My Fave Places: Cath Cole
Cath Cole has been volunteering since 2008 at Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World festival, most recently as their Head of Communications — although moving on to focus on helping secure the sponsorship that the festival needs. She can’t wait for this year’s festival (not long now!) as around 30,000 people come together right here in Herts for a jam-packed weekend of music, art and food – from all over the world as well as much closer to home.
Cath’s day job is as a freelance fundraising consultant, working with charities of all sizes to help raise the money they need to carry on their work. And today, she’s sharing her favourite places — in Herts and beyond — with us here at Muddy Herts!
Hitchin Market Square
I discovered Hitchin by mistake. I’d been house hunting in London for months and couldn’t believe how little I was being offered for my hard-earned money. I came home for the weekend and Mum suggested a trip to Hitchin… and the rest is history! When friends come to visit, we always head for the Market Square. To my mind, it captures the essence of the town in four sides of a square: delicious places to eat, independent places to drink, unusual shops and an amazingly friendly atmosphere. It’s also a great place to people-watch… why does Mum always know best?!
This beautiful former Carmelite monastery has been converted into a wedding and conference centre which is a hidden gem in Hitchin town centre. However, the reason it’s one of my favourite places is because it’s home to an annual festival called Rhythms of the World. I’ve been volunteering for this festival (a registered charity) for eight years and there is no buzz greater than the one I get when I get to the festival weekend and see up to 30,000 people enjoying music, dance, art and cuisine ‘from around the World and round the corner’.
This is such a beautiful town which has been part of my life since childhood. We used to visit there as a family – combining shopping, sightseeing and walks in the park to feed the ducks – and I still visit from time to time. The Cathedral links the town to the park and is impressive from every angle; even as a young person I could appreciate that.
I love being at home but I also love travelling the World. I’ve been lucky enough to discover some wonderful places – from Sydney, Bali and New Orleans through to China, Nepal and Argentina. But now, with weeks rather than months and years to travel around, I love nothing more than a week on the snow. I don’t really mind where, although beautiful Courmayeur, on the French border of Italy, has a unique charm that so many purpose-built resorts simply can’t offer. It’s a short walk to the lifts, there are a host of quaint little friendly bars (serving the largest glasses of Prosecco I’ve ever seen!) and Friday night’s entertainment is watching all the rich locals parading up and down the high street with their furs and little dogs in handbags!
This is somewhere that has amazing family memories for me. We used to drive off there on a Sunday and my brother and I would spend hours climbing the spiral staircase in the Monument and laughing at the old fashioned drop loos. I don’t even know if they are still there – but they are in my mind!