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Actress Kelly Hunter on her perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 14:37 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 09:11 17 June 2014

Kelly Hunter

Kelly Hunter

Archant

Actress Kelly Hunter, who starred as Mme Victurien in the Liam Neeson film of Les Miserables, recently appeared at the Rose Theatre in director Stephen Unwin’s final play in Kingston. Here, the Teddington resident shares how she relaxes away from the spotlight

If it’s the weekend and I’m at home, my 48 hours will undoubtedly include a trip to my local café/restaurant – the incomparable Diners Delight. By day, I’ll be assured of the best bacon sandwich the area can offer; by night, the tiny establishment on Church Road in Teddington transforms into a magical fairy-lit terraced Turkish restaurant, brimming with music, ambience (there are belly dancers on a Wednesday evening) and the finest falafels I know. 
No wonder it’s never empty.

My travelling life is dominated by bikes and trains, which throw up personal heroes, the greatest of which is David Palmer, who regularly mends the various bikes of our family in his shop, Palmers of Teddington. I love the authenticity of this place, founded in 1899 by David’s grandfather Charles Palmer in the same spot, 109 Stanley Road. He was succeeded by his son Albury who passed the business on to his son David. Is it the oldest family business in Surrey?

 

Head for the hills

Further afield, I’ll take a good bracing walk, especially if I’m learning lines – the only way I can memorise a part is to talk and walk, ignoring the people who think I’m crazy. Without a doubt, my favourite spot is Box Hill. As well as being perfect for line learning, its pretty good for the annual Easter egg roll, for tobogganing in the snow and for skipping fast over the stepping stones. The place brings back memories of my Jack Russell dog who lived for 18 years and spent many an afternoon at my side, stopping with me to pay our respects at the perpendicular grave of Peter Labilliere – the eccentric Irishman who in accordance with his wishes was buried head downwards in June 1800 on the western side above The Whites.

Away from peculiarities and in a more conventional mode, I have a soft spot for RHS Garden Wisley and will make any excuse to lose myself in its peace and tranquillity, while the rest of my family are running themselves ragged at Delta Force, the paintball park in Effingham.

I am an obsessive gardener with a love for growing herbs, cottage perennials and olive trees. Sadly for me, my desires are often overreaching; I bought a eucalyptus tree from Wisley that I planted in my tiny garden and as all the plants bought from them are of the highest quality I had to dig it up two years later as it had grown so intensely the water systems of our street were in danger of being tapped…

Returning home on a Sunday evening, I’ll hopefully see another of my local heroes: the great Alan Hopgood, South West Trains clerical officer for Teddington station, who was awarded the MBE in 2010. He never fails to make me laugh when I buy a ticket as he looks up and says: ‘That will be twenty one million pounds please’. I was once in a queue behind some Japanese tourists who didn’t know he was joking…

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