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Posted on 3:00pm Friday 18th July 2014
On A sunny day, Cassiobury Park really is gorgeous. We walked through it last weekend, watching the world go by, enjoying a Cha-Cha-Cha coffee and just about resisting the ice-cream temptation.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 18th July 2014
The NHS is a closed shop. We pay for it. We depend on it to save our lives. Yet when it fails, it’s apparently not a matter for our concern. The people who run the service can just carry on as normal – business as usual.
Posted on 2:50pm Friday 11th July 2014
How children’s parties have changed. When I was little, you put on your best frock, took a small gift (something eminently sensible like a book or an educational toy) and played musical chairs and pass the parcel in the birthday girl’s front room.
Posted on 5:38pm Monday 7th July 2014
In the unlikely event of anyone being distressed or even mildly disconcerted by the lack of a fresh column, I thought it best, if belatedly, to point out that I am taking a three-week holiday with my wife Ellie and our two dogs and will return in late July.
Posted on 12:10pm Friday 4th July 2014
A few weeks back I lauded the West Herts hospital trust for the way it engages with patients on social media sites such as Twitter.
Posted on 1:10pm Friday 27th June 2014
You know you’re getting old when your teenage children go out on a Saturday night and you stay in - but you don’t mind because you’ve got a garden visit to look forward to on Sunday and you want to be up early to pack the pork pies, hard boil the eggs and fill the Thermos.
Posted on 12:40pm Friday 27th June 2014
I have outed myself in the past as something of a bridge-sceptic. When it comes to Watford pond anyway. For the sake of clarity, I should state I have no objection to bridges in general; in fact I find them an efficient and inoffensive method of traversing aquatic obstacles.
Posted on 10:00am Saturday 21st June 2014
England are football also-rans and when two of the supposedly best strikers in the league put in powder-puff shots straight at the keeper, and central defenders leave one of the most dangerous strikers in the world with a free header and shot, it is the manager's fault. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Cassiobury Park you might want to buy.
Posted on 12:49pm Friday 20th June 2014
The Watford’s Liberal Democrats are a broad church. Among its ranks the ruling party can currently count three former Conservatives leaders and at least one ex-Labour councillor.
Posted on 12:20pm Friday 20th June 2014
Every child will, at some point, ask their parent where money comes from. And every parent will think it comes from hard graft and there used to be a lot more of it until it got used up on nappies, massive supermarket shops and family holidays.
Posted on 12:40pm Wednesday 18th June 2014
Anyone with the wherewithal to set up a Twitter or Facebook account has the capacity to broadcast their views. This makes the individual a far more powerful figure than previously.
Posted on 2:40pm Tuesday 10th June 2014
It’s comforting to know Hertfordshire’s roads are in such rude health that highways bosses can now turn their attention to problems that don’t exist.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 6th June 2014
We live in a rural conurbation of two villages, with an aggregate population of 2,400, perched in a valley either side of a river. Each of the villages has returned Marine Le Pen candidates in the Europe vote.
Posted on 4:30pm Friday 30th May 2014
I hope all you women out there made it to the polling station last week. Even if you found the number of names on the ballot papers bewildering (for parish council, district council and European parliamentary candidates), what matters is you voted.
Posted on 1:40pm Friday 30th May 2014
Watford Labour emerged from last week’s election count in a triumphant mood.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 30th May 2014
Voting for UKIP is not a protest against the policies of Tory, Labour or Liberal politicians. It is because in certain respects they do not have policies, whereas UKIP does.
Posted on 3:40pm Friday 23rd May 2014
It is perhaps understandable why Hertfordshire’s police commissioner, who once relished in the extra press coverage his new job brought, has become more media shy of late.
Posted on 1:30pm Monday 19th May 2014
A chill reminder not only to be careful when around the garden pond but also that, as I grow older, the short-term memory is not what it used to be.
Posted on 4:00pm Friday 16th May 2014
I should confess before I start, I am not a regular viewer of scripted reality shows (clearly an oxymoron?) such as The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea. So I approached the news this week that Watford may become the setting for a new such programme from a position of ignorance.
Posted on 9:46am Friday 9th May 2014
THE Pond and the surrounding area has been face-lifted at least three times since the 1960s. Will this latest incarnation be pleasing and sufficiently sound not only to last the test of time but enable future funds to be spent elsewhere.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 2nd May 2014
After an extremely self-indulgent Easter break, a week of which I spent entertaining French friends, trying to prove to them that English cooking is every bit as good as theirs, I am now back to taking skimmed milk in my tea and walking to the supermarket with my tartan shopping trolley.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 2nd May 2014
A visit from friends, former Watford cult hero Ross Jenkins and his wife Eve, has triggered a spate of literary discussion as we wrestle with the books we are in the process of writing and finishing.
Posted on 1:10pm Friday 2nd May 2014
The Prime Minister and Chancellor were unconvincing last week. When pressed over why Hertfordshire’s taxpayers were being saddled with a £500,000 bill for policing the exclusive Bilderberg Conference last year, their response was essentially "lump it".
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 25th April 2014
A three-legged dog taught me how to gain the maximum from a 12-metre pond with Koi carp
I keep writing for the sequel rather than face the reality of a publisher saying yes or no to my novel
Posted on 8:10am Saturday 19th April 2014
After years of writing thousands of words for newspapers, I have written a book. Only one person has read it and she thoroughly enjoyed it. So it is a success... one hundred per cent so. I may have to settle for that.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 11th April 2014
There are a few tedious rituals journalists brace themselves for whenever local election season comes around. First off are the habitual accusations of bias from various parties allegedly towards their rivals as the electoral battle ratchets up.
Posted on 1:20pm Friday 11th April 2014
The French are mired in bureaucracy. We try to avoid it whenever possible. However, when we tried to change our account from branch of Credit Agricole to another just 200 miles south, we found ouselves flooded with paperwork.
Posted on 12:20pm Friday 4th April 2014
For the last decade, part of Watford has been in the grip of a political insurgency. Since the early noughties, the Green Party has defied political gravity and turned the Callowland area into a solid electoral enclave. It is an eye-catching phenomenon for any town in a country dominated by an electoral system weighted in favour of the larger parties.
Posted on 1:00pm Friday 28th March 2014
The danger for any broadly-accepted political concept is that it can, over time, lapse into dogma. One such trend has been emerging in the way motorists are getting a raw deal under a planning system skewed in favour of developers under the guise of green initiatives.
Posted on 1:30pm Friday 21st March 2014
I go to great lengths to avoid the TV soap EastEnders. When it comes on, I feel like asking if they have a spare rope and an exposed beam
Posted on 12:25pm Friday 21st March 2014
Rarely to do you see a political initiative so in tune with the public mood. But Watford Borough Council’s recent crackdown on town centre “chuggers” seems to have uncorked a boiling geyser of public frustration.
Posted on 12:50pm Friday 14th March 2014
Pretty much all journalists appear to have an iPhone. It’s one of the unwritten rules of journalism that you should be beholden to Apple products and go on about them at any given opportunity, maintaining the illusion that Apple products, with their shiny cases and vast costs, are somehow more popular than anything else.
Posted on 12:20pm Friday 14th March 2014
The political race in Watford is heating up - although not in the case of the fast-approaching May mayoral elections, as would seem logical, but the General Election contest next year.