One year Wold.
To say “it’s been an interesting 12 months” is almost banal nowadays. Pick any 12 month period in the last 50 or so and given the upheaval that is going on, well, almost anywhere you care to name, it will feel like a lot has happened within that time. There is plenty to give you cause for utter despair – clueless politicians pretending they understand the modern world, despots left right and centre, and a narcissistic nutter squatting in the White House. Even as I write this, the headlines are full of missile strikes against a despot who is alleged to have gassed his own people.
Even our lovely home town of Cirencester has not been immune to controversy. If you don’t believe me, say the word ‘Chesterton’ to any Cirencestrian and watch them roll their eyes or give a puff of the cheeks. So what, then, does a small blogging collective in the Cotswolds and its periodic output over the last 12 months matter when set against all of that?
On one level – on several levels, probably – not very much at all. We’d be the first to admit that our voice is no more worthy of being listened to than any of the hundreds or thousands of others that have something to say. But that helps us keep our feet on the ground, our focus close to home: the Cotswolds.
The reason we started writing about Cirencester and its environs was because there was so much we felt we wanted to tell other people about, even if all they gleaned from it was a different take on something they already know well. We also felt that there was a gap, that there was a lack of local bloggers and articles about the area. That, happily, turned out not to be true. In fact, we’ve come across so many people during the last year – here or on Instagram – who are clearly as passionate about our shared muse as we are, if not more so.
What comes across, as we read articles and look at the myriad photos, is the pervading sense of positivity. When reviewing places (eateries mainly, but only because there are so many on offer) it’s easy to slip in a couple of niggles, or even be openly critical, but I rarely see that. That’s just remarkable when set against the polarised, opinionated world we now seem to live in.
During the last year, we’ve have been reminded what a fantastic asset we have in Cirencester Hospital, we’ve eaten well (whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner) and of course we’ve enjoyed the seemingly limitless beauty and splendour of the Cotswolds. And while it’s not been all good news – remember when we lost the health shop in Castle Street and one of our two Whiddett’s? – even that gave us one of the best quotes ever given to a local paper.
I was chatting to a blogger friend of mine about writing about the town or city where you live. The emerging theme of that conversation was that it involves a certain degree of mythologising, accentuating the positives. He’s right. Not only is it just a better way of approaching things, but also that, among all the craziness out there, it feels more important than ever to pay attention to the good stuff around you and show it some appreciation. You end up showcasing the best of where you live, and I’d say that’s a good thing.
So yes, it’s been an interesting 12 months (whether you take the macro or micro view) and the same will probably true for the next 12. But while “interesting times” is often used as a curse wished on others, you can easily see it in the opposite light. What is clear is that among the many adjectives you could use to describe the Cirencester and the Cotswolds, ‘interesting’ is definitely high on that list. The sheer variety of places we’ve been to in order to write content has been a joy, and what’s even more exciting is that we have so much left to discover, enjoy and share.
And there’d be no sharing were it not for those of you who have kindly read our posts, digested our thoughts and even started following us, so for that, it seems best to end on a sincere and earnest “thank you”.