His debut single is now available on soundcloud soundcloud.com/bensimmonsmusic
You can also find Ben on Twitter and Instagram.
If you missed the performance or just want to listen again you can do so using our listen again service by navigating to Wednesday from 5.30pm.
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Hope you had a lovely August. We're still trying to get the sand out of our things but are all set for a week of fresh Drivetime goodness!
Here is our new music playlist for the forthcoming week:
a-ha - The Wake
Cliff Richard - Golden
David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock
Duran Duran - Pressure Off (feat. Janelle Monáe & Nile Rodgers)
George Ezra - Barcelona
Hozier - From Eden
Kacey Musgraves - This Town
Kate Rusby - We Will Sing
Keith Richards - Trouble
Kerri Watt - Long Way Home
Leona Lewis - I Am
Longfellow - Choose
Mika - All She Wants
Mumford & Sons - Ditmas
Nerina Pallot - Rousseau
New Order - Restless
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Lock All The Doors
One Direction - Drag Me Down
Rachel Platten - Fight Song
Richard Hawley - Heart Of Oak
Sheppard - Let Me Down Easy
Simply Red - Ghost Of Love
Stereophonics - I Wanna Get Lost With You
The Cat Empire - Qué Será Ahora
Thea Gilmore - Live Out Loud
Tina Arena - Overload
Tony Momrelle - Pick Me Up
U2 - Song For Someone
Ward Thomas - Guest List
Items in BOLD are new additions
This week's featured track is the brand new single by Eagles frontman (& drummer) Don Henley called Take A Picture of This:
Today Dave Weaver, of the Verulam Writers' Circle, was in the studio to discuss Get Writing Day 2015.
The event, which is in its eighth year, offers writers a chance to develop their existing skills, take part in workshops, or pitch manuscripts to figures in the publishing industry.
Another exciting opportunity the event offers is the chance to enter the Get Writing Cup. Entrants can submit a short story of any genre, for the chance to win a cash prize and get noticed by publishers.
There are still tickets available for the event, which takes place on the 26th of September at West Herts College in Watford.
For more information visit:
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Environment Matters this week was joined by Tom Carmen from Food Smiles. Tom explained that Food Smiles, now in its second year, is a cooperative of local people who work together to produce organic veg which is then shared in weekly veg boxes. He was delighted with the success of this year’s harvest and with the enormous range of delicious veg that was being shared each week.
Food Smiles invited everyone to join them at their Harvest Festival at their plot at Hammonds End Farm between Redbourn and Harpenden 2-6pm on Saturday 12th September. You’ll be able to meet some Food Smilers, see what they have achieved so far and talk about what’s involved.
If you are interested, there are a number of joining options.
Also coming up is Grow it Cook it Eat it, part of the St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival. Unfortunately you won’t find it in the festival brochure, due to an error, and they do hope you’ll join them on Wednesday, September 23rd, for a harvest-time celebration of all things homegrown. There will be displays of produce and pictures of what Food Smiles have been up to this year, there will be tasters and produce to take home, there will be seeds and seedlings available in return for a small donation, and members will be on hand to answer questions and give advice about growing your own at home. The event will take place in the yurt at the Blacksmith Arms so drinks, including a range of real ales, will be available at the bar. The event is free and you’re welcome to drop in at any time between 8pm and closing time.
Danny and the team will be back from next Tuesday with guests that week including Matt Adams from the Herts Advertiser, Jane Slatter from St Albans Soroptimists, Dave Weaver from the Verulam Writers Circle and LIVE music on the Drivetime Sessions courtesy of local singer/songwriter Ben Simmons.
That's West Herts Drivetime with Danny Smith, back next Tuesday from 4-7pm on 92.6FM Radio Verulam and online at www.radioverulam.com
(Common Carder Bumble Bee. Stephen Falk)
Back in 2013 the EU placed a moratorium on the use of a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, due to an increasing body of evidence implicating them in the steep decline in bee numbers.
However, after pressure from farmers, David Cameron’s government has temporarily lifted the ban in certain areas of the UK, one of which is Hertfordshire. As a result, neonicotinoid pesticides can, for a while, be used in fields around St.Albans.
Farmers say the lifting of the ban is too little too late and environmentalists are signing petitions asking that the ban be immediately reinstated.
So, on this contentious note, I spoke to Vanessa Amaral-Rogers from the invertebrate charity Buglife and then to Bill Barr who farms land between St.Albans and Redbourn.
You can read more about what Buglife have to say on their website.
Needless to say, the National Farmers Union have plenty to say too, so do take a look at their bees and pollinators webpage.
If you’d like to find out more about some of the scientific research into the effects of neonicotinoids on bees, then take a look at the website of the scientific journal Nature – in particular there’s a great summary of some of the recent research in an audio clip by Marian Turner which you will see at the side of the page. The most recent findings that Vanessa mentioned, from the Government’s own Fera scientists can be read here.
You can see read what the Government has to say about their position on neonicotinoids on their website.
Next week we hear from the local organic food producing group Food Smiles who have news about their new polytunnel, up coming harvest festival and monster tomato plant. Listen to Radio Verulam 92.6fm Tuesday and Thursday lunch times on the Local Life Show just after noon.
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The Abbey Line, running between St.Albans Abbey Station and Watford Junction, is under review yet again. This time the idea of converting the line into a guided bus way is on the table.
We spoke to Dave Horton of Abfly, the Abbey Flyer’s users’ group and Trevor Mason, the Safe and Sustainable Journeys manager from Herts County Council.
Take a look at the Abfly website for their views on guided busways, predicting demand and a passing loop.
To find out train times, stops, and places to visit along the Abbey Line, take a look at the Abbey Line website.
We highlighted some events involving a bit of green fun over the weekend:
This Fri, 21/08/2015 – 8:30pm – run by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Venue: Cassiobury Park LNR – take a look at their website for more details.
Tue, 25/08/2015 – 2:00pm – 4:00pm – Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Venue: Panshanger Park Forest School fun at Panshanger Park
Flamstead Scarecrow Festival 2015
Friday 21st August – Sunday 23rd August 2015
Every year Flamstead has the most wonderful Scarecrow Festival – it is a fun family event with Free parking – althought you can of course avoid the inevitable traffic jams and cycle there.
It’s hard to describe the Scarecrow Festival itself – the whole village takes part, there a scarecrows on all sorts of themes all over the place, and it is quintessentially English. I can imagine any American Tourists would love this quirky fun.
There will be free entertainment including: Morris dancers, punch and judy, brass band, art exhibition in the church plus others. There will also be cream teas in the village hall and village fete actvities: tombola, white elephant stall etc.
This is the 14th year of the festival, and all the profits go to the upkeep of the Village Church, St. Leonard’s, and the Herts Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre – the 2 charities that provide all the effort in planning the event and the volunteers that help run the event over the weekend.
Venue: Flamstead village
Time: Friday 12:00 – 17:00, Saturday 10:00 – 18:00, Sunday 10:30 – 17:00.
Sunday 23rd August 2015
The Harpenden Farmers Market occurs on the fourth Sunday of every month. Featuring a range of produce, it is located along the Lower High Street. The market usually consists of approximately 70 stalls.
Location: Lower High Street, Harpenden
Time: 10am until 2pm
Telephone: 01582 768278
Sunday 23rd August 2015
The opportunity to try an electric bike and get out for tea and cake too. The ride starts from the Mill Green Mill in Hatfield and visits many locations including Verulamium Park, Gorhambury and Wheathampstead, before returning along the Ayot Greenway to the Mill. A delicious cream tea is served at the Mill and you can visit this interesting 18th Century watermill.
If you’re feeling more ambitious, there are also Bike tours around The Chilterns departing from Berkhamsted.
For Sunday’s ride the Tour starting point: Mill Green Mill, Mill Green Lane, Hatfield, AL9 5PD
Time: 10:30 – 14:45
Cost: £35 per person or £50 per couple. This includes a cream tea at Mill Green Mill
Contact: To reserve your place you can telephone 01442 927522 or visit http://electricbiketours.co.uk
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Listen in next Tuesday and Thursday just after noon as part of the Local Life Show.
Sun cream is one products which now often contain nano particles, but they are also found in many other places including odour resistant garments and other toiletries. We are barely aware of them, but this week I spoke to Professor Steve McGrath from Rothamsted Research about recent findings about the damaging effects on plant growth when nano particles get into soil.
Take a look at the findings of the research on the Rothamsted website.
We also heard about the fabulous new garden that Ayletts Nurseries have set up as part of their 60th anniversary. They’ve incorporated their famous dahlias into a summer long display, as well as planting insect friendly wild flowers and some flowers for cutting so customers can take a posy home with them.
And if you love visiting gardens then take a look at www.ngs.org.uk where you can find all the gardens open for the National Garden Scheme.
If you’ve not heard of this, the idea is that people open their lovely gardens to the public, charging a small entrance fee.
The gardens can be of all shapes and sizes and types, but they are all inspected by the rigorous NGS inspector and are all worth a visit.
Sometimes there will be tea and cake available, sometimes there’s live music – but there’s always a beautiful garden to enjoy.
All proceeds go to nursing and caring charities for which they have so far raised over £45 million, so it’s all for an excellent cause too.
As usual, if you missed the show you can listen again on the Radio Verulam website – Environment Matters can be found a few minutes into the Local Life Show every Tuesday and Thursday just after mid-day.