Edi­tor’s let­ter

Surrey Life - - Front Page -

Ithink we can safely say that au­tumn is here. I like au­tumn, mainly be­cause I feel it bet­ter man­ages my ex­pec­ta­tions than sum­mer. No longer do I wake up dis­ap­pointed that the sun isn’t shin­ing on what should be a warm sum­mer’s day, I rise from slum­ber con­tent with it be­ing a bit grey be­cause the warm pal­ette of oranges and reds that adorn the trees make up for it. And if the sun does in­deed choose to shine, then that’s a bonus.

In say­ing that, we’ve had a pretty good sum­mer this year weather-wise so I shouldn’t re­ally com­plain, es­pe­cially as it was the first sum­mer for a long time that I’ve not booked a hol­i­day some­where hot. There were some twinges of jeal­ousy as I saw so­cial me­dia posts of friends who had flown off to far-flung desti­na­tions but gen­er­ally it didn’t worry me too much be­cause we had a good spell of tem­per­a­tures reg­u­larly top­ping 30 de­grees Cel­sius. In fact the Met Of­fice con­firmed that this sum­mer was the hottest Eng­land has ever seen – marginally beat­ing the pre­vi­ous record-mak­ing heat­wave of 1976.

If sum­mers like this con­tinue then it’s likely many more of us will stay put to en­joy what our home­land has to of­fer. That’s some­thing Visit Sur­rey – the county’s of­fi­cial tourist board – will be glad to hear, par­tic­u­larly as it has re­cently launched a cam­paign ral­ly­ing venues to form a united force for the good of the county’s tourism in­dus­try. “Stay­ing at home and en­joy­ing all the at­trac­tions and venues the county has to of­fer will in­creas­ingly be a first choice for fam­i­lies,” says Visit Sur­rey chair­man Chris­tine Howard. “While hav­ing a won­der­ful time in this beau­ti­ful county, they will also be sup­port­ing the lo­cal econ­omy.”

Cham­pi­oning home-grown tourism is one of the rea­sons we launched our reg­u­lar On Your Doorstep seg­ment in 2017 (you can read this month’s fea­ture on page 118). How­ever, just be­cause we agree that we have plenty in our county to war­rant a stay­ca­tion, that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t en­joy a bit of Sur­rey else­where in the world.

While I spent most of my sum­mer in the UK, I did re­cently man­age a short Euro­pean city break to the beau­ti­ful Bel­gium city of Ghent (turn to page 120 to read more about what I got up to) and while mooching around the city’s quaint and quirky shops, I found my­self in Bookz & Booze – an in­no­va­tive store sell­ing books and match­ing bot­tles of plonk. As I looked through the gor­geous ar­ray of lit­er­a­ture and glass­ware, I no­ticed a bot­tle of Sur­rey’s very own Silent Pool Gin, sit­ting proudly in one of the dis­plays.

Since its in­cep­tion just four years ago, Silent Pool Dis­tillery has gone from strength to strength; there aren’t many bars in the UK or fur­ther afield where you can­not or­der an ‘SP and tonic’. Still, I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to come across it in a back­street book­store in Ghent.

Silent Pool is just one of Sur­rey’s food and drink suc­cess sto­ries and there are plenty more fledg­ling busi­nesses that I’m cer­tain we will soon see ris­ing up through the ranks.

As this edi­tion of the mag­a­zine went to press, the great and the good of Sur­rey’s foodie com­mu­nity gath­ered at G Live in Guild­ford for the sixth Sur­rey Life Food & Drink Awards. I’ve only been in­volved in th­ese awards for a cou­ple of years but in that time I have seen how much (and how quickly) Sur­rey’s dy­namic food cul­ture has grown.

While Silent Pool has been adorned with nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades over the years, we were one of the first to recog­nise the busi­ness with our in­no­va­tion award back in 2015. With that in mind, I can­not wait to see where our 2018 award win­ners will be in a few years time. One thing’s for sure, we’ll be here sup­port­ing them on that jour­ney, so watch this space.

RE­BECCA YOUNGER Email: re­[email protected] archant.co.uk @sur­reylife and @younger­bex @sur­reylifemagazine

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