If it’s deemed the month of mellow fruitfullness, then October certainly lived up to its billing. This has been a hectic research and writing period as everyone gears-up for their big Christmas issues.
I’ve had the privilege of taking some wonderful behind-the scenes tours. From visiting the choristers of Winchester Cathedral – who’d have thought a bunch of 8 to 13 year-olds could muster such a magical sound whilst rehearsing in their rugby kit? To a day out amongst the vines at Denbies, Britain’s largest winery. Where, I can happily report, this year’s harvest looks extremely promising and based on previous successes in the Surrey Hills, could be a vintage to savour.
And I should also mention my scene-by-scene journey through the atmospheric Wintershall Estate, the location for the forthcoming Nativity and next Easter, the awe-inspiring Life of Christ performance. Thanks must go to owner and impresario Peter Hutley for taking the time out to explain how he’s managed to grow a simple family entertainment into a global phenomenon of truly Biblical proportions. If you haven’t already booked for Christmas, don’t delay, it’s always a sell-out.
Interviews have also been coming thick and fast. David Nussbaum the WWF’s CEO gave me an inspiring insight into the vision behind the charity’s new Woking HQ – watch this space for news of Surrey’s latest visitor attraction. Just to walk in the footsteps of none other than Sir David Attenborough, at the official opening of the ground-breaking building earlier today, was extremely humbling. And I’ve had the delight of speaking to the two stars of TV’s Homes Under the Hammer, Lucy Alexander and Martin Roberts, about their fund-raising challenge for this year’s Children in Need Appeal. By the sound of it a great time was had by all. Again, it’s all under wraps, for now, but will soon be revealed!
With the nights drawing in, it’s tempting to think about hibernating, but there’s some wonderful events taking place in the region. Guildford’s popular Ghost Tours are in full swing, while Farnham has a new Festival of Textiles as part of it’s Craft Town status. Over the border in Hampshire both the Southampton Film Week and the Winchester Short Film Festival look well worth a viewing. And of course, with the Christmas light switch-ons towards the end off the month and festive markets taking over our towns and cities, the count-down’s well and truly on. Just need to hit some more deadlines before I can even think about buying presents.