Hi - Welcome to Peacockshock. My house on the internet. I'm Ian Peacock

I live in Hertford - a quaint but cool town just north of London England. I'm a media person. I run a consultancy, present radio programmes, do a bit of television and write too. I'm mad about animals and live with my eccentric but fabulous cat Bollinger. I go to the gym, swim a lot, and listen to music non-stop. My family mostly live up north, but also in Denmark and the USA. And I've lived in Newcastle, Durham, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Cambridge, Oxford and London.

So...don't dither on the doorstep. Come in and have a wander round. You can either just scroll down this page and see what takes your fancy. Or you can mouse around the house and click on the different rooms and areas. And keep coming back for new stuff.

Enjoy your stay.

Ian

Where’s the ideal place for you to live in the UK?

I was sceptical, but I clicked and had a go at the BBC’s Where in Britain would you be happiest? quiz.

I answered questions about how conscientious, neurotic, extrovert, trusting and imaginative I was. But they seemed pretty general and there didn’t seem to be enough of them.

I was thoroughly expecting it to get it horribly wrong and come up with Swindon, Middlesbrough or Scunthorpe.

scunthorpe

But the blurb was encouraging.

According to the BBC:

The predictions made in this test are based on research by scientists at the universities of Cambridge and Helsinki. In a collaboration with the BBC, they conducted a survey of the personalities and life satisfaction of over half a million people. They found that certain traits clustered in regions around Britain. For example, people living in metropolitan areas like Manchester or London were very open. High levels of agreeableness were found throughout most of Scotland, and pockets of the Midlands were particularly conscientious.

And my results:

Happiest place for me:

Cambridge (65% happiness)

Interesting. I lived there for five years and was very happy. It’s still one of my favourite places and I occasionally think about moving back.

Me in Cambridge

Me in Cambridge

Unhappiest place for me:

Newham in the East End (54%)

According to the BBC:

Notable neighbourhoods include West Ham and Forest Gate. Residents generally reported higher than average levels of openness, extraversion and neuroticism for Britain. Levels of conscientiousness and agreeableness were lower than average.

Verdict on Hertford, where I live:

61% happy

Not far behind Cambridge, so that’s OK.

Me in Hertford, near Peacock Towers

Me in Hertford, near Peacock Towers, not looking terribly happy, but I rarely do in photos

They predicted the best place for me near here would be:

Saffron Walden (62%)

Pretty accurate. I like Saffron Walden a lot. Picturesque town, with Audley End nearby. Not far from Stansted Airport. Geographically half way between Hertford and … Cambridge. Sort of.

Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden

Notable residents of Saffron Walden:

The late Hattie Jacques

hattie jacques cross matron

Ian Lavender

Tom Robinson

Jojo Moyes

and

Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle from Emmerdale)

cain dingle

Well, I’ve met Tom Robinson a few times. And people frequently describe me as a cross between Hattie Jacques, Cain Dingle and Pike from Dad’s Army, so I’d say the quiz is spot on.

Why not have a go yourself? And please tell me where you end up.

BBC Where in Britain would you be happiest quiz

Oliver and Olivia most popular baby names in Hertfordshire

Oliver Cheshire

Oliver Cheshire, from Hitchin

I just discovered that Oliver and Olivia are the most popular baby names in Hertfordshire, according to the Hertfordshire County Council 2014 Registration Service.

Can’t think of many famous Hertford Olivers, but Oliver Cromwell stayed overnight at the Salisbury Arms in 1647. He liked it so much he now haunts it.

Sadly, I can’t find any famous Olivias whatsoever from these parts. But Olivia Coleman’s from Norfolk. Not too far.

olivia coleman broadchurch

In Hertford, the most popular boys’ names are William, Henry, Oliver, Theodore, Alexander, Edward and George. George Ezra is from Hertford and is called George, obviously. George-Ezra

For Hertford girls, it’s Isabella, Alice, Georgia, Olivia, Eva and Penelope.

No comment. Don’t want to get beaten up in Waitrose.

As I said to my cat Bollinger earlier, name snobbery is a terrible thing. I’m not a name snob as such, but I do find unimaginative copycat naming a bit sad. And I am partial to an unusual name.

Over the years, I’ve worked with a Horatio, an Anastasia, a Che (named after Guevara), a Byron and a Hieronymus … but I do work in the media.

Meanwhile in real life, I have a friend called Jesus. My godson is named after a medieval Japanese knight (but shortens his name to something more normal-sounding). My friend H (a novelist) once had a hamster called Clytemnestra. And I had a great uncle called Theodore Octavius Christiansen Peter Tversted. We called him Uncle Teddy.

Anyway, must rush. I have to feed my Pit Bulls Chantelle, Charmain and Tyler. Talking of which, here’s Katie Hopkins being a ridiculous name snob

Katie? What sort of name is that? Sooo Stevenage.

Dogs (and cat) get happy on the beach – viral video from Oz

cat dogs malibu australia pharrell happy

If you need to kick the January blues, just watch this amazing video of dogs and a cat on the beach accompanied by Happy by Pharrell Williams.

Digda the cat belongs to the dogs’ trainer Robert Dollwet who runs Malibu Dog Training in New South Wales, Australia. There are more videos on the Malibu Dog Training YouTube Channel

Oddly for a dog trainer, Digda is his only pet. She has her own YouTube channel Catmantoo which has loads of cat training tips. Bolly watch out.

Robert has lots of experience in dog training, with the army, the police and celebrities such as Mel Gibson, Pamela Anderson and Olivia Newton John. And he takes the dogs, and Digda, for a beach party once they’ve graduated from their training course.

Digda is clearly top dog, so to speak.

 

London to Hertford fare shoots up

‘A single to Hertford North please,’ I said to the man at Euston (19 miles from Hertford). ‘That’s H.E.R.T.F.O.R.D.’ I always say that as no-one can spell anymore. ‘No, there isn’t a Hertford North,’ he informed me. I decided to…

Half Gardeners

I like gardeners; I like non-gardeners. But there’s one thing I can’t stand: the half gardener. Half gardeners deserve to be sprayed to death with cheap weed killer.

‘What are they?’ I hear you ask.

Half gardeners are people who garden furiously either (1) once a year or (2) on bank holidays.

They garden like maniacs for a day. Then they ignore their garden for months on end or even a whole year.

They have a penchant for weed-resistant membrane, as they believe it will cover a multitude of sins. But it doesn’t. And your typical half gardener fits it but then fails to cover it properly. ugly garden weed resistant membrane They have a thing about bark chip. But, before you know it, it gets dry and bleached and full of weeds. Bark chip is the very devil. hideous bark chip And, as they only garden once a year, they prefer ready-made turf to grass seed, but they leave enormous gaps and only water it once. So it dies dry turf They then add pot plants. They water them once. Then leave them to it. Like the bits of turf, they die. dead pot plants As do the hanging baskets. I detest hanging baskets. But I loathe dead ones even more. dry wilted hanging basket Half gardeners beware. I’m watching you and your hideous dead twigs.