I had in my diary to visit the local stately home, which was hosting a French market today. It was SUCH a beautiful day, that I believe half of South Hertfordshire also made the same decision!
I love visiting markets; farmers markets; general markets where I can rummage for bargains and Walthamstow market in North East London, which is a street market 1 mile long! The market stalls were set up in front of the Jacobean Hatfield House, and for the estate this was the last weekend before it closes for the season, to the general public. I doubt if they had expected so many visitors!
The stalls sold all of the popular food one associates with France: cured meats, cheeses, pate, garlic and shallots, as well as bread, some delicious tarts and food cooked at the stand.
I bought some wild boar sausage from this stall.
I was tempted by the onion and garlic, but our local farmers’ market produce similar, and possibly fresher.
I treated the family to some tarts and they were delicious.
One of the stall holders was cooking an enormous paella, in the French Alpine Style. It smelt divine and there were huge queues to buy it!
I am particularly partial to French cheeses, and bought some soft goats’ cheese and a ‘smelly’ soft cheese! I can’t wait to eat them!
One could see that the estate had an Autumnal feel to it: the leaves are beginning to turn gold now.
The Old Palace, in the distance, was hosting a concert this evening. A youth orchestra were rehearsing in the Old Riding School, so all of the visitors could hear exquisite music being performed in the distance. It was really special.
As you know I now blog about events I attend as well as specific music related topics. I wanted to share how much I enjoyed this event, but also to share a word of caution. It is very easy to think of an event, but part of the whole process is working out the Health and Safety. Of course the stall holders had to reach specific standards – both for the quality of their food but also the stands. This would avoid anyone being injured when in the market.
However, part of the process of organising an event, is having a risk assessment and considering what might potentially be dangerous for visitors. I doubt if Hatfield House realised there would be so many visitors today, but this was the case, and the car park was a hazard. For larger outdoor events, they are very good at arranging a car park system where you go out through a different gate, so there is a flow one way of cars. However, this wasn’t the case today. There was little room to park. They had used an additional field as an over flow, but there was no space for pedestrians to go; unclear signage for the exits and cars went into and out of the over flow car park with insufficient room. The track was also too narrow for cars to go in different directions, and this with the pedestrians made it a real hazard.
My neighbour is a health and safety expert and I’ve taught it as part of an Event Management module at university. Anyone running an event should take the time to do a risk assessment to anticipate the very worst thing happening. We don’t want that to happen of course, and so plan to avoid it.
I loved visiting the French Market, but the exit to the park spoilt my overall enjoyment of the day.