West Herts Drivetime

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The official podcast for the ultimate drivetime show in West Herts. Presented by the gorgeous Danny Smith, including Chris' Film Club with Chris Aikman and the weekly Radio Verulam Film Guide with Simon Carver.
Updated: 59 min 52 sec ago

Chris' Film Club: Double Indemnity

Tue, 27/09/2016 - 6:30pm
Today on the Film Club Chris looks at the black and white film 'Double Indemnity'

Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson star in this Billy Wilder classic, about an insurance salesman who plots with a woman to murder her husband and collect on the insurance.

The film was nominated for 7 Oscars, and despite not winning any has still been remembered as a classic.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Interior design with Gwendoline Alderton- It's Curtains for Christmas! @ga_interiors

Tue, 27/09/2016 - 6:02pm
Today Gwendoline talked to us about prepping our interior design in time for Christmas.
For instance, if you'd like to put curtains up in time for Christmas, they usually take 4-8 weeks to make.  Therefore you should start thinking about ordering any new curtains now. Also, you should think about whether you want blackout curtains, or other sorts of curtains, such as voile or net curtains.  You choice will depend on what sort of room you are looking to modernise.

If you'd like to order a sofa in time for Christmas, it is worth remembering that it takes 6-8 weeks for sofas to be handmade, and 4-6 weeks for sofas to be delivered, if you're hoping to get it from abroad.  Be aware of the space you need to fill, and the  style you want when considering new furniture.  Make sure you have fabric samples because the lighting in the showrooms are very different from lighting in your home.

If you're thinking about redecorating the walls, think about whether you need anything reflective on the walls. You might want to think about having reflective items if you're decorating a dark room.  There are many reflective paints on the market at the moment.

Gwendoline's website :

Categories: Programme Blogs

Science with Sam @smrolfe - Tim Peake, Ozone & Flying Ants

Mon, 26/09/2016 - 10:08pm

Tim Peake returned to Earth from the ISS after a six month mission. The space probe Juno arrived at Jupiter and successfully entered into orbit.

Flying Ant Day

Royal Society of Biology

Is there a specific, nationwide flying ant day? Hive mind?

Most ant colonies start with a flying ant - when young queens leave the nest to found their own colony.

2012 The figures show that one-fifth of sightings happened on Tuesday 24 July 2012 with another fifth being recorded two weeks later on Wednesday 8 August 2012.

In the time between the two peaks, an area of low pressure moved across the UK.

2013 had four main peaks. The 'ant season' was also longer, with the last flying ant day in 2013 two weeks after the last one in 2012.

2014 There were two flying ant days, compared to four days in 2013.

2015 No detailed info, but seems there were also a few peaks across the summer.

Overall conclusion: there is no flying ant “day” but several days, apparently dependent on weather.

Interested in biology and nature – Biology Week begins 8th October 2016. Google “Biology Week”

Sources: https://www.rsb.org.uk/get-involved/biologyweek/flying-ant-survey and links therein.

Ozone Hole – update

Have you thought about the hole in the ozone layer recently? No, me either. It is still there. Ozone helps protect us from harmful UV rays from the Sun.


Scientist of the Month

Henrietta Leavitt (1868 – 1921)

Worked at Harvard College Observatory as a computer (one who computes), examining photographic plates measuring and cataloguing the brightness of stars. Originally she was not paid because she had independent means, but later received $0.30 an hour for her work.

Night Sky this month

The Perseids meteor shower is peaking over 11-12th Aug, with up to 90 shooting stars per hour. Peak will occur after the Moon sets after midnight.

Venus and Jupiter (the brightest planets in the sky), will be approximately one-sixth the apparent size of the Moon apart in the sky on 28th Aug.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Science Correspondent - Sam Rolfe

Mon, 26/09/2016 - 10:08pm

Sam Rolfe our science correspondent joined us tonight.

Tsunamis on Mars

Mars currently relatively dry and cold surface, very difficult for liquid to exist at the surface, but approximately 3 billion years ago, it is thought Mars had a warmer, wetter climate – evidence of liquid flowing on the surface, e.g. channels and fluvial fans.

Mars is split into two approximate regions: the northern younger lowland plains and southern ancient highlands. The relatively flat lowlands thought to be due to an ocean, but a lack of a clear shoreline has created doubt about this theory. Satellite data has revealed a possible major redistribution of sediments at the edge of these two regions.

However, if the shorelines were regularly hit by tsunamis they would be disguised due to sediment build up an otherwise clear coastline. Once the water started to flow back towards the ocean, it cut new backwash channels, which have been identified by the study. Two sediment deposits have been identified, with areas of 800,000 sq km being covered by the older event and 1,000,000 sq km, due to waves of between 50 and 120 m high produced by impacts leaving craters 30 km wide. For comparison, Meteor or Barringer Crater in Arizona is just over a kilometre in diameter.

Sources: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep25106


Wearable Technology Revolution – How many steps should you be doing?
We often hear that we need to hit 10,000 steps a day to be moving towards a healthy lifestyle. Where does this number come from and is it even correct?

In the 1960s, a pedometer was sold in Japan called manpo-kei, translated as 10,000 steps meter and that is where it has come from.

Given that the original 10,000 steps just happened to be how many steps the pedometer could count, it is not a very scientific number. Research says that healthy adults take about 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day and anyone who ups their steps from 1,000 to 10,000 decreases their risk of premature death by 46 %.
Source: https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/many-daily-steps-really-need-better-health%E2%80%8B/

Scientist of the Month
Youyou Tu

She worked at the China Academy of Tradition Chinese Medicine, Beijing when awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015 for discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria.

Source: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2015/tu-facts.html

What to see in the Night Sky


26th May 00:25 am 4 min Planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Mars
11:30 pm 6 min

27th May 10:38 pm 5 min

28th May 00:14 am 6 min
09:46 pm 4 min
11:21 pm 6 min

29th May 10:28 pm 6 min

30th May 00:05 am 6 min
11:12 pm 6 min

Categories: Programme Blogs

Science Feature 26-09-2016

Mon, 26/09/2016 - 8:02pm
This month on the Science Feature:  Mapping the Galaxy, The Planet Next Door, Glass solar panels.
Samantha Rolfe

Mapping the GalaxyGAIA is a mission that has been mapping the galaxy since July 2014. It rotates around with two cameras on opposites sides taking images of all points of light. It has mapped over a billion stars, where about 400 million of those are thought to be new discoveries. This is only the beginning as there is so much data that scientists will be exploring the data for years to come.Other than mapping the stars, it will chart the positions of approximately a quarter of a million asteroids and comets in the solar system, a million galaxies and potentially 10,000 undiscovered planets orbiting stars.One of the overall aims is to create a 3D map of the galaxy, which will help further understand our place in it and further the understanding of the evolution of stars and the galaxy and the distribution of dark matter.
Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/gaia-mission%E2%80%99s-milky-way-map-pinpoints-locations-billion-plus-stars
The Planet Next DoorProxima Centauri is the nearest star (other than the Sun!) to the Earth. It is approximately 4.2 light years away. With current technology we could reach there in about 80,000 to 90,000 years… which doesn’t sound too promising. However, if even fraction of the speed of light travel could be achieved, we could reach there in a few hundred years or less.Why do we want to go there? A recent discovery found a potentially habitable planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbour. Good news right? We need to find out a lot more about the planet than we already know, but here is what we know: It orbits its star in 11.2 days and is at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth. Due to the type of star that it orbits, smaller and cooler than our Sun, a red dwarf, this means it orbits in the “habitable zone”, where, depending on the type of planet, liquid water can theoretically exist at the surface, like it does on Earth. Great, so we could inhabit it!Let’s think about what we don’t know. We don’t know if it is a rocky planet, we don’t know its radius and we don’t know its exact mass, it could be much greater than 1.3 Earth masses and therefore more like Neptune than Earth.  If it is  rocky planet, being that close to its star poses the following problem: it is likely to be tidally locked, like the Moon is with the Earth – one half of the planet will constantly face the star causing extreme heating and never ending daylight on one side and freezing temperatures and perpetual night on the other.  A haven for life may exist around the terminator, the line between day and night, where temperature could allow for liquid water to exist.
Sources: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/planet-detected-nearest-neighbor-star-proxima-centaurihttps://www.sciencenews.org/article/proxima-b-deserves-buzz-even-if-some-didn%E2%80%99t-notice?mode=topic&context=36
Glass solar panelsImagine if all the glass around us could generate electricity, we would be well on the way to helping solve the energy crisis.Several companies and research teams are working on using see-through solar panels to create electricity, so they could replace current windows, phones could use their screens to keep their charge topped up and skyscrapers could be powerhouses. These panels work by allowing visible light through while trapping the energy from infrared and UV radiation directing the energy towards the edges of the panels where a photovoltaic material transforms it to electricity (similar to the technology used in classic solar panels).This is a fairly new technology, with talk of it having occurred for a few years now, with ideas ranging from films that would stick onto existing glass windows to panes that would replace current windows. But with promise of it being commercially available within the next 2 to 5 years.
Sources: http://inhabitat.com/revolutionary-transparent-solar-cells-could-produce-50-times-more-energy-than-conventional-solar/http://www.wired.co.uk/article/transparent-solar-cellshttp://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/ubiquitous-energy-transparent-solar-power-timeline/http://futurism.com/electricity-generating-windows-could-turn-skyscrapers-into-solar-farms/
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Mr Smith Goes to Washington

Mon, 26/09/2016 - 6:30pm
It's a new week on the Film Club, meaning it's time for a new theme. This week Chris has chosen 'Black and White' Films, starting with 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington'.

The 1939 political film directed by Frank Capra, is about an idealistic US Senator (James Stewart) who gets sucked into the murky Washington political scene. Will his idealism win out?

Also stars Jean Arthur, Claude Raines and Edward Arnold.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Coming Up This Week...

Mon, 26/09/2016 - 5:13pm
Here's a quick look at what's going to be happening this week on West Herts Drivetime.

Monday: We start this week with a feature with our Science Correspondent Sam Rolfe.

Tuesday: This Tuesday we have our Interior Design feature with Gwendoline Alderton.

Wednesday: Joining us in the studio this week for the Drivetime Sessions is local musician Phoenix O’Neill.

Thursday: We have a double feature. First we have Local News with Sophie Crockett, followed by an Interview with crime novelist M.J. Arlidge.

Friday: We have a brand new Agony Aunt feature with Penelope Pritchett (The Perfect Housewife!) 
If anyone has a problem they would like Penelope to address, please send it to danny@radioverulam.com

Categories: Programme Blogs

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 23rd September 2016

Fri, 23/09/2016 - 11:49pm
The 23rd of September is a special anniversary in the Carver household. On this day, in 1989, Simon realised that the woman who he saw a lot around the house, who gave him food, cleaned his beige jumpers, and kept bailing him out of jail, was actually his wife, Mrs. Carver. So this is the anniversary of Simon realising he had an anniversary to celebrate. Until then he had just been mildly confused about who this woman was and why she would annually set fire to one of his jumpers while screaming 'WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH MY LIFE?!' Luckily, things have got a lot better since then. He even occasionally remembers her name.

Ok, that was a lie, but Simon was in the studio to talk about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.
The 39 Steps
10.35pm – 12.00am

The Bicycle Thieves
12.15am – 2.05am

The Man Who Would Be King
7.40pm – 9.40pm

12.55am – 4.00am

Miss Congeniality
9.00pm – 11.15pm

10.00pm – 12.20am

Primal Fear
9.00pm – 11.45pm
Movie Mix
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: The Road

Thu, 22/09/2016 - 6:30pm
The final 'Dystopian Future' film Chris chose this week is 'The Road', an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy book of the same name.

America is a grim, gray shadow of itself after a catastrophe. A man (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) wander through this post-apocalyptic world, trying to keep the dream of civilization alive. They journey toward the sea, surviving as best they can on what they can scavenge, and try to avoid roving gangs of savage humans who will turn them into slaves, or worse.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Ian, Judi & Barbara from Batchwood Bowls Club

Thu, 22/09/2016 - 6:29pm
On today's Drivetime Session we saw Ian, Judi & Barbara from Batchwood Bowls Club.

The club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A unique club welcoming new members with all abilities. On Monday evenings there are social evenings in which new members are welcomed to join. It is the club's focus on ensuring that players of all abilities and ages are welcomed. Players of all abilities, including those completely new to the sport.

For more details please visit their website: http://www.bowls-clubs.co.uk/BHBC/

And if you missed the interview you can listen to it by visitinghttp://listenagain.radioverulam.com/ and navigate to Thursday from 5.30pm.

Thanks to the Herts Advertiser for the photo
Categories: Programme Blogs

The Drivetime Sessions with Abbie Gathard

Wed, 21/09/2016 - 6:31pm

The Drivetime Sessions was joined today for the first time by Abbie Gathard. She performed two beautiful original compositions titled 'Never Forgotten' and 'Drifting Away' as well as an excellent cover of Extremes 'More Than Words'.

For more information about Abbie Gathard you can visit her Facebook page here or her Youtube channel here.

You can listen to this weeks Drivetime Session again by visiting www.radioveralum.com/listenagain and navigating to 5:30 on Wednesday.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Wed, 21/09/2016 - 6:30pm
Next on the Film Club is the second Hunger Games installment 'Catching Fire'

After arriving safely home from their unprecedented victory in the previous Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark discover that they must do a quick turnaround and begin a Victors Tour. As she and Peeta travel throughout the districts, Katniss senses a rebellion is stirring. However, President Snow proves that he is still very much in control when word comes of a cruel change in the rules for the upcoming 75th Hunger Games.

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson Star.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Elysium

Tue, 20/09/2016 - 6:30pm
Moving along the theme of 'Dystopias' for this week's Film Club, today Chris chooses to look at 'District 9' Director Neil Blomkamp's 'Elysium'.

It’s 2154 and the Earth is overpopulated and polluted, with many living in poverty and with no healthcare. The rich are living on Elysium, a luxurious space habitat in the Earth’s orbit. Matt Damon plays a thief on parole, who desperately needs the to get to Elysium to save his life.
Also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga and William Fichtner 
Categories: Programme Blogs

Bake it Easy with Lucy Clark @heavensacupcake- Scones

Tue, 20/09/2016 - 5:49pm
Today on Bake it Easy, Lucy (@heavensacupcake) talked to us about how to make scones.

350g Self Raising Flour
1⁄4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
85g Butter
45g Caster Sugar
175ml Semi Skimmed Milk
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1 egg, beaten (for glaze)

• Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan oven/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

• Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon. Rub the butter in finely until you get a kind of bread crumb mixture.

•Stir in the sugar and then add the milk to get a soft dough.

• Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Roll out to aprrox 2cm/3⁄4in thick. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to cut out rounds and place onto prepared baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and cut out more scones to use it all up.

• Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden.

• Cool on a wire rack and serve with jam & clotted cream.
Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Escape From New York

Mon, 19/09/2016 - 6:30pm
This week Chris has chosen the Film Club theme of  'Dystopian Futures', starting off with 'Escape From New York'.

The 1981 John Carpenter film is set in a dystopian 1997, where New York has become a prison island. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president (Donald Pleasence) is taken hostage by a group of inmates. and Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Finding Dory

Sun, 18/09/2016 - 3:11pm
The final Film Chris chose this week is the latest Disney/ Pixar release 'Finding Dory'.

The sequel to 'Finding Nemo' follows Dory, a blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The one thing she can remember is that she somehow became separated from her parents as a child. With help from her friends Nemo and Marlin, Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them.

It Features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O'Neill, Albert Brooks, Ty Burrell and many more.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Ex Machina

Sun, 18/09/2016 - 2:58pm
The next Film in the 'Things Chris Saw Recently' theme is 2015's 'Ex Machina'.

In the film a programmer at a huge Internet company wins a contest to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman, his firm's brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava, a beautiful robot. However it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.

Domhnhall Gleeson, Oscar Issac and Alicia Vikander star.

Categories: Programme Blogs

Chris' Film Club: Star Trek Beyond

Sun, 18/09/2016 - 2:47pm
Continuing the week's theme of 'Film's Chris Has Seen Recently', Tuesday's Film Club looked at 2016's 'Star Trek Beyond'.

When a surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must battle a deadly alien race led by Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator, while trying to find a way off the hostile planet. 
Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and Anton Yelchin also reprise their roles from the previous films.

Categories: Programme Blogs

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 16th September 2016

Fri, 16/09/2016 - 7:00pm
After last week, when Simon regressed back to his youth in the Stone Age, he has now found his way back to more modern times. More modern, but not quite present day. Simon came in a powdered wig and long stockings, and nothing else. It turns out that Simon was starring in an amateur dramatics production of The Madness of King George III, and had just come from rehearsal. If that wasn't horrific enough, he started doing lunges, because he 'has got a big badders game later and needs to be limber, what what'.  

Ok, that was a lie, but Simon was in the studio to talk about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.

Mad Max
10.40pm – 12.25am

Toy Story 3
5.30pm – 7.10pm

Before I Go to Sleep
9.00pm – 11.40pm

The Football Factory
9.00pm – 11.20pm

Tower Block
10.00pm – 11.55pm

10.05pm – 12.45am
Categories: Programme Blogs

James, Katy and Jackie from Thoroughly Modern Millie by @HLOS60

Thu, 15/09/2016 - 6:39pm

On today's Drivetime Session we saw Harpenden Light Operatic Society, The production of the thoroughly modern Millie.

Danny was joined with James Russel, Katy Jane Meehan & Jackie Pulford in our studio at Radio Verulam. Katy will be playing Millie, joined by James who will be playing Jimmy and Jackie as Muzzy Van Hossmere. This production will be held at Harpenden halls from the 4th of October until the 8th of October. There will also be a 1925 event on the 6th of October at the Harpenden Halls and this is a fancy dressed evening where pictures will be taken and there will be other surprises.

Winners of six Tony Awards including Best Musical. Based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film, Thoroughly Modern Millie takes you back to the height of the Jazz Age in New York City, when "moderns" including a flapper named Millie Dillmount were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce, and rewriting the rules of love.

Set in New York City in 1922, Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of young Millie Dillmount from Kansas who comes to New York in search of a new life for herself.

Tickets can be bought from the Harpenden Light Operatic Society website http://www.harpenden-operatic.co.uk/ or from the ticket office https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/hlos.

And if you missed the interview you can listen to it by visiting http://listenagain.radioverulam.com/ and navigate to Thursday from 5.30pm.

Categories: Programme Blogs