John Barber, Author

A little bit about John Barber.

This feature published by the Hertfordshire Mercury on December 7 2007 gives you a brief flavour of the man behind the site but for a more detailed background, read my biography

Getting to know you

Name John Barber
Age Just collected my bus pass
Where are you from Folly Island, Hertford
Job Hertford Town Centre Manager
Hobbies Writing.

Favourites
Film

Goodbye Mr Chips
Terminator One

Book
Three men in a boat by Jerome K Jerome
Life and Times of Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne

TV Programme
Spooks

Song
Bat out of Hell

Food
Any curry, stronger the better

Claim to fame

Bob Monhouse
Postcard from Bib Monkhouse

Bob Monkhouse rang me from his holiday home in Barbados to offer me his memories of Leslie Welch, the Memory Man who was a famous variety act in the 1950/60’s. He talked for about half an hour and I always thought that a wonderful and kind gesture from such a celebrated stand-up comedian and TV host to a little known writer (and who remains so to this day!).

What famous person would you like to be stuck on a desert island with
Becky Mantin
Becky Mantin, the ITV weather girl. This kind of interview was a regular feature in the Mercury who asked various politicians and traders their likes and views. When asked who they would like to be stuck on a desert island with most replied with: William Shakespeare, the Pope, George Bernard Shaw, Henry the Eighth and various reality TV stars such as Bear Grylls.

I took the view that if I had to be marooned on a desert island then I would prefer my companion to be an attractive female. At the time of this interview I always knew that it was going to rain because Becky would do the whole of the weather forecast with a smile. So much better than discussing the end of the world with Wittgenstein.

Views on Hertford
What does it need
A cinema
What would you change I like it as it is
Favourite pub/restaurant Old Barge, White Horse, Salisbury Arms
Favourite place The Old Barge pub on Folly Island
Where do you like to shop Waitrose
Best thing about Hertford The traders and the people.

When Zach my grandson passed away in 2015 there was little left in Hertford for me. I originally placed the following on his own page but they belong here.

I had hoped that the Hertford Town Centre Urban Design Strategy would breathe some life into the town. All it produced was another list of everything that has been discussed, argued over and beaten into pulp by every possible combination of town centre committees and seminars. If I have copies of all these then someone else must have too at Council level and saved us all £100,000 to hire a team of consultants to regurgitate it.

As we near the end of 2015 the position regarding Waitrose in town is as unclear as when negotiations started in 2013.

The ex-Mayor Colin Harris once told me that I had been punching above my weight for far too long. Trying to form an opposition to the established pattern of things in this town has become more like punching my fist into thin air.

However I can look back over the past fifteen years and know that some good things were achieved; not always by myself but with the help of so many good friends and colleagues. In some chronological order:

Chairman of the Folly Island Residents Association
5 Fun Days
1 Hertford Music Festival
1 Continental Market
Hertford Town Watch
Hertford Pubwatch incl Behave or be Banned
Farmers Markets
New Christmas Lights and much needed infrastructure
Christmas Fayres
Taxi Marshal Scheme
Hidden Hertford – AV Tours
Training Courses
New businesses in town
Business database
Editor of Ward Times

I have missed a few but it is exhausting just listing that lot and remembering the time and effort spent by all those who were also responsible.

Thank you for those 15 years.

You can contact John Barber here: moc.r1542507798ebrab1542507798nhoj@1542507798tcatn1542507798oc1542507798