Discovering a Blue Gate in the Med & the Waterloo horses here in Hemel

Blue Gate - Med styleOne of the most distinctive sights in Piccotts End is Blue Gate, the rather quaint and attractive entrance to the home of Keith & Jayne Barber. While on holiday in Sicily recently we took a trip to the island of Panarea en route to see Stromboli, one of the Med’s only active volcanoes. While strolling about the pretty back streets I was delighted to  come across its Italian cousin – Il Portoncino Blu! The colours and shape are almost identical. Perhaps there are more Blue Gates in other parts of the world. I shall keep a look out on my travels!


Blue Gate, Piccotts End style

I came across another fascinating local connection while reading about the battle of Waterloo, whose bicentenary was celebrated this month. It was buried in the middle

of a long article by the historian Max Hastings about the Duke of Wellington’s famous victory. Many of the injured horses were sold at auction in Belgium and brought back to Britain to be nursed back to health. According to the article many of them ended up at Gadebridge House, home of the eminent 19th century surgeon Sir Astley Paston Cooper, founder of Piccotts End’s ground-breaking ‘cottage hospital’. Hastings goes on to say that having recovered from their injuries, the horses were given the run of the land and would line up in battle formation to charge across the park! Looking out from my bathroom window across to what is now sadly a housing estate I try to imagine this graphic image from 200 years ago.