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The Bash Street Kids in The Beano

Come for a stroll with me down the High Street of Comic Strip World - Credit: Candia McKormack

Our former editor casts an often-jaundiced eye over life in the Cotswolds

IN THESE difficult times, we must take comfort wherever we can find it. For me, that means retreating to Comic Strip World. Wouldn’t we all like to live in a world without care, where the most testing challenge you’ll face all day is protecting that apple pie cooling on the windowsill from passing juvenile delinquents in striped jumpers? Or avoiding that clearly marked patch of quicksand. Or not standing on the head of a rake so that the handle hits you in the face.

So, come for a stroll with me down the High Street of Comic Strip World, where Mayors are forever dressed in full regalia and use giant scissors to open new shop premises. Over there by the bins two cats with knives and forks and napkins around their necks are feasting on a fish skeleton while a dog runs past trailing a string of stolen sausages. A child on the corner has a saucepan stuck on his head while a teacher wearing a mortar board remonstrates with him. There are two chaps trying to winch a piano up to a fourth-floor window with suspiciously fragile ropes. On the roof of the next house an anvil marked ‘One Ton’ is balanced alongside several tins of black paint.

All human life is here. Angry people are shaking their fists, others are being chased by a swarm of bees or treating toothache with a huge bandage wrapped around their head and jaw. Telephones leap off their perch when ringing,

T-bone steaks are applied to black eyes. Crabs nip people’s toes resulting in a cry of ‘Yaroo!’

By the municipal gardens, a scary park-keeper in peaked cap and uniform stares threateningly at anyone approaching the floral clock. On the nearby football pitch a player kicks the ball so hard that it lifts the goalie off his feet and propels him into the back of the net. A one-man band plays on the corner while a tuxedo-clad magician pulls white rabbits from a hat. An unattended steam roller trundles past some escaped zoo animals while the driver tries to halt it with a huge horseshoe-shaped red and white magnet.

And if all this excitement proves too much, you can always retreat to one of those little desert islands that is just big enough for a single palm tree in the middle. And a scrawny man with a long white beard dressed in rags.

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NOW I’M all for tradition. Some of our customs might seem bizarre to foreigners, but they’re the threads that weave our country together. That’s why the State Opening of Parliament is such a treat. It’s all glorious history come to life. However, something felt very wrong this year.

I regularly despair of the glaringly bad decisions made by media advisors to the political classes. If there’s a wrong way to do something, rest assured that they’ll find it. Which is why, on a day when we knew that the first sentence of the Queen’s Speech was going to make reference to the cost of living crisis, some bright spark decided that the Queen’s Crown should be transported through London in its own Rolls-Royce. A posh hat on a velvet cushion on the back seat of a million-pound limo? Not a good look, chaps, was it?

THE ENVIRONMENT agency is getting worried that we might run out of water by 2040. A growing population and leaking pipelines mean that we could be facing a shortfall of four billion litres a day.

No need to panic. I know where that missing water has gone. It’s currently sloshing around in the fashionable water bottles a generation of young women are carrying around. Why? You’re going to Primark, not crossing the Sahara. You’re not going to die of dehydration while waiting for the 94 bus.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @cotswoldeditor1