Sunday : Welwyn Garden City and Resting

It was questionable whether I did enough to even justify a post about the day, but I did visit Wenzel’s for the first time and I think that’s of sufficient merit for me to comment on. I probably need to get out more to be honest to consider that sufficient, but there we go…. I had walked the 27 mile Capital Challenge the day before, so I felt a little worn out. I bet Dave Morgan got up at 6am for a jog up a mountain somewhere, although my friend Liam who I completed the event with was also feeling slightly sore and jaded.

Wenzel’s is a North London chain which was founded in 1975 and they’ve now got over 80 locations in the wider area. The set-up is all bright and modern, like a slightly upmarket Greggs, but the prices are also a little higher to match. There’s the same selection of sandwich type lunches, hot baked goods, cakes and the like, all presented well.

I went for the sausage in a roll (as opposed to a sausage roll, something which causes confusion in Greggs as they have two different products with the same name) which was suitably tasty, whilst the Belgian Bun (which has no real connection to Belgium) was of an acceptable, if not exceptional, quality. The service was friendly and the surroundings were clean and organised, I was sufficiently impressed to want to visit another branch in the future. Man cannot live on Greggs alone, or whatever the quote is.

The delights of the Howard Centre, named after Sir Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928) who was the founder of the garden city movement. It’s a bland shopping centre with numerous empty units, including in a couple of weeks the large Marks & Spencer who are moving out. The shopping centre’s slogan is “catering to your every need”. Well, I’m not sure it really caters to the total needs of many people at all, but the railway station’s foyer area is within the centre, so I suppose it caters to some transport needs. The centre also notes that 74% of its customers are female, which suggests it’s not catering very well to the needs of men, something perhaps best resolved by putting a craft beer bar inside as even if the customers 50% male and 50% female it will still redress the balance a bit.. Now, I accept that craft beer bars aren’t the answer to everything, but that would cater to the vast majority of my shopping needs. Anyway, I’ve digressed again, but the shopping centre does feel a bit tired.

On the subject of Ebenezer, this 2.2 metre high statue to him was unveiled in the Welwyn Garden City (which is a town) last year. The bronze statue weighs half a ton and was designed by the local sculptor, Ben Twiston-Davies.

This is the main street of the town, which is certainly green. I’m not entirely sure why they need to let so many cars into this area though.

For a couple of years there was a Henry Moore figure here, but its now gone, but leaves behind a lovely footing. The Digswell Arts Trust is hoping to get a replacement artwork if it can, but it’s a shame the Moore figure has moved on.

Incidentally, the new town was going to be called Digswell, named after the village which it was built near, but they decided that didn’t sound decadent enough so they went with the more formal Welwyn Garden City. There wasn’t much else here before, but the decision to build it next to a railway line was deliberate, although they then had to build a railway station.

I went on a little walk to the east of the town, which feels a little more barren and unfinished.

It’s not as built-up, but the main factory that produces Shredded Wheat is here.

I feel the need to comment on the appalling town planning that is going on in parts of the town, with busy roads that have no pedestrian crossings at all. It seems slightly ironic that a town created as a garden city is so far behind on matters like this, but the Welwyn Hatfield Times did write last year about the town centre that some work had started which was:

“The first phase of wider plans developed by Hertfordshire County Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to improve the town centre environment for all users, by reducing the vehicle conflicts that currently occur in some areas and improving the environment for those travelling on foot and by bike.”

They perhaps need to speed up a little with their plans. Anyway, I’ve digressed yet again.

I accept I’m struggling for enough content now on this post, but here’s Aldi where I went for lunch  🙂

I always feel very healthy after a long challenge walk, but it doesn’t really last long. This is evidence of my temporary divergence into salad, although judging from those fat and saturate levels, it’s actually not very healthy at all. That’s the problem with salad, to make it taste nice they have to make it unhealthy.

That was about the limit of my activity for the day, a three mile walk around the town and then several hours of trying to rest my sore legs from the adventures of the day before. I admit this isn’t going to go down as the most adventurous day that I’ve had, but I reassured myself that I deserved a rest after my bravery of the previous day.