Okay so it’s not original but this headline seems appropriate for what (in the most part) has been a British summer to remember thanks to the mercury rising and some fascinating interviews.

Prepared to do their job whatever the weather are the pilots at RAF Odiham and a recent sortie to the UK nerve-centre of the Chinook helicopter squadrons was just awe-inspiring. Regaled with tales of front line duty in Afghanistan and emergency flood operations closer to home, the highlight was to actually step foot inside the cockpit of one of these aviation monsters and thanks must go to everyone for being so welcoming. To get the full story, my feature on the base has just been published in September’s issue of Hampshire Life.

A repeat visit to the charming New Forest village of Lyndhurst proved no less interesting as I sought to uncover some of its lesser known attractions for the day or weekend visitor. Despite being beleaguered by traffic congestion, it’s still a relatively easy place to walk around and definitely worth a stop-off before heading deeper into the wonderful countryside that’s on the doorstep. Great to see, was how much pride the Lyndhurst shops and businesses are taking in keeping it local, be it food and drink, or arts and crafts. Hampshire Life carries this spotlight feature in October’s issue.

And while the raw ingredient can never be sourced on our doorstep, one product that always delivers a smile is chocolate. The newly re-opened Royal Chocolate Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace is both a lesson in Georgian decadence and cookery. Small but perfectly formed, the rooms on display are attracting considerable interest, especially as there are regular chocolate making demos. My tour was made all the more entertaining thanks to the Royal Historic Palaces’ resident food historian Marc Meltonville and curator Polly Putnam who provided the low-down for this Surrey Life feature (out in October’s issue) – and yes, I enjoyed trying to decipher the saucy William and Mary period graffiti too!