Letter from the Editor – October 2020

Welcome to the October issue of The Caterham and District Independent!
Despite the late burst of sunshine that hit us mid-September, we are now deep into autumn, a season I adore. The leaves are a riot of colour and I love watching my youngest child getting excited about finding shiny conkers under the horse chestnut trees. Most days he makes me promise to take a container to school so that we can collect them while we wait for his brother.

He started Reception last month, which meant that by the third week in September all my children were in school and my house was suddenly quiet! While it’s lovely to have more time to work on the paper, seeing my youngest head into the classroom for his first full day was bittersweet as it hit me how fast they’re all growing up. When my first-born arrived, a friend told me to appreciate every minute with her as ‘it goes so quickly’; something I’m really aware of now that my three are 12, 9 and 4.

It’s been an exciting time for The Caterham and District Independent as we finally have an official home! After months of working from my dining room table, in September we moved into our new office in The Soper Hall, which was built in the centre of Caterham in 1911 as offices for the council. The Hall includes a Memorial Hall which is tribute to William Garland Soper, a businessman and politician who is often referred to as ‘the Father of Modern Caterham’. The Soper Hall is now used for all sorts of community events and it is extremely rewarding for the paper to now be based there.

After some expert painting by my husband, my office now really looks the part. I’ve enjoyed setting up all my equipment and adding some personal touches to the décor, including a detailed map of Caterham and the surrounding areas which covers one of the walls and a gorgeous autumnal photograph taken at the top of Harestone Hill, courtesy of our very own Martin Defreitas, the ‘Urban Countryman’.

One of the reasons I chose this particular picture was because its depiction of ‘a new day’ really resonated with me. It symbolises a fresh challenge (something the editor of a newspaper is never short of!) and the inspiration to succeed.

Once the office was finished we were able to hold a socially-distanced office-warming; it was lovely to get most of the team together and I hope to do the same again soon should the guidelines permit it.

The Soper Hall is also home to Ridge Radio, so I’ll have no excuse for being late for my Caterham News Hour programme! It’s good to have a few shows under my belt and I’m feeling a lot more confident about talking AND pressing buttons at the same time! If you haven’t had the chance to listen yet, tune in next Monday by going to ridgeradio.co.uk at 9am and click on ‘Listen Live’ – feel free to get in touch with your feedback.

Talking of my radio show, I think of ‘The Caterham News Hour’ as an important extension to the paper and it’s now not the only one! Podcasting is a medium that really interests me, and I’m delighted to announce that you will soon be able to listen to ours as we launch it this month. We will be filling it with brilliant content, including interviews with local celebrities and entrepreneurs: keep an eye on our social media so you don’t miss it.

As well as all that we have had a few new members join the team recently and you may notice a familiar name alongside some articles this month…I am really pleased to welcome back on board the previous Editor of The Caterham and District Independent, Julia Church!

We are going to have to approach some of October’s regular events differently this year. The rule of six means many of the usual half-term activities won’t be able to go ahead, so we’d love to hear how you plan to entertain your children instead. Long, trampling-through-crunchy-leaves, walks with a stop for steaming mugs of hot chocolate at a local café? Cosy movie afternoons, with warm blankets and bowls of popcorn? Let us know!

Also has Covid-19 put a stop to trick or treating this year? I’ve been reading social media posts to find out if Tandridge residents are planning to celebrate Halloween and there are mixed emotions. Many people are saying they won’t be taking part at all, worried about the effects of people ringing on doorbells and delving into sweet bowls. Others are looking at corona-safe ways of ensuring children can still enjoy themselves, including window pumpkin picture trails for them to follow and individually-wrapped sweets left on doorsteps. Do let us know your thoughts and send us photos of your Halloween fun to feature in our next issue.

We’ve got all our usual features this month, including seed-gathering tips from The Girl Who Gardens, healthy eating strategies from Keep Calm Nutrition and advice on finance, education and careers from our other fantastic columnists. Our ‘Roving Reporter’ Rosalind has been out in Tandridge news gathering plus there’s a delicious recipe from award-winning pastry chef Tim Fisher too.

I’ll leave you with an apt quote from the Italian-born British poet, Humbert Wolfe.
‘Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!’ Have a great month.

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