Cotswold Life: Editor's comment January 2015
PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:05 08 January 2015
Cotswold Life's editor Mike Lowe applauds Stroud's gloriously 'anti-Cotswold' nature, explains how baked beans got him in hot water - as well as why this year we should have TWO Mother's Days!
I have long been fascinated by the myriad small companies that have moved into the old mills in the Stroud valleys. I regularly drive down the A46 from Nailsworth and I’m constantly spotting weird and wonderful enterprises springing up in those buildings that brought the area its first flush of warp and weft, work and wealth. I’m delighted then that we’ve finally got around to carrying a feature by Tracy Spiers on just a few of those businesses and the people who run them.
By happy coincidence, the January issue of Cotswold Life has turned into a bit of a Stroud special. I love the place – or at least I love having the place here. Whenever some metropolitan bore starts banging on about the stereotypical image of the Cotswolds, I summon up the great disruptive force that is Stroud (and Nailsworth and Dursley) and its people. Here the spirit of the bolshy Hugenots, who fled religious persecution in France for the safety of Gloucestershire in the 17th century, lives on. Here you’re just as likely to see a battered Citroen 2CV as a posh Range Rover. Stroud’s first MP was a Whig, not a Tory, a member of the party that supported non-conformism, free trade, the abolition of slavery and the expansion of suffrage. It is gloriously ‘anti-Cotswold’. If Chipping Campden is a chocolate Labrador, Stroud is a lurcher on a length of baling twine. And long may it stay that way.
As an editor, you quickly learn never to be surprised at the seemingly innoccuous things which are capable of enraging your readers. In my case, the latest faux pas appears to be the appropriatness of baked beans on the fry-up plate. I had been unwise enough to suggest in the last issue that they had no part to play in the breakfast feast.
Now when your boss pulls you aside at a social event to tell you how annoyed he was with something that had appeared in the magazine, you tend to get a little bit worried. Here’s a man who’s in charge of 20 or so magazines and several newspapers. He doesn’t have the time to take an editor to task unless it’s something really important. What could I have possibly done to attract his ire? It turns out that he likes baked beans with his breakfast and was mortally offended that I might suggest otherwise.
It’s at times like this that a cunning editor turns to his ‘black file’, wherein lies a photograph of said boss dressed as a snowman at our Christmas party. I think my job is safe for now.
Thanks to a production error elsewhere in our empire (nothing to do with us, guv, oh no) the date of Mother’s Day is incorrect in the beautiful 2015 calendar we gave away with the last issue of Cotswold Life. The calendar says March 29; the correct date is March 15 (which is the one we sent to our distant colleagues).
Now some editors would lose sleep over this grievous error. Others would rant and rage at anyone within range before sacking every single person even slightly involved in the flawed process. I like to think that I have mellowed down the years, so always try to look on the positive side. Here in the Cotswolds, therefore, we will have TWO Mother’s Days in 2015 – one on March 15 and another a fortnight later. Let’s face it, we should take every opportunity to celebrate our mothers. Another treat won’t go amiss.
This article by Mike Lowe is from the January 2015 issue of Cotswold Life.
For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter @cotslifeeditor