President of the Law Society Paul Marsh on his perfect Surrey weekend
As the new president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Paul Marsh rarely has a moment to himself during his busy weeks up in London - which is why he is always delighted to return to his home county of Surrey as soon as the weekend comes ro...
Originally published in Surrey Life July 2008As the new president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Paul Marsh rarely has a moment to himself during his busy weeks up in London - which is why he is always delighted to return to his home county of Surrey as soon as the weekend comes round
I have been lucky enough to live in Surrey for all of my professional life after moving to Shalford, just south of Guildford, when my wife Sheila and I got married in 1972.
Despite having strong links to both Dorset and London, we have never thought about moving anywhere else. It is a wonderful place to live and bring up a family - great schools, excellent amenities and some of England's most beautiful countryside. Our three children all enjoyed growing up in Surrey. My weekend normally starts as I finish my train journey back from London on a Friday night, to be greeted with the sight of the rolling hills of Surrey in the summer or the twinkling lights of Guildford on dark winter evenings. Both are a wonderful sight after the claustrophobia of London. Friday night is normally spent at home relaxing and catching up with what the family have been doing during the week. On Saturday morning, we enjoy the wonderful variety of shops on Guildford High Street where I am always amazed how friendly everyone is. Having lived for so long in the town, we seem to know so many people and sometimes we can hardly make progress up the cobbled streets as we stop to talk to friends along the way. If we don't go to Guildford, we potter around the antique shops in the other picturesque surrey towns such as Dorking, Godalming or Farnham. Saturday afternoons are typically spent working in my garden while listening to Sport on Five and making the most of the fresh air and great views we enjoy around our home in Shalford. Winter or summer, rain or shine, I can always busy myself either planting, weeding, pruning or just enjoying the garden. We have a fantastic viewpoint from our lane where we can see across the fields all the way to St Martha's Church. I am currently building a summer house in the garden, which I hope will give us an even better vantage point to enjoy the views. Saturday evening is spent either going to the theatre or cinema or just relaxing over a meal with friends. The sound of bells welcoming people to the many churches across Surrey is a clear feature of Sunday mornings for me. We can hear the bells from our own church, St Mary's in Shalford, and on a clear day also those from Bramley and Wonersh. After attending church, there is a chance to catch up with the Sunday papers. The rest of the day is often spent visiting our daughter and her family in Bramley and trying to keep pace with our two grandsons, Ben and Felix. Otherwise, I'm in the garage fuelling my great passion for vintage cars. Surrey is home to many classic car enthusiasts and the lanes and country roads on a Sunday are full of vintage cars being given an 'airing', often punctuated for their drivers with a drink in the Red Lion in Shamley Green or The Sun in Dunsfold. The countryside is the part of Surrey I love the most and I try to spend as much time out and about in it as I can. It is such a great contrast to my weekdays in the centre of London. As the weekend draws to a close, I can start to plan the next one knowing I will not be spoilt for choice for ways to fill it in Surrey.