The Deep Blue Sea, Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans, 8-10 & 15-17 March
This should be good. A flat in Ladbroke Grove, West London. 1952. When Hester Collyer is found by her neighbours in the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt, the story of her tempestuous affair with a former RAF pilot and the breakdown of her marriage to a High Court judge begins to emerge. With it comes a portrait of need, loneliness and long-repressed passion. This is Terence Rattigan’s classic. 8pm.
Liz Earle, Spirella Ballroom, Letchworth, Weds 7 March
Liz Earle MBE is coming to Letchworth to help us all to be radiant before, during and after the menopause. Sounds good to me! Liz is known for her passion for beauty, natural health and wellbeing, as well as her considerable charity and campaign work. She co-found the Liz Earle Beauty Co., now owned by Walgreen Boots Alliance. This is a David’s Bookshop event at the Spirella Ballroom.
Liz Earle Spirella Ballroom, Letchworth SG6 5ET
Writing and getting published, Bibliomaniac, Harpenden, Weds 7 March
Bibliomaniac is always up to something good in Harpenden. She organises brilliant events that are usually packed out. Ian Ridley, Kerensa Jennings, Jennie Ensor and Jessica Duchen will be talking about their novels, their writing and their road to publication. Free drink & goody bag included in the £10 ticket price. 8-10pm.
Bibliomaniac The Harpenden Arms, 188 High Street, AL5 2TR
Zoe Folbigg, The Note, David’s Bookshop, Thurs 8 March
Zoë Folbigg plucked up the courage to give a note to the handsome man on the Hitchin to Kings Cross commuter train and her bravery paid off. They are now married and have two children. Zoë then wrote her debut novel The Note, a book I loved so much I read it in one go. She’ll be talking about being bold and writing a bestseller in David’s Bookshop on Thursday. 7.30pm.
Zoë Folbigg at David’s Bookshop, Eastcheap, Letchworth, SG6 3DE
Community tree planting, Heartwood Forest, Sun 11 March
Do you know Heartwood Forest? It’s (almost) a brand new forest, planted from scratch. On Sun 11 March, the last trees are being planted and everyone is invited to join in. Trees are provided! And you’ll also be shown how to plant them, so novices are welcome. Wear wellies or boots. Park in the main car park and there will be shuttle buses to and from the planting site. Refreshments will be on sale. Free! Booking not necessary.
Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, until 11 March
Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.
Nicholas Hytner, Kings Place, London, Sun 11 March
Nicholas Hytner, former artistic director of the National Theatre, talks about his experiences gained working with many of the leading actors, musicians and designers in the UK. Expect behind the scenes stories from many of his productions, including The History Boys and One Man, Two Guvnors. Chaired by none other than David Hare. 2pm.
Jewish Book Week Kings Place, 90 York Way, Kings Cross, London N1 9AG
Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt, Old Town Hall, Weds 14 March
The show of the book. Comedian Adam Kay shares entries from diaries as a junior doctor in this hour-long show of stand-up and music. The Guardian described it as ‘electrifying’. Adam will also have a chat and sign books after the performance. 8pm.
Adam Kay, Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE
Wirra Wirra wine dinner at Loft, St Albans, Weds 14 March
Sam Temme from award winning winery Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale in Australia will be presenting a range of their wines including the 12th Man Chardonnay, the brand new Ashton Hills Pinot Noir & Woodhenge Shiraz. Learn the stories behind the names of the Catapult Shiraz and Dead Ringer. This will be matched by a menu designed by Nick Male, chef and owner of the recently opened Loft restaurant in St Albans. £55.
Wirra Wirra at Loft 23B George St, St Albans AL3 4ES
Tipis4Hire open weekend, Rothamsted Manor, Harpenden, Sat 17 – Sun 18 March
Tipis4Hire is a local company and they’ll be open for business (well, you can have a good snoop) at Rothamsted Manor for the whole weekend. I went to a similar event last year and it was great. Music, food, and drink and, I do believe there was sunshine. If you don’t know it, Rothamsted Manor is a relatively new venue (in an old manor house) and it’s stunning. Perfect for weddings, obviously, but also more than suitable for those big birthdays. The gardens are wonderful and there are loads of interesting walks all around the estate.
Tipis4Hire at Rothamsted Manor West Common, Harpenden, AL5 2BG
Julius Caesar, National Theatre Live, Broadway, Thurs 22 March
Nicholas Hytner’s production. Ben Whishaw and Michelle Fairley play Brutus and Cassius, David Calder plays Caesar and David Morrissey is Mark Antony. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London. 6.45pm
Julius Caesar, Broadway, Letchworth SG6 3DD
The Harpenden Big Read Quiz, Bennet’s Club, Weds 21 March
How well do you know your crime (fiction)? This is a night of killer quiz questions with rounds on crime fiction, Harpenden and many more fun categories. It’s a celebration of the launch of Leigh Russell’s brand new thriller, Class Murder, published by Harpenden’s No Exit Press. Leigh will be there! Ticket price (£10) includes one free drink and a goody bag. 7.30pm.
Gangsta Granny LIVE on stage! Hertford Theatre, Thurs 22 – Sat 24 March
I can hear the cheers already. This production of David Walliams’ book is from the producers of Horrible Histories so if I were you I would book tickets quickly!
Gangsta Granny Hertford Theatre, The Wash, Hertford SG14 1PS
St Albans South Signal Box Big Weekend, Sat 24 – Sun 25 March
Bells and whistles and levers. This is a free event, complete with signalling demonstrations and refreshments. 2-5pm.
South Signal Box, Ridgmont Road, St Albans, AL1 3AJ
Chilean Supper Club, White Hart, Welwyn, Thurs 29 March
I went to the January Chilean supper club at the White Hart and it was a wonderful evening. Home cooked food (this isn’t a lavish tasting menu) and with lots of wine tasting and drinking. The food was delicious. To give you an idea, the menu included: empanadas, beef flank, and sausages with chimichurri. Pudding was cake made from dulce de leche. YUM! Not sure what’s on the menu this time, but the wine comes from James at Wine2Trade in Hertford. He is very knowledgeable, and told us about the wines in an interesting (and succinct) way. You could buy the wine we tasted on the night. This is great to book with friends; it’s a really good way of catching up and you don’t waste any time pouring over menus or paying the bill. Buy tickets well in advance for this one because they usually sell out. At £45 it’s phenomenal value. Be warned, you can drink up to six glasses of wine (nobody forced me, but…) so you might want to forget about your car, book a room and enjoy a leisurely breakfast the next morning.
Bawden’s Beasts, The Higgins, Bedford
Over the border to the Higgins in Bedford. This exhibition opened in January and it’s on for a while, but I just wanted to let you know, particularly if you are an Edward Bawden fan. Creepy crawlies join the ranks of jungle giants and other beasts to sell products, narrate stories or decorate walls. More than sixty art works featuring animals are on show. Entry is free.
Bawden’s Beasts The Higgins Bedford, Castle Lane, Bedford, MK40 3X
Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V & A Museum, London, until July 2018
I went to see this V&A exhibition last week and it’s glorious! It’s also totally immersive. One minute you’re sipping a cocktail on deck as you power through the waves to New York in the 50s, , the next, you’re wondering whether you could ever squeeze into the Dior suit worn by Marlene Dietrich on a transatlantic crossing. Kate Winslett and Leonardo di Caprio even make an appearance. For a truly elegant and glamorous experience, I recommend a trip to the V&A.
Kate Terry, A System of Parallels, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, until Sun 22 April
This is a wonderful new exhibition by British artist Kate Terry and I urge everyone to go and see this. Kate Terry lives in London and she has created a thread installation for the gallery, that has to be experienced. There are also drawings and sculptures and lots of Farrow and Ball paint. Uplifting and colourful.
Broadway Gallery The Arcade, Letchworth, SG6 3EW
Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until 3 June
Now you can see Barbara Hepworth’s work without making a trip to Cornwall. Although I went to St Ives last October and sitting in Barbara Hepworth’s garden in the sun was complete bliss. This retrospective at the Rowing Museum covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see.
Fly the Link trainer, De Havilland Museum, London Colney
You’ve always wanted to do this, haven’t you? Get into the LINK cockpit and fly? Produced to help to train pilots, it was used extensively during World War Two. You’ll have an instructor by your side who will guide you through the trainee pilot test.
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum Salisbury Hall, London Colney, AL2 1BU
Book for: Courtney Pine, Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, Thurs 12 April
The king of British jazz sax! Courtney Pine will be playing music from his new album, Black Notes From The Deep. Be quick, this is bound to sell out. The words ‘living legend’ aren’t an overstatement.
Courtney Pine, Saffron Hall, Audley End Road, Saffron Walden CB11 4UH