Author Adele Parks on her perfect Surrey weekend
- Credit: Archant
Best-selling novelist Adele Parks has sold over three million copies of her books in the UK alone and is published in 26 countries. Living in Guildford, with her husband Jim and 16-year-old son Conrad, weekends are all about friends and family
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2017
My favourite Friday evenings are those when my son invites a bunch of his friends around. I know it’s not everyone’s idea of heaven to have a house full of teenagers, but I love it. I like their energy, appetites and noise. I guess that’s because I work from home on my own all week so the contrast between a silent house and a noisy home signals the start of the weekend. The priority is always feeding the starving teenagers (they are eternally starving, even when they’ve eaten just half an hour before), so there’s a lot of chat and hanging around in the kitchen until that’s sorted. Once they are fed and ensconced elsewhere in the house - in front of a movie or playing video games - then Jim and I have supper together. Then, as the TV is often being hogged, we spend the evening reading or chatting.
On Saturday Jim and Conrad will often leave the house quite early as Conrad usually has a school rugby match. As much as I enjoy the fact my son is sporty and a team player, I really don’t enjoy standing on the sidelines. It’s not the weather, it’s the risk of watching him be injured. Rugby is brutal! I prefer to make the most of Surrey’s many retail opportunities! My favourite shopping spot is the utterly charming, traffic-free Guildford High Street but I also enjoy going to Kingston sometimes. I’m not a shop until you drop sort, I’m more likely to be found mooching around antique, vintage and charity shops, looking for upcycling projects or small household items that I can cherish a second time around. There are several lovely, unique antique shops in Surrey: Dorking, Camberley and Walton-on-Thames offer up untold treasures. Petersham Nurseries, near Richmond, is a magical place where I can combine hunting for the perfect Italian terracotta pots with sipping a delicious cappuccino.
On Saturday evenings, we like to entertain and often have friends around for dinner. I try to visit Guildford Farmers’ Market on the first Tuesday of every month; people always appreciate being served a unique chutney, local cider or some other specialty. Again, we’re so lucky in Surrey to have so many specialist food shops and farmers’ markets.
Escape to the country
- 1 It’s a Cotswold hat-trick at Chelsea!
- 2 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 3 12 great things to do in Tiverton
- 4 20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
- 5 6 waterfall walks in Derbyshire and the Peak District
- 6 Win a fabulous free-range Morton's Norfolk turkey for Christmas!
- 7 8 charming market towns you need to visit in Somerset
- 8 Kent's Tom enters the Great British Bake Off tent
- 9 From The Dig to Harry Potter - 5 films shot in Suffolk
- 10 7 of the best spas in Sussex
Sadly, Sundays are very often dominated by homework for Conrad. Jim and I always enjoy taking a walk. We’re spoilt for choice, as we’re surrounded by stunning countryside. There are dozens of short walks linking the North Downs, Surrey Hills and Wey Navigation. My preferred route often takes in a coffee shop in Shere. It’s such a monumentally picturesque village. In the holidays, or when the homework load is light and Conrad can join us, we often structure the walk around a pub lunch. If that’s not possible, then it’s home for a late Sunday roast with Yorkshire puddings. I’m vegetarian but the guys are certainly not!
On an absolutely perfect Sunday evening, we all play cards, or better yet, friends pop by and join in. A bit of friendly competition and a Margarita postpones the inevitable Monday morning blues rather brilliantly, I think.
Adele Parks’ latest novel, The Stranger in My Home, was released in paperback in February and has already been optioned as a TV mini-series! For more, visit adeleparks.com