Friday, 22 December 2017

Health Matters - Hospital Transport

If you need non-emergency patient transport, the East of England Ambulance Service has a new telephone number for bookings and queries; it's 0345 6051208. The contact centre is open every day from 8am to 6pm. 

There's further information on the Herts Valleys CCG website

And finally - seasons greetings and very best wishes for a happy, and healthy, 2018.  

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Die Hard

Our final, long debated 'Christmas Film' on this week's Film Club is 'Die Hard'.

This classic action film sees New York Policeman John McClane (Played by Bruce Willis) trapped in a Business Tower block after coming to visit his estranged wife at an office Christmas party. A band of terrorists led by the malevolent Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) seizes control of the building, and only McClane can free the workers being held hostage while the police try to find a way inside.


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: The Grinch

Continuing our week of classic Christmas films, today Charlotte looks at 'The Grinch'.

Jim Carrey stars in this live-action adaptation of the children's tale by Dr. Seuss, as the reclusive green Grinch who wants to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. Joined by his dog, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. However, the bitter grump finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the endearing Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen).

Monday, 18 December 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Jingle All the Way

In the run up to Christmas, Charlotte has set this week's Film Club theme as, you guessed it, 'Christmas Films'.

Up first is Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas comedy 'Jingle All the Way'. Arnie plays an uptight business man who wants to make up to his son all the time he spends working. To do this, he sets out to get the hottest toy of the season, Turbo-Man -- even though it's Christmas Eve and the toy is practically sold out.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Health Matters Don't forget your Meds!

As we said on Health Matters on TUE, Don't forget your medications! Now is a good time to re-order your medicines in time for the busy holiday period. Follow the link for a handy list of pharmacy opening times this Christmas and New Year

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Die Another Day

Charlotte's final Bond Film this week is 'Die Another Day', moving on from Daniel Craig's 007 to Pierce Brosnan's. Madonna created the title song for this 2002 release.

007 is imprisoned while infiltrating in North Korea, and subject to a gruelling prison sentence. Convinced that someone in his own agency betrayed him, Bond escapes from custody and travels to Cuba, hot on the heels of Zao (Rick Yune), the agent who put him behind bars. Meanwhile, Bond begins romancing NSA agent Jinx (Halle Berry) as he uncovers a scheme concocted by Zao and British millionaire Graves (Toby Stephens), involving a highly destructive laser.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Spectre

Another Bond Film for today's Film Club, as Charlotte looks at the most recent expedition by the spy, 'Spectre'.

Featuring an opening by Sam Smith 'The Writings on the Wall', this film sees Bond uncover the existence of the sinister organization SPECTRE, and travelling across the globe to infiltrate it . As Bond ventures toward the heart of SPECTRE, he discovers a chilling connection between himself and the enemy (Christoph Waltz) he seeks.

Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Monica Belluci, Lea Seydoux and Dave Bautista also star.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Casino Royale

Next on this week's Film Club, Charlotte looks at Daniel Craig's first Bond role 'Casino Royale', featuring the title song 'You Know My name' by Chris Cornell.

British Secret Service agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is sent to Madagascar after receiving his licence to kill , where he uncovers a link to Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a man who finances terrorist organizations. Learning that Le Chiffre plans to raise money in a high-stakes poker game, MI6 sends Bond to play against him, the stakes increasing at every turn.

Health Matters; NHS Rationing, Christmas Opening, 111, and Good Neighbours

Five Issues in Tonight’s DriveTime

  • Don’t Give Your GP A Hard Time!
  • Christmas Opening Hours
  • The 111 Service
  • Twelve Tips for Winter
  • Be A Good Neighbour

1. New NHS Rationing 

Back in the Summer our local Clinical Commissioning Group held a “Let’s Talk” Campaign. The outcome – rationing – and it’s already started.

·        From 12 October:
o   IVF and other specialist fertility treatments are no longer funded. The decision is to be reviewed after one year. One treatment cycle for ‘paused’ patients.
·        From 1 December:
o   Stop prescribing over-the-counter medicines and gluten-free food
o   Female sterilisation only funded in exceptional circumstances
o   Vasectomies to be done locally – not in hospital.
·        In Early 2018
o   Fitness for elective surgery – Decision to require increased weight loss for obese and morbidly obese patients and for smokers to quit before non‐urgent surgery
So if your GP suddenly tells you that one of these situations has arisen and he can’t do anything about it, don’t give him a hard time! For all the details:

2. Christmas Opening Hours

This is a good time to check that you have enough of your medications to cover the Christmas/ New Year period. As Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are on a Monday this year, that period from Friday 22nd DEC to WED 3rd JAN will be a long ten days! Repeat prescriptions will need to be ordered in good time – typically before TUE DEC 19 so there’s just a week left!

And check out the opening hours for both your Surgery and Pharmacy. Opening hours will be published on the Commissioning Group web site, but weren’t live at the time of posting this blog! Go to

3. The 111 Service

If you face a medical problem, “who you gonna call?” (with acknowledgement to Ghostbusters!). For years we would naturally go for 999, but, that’s no longer the best answer! The 111 service is greatly improved and should be your first priority; even if it’s an emergency, they can still handle it. Of course, if it’s an issue of life and death, it’s still best to go for 999!

4. Twelve Tips for Winter
Are you ready for winter? Here’s a great 12-point checklist and see how ready you are. Here’s the url

I scored just 8/12; can you beat that?

5. Be A Good Neighbour

With Christmas coming up, do try and remember anyone who may be lonely or infirm. This is a period in which we make the most of our time with family and friends; but it can also a time when people on their own are at their lowest ebb. So do try and share that Christmas Spirit with them

And finally – very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year

Monday, 11 December 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Skyfall

This week, Charlotte's Film Club looks at 'Bond Films', specifically the title songs.

2012's 'Skyfall', featurng the similarly titled song performed by Adele is Charlotte's first pick. Daniel Craig's James Bond goes into hiding after a mission goes eventfully wrong, but as undercover agents around the world are exposed and MI6 is broken, M (Judi Dench) is left with no-one else to turn to.  Aided only by a field agent (Naomie Harris), Bond takes to the shadows and follows a trail to Silva (Javier Bardem), a man from M's past who wants to settle an old score.

Consumer Advice

Elizabeth Crampton updated on the latest issues from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Christmas and the workplace

The Christmas season has a big impact on most businesses and employees in the UK. It will be a time when there is likely to be extra demand for products, services and sales in some businesses whilst others may experience a quiet period or may shut for the Christmas holidays.

Many employees will request time off to spend time with their family, go on holiday or attend religious services. Employees working over the Christmas period may experience different working patterns, a change in the nature of their workload or face difficulties getting to and from work. It's also a period when some industries might need extra support and will take on seasonal workers.
Christmas bank holidays

This year, Christmas Day (25 December 2017) falls on a Monday, boxing day (26 December 2017) falls on a Tuesday, which means these two days will be Bank Holidays. There is no right to have either day away from work or taken as paid time off unless terms of the employment contract allow otherwise. Paid public holidays can be counted as part of statutory annual leave.

Sickness absence during the Christmas season

An organisation's usual sickness policy will apply during this time. This policy should be managed and operated fairly and consistently for all staff. Levels of attendance should be monitored during this period in accordance with the associated policy. Any unauthorised absence or patterns in absence (eg high levels of sickness or late attendance) could result in formal proceedings.

Where an employee is sick or absent from work the day after a work Christmas party, normal sickness policies and procedures would apply.
Christmas parties

Everyone wants to have a good time at a Christmas party, and it should be enjoyed by all who attend and be free from any potentially embarrassing incidents.

Employers should have clear guidance for employees on behaviour at work-related events and set out the possible implications of their actions. Managers may want to remind staff before any Christmas party what the employer's policy states, to avoid behaviours that could be viewed as harassment or misconduct.

more information on this and many more items can be found at the web site

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Drivetime Sessions with LiLi! Sponsored by @FightingCocksSA

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were joined by the singer-songwriter LiLi! She performed her singles 'Pray' and 'Take The Brain', and performed a cover of 'Smile' originally by Charlie Chaplin.

For more information on LiLi you can visit her website at

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Local Literary Feature with Chris Aikman @ccaikman

We were joined in the studio today by Drivetime regular Chris Aikman, who was presenting the final Local Literary Feature of 2017. He covered some of the news from the world of literature, as well as providing a few present ideas (Christmas is coming, don't you know?) if you are stuck for what to buy.

Also, Waterstones St Albans is having a late night shopping session on Thursday 7th December, from 6pm - 8pm, where you can get a free hot chocolate, mince pie, and personalised shopping advice. You'll also be able to get free present wrapping, which can be picked up a week later.

Monday, 4 December 2017

#StAlbans Cantilena Choir for ladies, based at @StSaviour_StA is looking for new members

On today's show, we were joined by Glynne & Linda from the Cantilena Choir.  This is a local choir for ladies based at St Saviour's Church on Sandpit Lane.  They are performing a Christmas concert "A King Is Born" on Sunday 17th December 2017 at 3pm.  This is part of the St Saviour's Church 2017 Christmas Tree Festival.

The concert will include Christmas songs, poems and audience carols, and will be an opportunity to view almost 100 individually decorated trees as part of the St Saviour's Church 2017 Christmas Tree Festival.  Entry to this event is free, with a retiring collection.

Additionally, the Cantilena Choir are looking for new members.  Women of any age can join and they meet on Monday evenings from 8-9.30pm at St Saviour's Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans, AL1 4DF.

If you are interested in joining the choir, please email our show and we can pass on your details.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Run Fatboy Run

Concluding the Film Club this week, Charlotte's last Simon Pegg flick is 'Run Fatboy Run' from 2007.

Five years after jilting his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day, out-of-shape Dennis (Simon Pegg) decides to run a marathon, in the hopes of winning her back from her new boyfriend, and winning the respect of his son.

Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria and Dylan Moran are just a few of the stars.

Celebrating 10 years of @HarpendenArrows

We were joined by members of Harpenden Arrows running club this evening.

Harpenden Arrows was established 10-years ago by a small founding group, including Colin Wareham who served as the club's inaugural Chairman over almost all of the first 10 years.
Colin was awarded lifetime membership of the club earlier this year, and was succeeded by current Chairman, Graham Harper, who has been a member for almost all of the club's 10-year history.
In a nice coincidence, the club recently welcomed its 500th member since its founding.

For more information:

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: The World's End

Today's Film Club looks at another work starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, directed by Edgar Wright, 'The World's End'.

This time, Simon Pegg is Gary King, an immature 40-year-old who's dying to take another stab at an epic pub-crawl that he last attempted 20 years earlier. He drags his reluctant old friends back to their hometown for a night of heavy drinking, finishing at the fabled World's End pub. However, their real struggle begins when their pub crawl turns into a fight for mankind.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Hot Fuzz

Next on the week of Simon Pegg films is another double act with Nick Frost, 'Hot Fuzz'.

Hot Fuzz stars Simon Pegg as PC Nicholas Angel, a Metro cop moved out to a sleepy village with minimal crime rates. Partnered with a blundering local (Nick Frost), Angel finds himself bored out of his mind until a suspicious string of murders arrives.

Interior Design for November with Gwendoline Alderton- @GA_interiors !

Today we talked to a very Christmas-enthused Gwendoline about the latest trends in interior design this winter.  This time of year, many people may decide to take the excuse of people coming round over the holiday season to redecorate their house, or to rethink some aspects of their interior design. 

One style that's on trend this season is a Latin American style.  This style incorporates rich colours- these colours serve to lift the room and also ones mood.  Guest bedrooms are often redecorated this time of year due to a need to accommodate guests visiting over the holiday.  If you're planning on redoing a guest bedroom, why not include rich colours?  Pompoms are also popular with a Latin American theme- put them on Christmas trees, cushions, curtains.... (Gwendoline insists you can't overdo pompoms...).

Another popular colour this season is blue.  A calming & nurturing colour, it is particularly effective when incorporated into the design of a bedroom or a bathroom.  Peacock blue in particular is a popular shade of blue, but blue/green is also a popular shade.  To add more interest in a room, use lighter and darker colours, neutral tones or sparkle to catch the eye! (WARNING: Blue baubles on a green Christmas tree can sometimes get a bit lost aesthetically- beware this common Christmas pitfall!)

Along with blue, white is also very popular.  Red and green are usually the most popular colours this time of year, but white is taking over this year!  It's a popular colour because it's fresh and clear, and looks great with sparkles.   A completely white room can look a bit boring, however, so incorporate some texture to give it sumptuousness and interest. A good texture to use in wintertime is wool, because it's a warm and organic material.  

Gwendoline will be back in 2018 with more interior design features!

Gwendoline's Website

Little understood debilitating condition #Endometriosis, flies ruin your wine, #SotM Vera Rubin discovers Dark Matter and the #Geminid #meteor shower with @smrolfe

Radio Verulam Science Feature 27-11-2017 
A round-up of the Science that Sam discussed with Danny on Monday 27th November.


Endometriosis can affect the brain 
Endometriosis is a common (1 in 10 people with female reproductive organs) but little understood condition where endometrial cells, those that line the uterus, are found elsewhere in the body. This includes the bladder, bowel, lungs, spine and the brain. 
The cells react in the same way each month as those in the uterus – building up a lining, breaking down and bleeding. However, if these cells are elsewhere in the body, the blood has no way to escape. 
The symptoms include chronic pain, heavy periods, tiredness, depression and can affect anyone of child bearing age regardless of racial heritage. 
Getting a diagnosis can take a while (on average 7.5 years from first raising symptoms with doctors to firm diagnosis) as the symptoms are similar to many other common conditions, so if you experience these symptoms, make a diary that you can bring to your doctor. Information is power and can help with managing symptoms too.  
Currently the only way to diagnose this condition is with a laparoscopy, where a camera is inserted into the pelvic cavity via a small cut near the navel to look for endometrial cells on the organs. 
A recent study showed that a group of mice who had their endometrial cells surgically moved into their abdomens (they don’t menstruate like humans) were more likely to display symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to a control group who had sham surgery.  
These results are showing that there are changes to the central nervous system, but a lot more research is required to understand this debilitating and painful condition. 
For more information go to 

New Scientist Magazine, 25 November 2017 

Flies in the wine ruin the taste 
There is an anecdote that a fly landing in your wine will ruin the flavour. Researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala set out to prove this one way or another. Female fruit flies produce a pheromone to attract males and this appears to be the root of the wine-lover’s problem.  
A group of wine tasters were given either: a glass that previously had a female fly in for 5 minutes, a male or no fly. Those who had the female fly in their glass reported that the taste was somewhat unpleasant, with a more intense smell, even if only one nanogram of the pheromone had been present – so no matter how quick you are to remove the fly, your drink is likely already tainted. 
Unfortunately, it is also hard to wash away this compound, so best to keep an eye on your glass and keep the flies out if you want the best flavour from your wine. 

Scientist of the Month 
Vera Rubin, astronomer, 1928 - 2016
An American astronomer who worked on galaxy rotation rates. She was turned down from the astronomy program at Princeton because they didn’t allow women, she went on to earn her PhD at Georgetown. Rubin was the first to make the observation that stars on the edges of galaxies had an orbiting speed matching the stars in the centre of the galaxies. An unusual observation because it was thought that if the strongest gravitational forces existed where the more of the mass was at the centre, the gravitational force should decrease farther out, causing the orbits to slow. (We see this in our own Solar System, the planets further out move more slowly around the Sun.) 
Her observations had confirmed a hypothesis by Fritz Zwicky in 1930 that said some sort of invisible dark matter must be scattered throughout the universe keeping their orbitals up to speed. Rubin was able to prove that 10 times more dark matter existed in the universe than previously thought, with up to 90 percent of the universe being filled with it. For years, Rubin’s observation failed to receive support, as many of her male colleagues discredited it. They felt her discoveries were impossible under Newtonian Laws and that she must have made a miscalculation. Both her doctoral and master’s thesis were criticized and basically ignored, though the evidence was irrefutable. Fortunately, the scientific community has since recognized her work, but only because her male colleagues later validated it. 

Night Sky this Month 
13/14 Dec: Geminids meteor shower, best viewed after midnight but meteors can be seen any time of night between 7th to 17th Dec. This meteor shower produces colourful meteors up to 120 per hour at the peak because of debris left by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon on it’s orbital path. The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini but can appear anywhere in the sky.

21 Dec: Winter Solstice, the shortest number of daylight hours, marking the beginning of winter, but days will get longer again afterwards. 

Planets are currently not well placed for astronomy, so study the Moon and its features, and maybe try a Messier marathon – how many of these objects can you see in one outing. Try drawing them.
Next Science Feature will be Monday 22nd January 2018, see you then!