Saturday, 29 September 2012

Open Studio Ride

It was a beautiful morning, and the quartet’s route specification was ‘get us into the countryside’. As my selection from the Open Studios programme ( was on the fringes of Southdown; that was the route sorted. We headed up to the King William by way of Woodstock Road, Homewood Road and Marshal’s Drive, down Valley Road, and into Sandridgebury Lane. I always enjoy the view you get of Sandridge from this lane. We nicked through at the Scout Hut and came down the bridleway to Heartwood Car Park, where lots of walkers were about for the Herts Hike. We continued down the access track and across to Coleman Green Lane.

We now experienced the best and worst of Range Rover drivers. A gent waited for a widening of the road and then came smoothly through. Then a young woman nearly took us out as she needlessly and stupidly cut the corner out of Drovers Way. Ruffled nerves were soothed by the beauty of Nomansland and a friendly encounter with a couple of horsewomen. At Pipers Grove we were a bit ahead of schedule, so headed to Artscape at Southdown for our bonus art exhibition and to stock up on artists’ supplies.

Back to our destination and a warm welcome from artists Belinda Naylor-Stables (drawing, painting, textiles) and Elspeth Keith (ceramics). We were plied with delicious tea and coffee whilst the artists gave us background to their work. Elspeth’s ceramics have an amazing delicate and crusty texture thanks to the fizzy glaze she uses. Works of nature and human craft influences Belinda’s paintings. Anglo-Saxon runes have recently influenced both artists. Actually, the artwork that particularly appealed to us was the wheelbarrow, but fortunately our speculation on how to get it back to St Albans was cut short, as this one is not for sale.

The other picture shows us getting ready to leave Frog’s Folly and head back to St Albans. As the route out was so satisfactory, we saw no need to go a different way back.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hatfield Art & Design

Our ride on Saturday 1 September saw a trio of us set off for Hatfield along the Alban Way.

We fairly whizzed along, and so reckoned we had time to enjoy an exhibition at the University Art and Design Gallery in College Lane.

I had not checked if there was a show on, when we arrived we could see that the exhibition was due to be open... but the door was not open.  Oh well, we'll just go and have a coffee at the Forum.

We turned off a bit too soon, and met Sir Geoffrey himself.  Carried on, more closed doors.  I think we assume that weekends out of term time the university is dormant.

We considered our options. If we were going for a coffee we wouldn't be starting from here sort of thing. We decided to make our way back towards St Albans. As we meandered through Colney Heath, a shopfront and a cycle stand caught our eye and we stopped instantly. Three chairs set out inside, obviously this was fated to be our coffee stop today.

Refreshed, we returned to St Albans pausing only to get lost in the maze in Highfield Park (sorry, too dizzy to take a photo of this).