Griff Rhys Jones in Hertford


Griff with Cadbury the Labrador
If only BBC1 had told me. Griff could have popped in for a cuppa and Cadbury could have played with Boll.
Griff Rhys Jones’s excellent Rivers series meandered along the River Lea the other day and visited Hertford, filming within an inch of the Peacock house.
The programme covered the canalisation of the river in Hertfordshire by Elizabeth I’s pal Lord Burghley (‘a river in corsets’).
Griff and Cadbury the dog also learnt about local flash locks – where the water simply rushed through in a torrent, with the poor boat thrashing around on top.
They visited some local maltings and discovered that barley from the banks of the Lea is the best in the world.
And they chatted to a couple of chaps fishing for crayfish in Hertford. The river in Hertford’s full of crayfish, which I find quite frightening. Apparently, they’re mostly American signal crayfish and we’re supposed to be fishing for them, as they’re a threat to our indigenous ones. They’re the grey squirrels of the crayfish world.
According to this month’s Country Living, they’re partial to a banana, which you should dangle on an old bicycle wheel for them to cling to. But, as far as I’m aware, most Hertford crayfisherpersons tempt them out of the water with bacon.
The BBC refer to the Lea as the Lea with an ‘a’. But it’s also spelt Lee with an ‘e’. The Lee Valley Park, for instance, uses the ‘e’. All very confusing. I reckon someone needs to make a decision on this, as the 2012 Olympics are taking place right next to the Lea/Lee, 19 miles south of here (opposite my friend W’s flat). They need to decide on a single spelling – not just for googleability, but for all the poor editors of sports programmes around the world.
And it’s not to be confused with Hertford’s other three rivers – the Rib, Beane and Mimram.