Monday, April 28, 2008

My Town Monday - Coat of Arms

Well us British are into our history and it seems that just about every town in Hertfordshire (the County where I live ) has a coat of arms. I suppose its very useful for making your headed note paper look official, but I am not sure that the general public in this day and age would have any idea what it was about apart from sometimes looking pretty.
On looking into our towns coat of arms, I have found out what the various 'bits' mean, so here is the official description of the Coat of Arms, this enables it to be drawn by someone who has never seen the crest providing they understand the terms mentioned!!

ARMS: Or a Fess wavy between in chief a Bar wavy Azure surmounted of two Willow Trees couped and in base an Oak Tree couped fructed proper.CREST: On a Wreath of the Colours within a Circlet of eight Roses Gules each charged with another Argent barbed and seeded proper a Garb Or between two Wings displayed Azure.SUPPORTERS: On either side a Hart Royal proper that on the dexter charged on the shoulder with two Pairs of Dividers in fess inverted and extended the interior points contiguous Argent and that on the sinister with a representation of a Roman Wine Jar Or within a Cage Sable.BADGE: On a Bezant environed of a Torse Or and Azure two Pallets Azure surmounted of a Bar dancetty of two points downward counter-changed.
Motto 'BY WISDOM AND DESIGN'.Granted 11th February 1976.
There, that was fully understandable wasn't it????

The more interesting bit though is how the various 'parts' were included in the design and what they represent.

The blue wave on a gold background represents the River Lea, with the narrower parallel wave for the River Mimram. The two willows from the crest of the Welwyn Garden City UDC and the device of the Welwyn RDC are in reference to the origin of the name Welwyn - meaning 'willow'. The oak tree is from from the crest of the Hatfield RDC. The shield thus suggests in a simple visual pattern the River Mimram flowing through Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City, and the Hatfield area south of the River Lea.The eight Tudor roses (five visible), from the arms of the Hatfield RDC, refer to the many associations of that period with Hatfield Palace, including the sojourn of the young Elizabeth and her presence at Hatfield on learning of her accession. The gold wheatsheaf, represents the agricultural pursuits of the area, flanked by two blue wings alluding to the local aircraft industry. The wheatsheaf is also a feature of the crest of the ancestors of the Cecils of Hatfield, particularly Lord Burghley, Queen Elizabeth's famous minister and father of Robert Cecil, the first of the family to reside at Hatfield.The harts, like those of the County Council, are a reference to Hertfordshire. The two dividers shaped like a letter W are from the arms of the Welwyn Garden City UDC, emphasizing its character as a planned development. The Roman urn from the device of the Welwyn RDC, typifies the historic antiquities of that area.The motto is that used by the Welwyn Garden City UDC.

So there you have it, you can now look on coats of arms with a knowledge you never had before!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

One Busy Day!!!!

We had been planning for a while to replace our garden fence this weekend. Our neighbours had bought all the panels, posts and post mix all we really had to do was supply the labour. Yesterday I was up bright and early to take dad to the hospital for his hernia op, so when I came home I made the most of it and cracked on in the garden.
First of all I had to trim the rose bushes right back as I didn't want the workers getting shredded by the thorns. Once I had started I could stop and ended up taking one bush out entirely. We also had a very rampant ivy growing up the fence, and that took me a fair while to strip off and dig up. Some of it is still hanging around but I'll finish it tomorrow.
Anyway the 'men' have replaced 9 panels of fence plus the posts. I was sent out to buy a new gate but bought the wrong sort so I need to swap that tomorrow. The garden looks so much better and for the first time in a long time I am going to be able to go out and buy some new flowers for my patch of green. (plus I want a nice table and chairs set, a smart bistro set would do!!) The final bonus is that I put the old panels, which weren't broken but were mismatched and tired looking, on free cycle and they are being collected in the morning!!
In between all that mum and I went to collect dad from hospital, his hernia all fixed, now he is getting ready for his hip replacement!! (getting his money worth out of the National Health Service!!!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Well would you believe it???

Today I received a 'red letter' from a catalogue company that I bought some T Shirts from at the end of last year. My account has been fully paid up since February, so to get a red letter was a bit of a surprise!!

It said ;-
Dear Mrs Dee,
Having tried to contact you on several occasions you have failed to maintain repayment of your account. We are prepared to help you, but you must take responsibility for clearing this debt. The debt will not go away on its own. You must pay the arrears within 48 hours to avoid action being taken to recover the debt via the courts.
Please make the minimum payment of £0.00 within 48 hours to avoid court involvement.

At the bottom of the letter was a useful payment slip which showed a minimum payment of £0.00 to clear the balance of £0.00 !!!

I am now worried that all the other companies out there that I don't owe any money to may also come calling demanding payment, will I need debt counselling?? will I need to consolidate my debts with one loan of £0.00 to reduce my monthly outgoings?? I am not sure what to do now !!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Blog-a-versery to me.

My blog is two today, I can't beleive that I have been doing this for that long. Its great to look back at the memories!!!

My Town Monday - A Famous Son.

Today I am going to tell you about one of Welwyn Garden City's famous son's, We don't have too many so I am going to pace myself!!

Nick Faldo - Local man and one time golfing champion.

Faldo was born in Welwyn Garden City, England. He borrowed some clubs from his neighbours after watching Jack Nicklaus play the 1971 Masters on television. While working as a carpet fitter, Faldo won the English Amateur Championship and the British Youths Championship in 1975. He turned professional in 1976 and quickly achieved success, finishing 8th on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1977 and 3rd in 1978 and winning a European Tour event in each of those seasons. In the former year he became the youngest player to appear in the Ryder Cup at the age of 21. Faldo was one of the leading players on the European Tour in the early 1980s, and he topped the Order of Merit in 1983.
However, feeling that he needed to refine his game in order to become a regular contender in major championships (British tabloids even dubbed him "Nick Foldo" after collapses at the 1983 Open Championship and the 1984 Masters), he spent the mid-1980s remodelling his swing under the tutelage of David Leadbetter. His performances dropped off for a couple of years as the changes occurred, but by 1987 he was playing at an even higher level, and he claimed his first major title at that year's Open Championship. He managed to beat American Paul Azinger by one shot even without getting a birdie in the final round (he parred all 18 holes), after Azinger bogeyed the final two holes of the tournament.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Faldo was considered the best golfer in the world. He was noted for being remarkably composed under pressure, intimidating to his opponents, and won more of the four professional major tournaments (Faldo won six) than any other player in the world from 1987 through 1996 (Nick Price was second with three major victories during this period; Seve Ballesteros, a contemporary of Faldo's from Spain, won five majors from 1979-1988). He won the Open Championship again in 1990 in St Andrews, Scotland by six shots, and claimed it for a third time in 1992, outplaying American John Cook. He also won two more majors when he won the Masters Tournament in 1989 and 1990. At the 1989 Masters, he shot a 65, the low round of the tournament, to get into a playoff with Scott Hoch. He won the playoff after holing a somewhat lengthy putt on the 2nd playoff hole (Hoch missed a 2 foot putt to win on the first playoff hole). At the 1990 Masters, he came from behind again to get into a playoff with Raymond Floyd, once again winning on the second playoff hole after Floyd pulled his approach shot into a pond left of the green. Faldo spent a total of 98 weeks altogether at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, and claimed the European Tour Order of Merit a second time in 1992. During that time, Faldo said of his success: "The run doesn't have to end. If someone is going to beat me then I'm going to make sure they've worked for their victory. Let them come and get it from me." That year, he had worldwide earnings of £1,558,978, breaking the existing record.
Faldo was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1990 and the European Tour Player of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1992, and has won 29 European Tour titles. As Faldo entered his forties, his form gradually declined and he devoted more time to off-course activities. The last season that he played regularly on the PGA Tour was 2001. Afterwards, he refocused on the European Tour, but has consistently played less than a full schedule. His most recent top-10 finish in a major to date (and quite probably the final of his career) was a tie for eighth place at the 2003 Open Championship. As of July 2005, his career European Tour earnings are just under €8 million, and his PGA Tour earnings are over $5 million.

Faldo started his playing career at Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, and that is where my connection comes in. I have booked the golf club to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary in
June this year.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The tooth Fairy has officially retired,.

The tooth fairy has made her final visit to this house to carry away the very last baby tooth. Beth finally lost her last baby tooth yesterday, so now she will only visit if one of us loses a tooth by traumatic means!!
Quite sad really isn't it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pretty Little Birdie.

Its amazing the wild life that visits the back garden, all winter we have had a lovely fat hedgehog rumbling around spooking our dog!! I just hope that Mr hedgehog has eaten all the millions of slugs that we seem to have. Now its Bird time, I have spotted, in the last week, magpies, chaffinch,blue tits, sparrows, blackbirds, thrush and this morning a robin. It was singing loud from the top of my Jacobs Fir tree. I now realise that Robins sing loud and in scribble!! Their song seems to change as the feeling takes them.
This Robin was in the tree long enough for me to get a few shots of him, on full telephoto stretch .
I wonder if he'll be back tomorrow??

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Flower Swap.

i have just hosted a 'flower swap' on a forum that I am a member of, and these are the lovely flowers that have been swapped between all of us!!

I think I'll leave them in the vase for a while and then I'll use them in my scrap books!! Thanks Ladies they are lovely.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Town Monday - The Barn Theatre.

Today I want to tell you about our local Theatre, The Barn Theatre. My daughter goes there as
a member of the youth group and loves it. I have taken some of the history from their web site, so I can't claim ownership of it!! Its a great resource, literally a small 139 seater theatre that stages lots of traditional and popular modern productions, but it started life as a very different venue.

The picture above is a sketch of how the buildings look today, they are quite distinctive in what is now a residential area of the Garden City.

It is commonly stated that the present barn in Handside Lane was originally built closer to Handside hamlet, possibly in the late 1600's.
In accordance with tradition, it is believed that a 17th century barn was moved to Lower Handside from somewhere in the immediate area, but there is still have no firm evidence to confirm this. It is possible that an old barn had previously been taken down and stored for future use, or it might have come from non-estate land in the area. Another possibility is that the present building, with a distinct change in roof angle about halfway along the main structure, may be the result of combining two smaller barns. It is unlikely that a totally, or even partially, new structure would have been erected with this step in the roof, so maybe we should be looking for two previous sites, not one! It is likely that we may never know the age or origin of the barn.

Early Theatre in Welwyn Garden City.
Building of Welwyn Garden City started in 1920, and within a year, with the population less than 800, the first play was staged at Brickwall Barn (the Handside Barn was then full of cows!), when C.B. Purdom, a Director of Welwyn Garden City Ltd. (the company -formed to build and run the town), and an enthusiast for all forms of drama, directed local people in Shaw's 'The Showing Up of Blanco Posnet'. Drama proved to be a popular activity, and many groups were set up in the following years. Some key events with relevance to the subsequent opening of the Handside Barn as a theatre are listed below.
1921 Purdom founded the Welwyn Garden City Theatre Society, one of its objects being to seek a permanent theatre for amateur drama. Their first production was Shaw's 'Candida', in the Cherry Tree Restaurant, in December.
1924 The Labour Players was founded, by F.J. Osborn and others, to perform plays of social interest (the following year the name was changed to Welwyn Folk Players). Their first play was 'The White Lady', by H.B. Pointing, a local author, presented in the Parkway Hall [where the east end of Rosanne House now stands] in March.
1928 The Welwyn Theatre (later the Embassy cinema) opened in Parkway [where the Health Authority building now stands] for use as both cinema and theatre. Apart from the Welwyn Drama Festival, which was held there with great success annually from 1929 to 1973, it was not very suitable for amateur drama, so the need for a small amateur theatre remained.
1929 The Welwyn Thalians were formed from the W.G. City Barnstormers (founded in 1923) and the W.G. City Operatic Society (founded in 1927), with a strong emphasis on musical productions.
During the period 1921 to 1931 the above drama groups, and others, regularly staged about six to eight shows each year, mostly in the Parkway Hall, and later in the Welwyn Theatre. In 1930 the Welwyn Stores Staff Association performed 'Tilly of Bloomsbury', by Ian Hay, at the Handside Barn, which then housed their social club.
Growing dissatisfaction with the Welwyn Theatre led Dr L.T.M. Gray, a Director of the Welwyn Garden City Company (which owned the Handside Barn), who was also Chairman of the Theatre Society, to arrange, and to finance from his own resources, the conversion of part of the Barn to a theatre. All the local drama groups co-operated with the Theatre Society to carry out the necessary work, and the Barn Theatre was eventually inaugurated as a public theatre in January 1932, with Dr Gray as licensee, and responsible for its operation. It could seat 150 people on tip-up seats, with tickets at 1/3d [6 pence] and 2/6d [12 pence].

During the war years the premises were used to house soldiers and naval Cadets and took a bit of a battering, plans were put in place to renovate it and update the facilities.

On 1 October 1969, the new Barn Theatre Club opened its first season with a production of the musical show by Frank Norman (music by Lionel Bart), 'Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be' . A further six productions were staged by the Club in the season, and one by the ICI Dramatic Society, which had been unable to join the new organisation [the ICI club continued to put on shows at the Barn in most years until 1982, when ICI closed its main operation in the area. The Thalians also put on a couple of shows in 1970 and 1972].
In 1981 a second company, the Barn Theatre Trust Ltd., was set up as a Registered Charity, to be responsible for maintaining the building, and for staging the productions put on by Club members. Because a massive rent increase was expected soon, on renewal of the first 21 year lease, it was agreed to try to purchase the freehold of the building. After long negotiations, the Trust completed the purchase in 1984, following a major fund- raising campaign, so finally achieving the goal of an amateur theatre in the town, owned and controlled by its members. Since then many alterations have been, and continue to be, made to the facilities, dependent on the money and labour available, and on planning requirements for what is now a Grade II listed building.
A wide range of plays continues to he presented at the Barn Theatre. Displays of stage photographs and programmes from our archives are often used to illustrate the wide range of productions mounted during the life of the theatre - now approaching 70 years.
The Club also organises a variety of dramatic and social events, and is a member of The Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain. It regularly enters local and national drama festivals, in which it has won many awards.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some more photos.

Our recent weekend in Newcastle was quite spectacular on the weather front. We had snow, gale force winds and sun. I took some photos of a lighthouse off the coast of Sunderland, The sea was so rough that the water reached the top of the light house!! It was amazing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good News- He's home!!!

Well after a battery of tests Dad is home, they are not really sure what happened but think it may be connected to his hernia. So although he is a bit washed out he is back!! Hurrah!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Long Day

Today has not been a great one, dad is not well and is in hospital, it started early this morning after a call from mum to say he had taken a fall while on the stair lift. When we got there he did look very poorly.He had severe abdominal pain. The ambo got him to hospital and he then had a load of tests and a little morphine to ease things, he is still there now while they try and decide what is wrong with him. He looked better when we left tonight.

My Town Monday - The beast of Welwyn garden!!!

I expect that you must be wondering what I am going to be talking about this week. Here in England we really don't have a huge range of dangerous wild beasts, no wild bears or boars to talk of, BUT we do have numerous sightings of 'Huge Black Cats' . Now I am not sure if any of these cats actually exist but there is hardly a month goes by where there isn't a report of a sighting in the local paper or on the radio.
Last year for Herts and in particular Welwyn Garden City was a very busy one for sightings. These large cats are usually described as black and at three or four times the size of a regular cat. There are no wild cats native to the UK but I think that if these sightings are real that they could be cats that have escaped from captivity.
Last year a sighting of a big cat resulted in a full scale police operation, as reported by Herts News 24
'POLICE marksmen were deployed and a 21-officer search was carried out after two policemen spotted a big cat near to their Hertford station on Saturday.The duo reported seeing a large feline type animal on a building site just before 7am and a three-hour search for the beast followed.Insp Paul Burnage from the intervention and response unit at Hertford led the investigation. He said: "It was our priority to ensure public safety. We called an expert from a local wildlife park to stun the animal if it was seen. "However, our firearms unit, including officers with rifles, surrounded the site as a back up in case the animal got out of the building site."The animal was not seen again.This is by no means the first such sighting in East Herts. Just last August we reported how a similar creature was seen in the Mangrove Road area of Hertford, and then received further claims of sightings in Hoddesdon and Goffs Oak. Wildlife crime officer Det Insp David Laming said: "There are no confirmed records of anyone ever being attacked by these animals. The reason being there is no shortage of small natural prey available to them for food, and they have a natural fear of man."All previous recorded sightings have only been brief as the animals always run from humans.Det Insp Laming offered this advice if you do come face to face with such a creature. "Under no circumstances should members of the public attempt to shoot or injure such an animal. This would create an unpredictable situation whereby the animal would feel threatened and would be more likely to act in an aggressive manner."

So what do you think??

Monday, April 07, 2008

Take a look...........

I was asked to submit some photographs for this site - Its a Creative World. This is a fabulous blog run by some very talented ladies who post articles on a whole range of creative things. I was honoured to be asked to submit photos on the theme of spring!! Pop over and take a look.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My Town Monday - The scent of Welwyn Garden City

I have been a resident of Welwyn Garden City for the past 25 years. As a town, it is many things, but one of the most enduring things that people remember about the town is the aroma of Shredded Wheat!

The original company opened a factory in Welwyn Garden City (UK) in 1926, which became part of Nabisco in 1928. The tall concrete cereal silos that form part of the factory are a local landmark and are listed structures, built by Peter Lind & Company of London. In 1988 Nabisco sold the UK site to Rank Hovis McDougall (who made own-label cereals for supermarkets), whose breakfast cereals division briefly became The Shredded Wheat Company. In 1990 RHM sold the site to Cereal Partners. Some Shredded Wheat is made at Staverton near Bath, where all Shredded Wheat will be produced from 2008.

In the last few months the factory has closed down and all the jobs have been lost.

Before the closure the factory went into production every night, cooking the malted wheat. On a still night on the way home from work on the late shift, I could smell shredded wheat all over the town.It was particularly pungent if you had to stop at the traffic lights close by!! If the wind was blowing you could catch the whiff of it for miles about! It was not an unpleasant smell and it reminds me of home!!

Big Surprise!!

Well we woke up this morning to piles of 'Silly Soft Stuff' - The words of Thomas the Tank Engine!!! They had forecast some snow, but I was shocked to find a couple of inches of it !! Its started to snow now and the temperature has dropped again. How odd is this weather?? I can only remember snow in April once before and that was when I was about 11 and I had gone around to my friend Christine Campbells house for her Birthday party. That was on the 5th of April thirty odd years ago. It started to snow mid afternoon and hung around until the next morning!

Today I woke up to the muffled sounds of a world covered in snow, then the panic set in, has Carl driven to work in the snow?? Well his car is missing, but to be fair the main roads see to be pretty well clear, I am not sure they would have been at 7am!!

Well its snowing heavily now, I hope we get a few feet and I get snowed in before work tomorrow!

Thank You Katie!!

This week I received a nice surprise in the mail, a package of bits and pieces, all craft related from Katie from Stamping Sisterhood 9. Thank you very much Katie, I will try and sort out something to pass on to someone else!!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Great Day.

Yesterday was a great day, first he passes his driving test, then last night we went up to London to see a show. For my birthday in February Carl bought me 4 tickets to see Willy Russells Blood Brothers. It was a fantastic show at the Phoenix theatre, it was funny, well acted and quite emotional and sad all at the same time. Its certainly the best show I have seen at the theatre ever and one I would see again.
We left the car at Cockfosters and got the Piccadilly line straight to Leicester Square, we had dinner before the show and then walked up to the Theatre. As always seems to happen, you go all that way and when I took Beth to the loo, I bumped into someone I knew from Welwyn Garden City!! Seems there was a coach trip from Monks Walk school there as well!! (its a play studied for GCSE, which is how Carl had seen it before!)
By the time we got back it was midnight and although I am now on the way t work everyone else is still in bed!!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Well, he did it!!!

Congratulations to Carl passed with flying colours, now a driver in his own right.
I am pleased there will be no more getting up early to take him to work at 7am on a weekend, no more collecting him from swimming/scouts/trips. I have also saved £180 on school bus fares for next term.

Its Happening NOW!!

Carl should be in the middle of his driving test. He left home at 7.20am so that they could have a last minute warm up around the route in Stevenage. His test started at 8.20am and should take around 30 minutes. I have everything crossed!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Panic Stations!!!!

Today Carl's friend Robert passed his driving test, first time!! Congratulations to him. So when I got home from work I asked Carl if he had everything that he needed for his test. It was at this point that he realised that he hadn't got the confirmation letter for the test. Its a long story, but the test centre changed the date of his test and sent along a replacement for the 3rd of April, Brian his instructor could not do that date. So Carl phoned them up and changed the date to the 7th of April, it was this test that he hadn't got the confirmation for.
So we checked up online only to find that his test was back on the original date of the 3rd at 8.20am!!!
Panic stations!! The problem was that the instructor originally couldn't do the 3rd which was why it had been cancelled, so we were sure that he would not be able to do the same date at such short notice.We spent an hour phoning him up and he has had to make a few last minute adjustments to allow Carl to use his car for the test. So now he is taking his test on Thursday the 3rd and not on the 7th. So fingers crossed that all goes well, phew it makes me all nervous inside!!