Friday, 28 June 2013

The Radio Verulam Film Guide - 28th June 2013

It's been such a long time since the gang were all together in the same studio on a Friday during the Film Guide so we took some time before the show to get to know each other again. Danny decided to kick things off with a very nostalgic trip down memory lane and regale us with a story from his youth. It involved a VW Camper Van, a betamax copy of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, a potted plant (I believe it was a daffodil), a pair of bolt cutters, two corgis and a Morris dancer.

After Simon had finished being sick and I had called my mother to apologise for every bad thing I have ever done we decided that we should never speak of this again. Blogging is acceptable though.

Ok, that was a lie (it was two King Charles spaniels), but Simon was in the studio tonight to talk about the UK box office and his pick of films on free-to-air TV for the coming week.

Music and Lyrics
10.35pm – 12.30am

1.10pm – 3.55pm

Groundhog Day
2.15pm – 4.20pm

9.00pm – 11.15pm

Starsky and Hutch
10.00pm – 11.40pm

The Prophet
1.00am – 3.00am

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Interview with Bellowheads' Andy Mellon

     Todays guest on the show was Bellowheads' Andy Mellon. Bellowhead is an eleven piece band which aspires to dazzle, move and confuse you with an liquified mish-mash of English folk, dance, funk,  and sea shanties. Their songs are said to have derived from traditional folk music twisted into the 21st century. Their latest single Betsy Baker does not disappoint and is also featured on this months playlist.

    The band consists of percussion and four piece brass section and varied string and woodwind instruments. Between the eleven members they can play 20 instruments between them. Last year they played a sell out concert at the St Albans Arena on their November tour. Their third album "Hedonism"  went silver with 60 thousand copies and is currently the highest selling independently released folk record of all time.

   They've also managed to appear on a documentary of the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons. As well as rewriting the The Archers theme for it's spin off called Ambridge Extra (A livelier version of the original).

   Mr Andy Mellon is the bands trumpet player  and one of it's many vocalists. He started off his musical career focusing on classical music but eventually lost interest so began experimenting with pop, jazz and world music. Now as a part of Bellowhead he also enjoys throwing traditional British Folk in the mix.

    It's fantastic that we have home grown band with this kind of musical ability, style and scale with few bands to compare with oversees (The Polphonic Spree, Arcade Fire). Bellowhead are truly joyous experience for all the senses. (Check out their lavish album art work and stage sets!)

All of us here at Radio Verulam look forward to hearing more. 

For more information on their tours, or previous releases go to:

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Nick Stephenson Interview on Drivetime

   Radio Verulam is lucky enough to be situated in St Albans which is a vast melting pot of culture and creativity. Our bohemian exports include a vast number of talented and varied musicians and if you are a patron of the local music scene in St Albans, you would no doubt have heard of local musical guru Nick Stephenson (The front man of the band Nick and The Sun Machine). Lyrically the best way to describe him is cross between David Bowie and a much more upbeat Nick Drake. Vocally he conjures up Richard Thompson, (early) Elton John whilst channeling the late Richie Havens.

Starting from small beginnings, he started writing at the age of 15 and performing at 16 at The Horn's open mic night and since then has come a long way. He went on to release his debut solo album in 2010 "Dream Logic". Nick and the Sun machine are now the four piece band which has been recording and playing together for a year (Although drummer Simon Hadwin has played along side Nick for several years).

  Nick has been surviving as professional musician for 3 years and when he's not carving out his finely tuned alternative folk rock, he's paving the way for other creative individuals at his open mic nights - one being at the Farmers Boy on London Road (on Wednesday evenings at 9.00pm) the other is at The Amble Inn in Harpenden which is on every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.

   During the show he gave us acoustic versions of his tracks White Chalk and Acid Rain Clouds from his band's forthcoming album called "Wide Lying Smiles." He went on to cover The Jean Genie by his longtime hero David Bowie.

To hear more, or for more information on Nick and The Sun Machine go to: 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Gwendoline Alderton talks about clutter

Gwendoline came into the studio today and introduced the Drivetime team to "clutter personalities" She said the best way to deal with clutter is to identify which personality you are.

The Avid Collector
A person who collects a certain object whether it is small or large, for example; teapots and photographs. Have a look at whether the collection is stored in the loft if so is it really worth keeping? Collections should be on display so make sure photos are in books or teapots nicely organised on a shelf. Therefore other people can also appreciate the objects.

The Social Squirrel-er
This refers to people who collect memories that are attached to items such as presents from loved ones or old photographs. Re-asses how important these items are and organise them into photo albums.

The Sentimental Saver
 Keeps tickets and brochures from events they've been to or mean something to that person. In this case a scrapbook or scrapbooks can keep all items in one organised placed and displayed proudly on a shelf or coffee table.

Just in case Junkie
Someone who keeps things just i case they might be used in the future. Often people leave things in boxes then forget what they actually have so go through these items and asses what will actually be useful.

When looking at your' clutter personality ask yourself what have I got and how much does it mean to me. Never keep stuff for the sake of keeping it and always compromise with your partner so you have equal amount of stuff displayed or kept.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Our science correspondent Sam Rolfe was the guest on Drivetime tonight, here is what Sam told us about;

Cancer often kills rodents, but naked mole-rats, which can live longer than 30 years, are not susceptible to the disease. A study published yesterday (June 19) in Nature suggests a mechanism for the phenomenon: a sugar in the spaces between naked mole-rat cells appears to lower the density of cell growth and prevent tumors from forming.

The protective substance, called hyaluronan (HA), is part of the extracellular matrix in many animals, but naked mole-rats produce large amounts of an HA variant that has a high molecular weight. Researchers discovered naked mole-rat HA’s unusual properties when they noticed that naked mole-rat cells in culture tended not to grow close together and were surrounded by a gooey substance that clogged the lab’s drains, Nature’s news site reported.

“Our lab technician was unhappy because she needed to disassemble the system and clean all this gooey stuff,” Andrei Seluanov, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York and an author of the paper, said to Nature. “I told my graduate student that we have to find out what the gooey substance is—it should be related to their cancer resistance. Of course, at that time it was just a wild guess.”

Seluanov and colleagues found that naked mole-rats had high HA levels because of production-boosting mutations to the enzyme that synthesizes HA and low activity of the enzyme that degrades the molecule. The researchers then grafted naked mole-rat cells that had been modified to express cancer-causing genes into mice. The cells that maintained HA at high levels did not form tumors in the mice, while the cells engineered to lack the protective HA molecule over-proliferated.

The researchers also showed that the HA was binding to the naked mole-rat cells and tapping into a pathway that leads to early contact inhibition, in which cells cease to divide when they reach a certain density—a phenomenon previously observed in naked mole-rats. A similar event inhibits cell growth at high density in other animals, but naked mole-rats arrest cell growth at especially low densities.

The researchers told Nature that their next step is to genetically engineer mice to produce HA like that of naked mole-rats, in an attempt to produce cancer-resistant mice.

Printing tiny batteries
By Dan Ferber, Wyss Institute
June 18, 2013

Novel application of 3D printing could enable the development of miniaturized medical implants, compact electronics, tiny robots, and more

SEM of 3D-printed battery

A research team from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has demonstrated the ability to 3D print a battery.  This image shows the interlaced stack of electrodes that were printed layer by layer to create the working anode and cathode of a microbattery. (SEM image courtesy of Jennifer A. Lewis.)

Cambridge, Mass. – June 18, 2013 – 3D printing can now be used to print lithium-ion microbatteries the size of a grain of sand. The printed microbatteries could supply electricity to tiny devices in fields from medicine to communications, including many that have lingered on lab benches for lack of a battery small enough to fit the device, yet provide enough stored energy to power them.

To make the microbatteries, a team based at Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign printed precisely interlaced stacks of tiny battery electrodes, each less than the width of a human hair.

“Not only did we demonstrate for the first time that we can 3D-print a battery; we demonstrated it in the most rigorous way,” said Jennifer A. Lewis, senior author of the study, who is also the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and a Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Lewis led the project in her prior position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in collaboration with co-author Shen Dillon, an Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering there.

The results have been published online in the journal Advanced Materials.

In recent years engineers have invented many miniaturized devices, including medical implants, flying insect-like robots, and tiny cameras and microphones that fit on a pair of glasses. But often the batteries that power them are as large or larger than the devices themselves, which defeats the purpose of building small.

To get around this problem, manufacturers have traditionally deposited thin films of solid materials to build the electrodes. However, due to their ultra-thin design, these solid-state micro-batteries do not pack sufficient energy to power tomorrow’s miniaturized devices.

The scientists realized they could pack more energy if they could create stacks of tightly interlaced, ultrathin electrodes that were built out of plane. For this they turned to 3D printing. 3D printers follow instructions from three-dimensional computer drawings, depositing successive layers of material—inks—to build a physical object from the ground up, much like stacking a deck of cards one at a time. The technique is used in a range of fields, from producing crowns in dental labs to rapid prototyping of aerospace, automotive, and consumer goods. Lewis’ group has greatly expanded the capabilities of 3D printing. They have designed a broad range of functional inks—inks with useful chemical and electrical properties. And they have used those inks with their custom-built 3D printers to create precise structures with the electronic, optical, mechanical, or biologically relevant properties they want.

Diagram of 3D printed battery

To create the microbattery, a custom-built 3D printer extrudes special inks through a nozzle narrower than a human hair. Those inks solidify to create the battery’s anode (red) and cathode (purple), layer by layer. A case (green) then encloses the electrodes and the electrolyte solution is added to create a working microbattery. (Illustration courtesy of Jennifer A. Lewis.)

To print 3D electrodes, Lewis’ group first created and tested several specialized inks. Unlike the ink in an office inkjet printer, which comes out as droplets of liquid that wet the page, the inks developed for extrusion-based 3D printing must fulfill two difficult requirements. They must exit fine nozzles like toothpaste from a tube, and they must immediately harden into their final form.

In this case, the inks also had to function as electrochemically active materials to create working anodes and cathodes, and they had to harden into layers that are as narrow as those produced by thin-film manufacturing methods. To accomplish these goals, the researchers created an ink for the anode with nanoparticles of one lithium metal oxide compound, and an ink for the cathode from nanoparticles of another. The printer deposited the inks onto the teeth of two gold combs, creating a tightly interlaced stack of anodes and cathodes. Then the researchers packaged the electrodes into a tiny container and filled it with an electrolyte solution to complete the battery.

Next, they measured how much energy could be packed into the tiny batteries, how much power they could deliver, and how long they held a charge. “The electrochemical performance is comparable to commercial batteries in terms of charge and discharge rate, cycle life and energy densities. We’re just able to achieve this on a much smaller scale,” Dillon said.

“Jennifer’s innovative microbattery ink designs dramatically expand the practical uses of 3D printing, and simultaneously open up entirely new possibilities for miniaturization of all types of devices, both medical and non-medical. It’s tremendously exciting,” said Wyss Founding Director Donald Ingber, who is also a Professor of Bioengineering at Harvard SEAS.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the DOE Energy Frontier Research Center on Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion. Lewis and Dillon collaborated with lead author Ke Sun, a graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Teng-Sing Wei, a graduate student at Harvard SEAS; Bok Yeop Ahn, a Senior Research Scientist at the Wyss Institute and SEAS; and Jung Yoon Seo, a visiting scientist in the Lewis group, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
In this video, 3D printing is used to deposit a specially formulated "ink" through a fine nozzle to build a microbattery's anode layer by layer. Unlike an office inkjet printer that dispenses ink droplets onto paper, these inks are formulated to exit the nozzle like toothpaste from a tube and immediately harden into thin layers. The printed anode contains nanoparticles of a lithium metal oxide compound that provide the proper electrochemical properties.


3D printing can now be used to print lithium-ion microbatteries the size of a grain of sand.

New Music Playlist w/c 24th June 2013 & this week's featured track by Bellowhead

Hi Drivetimers

Here is this week's new music playlist:

Agnetha Fältskog - Dance Your Pain Away
Alison Moyet - Love Reign Supreme
Barenaked Ladies - Boomerang
Belinda Carlisle - Sun
Bellowhead - Betsy Baker
Biffy Clyro - Opposite
Bo Bruce - Alive
Bruno Mars - Treasure
Court Yard Hounds - Sunshine
Daft Punk - Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams
Fleetwood Mac - Sad Angel
Jamie Cullum - Edge Of Something
Josh Groban - False Alarms
Lawson - Brokenhearted
Madness - Misery
Michael Bublé - Close Your Eyes
Mumford & Sons - Babel
Olly Murs - Dear Darlin’
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I. & Pharrell
Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran - Everything Has Changed
The Proclaimers - Not Cynical
The Wanted - Walks Like Rihanna
Thea Gilmore - Start As We Mean To Go On
Tom Odell - Another Love
Zac Brown Band - Jump Right In

Items in BOLD are new additions

This week's featured track is Betsy Baker by Bellowhead (who are guests on this Thursday's show:

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Liz Perry from the Women's Refuge on West Herts Drivetime

Liz Perry, the manager of the St Albans and Hertsmere Women's Refuge, joined us on the West Herts Drivetime show this afternoon to discuss their latest fundraising project in Iceland.

Four of the charity's directors and their friends are currently on a week long trek in Iceland. They hope to raise up to £9,000 for the charity which offers emergency refuge for women and children suffering from domestic abuse.

The refuge is an independent local charity which accommodates up to 22 families and offers victims practical and emotional support and advice. Liz expressed the importance allowing victims to make an informed choice whilst respecting the individual's privacy.

To make a donation to the Women's Refuge visit

To find out more about the charity visit the St Albans and Hertsmere Women's Refuge website.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Alex and the Black Lights Live on Drivetime Sessions

Alex Lilly and one of the three Black Lights (Accordian player Jess Hart) came into our studio for the West Herts Drivetime Session this afternoon.

Alex and the Black Lights are an up and coming band in St Albans who have been performing gigs in the local area since last Christmas. The band are currently working on their first album, with the other two Back Lights, Gavin Beale and Tom Waters.

Alex and Jess treated us to three songs this evening: 'Fairest Lady' and 'Fire, fire, fire', both original compositions, and a cover of 'O Brother Where Art Thou?'.

If you want to find out more about the band and see when they're playing, details are listed on their Facebook

If you missed this Drivetime session, or any of the rest of the show you can listen again via

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Faff Free Cooking with Jackie Johnson - Easy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

My motto has always been ‘never trust a skinny cook!' I do like to share recipes that I know work for me. They are not necessarily of my invention – but I will always give you the origin and maybe the story behind them! These recipes are relatively easy to make – hence the title, Faff-Free Cooking.

So, today’s treat is ….... Easy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Great for a mid afternoon pick-me-up!


125g butter or margarine                           
100g caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
150g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
100g dark chocolate, chopped
3 ‘globes’ of preserved stem ginger in syrup, chopped


  1. Gently melt the butter or margarine in a small pan.

  2. Put both sugars in a mixing bowl and pour in the melted butter or margarine and beat well with a wooden spoon.

  3. Beat in the egg.

  4. Sift the flour and the baking powder into the bowl and stir in.
  1. Add the chopped dark chocolate and ginger. The mixture will be quite loose.

  2. Dot heaped dessert-spoonfuls of the mixture on to 2 baking sheets covered with baking parchment leaving a good 4cm between them as they spread out.

  3. Bake on a pre heated oven at 190C/Gas 5 for 10 mins until they are golden brown.

  4. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for a couple of mins to firm
    up and then cool on a wire rack.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Lifestyle with Lisa Pearson

Our lifestyle coach Lisa Pearson was our guest this evening on Drivetime, Lisa told us about going to festivals with your family this summer;

I know many of you won’t be even considering the hundreds/thousands of pounds that it costs to go on holiday this summer.

You might also be struggling to take 7-14 days off work.

I’ve got a great alternative for you …

Hows about thinking about a Family Festival instead?

If you’ve never been to a festival before, it’s a great way to start.

If you went to festivals before having kids, why stop now?

A ‘Family Festival’ can mean lots of things, but basically it means that there will be music, but kids are expected and catered for.  Some are more ‘family’ than others.

I had the idea of going to a Family Festival last year because I’d never been to a festival before, so I thought maybe if we start now with the kids, they’ll invite us along with them to Glastonbury when they are teenagers!

We went in a yurt glamping, but this year we are going to try camping for the first time with a glamping twist (think bunting, and pretty colours!).  You can also just go for the day, or stay in a local B&B if you don’t fancy getting in touch with nature though.

To be fair to people who used to go to festivals when they were younger, it’s not going to be the same; getting drunk just isn’t practical when you have little ones to watch and lots of people around you.  The good news is that kids don’t mind mud and love tents, so as long as you are willing to compromise a bit, I reckon a family festival will be every bit as good as the ones that you used to go to.

What To Wear To A Family Festival?

You’re packing the picnic basket, ear defenders for the kids and maybe even the tent if you are brave like us.

Perhaps you were inspired by my post on why family festivals are great?

But what’s worrying you is ‘OMG what am I going to wear to a family festival?‘

It’s not exactly glastonbury, and you probably don’t want to wear teeny shorts any more, but if you go in plain old boring stuff you might feel just as odd.

Here are my rules:

1) Colour is a must, but pick one that will mix and match for the whole weekend and NO white!

2) Flat shoes only! Wellies, Crocs, daps or pumps

3) Leggings or Skinny jeans (don’t get messy in the mud)

4) Lots of thin layers: vests, tunics, cardigans, coats, pashminas etc

5) Dress for summer and winter and wet weather: sun tan lotion, hats, water proofs and jumpers!

6) Pack wooly hats for the kids in the evenings to keep warm

7) Consider flower garlands, feather boa, wings, and face paint if you are feeling brave!

Last year I rocked the flower garland, feather boa, sparkly fit flops, gypsy shirt and short skirt + leggings combo, and my mate looked fab in cropped jeans, daps and a pretty skirt:
Further details can be found at the web site

New Music Playlist w/c 17th June 2013 & this week's featured track by Madness

Hi Drivetimers

Here is our new music playlist for the forthcoming week:

Alison Moyet - Love Reign Supreme
Barenaked Ladies - Boomerang
Belinda Carlisle - Sun
Biffy Clyro - Opposite
Bo Bruce - Alive
Bon Jovi - What About Now
Brinsley Forde - Baby I Love You Now
Bruno Mars - Treasure
Caro Emerald - Liquid Lunch
Court Yard Hounds - Sunshine
Daft Punk - Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams
David Bowie - The Next Day
Emmelie DeForrest - Only Teardrops
Fleetwood Mac - Sad Angel
FM - Story Of My Life
Jamie Cullum - Edge Of Something
KT Tunstall - Feel It All
Leanne Mitchell - Pride
Madness - Misery
Michael Bublé - Close Your Eyes
Mumford & Sons - Babel
Olly Murs - Dear Darlin’
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I. & Pharrell
Status Quo - Bula Bula Quo
The Proclaimers - Not Cynical
The Wanted - Walks Like Rihanna
Tom Odell - Another Love
Travis - Where You Stand

Items in BOLD are new additions.
This week's featured track is Misery by Madness:

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Chris' Film Club: Avengers Assemble

Today Chris has chosen the film Avengers Assemble as it is actor Chris Evans' 32nd birthday.  He plays Captain America in Joss Whedon's very successful superhero film.  Also starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johannsson, Mark Ruffalo and Samuel L Jackson.

Today's guest: local author Ruth Jacobs

Today's guest was West Herts author Ruth Jacobs who has recently had her book 'Unforgivable' published by Caffeine Nights

As part of the Soul Destruction series, this novel came out end of April and looks at the story of Shelley Hansard, a call-girl who is raped by a client and later finds that he has perpetrated this crime on two of her close friends.  They decide to plot revenge on what is obviously a dark tale with an adult theme.

Primarily though this is a book which is about women and the plight of those in a tough business, not always helped by their inaccurate and stigmatised portrayal in the media and by the wider public.  Many of course come from abusive childhoods and relationships and find no way of escape.

Ruth herself had some difficulties in younger years, falling into the wrong crowd and experimenting with drugs in the late 90s.  She associated with prostitutes on a friendship basis and used some of their experiences as research for a university dissertation as she studied sociology and crime.  These first-hand accounts inspired the series of books she has subsequently written.

Getting the books published was not an easy task, although Ruth was encouraged by the good feedback she received from those that decided against taking the work on.  She feels primarily this was due to the clearly strong and far from glamorous subject matter.

Ruth will be seen at a special event at Waterstones St Albans next Thursday 20th June at 7pm for a book signing.  We wish her all the success!
For more information, take a look at Ruth's website at: where 'Unforgivable' can be picked up as a Kindle or E-book from £1!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Chris' Film Club: W.

Today we can say a happy birthday to 89 year old President George H. W. Bush. Bush Sr. was President of the United States in the late-eighties and early-nineties and is played by James Cromwell in Oliver Stone's biopic of Bush Jr., W. (wow, that was a confusing amount of punctuation!)

Stone's ambitious and interesting but ultimately flawed film follows George W. Bush (Josh Brolin) from his youth to the war in Iraq. It also stars Cromwell, Thandie Newton, Elizabeth Banks, Richard Dreyfuss and Jefferey Wright.

The Drivetime Sessions: Said The Maiden

Kathy, Hannah, Danny (not a Maiden!) & Jess

We were thrilled to be joined in the studio today by local folk trio Said The Maiden.  As well as chatting with Danny, they performed three live acoustic songs in our humble studios.  If you missed any of today's session, goto where you can here the show for a week after broadcast.

To find out more about Said The Maiden, here are their various links:

Blog -
Facebook -
Twitter -

On next week's Drivetime Sessions - Alex & The Black Lights.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Strange food and Travel with Andy Jarosz

Andy came in to do his monthly travel feature and give us advice on where to go.

Danny mentioned that many people are wary of travelling to Turkey at the moment due to the recent protests. Andy's advice was to check the Foreign office website as they update it daily, currently it says that it isn't unsafe to visit. If you have already booked a holiday the tourist destinations are mostly away from where the commotion is happening. However if you are heading to Istanbul Andy advises to just steer clear of the main square. 

Food is important when you're away whether you like to experience a new cuisine or prefer home comforts. Andy mentioned to not be afraid of speaking to waiters and asking what's in a dish or how it's prepared.
The strangest food Andy has eaten on holiday is fruit bat!

Chris' Film Club: Holes

Today we say, well, not a 'happy' birthday (because I tend to despise him and his movies) but instead we say 'Oh, it's Shia LaBeouf's birthday' and then we move on.

Ok, that is being a little unfair, because there have been a couple of films that Mr. LaBeouf hasn't entirely wrecked and Holes is one of them. Based on a book by Louis Sachar it sees young Stanley Yelnats (LaBeouf) wind up in what is essentially a childrens prison, hunting for lost treasure.

The film also stars Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voigt, Tim Blake Nelson, Patricia Arquette and the Fonz (Henry Winkler).

Monday, 10 June 2013

Chris' Film Club: The Wizard of Oz

Today we would be wishing the fantastic Judy Garland a Happy 91st Birthday, were she still with us. Sadly she isn't but we can still look back at some of her work and one of her films stands out amongst the rest: The Wizard of Oz.

A magical musical full of classic songs and memorable characters, it stars Garland as Dorothy, a young woman who is whisked off to the land of Oz, where she teams up with the Scarecrow, the Tin-man and the Cowardly Lion to find a way home.

The film also stars Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Elizabeth Crampton from the Citizens Advice Bureau was our guest on Drivetime this evening, Elizabeth covered the following items;

Do I need wedding insurance? What will wedding insurance cover?
There are various levels of wedding insurance cover available. See Wedding insurance rated for details.
If you have to cancel the wedding for any unavoidable reason, such as an injury to you or your partner, the policy should pay out if you are out of pocket. This is likely to be one of the most useful areas of cover that policies offer.
Should you take out wedding insurance?
Wedding insurance can protect you against a range of unfortunate events and help you make sure you are not out of pocket as a result, but whether it’s worth taking out ultimately depends on the cost of your wedding and how worried you are about things going wrong.
All aspects of the policy will have exclusions and cover limits and there will also be general exclusions, so check your policy documents carefully. See Wedding insurance rated for selected cover limits.
Wedding insurance and loss or damage
Wedding insurance can also cover you for loss or damage to wedding attire, such as the wedding dress, as well as presents, the wedding cake, rings, flowers and gifts for the guests. Cover starts a set period before the wedding and finishes a set period after – from seven days before to 24 hours after for wedding gifts, for example – but this will vary depending on the policy.
Any loss or theft should be reported to the police within 24 hours.
Failure of suppliers
You’ll be relying on wedding services from a range of providers. Wedding insurance can cover any extra costs you incur up to the policy limit if something goes wrong with these services. Wedding insurance also covers you for deposits you can’t recover or the cost of arranging alternatives if suppliers go bust, but you would already be covered by section 75 if you paid by credit card.
It's important to scrutinise wedding insurance policies as some insurers, such as Weddingplan, exclude wedding gift providers.
Another important area covered by wedding insurance is your personal liability for injury to third parties or loss or damage to third party property. You may already be covered for this under your but some wedding insurance policies cover the actions of all wedding guests as well as the couple.
Additional areas of cover that some policies offer are for legal expenses, personal accident and stress counselling.
Check the policy details if you are having the reception on a different day from the ceremony or if you are getting married overseas.

Changes to legal aid
Civil legal aid helps to pay for the costs of getting legal advice if you’re on a low income. However, the government has made large cuts to the civil legal aid budget. This means from 1 April you’ll no longer be able to get civil legal aid for many types of problems that might affect your everyday life. These include:
Welfare benefit appeals
You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you make an appeal against a decision on welfare benefits unless you’re making an appeal to the Upper Tribunal or higher courts.
You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you with your debts unless a creditor is making you bankrupt or taking court action to evict you from your home
You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you with housing problems unless:
    there’s serious disrepair in your home
    you’re homeless
    you’re being evicted from your home
    the council is taking action against you because of anti-social behaviour.
You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with an employment dispute or go to an employment tribunal unless it’s a discrimination case.
Private family law
You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with private family law problems unless you're a victim or are at risk of domestic violence or there has been or is a risk of child abuse These include:
    dissolution of civil partnership
    financial disputes
    property disputes
    disputes over children.

Asylum support
If you’re an asylum seeker, you won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with asylum support unless you have applied for both housing and financial support.
Non-asylum immigration
You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with an immigration application unless you:
    have been detained
    make an application under the domestic violence rules
    make an application because you’re a victim of human trafficking.
You won’t get legal aid to help with education problems unless the child or young adult has Special Educational Needs.
Consumer and general contract law
You won’t get legal aid for any action you want to take for consumer problems or problems you have with general contracts.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority cases
You won’t get legal aid to help with the costs of trying to get compensation because you’ve suffered a criminal injury.
Clinical negligence cases
You won’t get legal aid for most clinical negligence problems.
What will you still be able to get legal aid for
You’ll still be able to get legal aid for the following problems:
    care proceedings
    family mediation
    asylum applications
    mental health proceedings
    community care cases
Civil Legal Advice helpline
The Civil Legal Advice national helpline on 0845 345 4345 provides specialist legal advice for people who are eligible for civil legal aid.
The service offers advice in six areas of law:
    welfare benefits appeals.
The helpline only offers advice on problems for which you can still get legal aid.
Legal aid for debt, discrimination and Special Educational Needs problems
If you need to apply for legal aid for a debt, discrimination or Special Educational Needs problem, you must apply through the telephone gateway service run by Civil Legal Advice on 0845 345 4345.
Financial eligibility for civil legal aid
There are also changes to who will qualify for civil legal aid, based on the amount of income and capital you have.
If you receive a passporting benefit, your capital will now be assessed to see if you’re eligible to get civil legal aid. Passporting benefits include:
    Income Support
    income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
    guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
    Universal Credit.
There are also increases in the amount of contributions you’ll have to pay towards the cost of civil legal aid.
Further details can be found at the web site;

New Music Playlist w/c 10th June 2013 & this week's featured track by Belinda Carlisle

Hi Drivetimers

Here is this week's new music playlist:

Alison Moyet - Love Reign Supreme
Barenaked Ladies - Boomerang
Bastille - Laura Palmer
Belinda Carlisle - Sun
Biffy Clyro - Opposite
Bo Bruce - Alive
Bon Jovi - What About Now
Bruno Mars - Treasure
Caro Emerald - Liquid Lunch
Daft Punk - Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams
David Bowie - The Next Day
Emmelie DeForrest - Only Teardrops
Fleetwood Mac - Sad Angel
KT Tunstall - Feel It All
Leanne Mitchell - Pride
Mark Owen - Stars
Michael Bublé - Close Your Eyes
Mumford & Sons - Babel
Olly Murs - Dear Darlin’
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I. & Pharrell
Status Quo - Bula Bula Quo
Tegan And Sara - I Was A Fool
The Band Perry - Done
The Proclaimers - Not Cynical
The Wanted - Walks Like Rihanna
Tom Odell - Another Love
Travis - Where You Stand

Items in BOLD are new additions

This week's featured track is Sun by Belinda Carlisle:

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Radio Verulam Film Guide - 7th June 2013

Today Simon came in dressed like a hippo. We all laughed. The end.

Ok, that was a lie but Simon was in the...

No, wait, I have to address why this wasn't very good. I'm under a lot of pressure from Simon to make these little blog posts amusing so it makes him sound like, in his words, 'a wacky character in the style of Chester Conklin' (no, I don't know who that is either). Look, Simon isn't here now (he's having bowel problems from too many breakfast tacos) so I have this chance to get the message out. He is a cruel dictator, much like Josef Stalin, Pol Pot or Jeremy Paxman. He needs to be stopped, we need to rise up and take him down. His time belittling studio assistants is over and the revolution is soon to be upon.... Here he comes now! Look busy! to talk about the UK box office and his pick of films on TV for the coming week. He really is a handsome man.

Point Break
11.55pm – 1.50am

The Ghost
9.00 pm – 11.35pm
Channel 4

Law Abiding Citizen
10.10pm – 12.10am
Channel 4

Drive Angry
10.00pm – 12.00am

8.00pm – 10.20pm

Billy Elliot
9.00pm – 10.45pm

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Chris' Film Club: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Today is the 66th birthday of Robert Englund, who has found fame for portraying Freddie Kruger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street films.

The original film is an innovative and scary ride from horror master Wes Craven. Freddie Kruger hunts and kills teenagers in their dreams and nowhere is safe for the kids in this film, including a young Johnny Depp. It also stars Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon and the trailer can be seen below.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Chris' Film Club: Patriot Games

Patriot Games was released today in 1992. Based on a Tom Clancy bestseller it stars Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan, a retired-CIA analyst who intervenes in an attempted assassination and becomes a target himself. Also stars Sean Bean, Anne Archer, James Earl Jones and Richard Harris.

The Pocket Gods

Mark and Paul, who combine to make the alternative sounds of Sandridge based band The Pocket Gods, joined us in the studio today for a spot of live music and a chat with Danny.

They played two tracks from their new album 'In Search Of The Divine.' If you liked what you heard you can see them live at The Horn on the 25th July where they'll be supporting Nadine Shah, or find out more on their facebook or twitter.

If you missed their performance or any of the rest of Danny's dulcet tones then you can listen to the show again at

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Chris' Film Club: Tomorrow Never Dies

Today is British actor Geoffrey Palmer's 86th birthday and he appeared in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. The film sees Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, team up with Michelle Yeoh to take down a media mogul (Jonathan Pryce) intent on starting World War III.

While the plot is fairly flimsy it still has its moments and is a good solid action film. The trailer can be seen below.

Local Tourism Feature with Charles Baker

Charles came into the studio to tell us all the local events that are happening this month.
The Alban weekend is coming up! (Sat 22 and sun 23 June) at St Peter's street. The unique event is a celebration of the life of Saint Alban and sees giant carnival puppets retrace Alban's last steps and tell his remarkable and moving story. There will be a traditional street market, free live music 10am to 6pm in the court house on Saturday and a day of dance on the Sunday.

The Breakaway Theater company are hosting a production of Roberto Zucco at the Maltings Theatre. Tickets are available from the Tourist Information Centre, or you can call 08448700887.

There is also the St Albans Symphony Orchestra festival concert at the Cathedral on Saturday 8th at 7:30pm. The programme includes Holst's Planet Suite, Ravel's Pavane for tickets head to,

For any more information or to see what other events are happening go to,

Monday, 3 June 2013

Chris' Film Club: The King's Speech

Today in 1937 Prince Edward married Wallis Simpson, leading to his brother Albert, becoming King. The King’s Speech is all about the shy, stammering Albert (now King George VI) overcoming his speech impediment with the help of Australian therapist Lionel Logue and it charts their relationship over several years as they grow into friends and confidants.

The film stars Colin Firth (in an Oscar-winning performance), Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce. While it has the appearance of a big-budget television movie it is beautifully acted and the relationship of the two leads is central to the charm of the film.

Sarah Buckingham from the Herts & Middlesex wildlife trust was our guest this evening on West Herts Drivetime;

Today new plans to protect and restore our rivers and their catchments was launched by Environment Minister Richard Benyon on the River Mimram in Welwyn.

The visit recognises the work already achieved by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and partners on the Rivers Beane and Mimram, where the new ‘Catchment Based Approach’ has been piloted successfully. The development of the Beane and Mimram Catchment Management Plan has been part of a nationwide scheme driven by Defra and the Environment Agency, with the aim of helping all our rivers reach ‘Good Ecological Status’ by 2027.

Charlie Bell, Hertfordshire Living Rivers Officer at Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “We are particularly pleased that Defra has chosen to launch the Catchment Based Approach here in Hertfordshire and is showcasing the work we’ve been doing on the Mimram and the Beane. Plans to restore our rivers have been written before, but this new approach involves a wider range of organisations, including local river groups like the Friends of the Mimram and the River Beane Restoration Association. We’ve also chosen to develop a dynamic, web-based plan, rather than a paper document. Without local, coordinated action on the ground like this our rivers will continue to suffer from pollution, modification and over-abstraction.”

Both the River Beane and the River Mimram are ‘over-abstracted’ – the water that supplies the rivers is pumped away by water companies for public consumption and with a growing population in Hertfordshire, demand is increasing all the time.

Jane Durney, Chief Executive at Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said: “Our river restoration projects are gathering plenty of momentum, but a major barrier to our rivers reaching good ecological status in Hertfordshire is the lack of water in them. For parts of the year large sections of our chalk streams, which are precious habitats of global importance, are dry. Nearly 70% of the water we drink in Hertfordshire is sourced from groundwater, which also feeds our chalk streams. If we take too much of this water, our rivers dry up. With water consumption well above the national average, our county is seriously water stressed. We are determined that these iconic habitats and their wildlife should be protected, but only coordinated action with partners – and high level political support – will make it happen.”

More details can be found at the trust web site

New Music Playlist w/c 3rd June 2013 & this week's featured track by the Barenaked Ladies

Hi Drivetimers

Here is our new music playlist for the forthcoming week:
Barenaked Ladies - Boomerang
Bastille - Laura Palmer
Biffy Clyro - Opposite
Bon Jovi - What About Now
Bruno Mars - Treasure
Caro Emerald - Liquid Lunch
Daft Punk - Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams
David Bowie - The Next Day
Emmelie DeForrest - Only Teardrops
Fleetwood Mac - Sad Angel
Goo Goo Dolls - Rebel Beat
Josephine - Last Minute
KT Tunstall - Feel It All
Leanne Mitchell - Pride
Mark Owen - Stars
Michael Bublé - Close Your Eyes
Olly Murs - Dear Darlin’
Passenger - Let Her Go
Phillip Phillips - Home
Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I. & Pharrell
Status Quo - Bula Bula Quo
Tegan And Sara - I Was A Fool
The Band Perry - Done
The Script - Millionaires
The Wanted - Walks Like Rihanna
Tom Odell - Another Love
Travis - Where You Stand

Items in BOLD are new additions
This week's featured track is Boomerang by the Barenaked Ladies: