Dom Joly: I really love the Cotswolds, but...
PUBLISHED: 11:25 30 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:02 30 June 2014
Dom Joly wonders why people hang poo bags on trees - and who needs lavender-scented ironing water?
Don’t get me wrong- I really love the Cotswolds. I’ve lived down here for 12 years and couldn’t consider living anywhere else in the UK. Having said that, there are a couple of things that really get on my wick. Please forgive me if I offload them here and I would like them sorted by the next issue please.
1• Poo-hangers. I regularly go for long walks on Cleeve Hill Common. It’s a stunningly beautiful area with fabulous views. What I don’t understand however are the people who do bother to pick up their dog’s poo, go to the bother of putting it in plastic bags only to then hang said bags off the railings and trees surrounding the Three Sisters, the rather creepy looking radio masts that dominate the hill. Maybe I’ve misunderstood and these are some trendy entry for the Turner Prize? Possibly I’m so out of touch with modern art that these constitute an installation and I should be attempting to purchase said hanging poo? I’m doubtful that this is the case however and I would ask whoever does this to stop, as it’s seriously disgusting.
2• GCHQ. I’m sorry but it just freaks me out. Why is this organisation here of all places? I can’t wander about Cheltenham without spotting men in curious combinations of camouflage. I can’t get into any form of altercation with parents at my kids’ school without wondering whether they will be rifling through my inbox that very evening? Now Edward Snowden confirms that they can use my iPhone as a listening device and turn my web-cam on to watch me watching The Kardashians. Please cease and desist.
3• Nettles. Admittedly, not just a Cotswolds problem but just stop with them please. I see no purpose in them whatsoever, they are seriously annoying and I can never find a dock-leaf when I need one.
4• Planning Committees. The Cheltenham planning committee was featured on television recently and they need to be imprisoned in public stocks immediately. A more out-of-touch bunch of busybodies, it would be difficult to find. Anybody that ever gave permission for the Eagle Tower to be built should be sectioned.
5• Antique Shops. In big cities there is the danger that streets become filled with nothing but mobile phone/charity stores and coffee shops. In the Cotswolds it is antique shops. We don’t need any more antique shops. In fact, we need a lot fewer. I propose that there be a limit of one antique shop per town and owners of said shops must be forced to clean their establishments at least once every 10 years.
6• Ramblers. The hunting and shooting of ramblers should be legalised. Anybody seen with a laminated map around their necks should be deemed fair game.
7• Dry Stone Walls. I know that they are very beautiful but they have a basic design flaw - they fall down all the time. The cost of rebuilding them is astronomical. I am personally convinced that the very same people who then turn up to repair them the following day shove many over in the night. Is a little bit of mortar such a crime?
8• Horse Transporters. I know you’ve got to move your horses about and I know that we don’t want to freak out the horses while in transit, but is there just a tiny possibility that you could drive at slightly faster than seven miles an hour and allow everyone else to GET ON WITH THEIR BLOODY LIVES? Thank you.
9• House Prices. The joke is over could you stop rising please?
10• Stroud. Please, no more white dreadlocks. They look silly.
11• The A40. Could the lorry driver who decides to drive up and down between Burford and Cheltenham at 20mph refusing to let anybody pass PLEASE just make your delivery and go away?
12• Delivery People. Could you please try to ring the bell on the gate before leaving a crunched-up note saying you turned up and nobody was home? We are not psychic.
13• Daylesford. Can you just stop now, as it’s getting embarrassing? There’s good taste and then there’s OCD, over-priced products for people who have too much time on their hands that leave you feeling empty on the inside when you get home. Nobody needs lavender-scented ironing water.
This article by Dom Joly is from the July 2014 issue of Cotswold Life.
For more from Dom, follow him on Twitter: @domjoly