Cobham crime writer Meg Gardiner on her perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 17:35 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:30 20 February 2013
Crime writer Meg Gardiner was originally a lawyer in Los Angeles and became a successful novelist when she moved to Surrey. She now lives in Cobham and her latest book, The Dirty Secrets Club, is due out in July. When the weekend arrives, she enjo...
Originally published in Surrey Life March 2008
Crime writer Meg Gardiner was originally a lawyer in Los Angeles and became a successful novelist when she moved to Surrey. She now lives in Cobham and her latest book, The Dirty Secrets Club, is due out in July. When the weekend arrives, she enjoys nothing more than spending time with her family, whether it's long walks in the country with their labrador, Duke, or vegging out on the sofa in front of Top Gear...
On weekends, it's great being home. Sure, I'm at home during the week - as a writer, I have a ten-second commute to work - but at weekends, I get the pleasure of having my family around.
I have kids, so on Saturdays I'm often at their sporting events. This year, my youngest son is playing rugby. He has the build of a long-distance runner, however, so the game can be painful for both of us, but he loves it.
Depending on the state of the book I'm writing, I might work - feverishly if a deadline is looming! Writing is a wonderful job, but my schedule varies wildly. Some days I work two hours, other days nineteen. I also do speaking events at bookshops and festivals. Because writing is a solitary profession, getting out and meeting readers is a real boost, even though they can be mercilessly honest in their opinions of a writer's work!
Saturday evening or Sunday morning I'll go to church. My husband plays the guitar and directs the choir at our church, and our daughter is the flute soloist. My family is full of musicians - in fact, my father was an organist who had the honour to perform for the Queen on her royal visit to my hometown, Santa Barbara, in 1983.
And at some point I'll hit the gym, with the iPod cranked up good and loud. Hymns are edifying, but when I work out, I want the Red Hot Chili Peppers to psyche me up. After that, I'll need dinner at our local, the Prince of Wales, in Esher.
Sundays mean a long walk with our labrador, Duke (but he also answers to Walk and Bacon!). He loves to meander through the woods at Fairmile Common. If it's sunny we might take him to Newlands Corner, where the trails wind through hills and glens, and you never know when you're going to run into deer or a medieval chapel. The view over the downs is glorious and I enjoy the change of seasons here - autumn leaves; shining snow; Easter daffodils; and the long, luxurious summer evenings. In southern California, the only seasons we can count on are fire, flood and earthquake.
Recently, I made a vow to do something new every month. While it's fun to relax on the sofa watching Top Gear with the kids (I have two boys, so it's on constantly), I don't want to waste the tremendous opportunities that the area offers. Surrey has some wonderful concerts. I've heard Kiri Te Kanawa at Hampton Court and The Police at Twickenham stadium.
Staying home is wonderful as well. I have the greatest luxury possible, a husband who's an excellent cook. On weekends we usually have friends over. There's good food and lots of music. What could be better?
My Surrey Weekend is a monthly guest column in Surrey Life magazine, where we discover how some of the county's high profile characters spend their weekend. To catch up with the series, click here.