Guildford entrepreneur Paul Nathanson on his perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:00 11 April 2014

Paul celebrating the 15th birthday of his company PNPR on The Thames last year

Paul celebrating the 15th birthday of his company PNPR on The Thames last year


A well-known character in the county, entrepreneur Paul Nathanson celebrates 30 years of living in Guildford this year. Here, he reveals what he likes to get up to at the weekend – from trips to the market and strolls in the Surrey Hills to a roast at the pub

The alarm clock clatters at seven. Yes, it is Saturday. Am I mad? But Saturday is tennis day and I’m on court through the seasons for a singles game with my friend Ruth at Pit Farm Tennis Club. Ruth’s in finance but also a qualified coach, so I learn a lot, and we’ve been hitting now for 15 years every weekend. A lot of chatting goes on between games, I should add!

Next, it’s on to Guildford’s excellent market with all its wonderful characters and seasonal fare. I love the mud still on the spinach and the great bushes of dill, coriander and parsley. Beautiful flowers too for the house and my lady, who likes scented lilies and daffodils. Kali’s bread is the best in Surrey, drawn from three separate bakeries, and his pains aux raisins are as good as any I ate when I lived in France. The butcher’s at the market offers fantastic wild boar bangers – which are apparently farmed in Hampshire. Must be a pretty wild farm!

Strolls on the cobbles

The High Street is splendid in dry weather (remember that?) and often filled with music – violins, blues and even pan pipes from some very colourful Peruvians. With the cobbles, Guildford’s magnificent clock and the view up to the sun-kissed fields on The Mount, you feel particularly privileged to live in such a beautiful town in such a stunning county.

The afternoon’s for a little siesta and relaxing before an evening out with my girlfriend. We often go to see a film, or the Electric Theatre where we recently saw 
Lee Hurst, the stand-up comic, who was outrageously funny. We’re both hopelessly sentimental so blub at the cinema, getting through endless tissues. You’ll know who it is next time you’re at The Odeon…

On Sundays, we can walk directly to Newlands Corner from my house near the Merrow Downs and then may take ourselves off for a wonderful roast at a pub run by my clients Red Mist Leisure – The Queen’s Head in East Clandon or The Wheatsheaf in Farnham – both outstanding and very friendly.

Then it’s back home to light a fire of seasoned logs from Keith’s yard at the bottom of Newlands Corner, and now it’s time to prepare for the week ahead and wade through the Sunday papers. This is a labour of love as an ex-journalist (The Mail on Sunday for nearly 10 years and then writing for the FT and The Times), as I 
need to be up to date for clients of my PR agency, who are in property, leisure, horticulture and weddings.

The weekend comes to a close with phone calls to my children in the West Country and my five grandchildren, who regale me with the latest news on dinosaurs and fairies. I’m truly blessed and very aware how lucky I am to live in Surrey and to be a citizen of such a fine town as Guildford.


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