Headed off to Hemel Hempstead today. Stopped off first at Bill’s allottment – he’s got a whole bunch of veggies growing there, as well as raspberries, blackberries and apples. Tried the raspberries. They’re brilliant. It’s really nice out there, very quiet. And so green.
From there we went through a national park – I forget the name – that was part of Henry VIII’s hunting grounds. It’s so dense in there. And again, so green. There’s also a whole heap of deer. I tried taking a photo of the deer but it was just too dark.
One thing I’ve noticed is the incredibly narrow roads. There’s not much room at all for cars to pass, and barely any room on the sides to pull over, either. It’s all rather precarious. That’s what you get when they insist on building roads before cars exist.
Stopped in at a pub by the canal called the Crystal Palace for lunch. The girl at the bar said she’s emigrating out to Brisbane, but was scared of spiders and snakes. We tried convincing her that they’re not really an issue, but she didn’t seem so sure. But then, she also didn’t believe that we eat kangaroos, and when Bill mentioned that there’s only one poisonous spider in New Zealand, she understood that as one single spider who’s been roaming the country and killing people for the past eighty years. So that may explain things. I can’t remember what the beer we had was called but a couple of pints of it and some shepherd’s pie and chips did me alright.
After another bit of a drive we came to another pub, The Three Horseshoes, also on the canal. But this one’s from 1535. That’s insanely old. We had another pint (Black Sheep Bitter this time) and watched the bridge open to let a barge through. It’s a swinging bridge, so instead of raising, it turned around to the side of the canal. I don’t know how old it is. It’s probably pretty old.
After that we finally got to Hemel. We drove through to where Mum and her family lived before they moved to Australia. Mum’s old school’s still there, as is the daisy field and her house. It’s still got a garden out the front. Nobody seems to be able to park off the street, so driving through the towns involves plenty of ducking in between parked cars to let others through, or just driving on the wrong side of the road the entire time.