OK. It’s not quite as daredevil as the title might suggest but living where I do has numerous benefits. I got the idea for this article due to the fact that oddly enough, I have put my house on the market for personal reasons. I tried to think of all the benefits I could portray to a potential purchaser of living in a village just 26 miles north of London. I then came up with the idea of photographing the village centre to showcase what the village has to offer.
I undertake corporate and commercial photography and video assignments for a number of clients around Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Watford, Central London and the Home Counties as well as countrywide and sometimes in Europe. One of the things that struck me was my ability to be anywhere in the country or beyond at relatively short notice but with the added knowledge that when I get home, I have countryside, space and fresh air at my fingertips. Many a time I’ve strolled virtually from my back door, across the fields on a warm sunny summer’s evening after a long slog photographing products in the dark studio all day. If I want to venture out in the car but still remain fairly local, I’m just a 12 minute drive from the beautiful woodlands of Ashridge Estate, a bike ride to the top of Dunstable Downs and yet just 8 minutes from the M25, 25 minutes from Brent Cross at the end of the M1 and 1.5 hours from the NEC Birmingham. I know this sounds a little like a sales pitch for my property and I guess I am extolling the virtues of living in Markyate, but how many of us are lucky enough to be able to bridge both types of lifestyle. The edge of commercial activity and the Sound of Silence (save for the odd plane from Luton weaving its way between the villages.
A few weeks ago I returned from an assignment late in the afternoon, picked a camera straight from the back of the car and off I went around the village. I live on the main London Road in the village – the original A5 (Watling Street) and one of the original Roman highways to the north. It’s now hard to imagine that this was such a major route but the history is quite compelling. it was a major coaching stop on the highway from London to Birmingham, at one point having over forty inns and public houses along its main road. The village was one of the earliest sites of the Pickfords transport service – one road out of the village being named Pickford Road.
I will occassionaly venture into Ashridge in the early hours armed with a camera, tripod and some filters but my main hobby is working with the elements flying my beloved radio control gliders up at Ivinghoe Beacon which is part of the Ashridge Estate. A complete chill out from the hustle, bustle and pressures of a normal working week. If this is ‘Living on the Edge’ then give it to me every time.