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The 2019 Muddy Stilettos Awards are now closed

Winners announced Thursday 23rd May

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Reader Treats Just For You!

Weds 4 – Sun 7 May

The Girl on the Train, Harpenden Public Halls, Weds 3 May

I have to confess that while I loved the book (who didn’t?) I haven’t seen the film. I might go to this tonight and then I’ll feel complete before hunkering down with Into the Water8pm. £5.


Reduced Shakespeare Company, Hertford Theatre, Thurs 4 May

Could this help with revision? Just saying. Ninety minutes and the complete works are done and dusted. This is William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) and it’s lively and funny and as you might expect, bawdy in parts. 7.45pm.


Painter, Printer, Potter, Upstairs Gallery, Berkhamsted, opens Weds 3 May

This looks good. Opens Wednesday and on until Sat 13 May. Amanda Curbishley is the painter, Nathalie Pymm the printer and Elaine Wells is the potter (who you may have seen on the Great Pottery Throwdown). All three artists are based in the Chilterns and you can enjoy their work and they are also doing workshops during the run of the exhibition.

Upstairs Gallery

Living Crafts, Hatfield House, Thurs 4 May

This looks like a cracker. Its the biggest craft show in Europe, and it’s packed with creative goodness. New designer makers, master classes and also workshops where you can have a go at pot throwing, chocolate making, raku firing (not sure whether you get to do this without supervision), food stalls galore and loads of fun stuff for kids. It’s cheaper to buy tickets in advance (£8 for adults), so have a look at the website. Until Sun 7 May.


Picasso, Gallery Rouge, St Albans, opens Sat 6 May

This little gallery punches above its weight and always has something worth popping in for. This is the seventh year of its Masters exhibition with work by Miro, Dali, Giacometti, Matisse and Chagall as well as Picasso. The private view is on Friday, 6-8pm and if you email the gallery, I think you’ll be invited!

Gallery Rouge

Digswell Arts Open Studio, Sat 6 – Sun 7 May

This is a celebratory open studio event with work by the Digswell artists to mark the 60th year of Digswell Arts. It’s being held at The Forge and all donations are going to Isabel Hospice. 11am – 4pm. 

Digswell open studios

Christopher Nibble, Sandpit Theatre, Sat 6 May

This is a story set in Dandelionville and yes, it’s for very young children (2-7) but I think he looks sweet! The production is by Topsy Turvy and there are two performances: 11am and 2.30pm. The theatre is on the Sandringham School campus.

Sandpit Theatre

Hertford Arts Festival, Sun 7 May

This is the last event for the Hertford Arts Festival. Dozens of makers and food producers are exhibiting. Loads of activities for kids. And it gives you the chance to explore the castle gatehouse and grounds for free! 12pm-4pm. Free entry.

Hertford Arts Festival

The Mozart Question, Michael Morpurgo, Broadway Theatre, Sun 7 May

One of the most exciting things in Herts this year has to be the newly refurbished theatre in Letchworth. The creative programmer at the Broadway Theatre is Sue Scott Davison, who won an Olivier award for The Railway Children at Waterloo Station, a production that later moved to Kings Cross. She moved to Letchworth and we’re now lucky to have her in Herts doing wonderful things! Michael Morpurgo‘s story The Mozart Question is the story of Paulo Levi, who as a child was encouraged by his music teacher Benjamin and grows up to become a world-famous performer. This is also the story of how Paulo’s Jewish parents, also musicians, survived in a concentration camp by playing music. This is a concert, with words and music by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Vivaldi, featuring violinist Daniel Pioro and The Storyteller’s Ensemble. Michael Morpurgo and actor Alison Reid will narrate the story and words and music will be interwoven. I went to see James Mayhew at the Broadway, which was a Sunday afternoon performance combining painting and Vivaldi, and it was a perfect event for all ages. Suggested age for children 8+. The performance lasts one hour. Recommended. 3pm.


Bluebell walk, Dockey Wood, Ashridge Estate, Sat 6 and Sun 7 May

While stocks last! The bluebells in my garden are fading fast but Ashridge Forest has its own bluebell-friendly micro climate. In fact it does, in Dockey Wood, and last year there was a bit of a hoo-ha when the National Trust started to charge. Shock horror, but we still love the NT, don’t we? This was to spread the numbers of walkers and to minimise the trample factor.  You can enjoy the bluebells here on Saturday and Sunday and I think that when it comes to top bluebells, the ones in Dockey Wood are Europe’s finest. £3 and £1 for anyone walking between 10am and 4pm. Entrance is free for National Trust members and at other times. I was going to recommend the hot chocolate at the NT cafe but I think it’s going to be warm so I think bluebells and ice-cream are on the menu.


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