Having gone through the stress of the move, got your new home in order and can breathe easily again, you might just be wondering what to do with yourself. This section contains some suggestions and information on your new home town.
Please note: useful information and advice on a wide range of national and local issues can be found on the UK Government web site Directgov (including information on schools) – click here for a link.
Moving home can be expensive, and there is likely to be a mortgage or rent that needs to be paid. So, if you're not already in work, then it's probably something high on your list of things to sort out.
Being close to London with good transport links makes Hatfield naturally appealing for commuters. Or you may prefer to commute against the flow – in which case Stevenage or Cambridge are options. Then, of course, there are job opportunities within the town and elsewhere in Hertfordshire.
If you are not sure where to start looking, there is a JobcentrePlus in Old Hatfield, across the road from the railway station.
You can also access the internet-based service and other internet job sites from either the Hatfield Public Library in the town centre or the Central Resources Library at the end of Travellers Lane in South Hatfield.
Vacancies in Hatfield and neighbouring areas can be found in local newspapers like the Welwyn Hatfield Times (Wednesdays, weekly) and the Welwyn & Hatfield Review (freesheet, Thursdays, weekly).
Alternatively, you could try contacting local businesses and employers (some of the larger employers in the town are listed in the Student section of this site).
Recreational activities in and around Hatfield are covered in the Leisure section.
You have a number of options if you want to go out and make friends in the area:
Join a club – sports, hobby or social.
Take up a sport or activity like a quiz or karokee.
Pubs and clubs (some advice on these can be found below).
Church or other place of worship.
Library (although if you talk too loudly you'll probably be asked to lower your voice or leave but there is information on local clubs and events).
Pubs or to use their full name, public houses, have long been a part of British culture and places where you can meet other people.
While different pubs tend to attract different kinds of people, there is no hard and fast rule. The sort of people you are likely to encounter in a pub can depend on the time of day or if it's the weekend or a working day. People's behaviour can change depending on how much and what they have been drinking, and different times are likely to be favoured by different types of people (for example, people in building trades tend to start early and come in the afternoon or early evening. London commuters tend to get back in the evening or at night).
Around noon is probably the best time to visit a pub you're not familiar with as the majority of people will be relatively sober, and you're less likely to get any hassle. Another way to check out the local pubs is to join a darts team at one of the pubs (they play away matches with the other pubs in the local league – usually on a Thursday night).
Quiz nights are also a useful way of getting to know people but they don't tend to tour like darts. On the other hand, they tend to appeal to the more intellectually minded – if that appeals to you.
A word of caution: standards of behaviour can vary depending on how well (or not) a pub is run. However, what you find offensive can be very much down to your own personal values. Also, some people are just down for a quiet drink so may not be in a mood to strike up a conversation with a stranger. To each his own. If you don't respect other people's rights don't expect them to respect yours. Sometimes it helps to just have a quiet drink until people become familiar with having you around.
Please note: drink driving is frowned upon – by other road-users and especially by the Police and Courts. It may be an idea to make a note of a taxi company before setting out for the pub (unless it's within walking distance).
First time visitors to big cities like London and New York who are not from large cities themselves often form an initial impression that they are not very friendly places.
In particular, visitors to London often find themselves being apparently ignored by their fellow passengers on trains and tubes very strange. For people who are used to a friendly village atmosphere where people greet each other on sight this can even be quite upsetting.
Please don't be upset (even if someone is being rude it's their loss as they have chosen to make their world smaller).
The reason for this behaviour is simple: overcrowding. There are simply too many people around – if you walk down Oxford Street you will pass hundreds, if not thousands, of other people. You'd soon get exhausted if you tried to greet everyone and it would take you ages to get from one shop to the next. While anyone you had failed to greet may feel slighted by you.
To get around this problem people in big cities have come up with a simple solution: pretend to ignore everyone you don't know. People who have become use to this way of doing things actually become wary of someone they don't know approaching them.
From experience, strangers trying to strike up a conversation in
London usually fall into one of these categories:
a) tourists or visitors asking for directions
b) someone asking for money
c) someone asking you to join their religion or support their cause
d) someone who frankly isn't quite sane.
In Hatfield there is a mix of people from rural and urban backgrounds. A number of people who come from London or work in London naturally (force of habit) adopt Big City behaviour even when they are in Hatfield. Or they could simply be waiting for you to make the first move.
The trick is: don't take it personally.
Good luck with your new life in Hatfield!