Editor's Blog
School’s out for summer & the drive’s a breeze!

Weedy roundaboutPiccotts End in bloomI’m savouring these last few weeks of the school holidays on our rural roads. August is a month when you don’t have to stop every few minutes, squeeze up to the hedgerow and let a fellow traveller pass.  My pick …

St Swithin strikes again but the Garden Party is already home and dry!

St SwithinSo here we are, another summer washout! Sounds familiar? Looking back at my July blog of a couple of years back I noted that the day the schools broke up the sun stopped shining. Same story this year. The first …

Why I’ve cancelled The Daily Mail – and stopped listening to The Archers!

Daily MailEnough is enough! After more than 40 years as a Daily Mail reader, 11 of them working at the paper, I have finally cancelled it. It has been some years in the planning but the Mail’s appallingly biased Brexit campaign …

Welcome to Black Goo – if you can get a table

Cakes & croissants at Black GooIt’s all change at the Attic cafe, one of our favourite haunts in Berkhamsted. It’s had a few incarnations in its time, once briefly under the ownership of James Hannaway, of The Rex. James was a regular face at the …

Damp and dark November, time for some gardening!

Piccotts End daffodilsSunday afternoons in late November are often damp, and dark by 4. Today is no exception, with a light drizzle to add to the general gloom. Gardening jobs need to be done in the morning, so I’ve been out planting …

House prices? No, today’s hot topic is broadband speeds!

BT Infinity box at Fletcher Way

Dinner party talk used to be all about house prices. Not any more. If the chatter at the village garden party is anything to go by today we are more exercised by broadband speeds. At my end of the village …

Piccotts End makes the headlines but where have I read this before?

piccottsend

Spring is here and estate agents are extolling the virtues of village life. The Herts Advertiser (head and shoulders above the dismal Gazette) even devoted a whole page to our very own Piccotts End. Reading the paean of praise I …

Daffodils in December, June in January

Samuel PepysThe last few months have raced by, leaving my blog far behind. So what’s been hot and what’s been not in Piccotts End this autumn and winter? The weather for a start. I’ve never seen daffodils in December so perhaps …

Mary calls time on 43 years in her historic farmhouse

Historic Piccotts End Farm

Alongside the medieval cottages Piccotts End Farm is the oldest habitation in the village, dating back to the 16th century. With its hand-painted warning ‘Caution. Ducks crossing’ at the entrance, it has a touch of the quaint to go with …

Stone me! Apricots in Piccotts End!

Apricots in Piccotts EndAn article in the papers last week said it was a bumper year for English apricots – and the proof is here in Hertfordshire – in Piccotts End! I planted my apricot tree (bought from Ayletts in St Albans) 5 …

Discovering a Blue Gate in the Med & the Waterloo horses here in Hemel

Blue Gate - Med styleOne of the most distinctive sights in Piccotts End is Blue Gate, the rather quaint and attractive entrance to the home of Keith & Jayne Barber. While on holiday in Sicily recently we took a trip to the island of …

Winter? What winter!

Pretty in pink - Rhododendron PraecoxBack in the winter of 1963 I remember it being so cold for so long that the headmaster of Berkhamsted School made a dramatic announcement. We could all wear an extra layer of clothes to keep warm! My choice was …

Last Christmas I gave you my Shard, but the very next day you gave it way!

Last Christmas I gave my son and his wife a voucher for lunch and a trip to the top of the Shard. There is always a sense of anticipation when opening a present and their faces lit up with delight …

Move the posts and give the developers an open goal

Marchmont FieldsHot topic in the village this month is the now looming prospect of 350 homes and a traveller site parked on our back lawn. We are lucky in having someone with the eagle eye of a lawyer in Michael Nidd …

Tea’s off and on at the Attic!

atticHorror of horrors! Going into Home & Colonial in Berkhamsted recently we were told that our favourite Sunday lunch haunt, the Attic Cafe, had closed. Apparently the owner, James Hannaway of Rex fame, had come in a few days earlier …

Have a brake, have a Malteser!

MaltesersDriving back from Kent recently I stopped at a garage to buy a sandwich and a packet of Maltesers for my lunch. Now I know it’s very bad form to eat at the wheel but many of us do it. …

Behind the wheel of the electric revolution

The Tesla dashboardPetrol is passé, electric is classé. That’s my slogan after driving the car I predict will change our lives. The American engineer behind the new Tesla electric car is Elon Musk, a man they say will soon be as well …

Watch out for Kiera, footballer, athlete, livewire!

 

Kiera Ward

Sporting a Liverpool shirt young Kiera Ward certainly knows her football. When I chatted to the 8-year-old at this month’s summer garden party I asked if she was disappointed that Luis Suarez had left the club. No, said Kiera, …

Caught red, white & blue handed – the light fingered flower duet!

Pick your ownThe colourful wild flowers on the Piccotts End roundabout have drawn some favourable comments in the Gazette, including one by veteran village resident Mrs Mary Wiedman. But not long later, while I was out planting up the Piccotts End village …

The Empire strikes back

Empire Arts - a new rival to the Rex?Have you seen an Empire Arts film yet? You should! With the Rex at Berkhamsted the local cinema of choice for many film fans my own visits to Hemel’s Jarman Park have been limited only to a few must-see-now movies. …