Author: David Atkinson

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How to a spend a perfect weekend in Nimes — my ultimate guide

My first assignment for a few months — long story.

But it was a good one: a trip to the Occitanie region of France for the opening of the new Museum of Roman Civilisation.

It was a Roman-heritage-themed trip, visiting the Pont gu Gard, the Unesco-listed aqueduct, and the city of Nimes — one of my favourite cities in the south of France.

The new museum is opposite the Roman Amphitheatre [pictured above], home to one of the largest bullfighting festivals outside of Spain.

Here’s a sneak preview of one of the stories that came out of my trip:

It brings together the city’s huge collection of Roman antiquities with its four sections tracing the development of Nimes from the Iron Age, through the halcyon days of the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages, and concludes by considering the legacy of the Roman era today.

Read more with my Ultimate Guide to Nimes in Independent Travel and look out for my Nimes feature in the August issue of France Magazine.

 

 

How to make a content job read like editorial

I would like to think I have the words for any subject.

That is, after all, the nature of life as a jobbing freelance writer.

So, when I recently found myself at Helsby High School [pictured above], talking about the surface of their sports floor, I didn’t bat an eyelid.

It was a copywriting job for a Cheshire-based company and I was there to bring more of an editorial flavour to the content for the website.

The answer? A case study-style piece based round a series of sub headings. The story needed a clear format and lots of direct speech to play up the human interest of the story.

Here’s a flavour of the final copy:

When Helsby High School, Cheshire, wanted a dual-use, versatile space for sports and community events, Sports Surfaces (UK) had the solution.

The new floor has a minimum lifespan of 15 years and is much easier, as well as cheaper, to maintain. More importantly, it has had a transformative effect on the school.

There are the health benefits to students of greater physical activity, plus increased engagement with community events, raising revenue for the school in the process.

“We have seen how both staff and students feel more confident with less likelihood of injury,” explains Helsby Facilities Manager Howard Woodfine.

“And we now have more enquiries from outside clubs, like touch rugby and cricket.”

My story for Guardian travel will make you save the bees

May half term, then.

Here’s an idea for a family day out based around my story for Guardian Travel.

The story is based around a visit to the National Beekeeping Centre Wales, near Conwy, combined with a preview of the new trail at Bodnant Gardens.

It was also a family day out for half term with Maya and Olivia [pictured above].

Here’s a preview:

This friendly visitor centre acts as a champion for Welsh honeybees, which are increasingly under threat from climate change and loss of wildflower meadows.

The visit raises awareness of environmental issues and highlights the art of apiarist over 4,000 years of honey-making history from the ancient Egyptians via the Romans.

Combine a visit with a trip to Bodnant Garden, taking the new Lost Words Trail, based on the book by Robert MacFarlane, for May half term (normal entrance fees apply).

The trail follows clues around the gardens to discover words from nature.

Read the whole story, Connect the kids with ecology – because the bees need us.

 

My Father’s Day Legacy At The Fatherhood Summit

 

I was invited to the Fatherhood Summit recently.

The event, arranged by Who Let the Dads Out (WLTDO), brought together people to discuss the role of fathers and modern masculinity in general.

My book, Inside Fatherhood, had just come out and I was interviewed on stage by WLTDO founder Mark Chester, about my fatherhood legacy as we celebrate 80 years of Father’s Day this June.

There were some great discussions on the day, many based around the debate of a golden age of fatherhood or a time of crisis.

I waded in with some pancake mix — watch the video to find out more.