I used to take a stall each month at the Hertford Craft Market, in the Corn Exchange in the middle of the town. It was good fun, but being an all day event I usually needed a break at lunchtime, and if the weather was fine would usually escape for a minute to the oasis of calm around Hertford Castle.
Tucked away behind a 900-year-old flint wall, all that remains of the Castle is the gatehouse, which is used today as Council offices. In fact, the estate used to be a royal palace, and I understand that Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood here.
On a sunny day, the red brick of the building sings out against the blue sky, and the green lawns surrounding it stretch away to those ancient walls. It was indeed a little haven in the midst of a busy market day, and an illustration of how often such places can be found only a stone’s throw from a bustling High Street.