Flaming Autumn - almost!
One of our larger traditional market towns, Horsham in West Sussex was thrilled to host the Paralympic torch on its progress towards the second half of London 2012. This torch, rather than being flown in from Greece like The Other One, was lit with flints and taken on a more modest but nonetheless exciting tour of the country. The good burghers of Horsham had been a little miffed not to be part of things the first time round - especially when arch-rival Crawley got the nod - and the local press enjoyed some lively correspondence on the subject.
But hosting the Paralympic flame was a great honour and Horsham is good at occasions like that, with its lovely park - fittingly, with the leisure centre backing onto it - creating the perfect setting despite a dodgy weather forecast. I headed back to Greenwich Park to watch the Paralympic dressage, an event in which the British team has an unrivalled medal record, and it was great to see the Olympic spirit alive and well.
I have mixed feelings about this summer's weather. I could lament the lack of sun and the impact it has had on the self catering holiday industry this year, but when the evenings were on the dull side I was able to sit in front of the TV with a clear conscience and watch other people taking part in sport on my behalf - and generally doing it much more impressively than I would, so I thought they deserved my full support. But now I'm hoping for some beautiful autumn weather to get out and enjoy the Sussex countryside, and if you're staying in one of our gorgeous cottages or apartments across the county I hope to see you out there too.
September is always a favourite month in England. The swallows that have been raising their young in the barns will soon take off for warmer climes, the young buzzards are learning to hunt above the fields and country friends are making their weather predictions. One says it's been so wet we'll have a late autumn, so don't look for trees turning their colours just yet; another says some trees are turning already, which means early snow. Well, we'll see!