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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 March?

Some might say it’s foolhardy to be writing a blog on the 1st of April but hey ho this is being posted after midday so believe what you will!

March brought another eclectic mix of topics and travels. Standing in the jockey’s weighing room at Epsom Downs Racecourse I could almost imagine Frankie Detorri celebrating after another famous victory. My visit to meet general manager Simon Durrant was fascinating research for a behind-the-scenes feature about not only Surrey’s but the world’s most famous flat race, The Derby.

Another trip into the unknown, although it felt like an altogether more covert operation, took me to Europe’s first wasabi farm. I’m giving nothing away by saying that Hampshire’s remarkable spring waters have worked their magic once more. And having been known for so long as the capital of watercress, there’s definitely another green revolution underway. My thanks to Tom Amery of The Wasabi Company for showing me around (thank goodness I packed wellies) and for entrusting me with a wasabi plant of my own – fresh wasabi is a revelation, trust me.

While I was prepared for getting my feet wet, down on the farm, it was a nice surprise, to see the sun returning this month. And writing-up a feature on beaches in the south certainly put me in a holiday mood. As I discovered though, you don’t need to take a week’s holiday – some of the best sandy spots are right on our doorstep, it’s just a case of thinking outside the box. Coastal areas could be getting some competition from riverbanks, ponds, even pop-up city beaches when the bucket and spade brigade set off this summer. All will be revealed inside the next issue of parenting magazine Baby Surrey / Hampshire / London.



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