When I learned, last week, that I would have to drive to Hertford, my heart sank. More ring roads and concrete. More people who look as if they are on their way to a day centre.
But I was wrong. Hertford is rather nice:
I noticed that several signs pointed the way to a place called 'Bengeo'. Bengeo! What sort of a name is that for a town and why haven't I heard of it until today? Even buses were going there.
It all sounds rather foreign - place names should end with a consonant. But apparently Bengeo is of ancient provenance, so I take it all back.
Bengeo's main claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Captain W. E. Johns - the author of the Biggles series of books, with titles that include Biggles Gets His Men, Biggles Takes It Rough, Biggles and the Poor Rich Boy and Biggles Fails To Return.
I liked what I saw of Hertford and tried to ignore the hideous car park and some of the less inspiring architecture on the outskirts. The centre would have been even nicer without the constant roar of traffic from the ring road, but the same could be said of most towns.
I went to Hertford expecting bland uniformity and concrete ugliness. Instead, I found character and charm. I hope I have the chance to make a return visit.