Columnist John Light reflects on so much that is wonderful about Gloucestershire

IF you are envious of nature stop reading now because as you peruse this page Mrs Light (rum punch) and myself (Banks's beer) are sitting on Dover Beach, St Lawrence Gap, Barbados, accurately described as the chill-out capital of the Western World.

As we left someone asked, “What are you going to do for a fortnight there?”

What a foolhardy question. It presumes that one has to do something!

Talk is one area of activity and at tea-time by the pool or beach a group of us are having a competition to establish the eight wonders of our respective counties. Penny and I are easily ahead.

Our list is as follows: Berkeley Castle and Gloucester Cathedral head the list for so many obvious reasons. The six others we suggested are the William Tyndale monument at North Nibley. It is a tribute to the faith, scholarship and courage of a man who made the first English translation of the Bible and subsequently met his death because he could not agree with Henry VIII’s attitude to marriage. Fine monument plus magnificent views.

Westonbirt Arboretum comes next. A place of true beauty and absolute peace.

That cannot be said of our next choice which is ‘the Shed’ at Kingsholm. Here can be found the true spirit of Gloucester Rugby, loud and loyal. Memories of Phil Blakeway, might Mike Teague and Phil Vickery give the local rugby philosophers a basis for their thoughts and are some consolation for a current, inconsistent side.

Coopers Hill cheese rolling cannot be left off the list. What a fine example of the courage and vigour of our young people as they dive helter-skelter down the steep Cotswold hillside in pursuit of a tumbling cheese.

As a small child I have viewed Minchinhampton Common as the roof of the world. Kites, cattle, ice cream and a golf course without bunkers are awesome enough, but the views over our vibrant county are the supreme joy.

Lastly, a very personal one, Sheepscombe Cricket Ground. Views feature there as well, but the ground with its sloping boundaries is unique. I once fell in love with one of the pretty girls on the pavilion balcony, but never told her. Is there a better place ‘to be young on Cotswold under the summer sun’?

None of our fellow guests can match this list. We live in a county of unmatched riches. Not surprisingly, the Somerset contestant got stuck after Bath and Glastonbury. I could have helped him out of course, but allowed him to flounder!

Sad sight of field of dreams left uncared for

THERE was a very sad sight as we started our journey to the Caribbean. Heading south from Cirencester you pass the army barracks at South Cerney. 

On the opposite side of the road there used to be a wonderful sports ground, able to accommodate rugger, soccer, athletics and cricket.

It was served by a one-storey brick-built pavilion. 

My first memories of it are from the 1950s when it was immaculately kept and well used.

I yearned to play there.

Now it is a very sad sight. It was last used by the now defunct soccer team Cirencester United, formerly the Herd. 

For three years the once immaculate playing service has not been mown.

The surface is covered in thick long grass and small trees which will soon engulf the pavilion.

The military who use the barracks are mostly in transit and only there briefly. They obviously have no use of the once fine facilities. 

The sooner this field is handed over to a nearby farmer the better. 

I dare not look at my old school playing field, used in my grammar school days. Soccer, hockey, cricket, athletics and tennis were easily accommodated. 

There was a fine pavilion. I am sure the junior school pupils use it well, but knowing it will never be as it so gloriously was, I do not look.