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T is for topical

Okay, there are inevitably times when a piece is submitted weeks ahead of the publication date and you just have to cross everything that the eatery so enthusiastically recommended hasn’t closed its doors overnight, a heritage restoration project didn’t suffer a loss of funding or a beautiful walk isn’t suddenly blighted by fly-tippers.

Fortunately a good chef usually stays in business, audience development keeps visitor numbers growing  and a cherished environment remains preserved. Whilst always on the look-out for the next scoop, more often than not as writers we give voice to those who’ve already given their silent approval and make those yet to make a discovery aware of what they’re missing.

Tweets and social media in general do a great job at getting word out instantly, but what I still love about old-fashioned print is the chance to stumble across a feature several months (or in the case of my dentist’s waiting room, perhaps years) after it’s been written, and the recommendation still holds true. You’ve not missed the boat, in fact the experience might be even better than was first reported.

This month’s recommendations
Beaulieu: not only is there a Hot Rod & Custom Drive-In this father’s day, a Vintage Village offers something for the non petrol-heads.

Epsom Racecourse: you might be dusting down the hats and tails for The Derby but thanks to an ancient law, The Hill is free whatever happens betwixt the rails.

Farnborough Air Sciences Museum: you don’t need to be a boffin to enjoy a visit to this once hush, hush site. Anyone who recalls Concorde will love it.

Surrey Artist’ Open Studios: with over 300 artists throwing open their doors between 6-21 June the whole county celebrates the talent that’s on display.  

What’s been happening in May?

There was excitement at the beginning of the month with the publication of two new features. For fans of Downton Abbey – in fact anyone who wonders what some of our local landmark buildings look like on the inside, is a piece I wrote on Surrey’s Byfleet Manor. Home of the lovely Julie Hutton, the Manor is rented out to film crews for location shoots and stars as the Dower House. Read the article at The Guildford Magazine.

This was closely followed by another of my ‘Top Tens’ for the Baby Surrey/Hampshire/London series. Everyone enjoys a visit to the park and whether you live in the town or the country there are some hidden gems. In fact, a reader has already sent in a letter of congrats to the editor on discovering a park near to her house, that she didn’t know existed. It’s nice to be of service! Thanks must go to the Forestry Commission Alice Holt for supplying some great pics. Read the article at Baby Surrey.

Getting out and about this month I squeezed in a press launch and a private view in one day. First off was a trip down to the New Forest to see the inaugural launch of the Exbury Egg. Once in position on the Beaulieu Estuary it’s going to become the workspace of artist Stephen Turner for the next 12 months. Seeing the beautifully crafted, environmentally friendly Egg up close was pretty impressive. I wouldn’t mind spending a few months responding to the local environment myself – especially as it comes equipped with a hammock and solar shower!

Next stop:  final year degree shows at the University of the Creative Arts Farnham. Anyone who thinks students spend their time in bed or the pub should take a look at the fantastic work on display. I sat through part of the showreel from the animation course and was blown away – they certainly give Nick Park a run for his money. Textiles and glass were also stunning, it’s enough to make you want to enrol immediately.

I can’t sign-off this month without giving a shout-out to the crew at The Fish Society who I’ve had the pleasure of working with, on copywriting and SEO, since the beginning of the year. We’re about the embark on an exciting new PR campaign. Watch this space!


A community website for the residents of Parwich, Alsop-en-le-Dale, Ballidon and Pikehall in the Derbyshire Peak District.

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