Category Archives: hertfordshire

Foraging in the hedgerows – spring

Today I went foraging in the woods with friends for the fresh green tops of stinging nettles which are just coming into growth to make nettle and ginger beer. I can’t yet vouch for the flavour – it takes about 7 days to be ready to drink, so watch this space.

Even if it turns out barely drinkable it was a good reason to get out into the spring sunshine, which angled through the new leaves and splashed on colonies of white wood anemones. Top tips are avoid anywhere dogs might have used as a toilet, and stick to the bright green top growth rather than the older, darker leaves.

There is a good recipe here – fingers crossed it turns out well, and is worth the odd sting. Go try it!

NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Stinging nettle pic by foreby on flickr
Wood anemone pic by Vinje on flickr

Eight at Baldock Arts

Baldock in Hertfordshire is a slightly depressed town with the most glorious brick architecture from another age. It was once one of the coaching stops on the main road to London, and the doublewide high street is full of parked cars and big old inns are sadly shabby, many closed. 

In a ‘Lets put on the show right here’ kind of way, the closed town hall has been turned into a tiny studio theatre, and a new arts festival has burst upon the world. (Full disclosure, I’ve been helping out and thus am totally biased in its favour).

On Sunday night a play called Eight is stopping on its way between London and New York, which is quite exciting for Baldock. It was the hit of the summer in Edinburgh, and seems to be building from strength to strength. There are eight twentysomething characters each dealing with modern life in their own particular way. Apparently they are “deliciously cynical yet touching snippets of life that question what it is to be ‘normal’ in a generation where everything has become acceptable. Investigating 2008 from a refreshingly offbeat angle; these eight monologues present obsession in its moral, sexual and religious guises, offering intelligent, politically punchy and incisive writing that rebuffs the definition of contemporary youth as apathetic, drug-munching, no-brainers. ”

Hence its clutch of awards and good reviews from everyone from the Scotsman to the New York Times.

I’m excited. Catch them this weekend before they hit the states.

Eight by Ella Hickson – Sunday 26th October at Baldock Town Hall, Baldock, Hertfordshire.
Get tickets from Clare Heyhoe  on 01462790975,  07962663499 , or email
See more of the schedule at the website