THIS week I ask some locals to tell us about their favourite things. Not 'stuff' that is valuable, or has a wider importance, but something that means a lot to them personally.

Firstly, I meet Issy Capps, 7, at Cirencester's Waterstone's.

Clutching a copy of a Harry Potter, she talks about her love of books, but especially this book she is buying.

It is a school reader, apparently, but she wants a copy at home too.

Issy, from Fairford, loves reading. In joins her brother, Oscar, who is nine ("next month", these details are important at that age).

"I have two shelves of books," he says, "and my favourite is Dogman."

I am mystified, but vow to widen my reading. Their mother has read to them since they were tiny and the enthusiasm shines in Issy's face.

I ask if they stick to hard copy and Issy says her favourite audio book is Stephen Fry reading, you guessed it, Harry Potter.

Jack Trowbridge was a pearl fisher off the coast of Australia. Weren't we all?

Now he lives in Stroud and is a senior art consultant with the Whitewall Galleries. I meet him in the Cirencester gallery, exhausted but triumphant from a wildly successful exhibition of works by Lowry.

He adores the abstract painter Antonio Russo, but his favourite painting, which he owns, is called Crazy Dave by Paul James.

Colour is everything to him, and the ability to see one's own personalty reflected in a painting.

He loves animals (I am sure that, work permitting, he would have brought a gerbil, hamster or panting dog for me to see) and Dave makes him (and us) smile.

When I met Lady Bathurst we talked for hours

On to another animal lover. It was my first meeting with Lady Bathurst. They say you should never meet your heroes, but this was no disappointment. Every bit as generous and gracious as I had imagined, we talked for hours.

The conclusion? That the women of Gloucestershire should form a Purple Party and take over Westminster.

Good common sense should sort out the country, plus some jolly clothes from Beatrice Von Tresckow in Cheltenham.

Lady Bathurst loves elephants, everything about them.

Dignified, persecuted, intelligent and caring for each other, they represent all that is wonderful in creatures.

She hasn't seen them in the wild, and I suggested she would enjoy Daphne Sheldrake's elephant orphanage near Nairobi.

She has beautiful gifts of silver and wooden elephants behind which there is love.

Describing herself as 'bossy' (I would say, who gets anything done without being bossy?), she spoke about her father.

One of his wise sayings was that 'nothing matters, everything is funny'.

We laughed a lot.

Elena Canuto, like the others here, has enormous passion.

From a large Italian family, she was brought up to cook. Food is there to make people happy, to bring people together, cooking is in her DNA.

A career as a corporate lawyer first, now working for our Hobbs bakery, she has her own catering business.

If you have an event, a birthday party, a charity event, a dinner party, Elena will make it marvellous.

She brought food gifts for me. I shall be going to a private Italian evening where she will have made what I am sure will be fabulous food.

Her favourite thing is a childhood cookery book (Italian, of course) complete with childlike notes.

Oh, I can't wait! Meanwhile, look at

Four people, four people with generosity and passion. Sometimes writing this is a huge privilege.