Thursday Doors – Red, Pink And Tangled

img_4392These two rather fetching doors live in the old part of town, where buildings stretch back in time to the sixteenth century. I would imagine the houses they belong to are not much younger than that, despite their more modern Georgian frontages.

img_4398I also imagine that the residents must have other ways of getting in and out of their houses – otherwise they might find themselves in a bit of a tangle!

img_4396This is my entry to this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. For more doors, or to add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link.

Reflections, Fireworks and a Zombie Prom Queen

img_4273I’ve been out and about these last few days, as half term winds down and the celebration season winds up. On Saturday I walked along a stretch of canal I hadn’t visited before – I love reflections, and the calm water made for some interesting shots.

img_4276Yesterday was Devils Night, the precursor to Halloween, and also Diwali, so fireworks and light were all around, crackling in the night sky. The gorgeous girl and I headed into our Old Town, which was having a Halloween celebration complete with street stalls, rides and costumed revellers, culminating in a fireworks display at the nearby park.

img_4286It was great fun, with just enough spooks and thrills to get the atmosphere going, yet very family friendly. We met up with friends and managed to squeeze in a few activities before heading down to the park for the display.

img_4289However. It was a chilly night and a mist had descended, the air hanging still beneath the trees. When the fireworks started the lack of wind meant that the smoke just stayed put, drifting a little across the crowd but mostly just hanging in midair, mixing with the mist to obscure all but the most determined fireworks. Still, there was lots of laughter in the crowd, and cries of ‘That was a good one!’ after particularly loud bangs, even though we could see nothing in the murk.

img_4300Tonight is Halloween proper, or Samhain, in the old tongue. A night where the barriers between life and death are supposed to come down, and spirits walk the night. I will be walking the night as well, or at least the very early evening, accompanied, I am told, by a Zombie Prom Queen. Sweets will be sought and tricks avoided, although it will be a fairly early finish as tomorrow is a school day, sadly for her.

And then it begins. My favourite time of year. Bonfire Night, woodsmoke, the trees shedding the last of their leaves, Jack Frost arriving to line the fields and houses with silvery blue. And lights, everywhere, sparkling on rooftops and lamp-posts and high streets, an antidote to long dark nights. Gathering with friends and family, the warmth indoors counterpoint to the cold outside. Wishing you all a wonderful season, however you choose to celebrate!



A Trip Through The Old Town, Hemel Hempstead

IMG_2175Today’s post is a weekend wander around Hemel Hempstead. There is a reason for this – last week, on my Thursday Doors post, roughseasinthemed asked if I could post some pictures of the Old Town area, as I had mentioned that improvements had recently been undertaken. Apparently their partner used to live here, and was curious to see what had been done. So here we are.

IMG_2163Hemel Hempstead Old Town has buildings dating back to the 1500s, though it is believed there has been settlement here since Roman times. Henry VIII used to rampage his way through here, and had a hunting lodge nearby, plus there are rumours of secret tunnels and trysts with Anne Boleyn. He is reputed, as is Anne, to haunt at least one building in the Old Town.

IMG_2180The Old Town has a mix of architectural styles, from half-timbered Tudor buildings,

IMG_2173to Georgian shops and apartments,

IMG_2164to the Victorian splendour of the rebuilt Corn Market, home to my Thursday door.

IMG_2194There are old carriageways leading to hidden courtyards,

IMG_2195Where the gates have been open so long, flowers grow around them.

IMG_2151The improvements took place a couple of years ago and are still ongoing. A rather nice set of gates was installed, one with an image of the church steeple, the other with the old Town Hall.

IMG_2176New paving and parking bays were laid, adding to the appeal of the streetscape.

IMG_2160The building covered in scaffolding was, until recently, a rather unattractive late 70s/early 80s edifice in dark red brick, a bit of an eyesore when compared to the other architecture in the area. It has now been painted off-white and is undergoing other renovations, no doubt trying to make it more sympathetic to the area.

IMG_2155This building is still a mystery, though a small plaque on the front door reads ‘Bank’. It is no longer a bank, and the tattered curtains and peeling woodwork add to the air of intrigue.

IMG_2170This is a small parking area overlooking the Norman church and graveyard. When it was being repaved, an underground chamber was discovered. Perhaps a remnant of the rumoured tunnels?


I’ll finish with a view over Gadebridge Park, which runs behind the Old Town. Apparently ghostly galloping can be heard there at night – at one time, the Park was private land belonging to a large house (now gone). The owner of the house was a military veterinarian and he used the land to rehabilitate injured cavalry horses, so was somewhat ahead of his time. Apparently the horses lived out their days in peace and tranquility but, every so often, would make formation and charge down the field, as though reliving their battle days. So perhaps it is their hooves that people hear…

Thanks for taking a trip around the Old Town with me. Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday Doors – Hemel Hempstead Old Town


This is not the first door I’ve featured from our local Old Town, which has buildings dating back to the 1500’s. There was the mystery door at Number 28, and the wonderfully ornate door of St Mary’s Church.


This door, however, is from a residential building. I know it’s a private residence because, when we moved here and were looking for a house, it was on the market. Sadly it was a bit beyond what our budget could afford, but, on a recent walk through the Old Town, I thought I’d take a photo of the door as a reminder of what could have been. I l think the colour contrasts beautifully with the old red bricks and dark timbers, plus I enjoy the owl door knocker.


And here is a bonus view from the front of the property looking along the street – a lovely mix of old residences and shops.

This is my entry for this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. To see more doors or add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link.

Thursday Doors – Number 28, Old Town

This week’s door is another one close to home. It’s the entrance to a building in our Old Town, which dates back to the 1500s. As you can see by the date, this door is a little newer, though with design nods to an earlier age. 1902 places it at the height of the Art Nouveau period, typified in the tree decoration above the door. I absolutely love it.


While much of our old town consists of shops, restaurants and residential homes, this place is a bit of a mystery. The ground floor seems closed up, silhouettes of large cabinets just visible through the darkened window. Up above, tattered curtains hang behind dilapidated wooden framed windows, while a large upper conservatory at the rear, just visible from the park behind, hints that it may have once been an artist’s residence.

So the mystery of Number 28 remains. Perhaps one day I’ll find out who lives/lived there – some more research is in order, I think.

For more Thursday Doors, visit Norm 2.0 and have a browse, or add a door yourself!