THERE’S a popular maxim in crime writing that one of the reasons that Scandinavian authors are so successful is because blood looks good on snow. Meanwhile, at the other end of the weather spectrum, this last week has shown how Salisbury looks good in the sunshine.

It’s been one of the better weeks for the city in quite some time: the launch of Les Colombes in the cathedral; the street party atmosphere of the big screen coverage of the Royal Wedding in The Close; and most importantly of all, the extremely welcome news that Sergei Skripal has been released from hospital.

Such positive stories for Salisbury remain much in need. For all of the efforts locally to encourage people back into the city, the perception outside remains one of a place in lockdown. I was in London last Wednesday for a book launch and was struck how many people thought Salisbury still remained a no-go area.

For businesses in the city, trading conditions remain challenging: brand names like Mothercare and Russell & Bromley could probably have picked a better moment, frankly, to cut their losses.

The national media, as I’ve argued previously, haven’t covered themselves in glory in how they have reported the nerve agent attack. Ten weeks on, their combined coverage has still shed remarkably little light on what actually happened. Indeed, the only thing their journalists appear to have achieved is to scare people away from visiting.

Maybe they could spare a few column inches to support the various events in the city that are being planned? It must seem like a thankless task at times, but behind the scenes, there are a lot of good people working extremely hard to bring people back to Salisbury, and their efforts are to be applauded and supported.

Next week, for example, sees Salisbury host the Grand Final of this year’s cycling Tour Series: a round Britain series of city-centre races. If you’ve never seen a cycling race in the flesh, it’s a spectacle well worth seeking out. And unlike most professional sports, it doesn’t cost a penny to watch. For cycling fans such as myself, having this event come to the city is a real treat. To those who have managed to bring the race to us, as they say in the sport, chapeau!

The cyclists will race on a 1.2km circuit around the city-centre, which as far as I can see takes them completely the wrong way round the one-way system. Counter-intuitive? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s symbolic – a suggestion that it’s time for the city’s fortunes to start going in a different direction.

The Salisbury Grand Final of the 2018 Tour Series is on Thursday, May 31, from 6pm.