Editor’s letter April 2023 

I consider myself very lucky indeed to be part of the Cotswold Life family. 

After more than 20 years on Team CL – only Katie Jarvis trumps me, having served an extra year, and I’ve been trying ever since to catch up with her – I couldn’t be happier serving time with the old girl (and, by that I mean both Cotswold Life and Katie!).  

I’ll not deny, some days can be trying – angry emails and phone calls about silly slips and typos can take the wind out of your sails – and it’s often exhausting, but it is a privilege to be associated with such a wonderfully well-respected magazine. We have a sparky, up-and-at-’em sales team who make video meetings (almost) fun, and the contributors and columnists – many who have been with the magazine for many years – bring joy with their submissions and make my job so much easier. 

The icing on the cake is when I have the chance to get out and meet people across the Cotswolds who are interesting, inspirational and who welcome me and the magazine into their worlds. The number of times I’ve driven back from having a chat with someone for a future feature, and have been beaming from ear to ear all the way back to the office... all memories stored up for retrieval when life’s being a bit of a madam. 

For this issue, I was able to catch up with someone I like to call friend – and fellow ‘perky Goth’ – Janina Ramirez, author, TV presenter, historian, and president of Gloucester History Festival. Many of our festivals and other events had a tough time of it during the Covid pandemic, with cancellations, postponements and budgetary challenges, and the History Festival was no exception. The annual autumn festival has been growing every year – with an impressive array of speakers – but then, following the death of HM the Queen last year, the decision was made to postpone. 

Making a positive out of a negative is something Nina and the rest of the GHF team are very good at, though, and they’ve bounced back with not only a great line-up for autumn, but have added a new spring festival to the mix, as well as additional talks to make it a year-round affair. As Aretha would say, you’ve got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive.  

For the April mag, Katie J chatted with another hero of mine – Mark Gatiss – who, together with Ian Hallard, is bringing a brilliant new play to the Cotswolds as part of a tour; Tracy Spiers visited Gloucester to discover how young lives are being transformed with the power of music; and Kirsty Hartsiotis headed to Dymock for a spot of devilry among the daffodils. 

I like to think Cotswold Life magazine is nothing if not eclectic, and, who knows, if I keep my nose clean and head down, maybe I have another 20 years in me.  

Candia McKormack 
Editor, Cotswold Life magazine 

Twitter: @cotslifeeditor 


Three things we learned putting together the April mag... 

Dancing Queen 
When working on his new play, Ian Hallard’s friends thought he was setting up an ABBA drag tribute band. 

Great British Life: Don't miss Mark Gatiss and Ian Hallard's new play, about two middle-aged men forming the world's first drag ABBA tribute bandDon't miss Mark Gatiss and Ian Hallard's new play, about two middle-aged men forming the world's first drag ABBA tribute band (Image: Getty Images)

Silver for gold 
It’s been 25 years since Cotswold garden designer Chris Beardshaw won his first RHS Chelsea gold medal. 

Great British Life: Chris Beardshaw in his 2022 RNLI gardenChris Beardshaw in his 2022 RNLI garden (Image: Creative Commons)

Flying solo 
In 1966, Worcester-born pilot Sheila Scott completed the first of her three solo round-the-world flights. 

Great British Life: Sheila Scott, c1971, with her Piper-Aztec 250 G-AYTO MythreSheila Scott, c1971, with her Piper-Aztec 250 G-AYTO Mythre (Image: NASA/Wikimedia/Creative Commmons)