the_ship_inn_langstoneCrossing borders into a new county always throws up a few surprises and a couple of commissions for Chichester Harbour Conservancy this autumn has been no exception. Briefly swapping the Surrey Hills and the Hampshire valleys for the West Sussex coastline I had the pleasure of meeting some of the small businesses that call this area home. From marine suppliers to farmers, and from publicans to artists all have a story to tell which will be shared in the CHC 2015 Guide.

wickham_bridge_streetWhat came across was how much they all loved where they called home, not that earning a living has all been plain sailing in recent times. Wherever they are based today’s entrepreneurs need to keep attracting customers. Which is just what the shopkeepers in Wickham appear to be doing very successfully. The archetypal Hampshire marketplace welcomes locals and visitors alike, and with new attractions like the Wonky Pot tea & herb company brewing-up a fresh range of products to tempt us, hopefully our smaller towns villages will continue to thrive. Hampshire Life online carries this story.

P1100245Back in Portsmouth for a Dickens Christmas review, it never fails to amaze me how much we take for granted right on our doorstep. This is still a city that’s steeped in heritage, you just need to scratch beneath the surface sometimes. The Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum might be bypassed by major traffic routes but is well worth a detour especially if, as December’s Hampshire Life reveals, there’s time to pick up the trail of the famous author’s landmarks. You never know what you might discover.

In fact, the same looks true for audiences this Christmas at Kingston’s Rose Theatre. A backstage piece on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for Surrey Life brought the magic of CS Lewis’ classic flooding back. With an exuberant young cast and director bringing festive cheer this season, let’s hope our small businesses have plenty to celebrate too.