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October 2017

White Feather Boxer, Broadway theatre, Letchworth, Thurs 19 Oct

Can you be a Quaker and a boxer? In White Feather Boxer, the year is 1967, and the location is Bethnal Green. News just in: Muhammed Ali refuses to fight in Vietnam. Jimmy is an elderly trainer who is conflicted when he is called upon to teach a young woman to fight. The production is by the brilliantly creative Take the Space theatre company in the wonderfully restored art-deco Broadway Theatre. 7.30pm.


Go Pink with Staffy B, Baldock, Fri 20 Oct

Staffy B is a vibrant lifestyle and interiors shop in the middle of Baldock High Street. It’s run by Hayley and Toni, who swapped the world of fashion for homes and interiors. The shop was inspired by Freddie, their beloved Staffy, who died quite suddenly in August. On Friday 20 October, Staffy B will be staying open late and will be welcoming regulars and hopefully newcomers to the shop, to launch their Christmas range and, most importantly, to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. Everyone is welcome. Tickets cost £5 to include a glass of prosecco and raffle entry. The weather forecast is snow. Browse and buy gorgeous gifts to get ahead for Christmas, and on the night, Toni and Hayley will donate 10% of all sales to the charity. And the raffle prizes are splendiferous!

Go Pink with Staffy B

Le Corsaire, LIVE! Bolshoi Ballet, Vyne Theatre, Berkhamsted, Sun 22 Oct

Crikey. The Bolshoi Ballet comes to Berko and in real time. Now that we’re in deep with autumn, I suggest that you walk your socks off in the morning and do all the leaf rustling you need to do, then put your feet up in the afternoon at the Vyne TheatreLe Corsaire is one of the Bolshoi’s most lavish productions. It’s a long one: over three hours, but if you learned ballet, or if your child is learning how to dance, this could be the inspiration you need. And of course you might be studying to be a professional dancer, and I’m thinking of the Tring students. It’s live, it’s lavish, and it’s on Sunday. 4pm.


Shaw and Rodin, Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St Lawrence – until 29 Oct

I love Shaw’s Corner at Ayot St Lawrence, and I’m always amazed when residents of Herts say that they’ve never been to visit the former home of George Bernard Shaw. Yes, it’s autumn, so the foxgloves won’t be standing proud, but the garden is great and currently in shades of red and gold, and the house is open until the end of October. On Saturday, 12-5pm, there’s an end of season sale of books and plants. I have bought plants from Shaw’s Corner before and can vouch for their quality. But most important is the news that there is a mini exhibition on at the moment, marking the centenary of Rodin’s death. You can see Rodin’s large bronze bust of Shaw, and the plaster original, created in Rodin’s studio in 1906. Shaw was a great photographer, and many of his photos are on display.

Shaw’s Corner

 Hairy Maclary and Friends, Hertford Theatre, Sun 22 Oct

It’s Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy! The hairy one is in the county town on Sunday afternoon and will be giving not one, but two, performances at Hertford Theatre. Expect to sing along and the colours and costumes are guaranteed to be bright. You probably don’t need me to tell you that this will appeal to the younger theatre goer. 1.30pm; 3.30pm.


Made in Dagenham, Hertford Theatre, Tues 10 – Sat 14 Oct

This looks like a right rollicking, sing-your-heart-out fun show. The production is by the talented Hertford Dramatic and Operatic Society, an upbeat theatre company that is part of the fabric of our county town. These troubadours have been performing in Hertford for 93 years to be precise, although I don’t think that any of the original members will be showing up in the Made in Dagenham musical. If you don’t know the story, it’s about Rita, who lives in Dagenham and works at the Ford plant, sewing upholstery for car seats. She questions why she’s being paid less than a man. You can imagine the rest. Or can you? Expect great choreography and high energy performances. Tues – Sat 7.30pm. Saturday matinee: 2.30pm.


Apple Day, Hitchin Market Place, Sat 14 Oct 

You can’t go far without tripping over apples this time of year, from windfalls in the garden, to the more sophisticated events popping up all over the county. This event is organised by the Triangle Garden, the community garden that has been featured on television! There’ll be all kinds of apple goings on in Hitchin market place on Saturday. Apple cakes, juices, and produce from the garden. 10am-2pm.

Triangle Garden

Frithsden autumn fair and harvest supper, Sat 14 Oct

Hertfordshire fizz, what’s not to like? It’s all happening at Frithsden Vineyard this Saturday, by day and by night. During the day, from 11am – 5pm, there’s a BBQ and a free tour of the vineyard. The food here is great, so if you can fit in lunch and or afternoon tea, this is a good move. And then in the evening, there’s an event! It’s one of the extremely popular suppers in the Vineyard Cafe. At the time of writing, there are a couple of places left. A few snippets from the menu: Pan-roast guinea fowl with crushed new potatoes and roasted root vegetables; apple and blackberry crumble with Chantilly cream. Vegetarians welcome and well catered for. £33 per person. 7.30pm.

Frithsden Vineyard

Herts Jazz Festival, Fri 13 – Sun 15 Oct

This annual event has grown and grown and this year the BBC will be recording some of the gigs. There’s free music to be enjoyed in the foyer of the Hawthorne Theatre on Friday and Saturday, and lots of big and lesser known names. Although perhaps if you’re a true jazz person, all the names will be big for you. At the time of writing, tickets for Georgie Fame have sold out.

Jazz Festival

Tipis4Hire open days, Rothamsted Manor, Harpenden, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct

All things wedding from tipis to Swig and Filly horse box bars at the fine wedding venue that is Rothamsted Manor. Two open days on Saturday and Sunday, so it’s pretty much a wedding weekender but I don’t think you can sleep the night in a tipi. If you’re planning a wedding, this could be for you.


Shenley Apple Day, The Walled Garden, Shenley Park Estate, Sun 15 Oct

More apples. Bring it on! This time it’s the Walled Garden at Shenley Park, famous for its apple juice. I’ve tasted this apple juice in the George Street Canteen in St Albans and it’s delicious. Many different varieties of apple to try and buy, craft stalls, home-made refreshments and apple games. Come January, you can help to wassail the orchard. 12pm – 6pm.

Shenley Park Apple Day

Kaleidoscope fashion photography evening, Hertford Theatre, Mon 16 Oct

Monday night. Monday! Don’t hunker down at home, get out and have fun! I’m going to this event, so I may see you there. The stylish ladies at The Women’s Society have organised this fashion photography event and it sounds brilliant. Tickets are £20 and a percentage of sales will be donated to the charity Willow Foundation, which, as some of you may know, creates special days out for seriously ill young people, aged 16 – 40. The evening includes all kinds of delights and you’ll be well looked after on the drinks and canapé front, and there’s even a goody bag to take home – with a True Grace candle for those autumn evenings. There’s a talk by Ash Johnson, founder of Pyrus. See you there. 7-9pm.


Eight Ghosts: Sarah Perry at Audley End, Tues 31 Oct

Ooo, this sounds exciting. English Heritage is publishing a book this month: Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Storieswritten by eight of the most prominent novelists and short story writers. Each story is set within and inspired by an English Heritage property. Sarah Perry will be reading her story at spooky site Audley End on Tues 31 Oct. Catch her if you can, tickets are flying. The evening will include a twilight tour of Audley End. Scary stuff. 6.30 – 9.30pm. Tickets are £36 and include a copy of the book, twilight tour, and drinks.


Antigone, Sandpit Theatre, St Albans, Mon 2 and Tues 3 Oct

If you missed this in Hertford last week, here it is again, this time at the Sandpit Theatre in St Albans. Best Theatre in the Muddy Awards 2017! From what I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook, it’s proving to be a huge help with GCSE and A Level homework. It’s the ancient Greek classic Antigone in a dystopian world. Fate is written in code, and the skies are filled with drones. You don’t know the story? It’s a battle to control Thebes. Antigone has two brothers, Polyneices and Eteocles, who have died. Creon is the new ruler, who declares that Eteocles will be honoured, but decides that Polyneices shouldn’t be buried but left in limbo to relive his death over and over again for all eternity. Antigone’s not having any of it. Fuelled with grief, she dares to take on Creon. This production of Antigone is by The Actors of Dionysus. Antigone is a set text for GCSE and A Level. The performance contains real drones. 7.30pm.


The Hunting of the Snark, Broadway Theatre, Weds 4 Oct

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem, The Hunting of the Snark is a zingily colourful musical comedy. The Snark is currently on tour after leaving the West End and you can track it down in Letchworth on Wednesday. It’s had great reviews and the costumes alone will make you smile. 2pm and 4.30pm. Age 4 – 94.


Iona wine dinner, The Tilbury, Datchworth, Thurs 5 Oct

The Tilbury in Datchworth is firmly on the Herts’ good food map thanks to the creativity of chef and owner Tom Bainbridge. At the time of writing, there are a couple of places left for the Iona wine dinner on Thursday evening. The speaker and host is from the Iona producer, and Tom has created a 5-course menu inspired by South African cuisine. Tickets £65. Here is the menu.

Iona Wine Dinner

Chocolate and wine tasting, Flagship Wines and Rock Pop Candy, Thurs 5 Oct

Julia Jenkins of Flagship Wines is a wine expert extraordinaire with lashings of experience and a great sense of humour. She is joining forces for one night only with the confectionery crew of Rock Pop Candy on Holywell Hill. Who says chocolate and wine don’t mix? You’ll learn how to mix and match them until everything is a-tingle, not just your tastebuds. Ted from Chief Chocolate Officer will be there, along with Julia from Flagship Wines. 6-8pm. Tickets are £5 and they will be included in a raffle.

Chocolate & wine tickets

George Street Gin & Jazz, St Albans, Sat 7 Oct

As some of you will know, George Street is one of the most beautiful streets in St Albans with so many brilliant and special small shops and businesses that cleaned up in the Muddy awards this year. George Street Canteen won Best Cafe, Maison Hartley won best Interiors Store, Thirty Nine 10 won best Wine Merchant and Suckerpunch St Albans won Best Bar. Dylanskingsarms was a finalist for Best Pub and Cerimonia a finalist for Best Men’s Store. Wharton Goldsmith was a finalist for Best Jewellery Store. Oh, and Trinder Hair Studios, just around the corner, won Best Hair Salon. George Street has a wonderful spirit which is going to be celebrated on Fri 6 Oct, with gin, jazz and food. George Street will be car free and you’ll be able to pad about in bare feet on bright green grass.

George Street Gin & Jazz

Martin Burke cooks, Hertford Food & Drink Festival, Sat 7 Oct

Martin Burke is a much-loved chef known across Herts and Beds for his innovative vegetarian cookery. He’ll be doing demos at the Hertford Food & Drink Festival on Saturday and there are loads of good things going on during the day and the whole weekend sounds absolutely brilliant. Find out more from the festival website.

Martin Burke

The Hertford Gin Club Festival, Sat 7 Oct

Herts is going to be awash with gin this weekend. This is the Hertford Gin Club throwing a party at the festival. Please remember to pace yourself and have lots to eat! Buy a ticket, choose a time, and then rock up to choose from over 50+ gins, priced at £5 each. The ticket price includes mac ‘n’ cheese. I’m mighty pleased to hear it. Pasta’s good for soaking up gin. Two sessions to choose from: 6.30 – 8.30pm; 9.00 – 11.00pm.


Tring Eco Fair, Tring Baptist Church, Sat 7 Oct

The marvellously modest Andrei Lussmann is one of the speakers at the Tring in Transition event on Saturday. Andrei wins all kinds of awards for sustainable business practices at Lussmanns Restaurants and is a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and Food Made Good, but he tends to keep quiet about them most of the time. There will also be a talk by Bettina and Trevor of Gillyflower, the Berkhamsted flower growers who grow seasonal British flowers blooms.

Tring Eco Fair

St Francis’ College, Letchworth, Open Morning, Sat 7 Oct

I went to visit St Francis’ College earlier this year and have been back a few times to various events, including the art show and also an evening of talks that were powerful and empowering. On Saturday 7 October, there’s an open morning, so this is your chance to have a look around. I should add that it’s a girls’ school, so you probably do need to go with someone who might one day be a student here. It’s a wonderful school that is very much part of the Letchworth community.

Open morning

Apple Day, Tewin Orchard, Sun 8 Oct 

Celebrate all things apple in Tewin. Activities for all: guided walks around the orchard, scavenger hunt for kids, experts to give advice on how to look after your own fruit trees and, as you’d expect on a Sunday afternoon, tea and cakes and apple juice to taste and buy. 12pm – 4pm. Toodle pip!

Tewin Apple Day

May Morris: Art and Life, William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, Sat 7 Oct – 28 Jan 2018

May Morris was the youngest daughter of William Morris who was great friends with George Bernard Shaw. George Bernard Shaw lived in Hertfordshire for most of his life at Shaw’s Corner, which is open until the end of October. May Morris made a wide variety of work, including wallpaper, jewellery and embroidery. I don’t think the story of her work has been told before, and I’m looking forward to seeing this exhibition. E17 4PP

May Morris

Jon Sopel, If Only They Didn’t Speak English, Notes from Trump’s America, Letchworth, Sun 8 Oct

This looks like a goody and a different kind of Sunday afternoon activity. Jon Sopel is British journalist who has a unique insight into what goes on in North America. He’s travelled on Air Force One, interviewed President Obama at the White House and has been eye to eye with President Trump. This is likely to sell out so be quick! Tickets £6, redeemable if you buy the book. 3.30pm. This event is at the Spirella BallroomSG6 1GD

David’s Bookshop

Why the Whales Came, Broadway Theatre, Sun 8 Oct

Danyah Miller is a force to be reckoned with. Combine her talent for storytelling with Michael Morpurgo‘s tale Why the Whales Came, and you’re in for a treat. The Broadway Theatre has a brilliant programme on offer over the next few months and this is just one example of what we’ve got to look forward to.


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