Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Town Monday - Hatfield House.

Its amazing the history that is on your doorstep and just how little you really know about it!! I had my education broadened last year when we travelled the 4 miles from Beth's school to the great house. I was impressed, its a beautiful place and one I intend to revisit this summer.

Hatfield House was completed in 1611. It was built by Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury and son of Lord Burghley, the chief minister of Elizabeth I. The deer park surrounding the house and the older building of the Old Palace had been owned by Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, who had used it as a home for his children, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary. It was while she was living in the Old Palace, in 1558, that Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne.

The Cecils’ former home was at Theobalds, also in Hertfordshire. In 1607, Elizabeth’s heir, James I offered to exchange Theobalds for the Old Palace and manor of Hatfield. A draft Parliamentary Act of exchange survives in the Cecil Papers at Hatfield, dated May 1607. Salisbury began building work immediately. The main architect of the house was Robert Lemynge but Simon Basil, the Surveyor of the King’s Works and Inigo Jones also contributed to the design.

Salisbury had been appointed Lord Treasurer in April 1607 as well as Chief Secretary, but, he became ill and died, aged only 48, in April 1612. Although he was buried in Hatfield, he didn’t live to enjoy the house that was to become the home of his descendants for the next 400 years.

The Old Palace is beautiful and just how imagined Elizabethan England to be.( a very romantic view!!) On a school visit they re-enact the life and times of an Elizabeth worker, we tasted food from the era, we had a go at archery, as all the Kings men were proficient archers, we had an audience with Henry VIII, and even got to sing him a song!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cadburys World.

Yesterday we took an amble up the M1 to sunny Birmingham and the gorgeous, creamy, scrummy, sweeet, chocolate world of Mr Cadbury!!

The journey was fine although I am sure that Birmingham was closer than the 116 miles Stella said it was on previous visits!! We went with Karen and Megan from over the road and Hannah who was sleeping over. The girls were very happy in the back singing and playing games all the way there. Karen was super organised and had a bag with drinks and food.

When we got there we had trouble finding a space to park. Once we got in we were an hour ahead of our 'tour' time but they said it wasn't too busy so we could start the tour straight away. We were in the first theatre with our little bag of goodies when I realised that I had left Stella in full view in the car, so I had to go back the way I came and rescue her. It was not an easy thing to do as there were no escape routes like they have in Disney. When I eventually joined them again they were in the next theatre, the one with the wobbly seats!! We continued around to the Cadabra ride where the attendant took great pains to tell us that we would be photographed half way around and that we could see the photos when we got off, well we stuffed that up as we were all looking the wrong way and there were two lovely shots of the back of our heads, Karen,the only one looking the right way, looked dazed, so not a successful photo shoot!!

The girls had a go at piping with chocolate and we decided to have a bite to eat. We walked into the cafe and were immediately attracted by the scones, jam and cream with a pot of tea deal. The girls had hot dogs and chips. (slimming world starts today again!!!)

Since my last visit they have converted an area outside into another attraction called 'Essence' in here we were able to choose some sweets which they they covered in melted Dairy milk. It was very yummy and very sickly!!

We had a great day out, I am glad we had free tickets or it would have been a very very expensive day!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On a day trip.

Today We are going to Cadburys World with my neighbour Karen, Megan and Hannah. This is one of the bonus' of having a Personal Assistant who has a husband who works for Cadbury!!
I have my camera and will report back later.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Laura...... Is back online!!!

After a very long time off line, Laura and Scott are now finally back online. Welcome back Laura!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Town Monday - Sir Ebenezer Howard

After thinking long and hard about what I can tell you about my town, I have decided to do some research and tell you all about the original founder and how our town came about.

Welwyn Garden City is the second 'Garden City' The first one being a few miles away, Letchworth Garden City. The concept of the town was bought about by the work of a prominent urban planner, Sir Ebenezer Howard.

Howard read widely, including Edward Bellamy's 1888 Utopian novel Looking Backward and thought deeply about social issues.
One result was his book (1898) titled To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real reform which was reprinted in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-Morrow. This book offered a vision of towns free of slums and enjoying the benefits of both town (such as opportunity, amusement and high wages) and country (such as beauty, fresh air and low rents). He illustrated the idea with his famous Three Magnets diagram (pictured), which addressed the question 'Where will the people go?', the choices being 'Town', 'Country' or 'Town-Country' - the Three Magnets.

It called for the creation of new suburban towns of limited size, planned in advance, and surrounded by a permanent belt of agricultural land. These Garden cities were used as a role model for many suburbs. Howard believed that such Garden Cities were the perfect blend of city and nature. The towns would be largely independent, and managed and financed by the citizens who had an economic interest in them.

His ideas attracted enough attention and financial backing to begin Letchworth Garden City, a suburban garden city north of London A second garden city, Welwyn Garden City, was started after World War I. The creation of Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City were influential in the development of "New Towns" after World War II by the British government.


Walt Disney used elements of Howards's concepts in his original design for EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow).

If only I had known, may have saved me a few trips to Disney over the years!!! (Mind you he wasn't responsible for Tower of Terror and Space Mountain though!!)

This is what is so exciting about doing my town Monday, I now know that Vincent Van Gogh came to town AND Ebenezer Howard was influential in some of the design of EPCOT - Brilliant!!

Back from 'Oop North'

We are back from the frozen wastes of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Except we actually saw very little snow. Back home it seems that they had more than we did!! On Friday I met up with some of my scrapping padders buddies. I was a pleasure to meet for the first time Andrea, Jean and Gail. (I have photos of Jean and Gail but they wouldn't thank me for displaying them !!) Friday morning at 11.30am we met up at the Metro centre and headed for the Pizza Hut. The weather was terrible, blowing a gale, freezing cold and raining, apart from that it was fine. When we arrived at 'The Hut' we found that on every other day it opened at 11.30, but Good Friday they made an exception and opened at 12!! We had thirty minutes to endure the weather. Once Andrea and Jaffers arrived we went in and waited for Ginger to arrive for lunch. Its strange how you know someone having only previously spoken to them online. Gail was the only one who I really didn't know too much about, but we soon got chatting!!

After lunch Andrea went home as her poor back was starting to play up.The rest of us went back to the Metro Centre and hit Papermill, I bought a pad of the new Laura Ashley paper, which is rather nice! We took Jen back to our hotel room, (just so that we could freshen up don't you know!!)and then down to the coast where we all played at being kites in the strong wind!!

I don't think I have experienced such strong gusts, it just about blew us off of our feet!!We took Jen back to Central Station (that was a nightmare, in the past 10 years someone must have moved it!!) We eventually got her there and we were only 30 minutes late for our dinner date with Tom's sisters!! By this time it was snowing hard, great big fluffy lumps which were settling on the cars. We had dinner at The Bluebell Inn and eventually arrived back at the hotel for 11pm.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We're Off.

Today we are heading for the frozen north of the country. I started to look on line for a place to stay and came across a 4 star hotel offering Bed and Breakfast for £49 for the three of us. It sounds good. So once we have collected Beth we will be off.
Carl had a sleep over at school last night, under the guise of raising money for one of the school projects in The Gambia. He thought he was going to get some sleep, but he didn't he was up all night and I expect he will be like a bear with a sore head when he gets home. He has swimming training tonight (if he manages to get up in time!!)
This weekend Dad is going to be the chief taxi driver!!
So I am off to finish packing my wet weather and snow gear!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Run Beth Run...

We were quite shocked when Beth came home from school to say that she had been picked to run in the schools B cross country team. She had never shown the slightest interest in running before and we were so surprised. She practiced at school for three whole weeks before the event, running on flat ground. I really don't think she had the slightest idea what she had let herself in for!!
On the day of the race we went along with hundreds of other kids. Beth's race, for the girls B teams was run first. She set off well on a circuit that took them into the woods and included a VERY steep hill that they all had to clamber up using their hands.
She ran very well for the first round but the hill sorted out the runners from the rest. We were very proud of Beth for finishing her first ever Cross Country race. We think this is likely to be be her last race as well!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Town Monday - An odd fact!!!!

I was out and about taking in the local scenery when I came across the below plaque, so I photographed it with the intention of doing a bit of research on it. Its an informational Historic event kind of plaque, but it struck me as funny to celebrate such a minor event!!!

To start with it was a piece of 'History' that I have never heard talk of before, so I went off in search of further information. Well it has been very hard to come by and I did wonder at one point if the present cottage owners had decided to have the plaque made to 'big up' the history of their humble abode. The more I thought about it the more I thought that this was unlikely. If I had been trying to improve the history of my house (which I think in my case would be hard as we have lived here for 50% of the time it has been in existence, all the previous owners can claim is that they left us with the effects of numerous County Court judgements recorded against our address!!!) I would have chosen something more exciting!!

So Rose Cottages' claim to fame...... Anne Van Gogh lived in the cottage for a whole year between 1875 and 1876 and on AT LEAST a couple of occasions it is BELIEVED that her, at the time ordinary brother, Vincent Van Gogh, walked from London to visit her. It was reputed that at the time he was living in Ramsgate, he somehow managed to get to London whilst being penniless and then completed his journey on foot. We are around 22 miles North of London, so it was a reasonable trek for him. On checking on the history of the great artist, I can confirm that he was in England at the time, I can confirm that he has a brother called Theo, but info on Anne is not available!!

The fact is so unimpressive that of you do a Google search you will find only two references to this amazing fact!! (possibly three soon if enough people read this blog!!!)

So there you have it, you are now party to a very secret fact about my town, should I inform the Tourist Board????

Friday, March 14, 2008

I have made a couple of Cards.

This week Beth's Teacher gave birth to her first baby, a baby boy they have named Alex!! how exciting. She actually went into labour on Wednesday which is the day that Beth has her extra maths lesson from her husband, so we saved the tutoring fee this week!!! So in preparation I made a boy card, a girl card and an emergency either sex card!! I love this little baby grow stamp its so versatile!!

The above card is a bit of a cheat, I have made it using a 'cupcake' post it note!! Just before Christmas I spied these notes in Tesco's they came in a pack of two different designs for 99p. So I bought a pack and finally got around to using one. I stuck the post it note to some sparkly brown paper, I added the sentiment around the outside in white souffle pen. I then mounted it on green paper and then on the card. I added some 'stickles bling', which is more obvious in real life!!

This week I received a small package that I ordered from an Etsy seller in USA. I had been looking through and spotted some hand made silver and pearl rings, they are beautiful and so reasonable in price. Look Here! The lady was lovely to deal with and included an extra ring free of charge. They are made out of sterling silver wire wound around to make the ring. The stones are thread on to the wire and the wire ends are wrapped around to form a shank. I am so impressed with them, I think I may well have a go at making one, I have lots of beautiful beads!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Town Monday - Mill Green Mill

This week I was undecided about what to comment on, so I eventually decided to tell the story of our local Water mill - Mill Green Mill.

There has probably been a mill on this site since Saxon times, for the Doomsday survey of 1086 records that the manor of "Hetfelle", held by the Abbot of Ely, included four mills. With the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII the manor of Hatfield, and thus Mill Green Watermill, came under the control of the crown. The crown maintained control until the Cecil Family took over the Hatfield estate in the early part of the 17th Century.
Mill Green Watermill remained a part of The Cecil Family estate until its purchase by Hatfield Rural District Council in the 1950s.

Down through the centuries the mill has seen many alterations and repairs. The date and initials "17 IB 62", which are still visible on a front wall brick, suggests a major rebuild was undertaken during the latter part of the 18th Century. This was probably connected with the need to increase milling capacity as the medieval system - "soke" - fell into disuse. The initials "IB" are most likely those of Joseph Biggs, a prominent entrepreneur in the area at that time. A signature dating from 1824, visible on the first floor Hurst frame, may indicate further structural work.
Modernisation of the milling industry meant that by the early 1900s the local grocer was able to supply flour much cheaper than the local mill, and so traditional milling, and, inevitably, millers themselves, began to disappear.

In 1911 the miller at Mill Green, Sydney Christmas Lawrence, dropped the sluice gate and closed the front door for the very last time. After his emigration to Australia both the building and machinery were left to fall into disrepair.

Plans to restore the mill were first formulated in the early 1970s.
The Mill Green Watermill Restoration Trust, set up in 1979, pooled the resources of a large number of interested groups and individuals.
A new staircase and first floor were installed, and the pit wheel and Hurst frame were both repaired.
The work was concluded in 1986 with the replacement of the waterwheel and millstones.
Following a break of 75 years the wheels and gears roared back into life, the millstones began to grind and Mill Green Flour was once again being made.

Now the Mill is open to the public and produces its own brand of flour. There is an education centre and a range of different exhibits. During the year there are many different interactive activities. If watching the water mill in action become too much, there is a great pub, The Green man, right next door!!!

Blogger is behaving tonight and allowing more than one photo at a time to be uploaded. Here is Dad blowing out his candles and Beth hiding in the balloons!!
The weather today has been awful heavy rain and strong wind Plus its really quite chilly. Tomorrow I have a meeting in Bury St Edmunds so I hope the weather is better!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Today we finally managed to pull off a surprise 70th Birthday Party for Dad. It has taken a bit of organising and again Beth has done us proud, not once letting slip what the plans were!!
We arranged for people to go to the Conservative Club in North Watford for 2.30pm Mum and Dad were arriving around 3. By the time we arrived the food was laid out. We put the balloons and banners up. We put the cake on the table and arranged the candles and waited for the arrival of the victim.
When they arrived dad was surprised, he was pleased to see his friends from work, some had travelled from Norfolk to be there.A lot of us had travelled from Welwyn Garden City!! Our cousins and dads brother and sister in law were there. Unfortunately we had a few people unable to make it, Uncle Roy and Auntie peg. Roy is in hospital and Auntie Peg has been struck down with the sickness bug. Karen and Graham, Andy and Pete, all struck down by the same bug!!
We had a very nice afternoon with lots more photos, but because Blogger is playing silly bloggers I can only upload one photo per post!!

SBS-9 Card Challenge.

This weekend I have had quite a good one craft wise. I have made a lot of cards and managed 5 layouts! This is my one for the March Card Challenge. Trouble is I can't actually remember what is what, or who makes what!! I used a stamp, stazon ink, a rescued ribbon and a scrap of flowery paper. I am quite pleased with the result considering its been made from scraps!!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Feeling sad.....

It has just dawned on me that I have watched the last netball match that Beth will ever play competitively for Panshanger school. I can't believe that this is her last year. What will I do? I will really miss going there and I feel that its the end of such a long and happy era.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What does it for you???

I was sitting here blog hopping and listening to the music player on my own blog, when 'How deep is your love?' by the Bee Gees came on. I knew it was there, I had chosen it, but just listening to those first few bars instantly transported me back to my youth, to the time when Saturday Night Fever was the hit of the year. I was just starting out on my career. I can clearly remember going to see the film in Watford, (when there used to be three independent cinemas!) I can remember who I went with (Debbie Roberts) I can remember watching the film and being totally in love with John Travolta.
I can remember coming out of the film and getting into Debs car only to realise that someone had broken into her car and nicked my cassette tape of the film tracks!!
Its funny how music is the signature tune of our lives, it allows us to pinpoint exactly what was going on at that time. I have other songs that take me back.

'Puppy Love' - Donny Osmond. Memories of listening to this 45 record over and over again on my portable record player. I knew/know all the words!!
'Now that we've found love' by Third World and 'Shame' by Evelyn Champagne King- takes me back to training school and the fun I had there.
'A message to you Rudy' - Specials - A great night out at Hatfield Polytechnic!
'Hit me with your rhythm stick' Ian Dury and the Blockheads 1978 absolutely classic!
'Vindaloo' Fat Les - Memories of driving to Whitby in the sun with the windows down!
'Avalon'- Roxy music (Bryan Ferry, I married the wrong Geordie!!!)

These are just a few of the memories that spring to mind, what music brings back memories for you??

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hello Buzz and Woody!!

Hello Woody!!

Hello Buzz!

Last week Beth's hamster, Fudge, passed away. He was old for a hamster, he was over three years old. He had been looking quite elderly and slow of late. Beth was still very upset to find that he had gone when she went to feed him. We buried in the garden.
She had asked us ages ago if she could have a bird if anything happened to Fudge and we had said yes. So last Saturday we chose these two little flappers to live with us!!
Woody is green and yellow and is around 3 months old. He is a little boy, you can tell this by the colour of the cere which is the small blue/purple patch above his nose.
Buzz is Turquoise and yellow, he is younger by a month he is not fully grown as yet. The other problem is that we are not fully sure what sex Buzz is, the cere is still quite pink in colour. If it turns brown it would mean Buzz is a lady. If that turns out to be the case we will have to rename him Jessie!! They are pretty little birds who have settled in really well.

School Allocation!!

Well this time everything has gone according to plan!! Beth will be going to Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School and Sports college, our first choice, Megs over the road got her first choice of Bishops Hatfield girls school and Sam got his first choice of St Marys Catholic and Performing Arts School Bishops Stortford,(Waves to their mums, Karen and Debbie!!!)
Phew, thank goodness that's the last time we ever have to go through that!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Netball - An Explanation !!!

I had no idea that Netball wasn't an international sport until one of my readers said they thought it was like Basket ball, so although there are some similarities, it is a completely different sport.

Netball is played on a court which is divided into thirds with a semi circle in each of the end thirds. The posts with the nets stand just outside the court in the middle of the semi circles.
Its a team sport with 7 players, when it is played at primary school the teams can be mixed boys and girls, although it is mainly played by girls. Once the game is played competitively out of school teams are all female.

Each player is only allowed in designated parts of the court, only 4 designated players are allowed in the semi circles, two goal shooters and two defenders. It is a non contact sport, once you have possession of the ball you can not run or walk with it, if you do you commit a foul. If you drop the ball and pick it up again, you commit a foul, If you step into an area you are not allowed in you commit a foul, if you get too close to your 'partner' you commit a foul, With all those restrictions it is still a fast game and tactics help players know which space to throw the ball into! (or not sometimes !!)

My Town Monday - Welwyn Viaduct.

The Welwyn Viaduct, also called Digswell Viaduct is a famous viaduct over the River Mimram and a locally important landmark. It is located between Welwyn Garden City and Digswell. It is just to the south of Welwyn North railway station.The viaduct is around 1,560ft (475m) long and comprises forty arches of 30ft (9.1m) span, and is 100ft (30m) high from ground level to trackbed. It is built of brick fired from brick clay quarried on site during construction, and took two years to build, including the construction of embankments at both ends which required the movement of around one million tons of earth by human and horse power. Local history says that for every arch built a man died during the construction of it.
It was designed by William Cubitt and styled after a Roman aqueduct.It was originally opened by Queen Victoria on 6 August 1850, and remains in use today, carrying the East Coast Main Line, which has to narrow from four tracks to two to cross the viaduct, making it a bottleneck restraining capacity over this strategic transport route. Several ideas to overcome this limitation without damaging its essential historic character and design are periodically discussed. The line was electrified in the 1970s.
There is a story that the Queen herself was anxious about taking the train over the 100 foot high viaduct, and preferred to disembark before reaching it, travelling by road to the next station on the other side.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Saturday Morning Entertainment.

A toss up between Beth and a player from Peartree.

Beth and David practicing !!!

The Runners Up - Minus Tears!!

Saturday Morning was Welwyn Garden City Primary Schools Netball Tournament which is held at Stanborough School. We (Panshanger Primary) had two teams entered, the A team and the B team!! There were two competitions in one, the B team played in a round robin with other B teams and the A team played in a knock out competition. The B team played well and won their competition.
Beth plays for the A team , they have been unbeaten for around the last 18 months and have won the last two tournaments. The first match of the tournament was against Peartree JMI, It was a really rough match with a lot of physical contact, which was odd as its not a contact sport!! After a hard slog the match ended a draw, which was a fair result as we had chances which we were not able to convert into goals. (it was incredibly windy and freezing cold!!)
We won the rest of the games in our section and went through to the semi-finals against Applecroft. Again we beat Applecroft and went into the final. We were in the final playing Peartree again. It was a very scrappy match which was very physical, this seemed to bring out the worse in our team and we struggled from the very beginning. Eventually after a very hard fought match Panshanger lost 3-2. There were lots of tears. The problem was they felt as if they had not lost fair and square. Our players were knocked over, elbowed and scratched, it seemed that every single penalty pass and shot went against us. None the less they received runners up medals and certificates and played a very good tournament!!