Counties Radio. you must go into it with your eyes open. You can always lose as well as win, however it may not cost you as much as you may think. The fee is

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NOW for a puzzle Quick Crossword Across 1 European country (7) 5 Scour (5) 8 Inflamed (7) 9 Precise (5) 10 Strict (5) 11 Operating room (7) 12 Painter (6) 14 Lethal (6) 17 Non professional (7) 19 Likeness (5) 22 Edgy, anxious (5) 23 Revised (7) 24 Father (5) 25 Harnessed to ride (7)

Down 1 Types of transport (5) 2 Not tight (5) 3 E.g. Crete, Rhodes (7) 4 Tiny (6) 5 Stage set (5) 6 Oven cooked (7) 7 Torch power cell (7) 12 Made suitable (7) 13 Coached (7) 15 Once lived (7) 16 Destroys (6) 18 Including all (5) 20 Fourth month (5)

General Knowledge Crossword Across 1 Cultural rebirth from the 14th to the middle of the 17th centuries (11) 9 Circus performer (7) 10 Military dictators (5) 11 Peer of the realm (4) 12 String of words satisfying the grammatical rules of a language (8) 14 Native of Muscat, for example (5) 15 Legendary creature resembling a tiny old man (5) 20 Curved down like an eagle's beak (8) 22 Waste product useful as a fertiliser (4) 24 Farewell remark (5) 25 Opening, especially the mouth of a bodily organ (7) 26 Woman employed to clean bedrooms in hotels, etc (11)

Down 2 Tympanic membrane (7) 3 Yob deterrent (4) 4 Cotton fabric with a shiny finish (6) 5 Military officer who assists a more senior officer (8) 6 Priest who is a member of a cathedral chapter (5) 7 Heavy wooden pole tossed as a test of strength (5) 8 Printer's mark, indicating an insertion (5) 13 Personification of the US government (5,3) 16 Cocktail made of gin or vodka with dry vermouth (7) 17 Artificial watercourse constructed for inland navigation (5) 18 Detachable piece of material worn inside a shoe or boot for warmth, etc (6)

19 Living quarters for female relatives in a Muslim household (5) 21 Dickens character In David Copperfield, ___ Heep (5) 23 Former name of Thailand (4)

answers on page 46 32


Stress / Depression / Anxiety

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St Albans Chamber Opera Valentines Quiz Night 14th February St Albans Chamber Opera will be hosting a Quiz evening in the church hall with at least one round of questions about Opera and Classical Music. The fun starts at 8pm with an interlude (perhaps a Sea interlude?) to include a Fish and Chip supper (perhaps there will be a question about “Les pêcheurs de perles” or Albert Herring to stay with the theme). Tickets will be £14, we are hoping for teams of six, group discount of 6 tickets for the price of 5 are available from Phyl Swindlehurst on 01727 858307. St Stephens Church, St Albans

‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ 25th - 29th March 7.30pm Matinee Saturday at 2.30pm. The music in this Opera is considered by many to be Mozart’s best. Two young friends decide to test the loyalty of their fiancées. Pretending to go off to war they immediately return in disguise and attempt to woo each other’s betrothed. Their simple plan unravels as they tie themselves in knots. It could be a plot from a soap opera! With two fantastic casts, of Principals, a small orchestral ensemble and the St Albans Chamber Opera Chorus a beautiful production will be enjoyed by all. Tickets from Abbey Theatre Box Office 017627 857861 Abbey Theatre, Holywell Hill, St Albans

The Key to My True Love In the past on Valentine’s Day young women would try to find out the identity of their future husband by various means. Some would peel an apple and throw the peel over their shoulder. It was said that the peel would form the shape of a letter, which would be the first letter of their future husband’s name. Another rite was called “the Bible and Key”. Edwin Grey who grew up in the Bowling Alley of Harpenden (now Southdown) in the 1870s recalled this ritual in his book “A Cottage Life in a Hertfordshire Village”. A Bible was opened at the Song of Solomon. A large key was placed on the page with the end resting on the words “Love is as strong as death”. The Bible was then closed and tied with ribbon. Protruding from the Bible was the stem of the key with a ring at the end. Two girls would sit opposite each other, one pointing a finger on her right hand, the other pointing a finger on her left hand. The Bible was suspended from their fingers but they did not touch the key. One girl would say “If A be the first letter of my true love’s name, may the Bible turn round and the key do the same”. If there was no response then it was the turn of the second girl who would repeat the same phrase. If the Bible and key stayed still they would move on the letter “B”. Both reciting the phrase in turn, until they came to a letter when Bible and key seemed to slowly revolve and turn round, while still suspended from their fingers. Edwin said he saw the Bible and key begin to slowly revolve at the mention of certain letters. But whether this was the result of a tremor of the heart or the finger he could not say...... Elizabeth Eastwood City & District of St Albans Tour Guide

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Pet Proofing Your Garden There’s always a lot to say about small pests such as greenfly, caterpillars, vine-weevil and so forth, but early in the year it’s some of the bigger ‘residents’ which can really drive you around the bend. I’m talking about cats and dogs. What can you do to ensure that you continue to garden happily, successfully and safely, despite the fact the garden is visited by cats and dogs. You may need to consider actively fencing off one part of the garden for your dog, and trying to keep another area completely dog free. If you have a problem with “trespassing” dogs, you will of course need to mend broken fence panels and block access, if this won’t resolve the problem then you can try a deterrent such as ‘Fox-Watch’. Sometimes a few strategically planted dense and prickly shrubs such as pyracantha may help to deter digging paws. Obviously you don’t want to cause the animal harm, but something sharp, prickly or simply very dense can act as a good deterrent to unwanted cats. Neighbour’s cats are trickier to deal with as unfortunately they tend to do their ‘toileting’ along the edges of their territory, making your garden a prime target area. If this is a problem the more bare soil there is, the more likely a cat will start to use it as a loo!

Ground cover planting is essential and you could use temporary annual flowers to fill in gaps between longer term planting. If you find these too are scuffed up then cover newly planted areas of bedding with an arch of chicken mesh or sticks with taut string tied between them. Obviously this will look messy but can be removed promptly once the plants have rooted and started to establish, the electronic cat deterrent ‘Cat-Watch’ works very well too. Mulching materials can cause problems and despite what the label says the cocoa shell mulches seem to attract cats. Generally speaking soggy mulches or anything with a strong smell tend to deter cats, as they hate digging in moist material. Take extreme care if dogs use the garden as cocoshell mulches can prove fatal to them. Mulches made of large pebbles or stones also tend to keep them at bay, but smaller diameter gravel or shingle seems to be quite attractive to some cats. Areas of freshly sown seed are best protected either by chicken mesh or sticks and string. Remember to keep the string taut at all times, as there’s a slight risk that birds could become entangled in it. by Pippa Greenwood

Anyone for Cricket? Chiswell Green based Greenwood Park Cricket Club who start the season in April are looking to attract new players to the club. The club hold net sessions on Sundays between 6pm and 7pm at the Hertfordshire Sports Village in Hatfield. Throughout the season they play league fixtures on Saturdays and friendly games on Sundays. The club may not be one of the biggest in the area, but does benefit from being a close knit friendly club with an award winning pitch. During the year they have many social events including a golf day, and the much loved Presidents day. All new members would benefit from free subscription in the first year, for more information contact Dan on 07773 372408 or visit www.greenwoodparkplay-cricket.com

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Snowdrop Days Out

To see snowdrops in all their glory, visit one of these local open gardens, where you can enjoy these wonderful flowers in beautifully landscaped grounds. Some of the gardens also sell snowdrops, or you can by them from specialists, such as Avon Bulbs 01460 242177 www.avonbulbs.co.uk Benington Lordship 08701 261709 beningtonlordship.co.uk This breathtaking garden just outside Stevenage is famous for its huge drifts of rare and unusual snowdrops, which cover most of the moat and grounds around the Norman castle and house. Open daily from 8th Feb - 2nd March 12-4pm. (photograph taken by A Kersting) Myddelton House 08456 770 600 visitleevalley.org.uk The Alpine Meadow and Rock Garden at Myddelton House in Enfield, Middlesex, are covered with snowdrops from February to March. Open daily 9.30-4.30pm. February is a month filled with hope, and not just for Chippenham Park romantics. As the days lengthen we gardeners take 01638 721416 chippenhamparkgardens.info heart, as snowdrops herald the beginning of spring, Just beyond Cambridge, a visit to Chippenham is well worth the drive, with acres of woodland and their tiny nodding flowers peeking through the lakeside gardens carpeted with snowdrops and frozen soil. It’s also the ideal time to plant snowdrops, which are other spring bulbs. Open weekends in February from 11-4pm best planted with their leaves intact, soon after by Zia Allaway at The Garden Room. Learn more flowering in February or March. Set them out in about plants and garden design at Zia’s gardening groups in sun or part shade, ideally beneath workshops in Harpenden www.ziaallaway.com deciduous trees, where the soil won't become waterlogged.

What a catch! Just before the New Year in Verulamium Park we spotted a group of people by the stream and wondered what was going on, so went to take a look and were amazed to see a beautiful kingfisher perched on a branch the other side of the stream. It didn’t seem at all shy of all the onlookers and then delighted us by diving in and catching this fish. photo kindly sent by Alison Shirley

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February Frolics 15th - 23rd February Come and see newborn lambs every day at Willows Farm during this special lambing event with a fun-packed programme for halfterm, including: farmyard animals, adventure play and Tristan the Runaway Tractor. We also have plenty of undercover activities with The Farmyard, JCB Young Drivers Zone, Captain Chicken's Egg Dodge, Toddler Town and Woolly Jumpers indoor play barn. See lamb bottle feeding and win a prize by helping Bo Peep find her lost sheep! Coursers Road London Colney 0870 1299718 www.willowsfarmvillage.com

ART CLASSES FOR KIDS!

Holiday Workshops and Term Time Classes in ST ALBANS

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07949 293463


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What’s on in February 42

24th Jan - 13th April Exhibition: Googles & Gadgets page 14 2nd Epiphany & Candlemas Carol Service see page 16 Walk: Harpenden Lea Valley (RSPB) 01582 715420, meet on bridge nr Marquis of Granby Pub, Crabtree Lane, Harpenden, 8am 10.15am, free, donations appreciated 5th & 6th Peppa Pig’s Big Splash see page 8 7th Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise see page 8 8th Sarah Millican Watford Colosseum www.watfordcolosseum.co.uk Gerry Cross the Mersey Harpenden Public Halls, 01582 767525, 7.30pm, £17.50 / £15.50 Snowdrops Benington Lordship see page 38 10th Soroptimist Women's Group Meeting Greenwood Park Community Centre, learn about the St Albans Food Bank, 7.45pm www.sigbi.org/st-albans 12th - 15th The St Albans Gang Show see page 8 14th Valentines Quiz Night see page 34 C’mon Everybody Harpenden Public Halls, 01582 767525, Rock & Roll music tribute show, 7.30pm, £18.75 / £16.25 15th Carillon Chamber Choir St Peter’s Church, a programme of music & readings, 7.30pm, adult £14, concs £12, 01582 763774 ward.geoff.t21@btinternet.com Charlie & Lolas Extremely New Play Weston Auditorium, University of Hertfordshire, 01707 281127, 11am / 1.30pm / 3.45pm Faure Requiem St Peters Church, St Peters St, Carillion Choir, 01582 763774, £14 / £12 Coffee & Yummy Cakes from the Soroptimist women's group, Wesley’s Coffee Shop, Harpenden, in aid of St Albans & Hertsmere Women’s Refuge, 10am -12.30pm www.sigbi.org/st-albans 15th - 23rd Van Hague's Circus see page 18 February Frolics see page 40 16th The Fabulous Johnny Cash Road Show The Radlett Centre, 01923 859291, the only show to be recognised and endorsed by the Cash family, 8pm, £18.50 / £17.50

Kidnapped see page 18 Walk: 2nd Battle of St Albans 1461 around the site of one of the most dramatic battles of the Wars of the Roses, meet at 11.30am outside the St Albans Tourist Information Office The Straits see page 8 17th - 19th Old Times see page 26 17th - 21st Holiday Skates RollerCity, WGC, 1pm - 2.30pm / 3pm - 4.30pm, £6.75 incl skates www.rollercity.co.uk 18th Wow! This Show is Magic! see page 18 18th - 20th Mill Green Museum Half Term Crafts page 18 19th Dancing for Fun British Schools Museum, please book 01462 420144, maypole dancing & English country dancing, child £3, 10am -12 noon www.hitchinbritishschools.co.uk Displays beginning with C or D St Mary's Church, Childwickbury, St Albans Harpenden & District Philatelic Society, visitors welcome, 8pm p.mellor@btinternet.com 20th Family Discovery Morning see page 16 Chris & Pui Roadshow see page 8 22nd Murder at Verulamium Museum: Who Killed the Curator? see page 14 22nd & 23rd The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army Sat 22nd concert, Harpenden High Street Methodist Church, 7pm, adult £8, child £5, family £25 from 07774 312960 Sun 23rd The ISB will lead the morning service at Harpenden Salvation Army, Leyton Green, Harpenden, 10.15am & a small concert at 3.30pm 23rd Lanwarne at Burstons see page 37 25th & 26th Jason Manford: First World Problems page 8 26th Tour: Abbey By Night see page 16 Walk: Ver Valley from St Albans (RSPB) 01582 764226, half day bird watching, meet by Verulamium Museum, 9.45am 27th St Columba’s College Open Afternoon page 41 27th Feb - 8th March The Two Gentlemen of Verona see page 10 28th The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain page 8


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What’s on in March 44

1st Faustus see page 10 4th St Albans Pancake Race see page 4 6th U3A Launch Meeting see page 28 World Book Day see page 4 7th Rothamsted International Film Club: The Man Who Never Was Fowden Conference Centre, Rothamsted Research, 01582 762919, 7pm, £4 8th Open Singing Day with The Lea Singers: Brahms Requiem St George's School, Harpenden, 01707 377029, 11am - 5pm Community Book Fair see page 14 Harpenden Art, Crafts & Antiques Fayre Harpenden Methodist Church, 10 - 4pm Strauss & Mendelssohn St Albans Cathedral, St Albans Symphony Orchestra www.saso.org.uk 9th Lambing Day see page 40 International Women’s Day Verulamium Park, led by Soroptimist women's group on the bridge over the boating lake, 2pm www.sigbi.org/st-albans Mike & The Mechanics The Alban Arena, 01727 844488 15th Tree Planting at Heartwood Forest see page 39 15th - 23rd St Albans MusicCity see page 16

16th Lanwarne at Burstons see page 36 19th Display: Aspects of Bavaria St Mary's Church, Childwickbury, St Albans Harpenden & District Philatelic Society, visitors welcome, 8pm p.mellor@btinternet.com 20th The Secret World of Charles Dickens Abbey Theatre, St Albans, 01727 857861, Ian Keable, winner of The Magic Circle’s prestigious Comedy Award, performs the favourite magic tricks of Charles Dickens & divulges the spooky practices of Victorian psychics, 8pm 22nd Steampunk Ball see page 14 Cycles of Life Brahms ‘Requiem’ & Jonathan Dove's ‘The Passing of the Year’, performed by The Lea Singers, St Nicholas Church, Harpenden, 7.30pm www.leasingers.co.uk 24th Butterfly World Reopens 10am - 5pm every day until November 24th - 29th Crazy For You Harpenden Public Halls, Harpenden Light Operatic Society 25th - 29th Cosí Fan Tutte see page 34 29th Hardynge Choir Concert High Street Methodist Church, Harpenden, 7.30pm Fund Raising Auction The Wadley Hut, Watford Road, St Albans, bric a brac & book sale: 9.30am auction viewing: 12 noon, sale: 1pm


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Index of Businesses

Accountants TaxAssist Accountants

43

Aerial Installations Concorde Aerials

15

Alloy Wheels The Wheel Specialist

45

Art Classes / Events FineArt4Kids!

40

Beauty Skin & Tonic

33

Bicycle Repairs Cycletech Hertfordshire

44

Cabinet Makers Sequoia Bespoke

19

Care Advisory Services Westcott

47

Carpentry / Joinery Chris Smyth

19

Cleaning Big Yellow Cleaning Company Carpet Brite Daily Poppins Domestico Domestique Linda & Karen Cleaning Services Molly Maid Murray’s Cleaning Services

7 7 9 5 6 9 9 7

Counselling / Sex Therapy Michael Stock Domestic Appliance Repairs Leigh Hibon

26 15

Electricians Alban Electrical Services I & B Electrical MLC Electrical Fancy Dress & Dancewear FunZone

13 15 13 4

Fencing Verulam Fencing

21

Flooring Creative Wood Flooring

19

Garden Centre Burston Garden Centre

37

Gardening / Landscaping Garden Life Landscapes Lanwarne Landscapes

39 37

Gas K25

11

Glassware Repairs Chipped Glassware

17

Hairdressers Chestnut Professional Hairdressing Phoenix Hairdressing Health / Fitness / Slimming Intelligent Pilates Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Classes The Fit Lab Hearing Services The Hearing Healthcare Practice Hot Tubs A5 Hot Tubs Outdoor Clothing & Camping Gear Complete Outdoors

35 35 29 27 29

31 25

24

Oven Cleaning Ovenmaster

9

Painters & Decorators CB Decorators M & M Decorating

11 10

Photographers I & W Photography

3

Picture Framing Leading Art @ Bloom

21

Plasterer A. Merson Plastering

6

Plumber DJ&M Plumbing Services Ltd

11 & 47

Pond Maintenance Women With Waders

39

Property Maintenance Mr Handyman Nick The Handyman

17 17

School St Columba’s College

41

Security Maximum Security Systems

13

Shutters The Harpenden Shutter Company

21

Soft Furnishings Homeworks

10

Tree Surgeons Fircroft Tree Services.co.uk

39

TV Repairs JB TV Services

13

Wedding Show The Luxury Wedding Show Windows & Doors AA Window Repairs Cloudy2Clear Markyate Windows & Doors Sash Restorations Ltd

2

22 back cover 23 23

Answers to puzzles Quick Crossword Across: 1 Belgium, 5 Scrub, 8 Swollen, 9 Exact, 10 Stern, 11 Theatre, 12 Artist, 14 Deadly, 17 Amateur, 19 Image, 22 Tense, 23 Altered, 24 Daddy, 25 Saddled. Down: 1 Buses, 2 Loose, 3 Islands, 4 Minute, 5 Scene, 6 Roasted, 7 Battery, 12 Adapted, 13 Trained, 15 Existed, 16 Breaks, 18 Every, 20 April, 21 Ended.

General Knowledge Crossword Across: 1 Renaissance, 9 Acrobat, 10 Junta, 11 Earl, 12 Sentence, 14 Omani, 15 Gnome, 20 Aquiline, 22 Urea, 24 Adios, 25 Orifice, 26 Chambermaid. Down: 2 Eardrum, 3 ASBO, 4 Sateen, 5 Adjutant, 6 Canon, 7 Caber, 8 Caret, 13 Uncle Sam, 16 Martini, 17 Canal, 18 Insole, 19 Harem, 21 Uriah, 23 Siam. We have made every effort to ensure that any material published in st albans NOW is correct and can accept no liability for any errors or delays in publication or distribution, st albans NOW accepts no responsibility for its advertisers.

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