Editor’s letter

Candia with Aika the bearded dragon

Deadline stress-relieving measures don't always work out - Credit: Candia McKormack

August 2022

Joy of joys – it's our annual pets issue! 

When politics threatens to drain every last drop of joie de vivre from you, and the ever-tightening budgetary belt has run out of notches, you can be sure that animals can help make this life that little bit sunnier. 

I’ve become known across our group of magazine titles as ‘the one in the Cotswolds with a bearded dragon on her shoulder’ during Teams meetings (and almost definitely other less savoury names I’m not aware of) and I’m perfectly at ease with that. We all have our stress-controlling methods, and my deadline go-to is having Aika perched pirate-parrot-style on my left collar bone. All he asks for in return for keeping stress levels in check is the odd blueberry and Aretha Franklin looping on Spotify. 

This month is the seven-year anniversary of the bearded wonder being in our lives. He came to us in August 2015, no more than seven inches long and fitting quite neatly in a plastic Chinese takeaway tub. Intended as a companion to our then 10-year-old daughter Carmen, she soon moved onto other things and I found myself becoming inextricably drawn to this cold-blooded beast. 

Perhaps the following videos will help explain a little...

I grew up with working spaniels – and adore them to this day – and have always considered myself to be a bit of a ‘cat person’ (not in the 1942 film noir sense, you understand), so what appeal could a lizard have? I could bore you with tales of him wriggling down on my chest to sleep – as if burrowing into the Australian desert sand – or running pell-mell across polished floorboards, limbs flailing, to get to the garden ahead of me, but I won’t do that. If I haven’t lost you already, that’ll be the final nail in the coffin. 

Most Read

No, there’s so much on offer here, and I’m more than a little excited to share it with you. 

As well as the dogs, cats, goats, sheep and other creatures you’ll find celebrated within the pages of our August issue, we have some great interviews, conducted by our very own Katie Jarvis, that are both uplifting and thought-provoking. We don’t completely escape the animal theme as Katie reminisces with Alex James about frog rescues... as well as cheese, cider and, of course, Big Feastivals, past, present and future. We also have an inspiring chat with Sabrina Pace-Humphreys about growing up Black in a rural community, and how ultra-marathon running has – quite literally – saved her life. 

I could go on about the treats stuffed within the 204 pages, but it’s probably best you just grab yourself a mag, open up and enjoy... 

Whoever – or whatever – you're spending it with, have a wonderful August.

Candia McKormack 
Editor, Cotswold Life magazine 
Twitter: @cotslifeeditor

Cotswold Life magazine, August 2022

Cotswold Life magazine, August 2022 - Credit: cotswoldlife.co.uk

Three things we learned putting together this month's magazine... 

Call the vice squad
Rock 'n' roll star, farmer and food producer Alex James has replaced cigarettes with Chupa Chups lollies.

The main claws
There have been many sightings of big black cats in the area, including a spate near South Cerney.

The sky's the limit
The first British woman to make a parachute jump came to Cheltenham from a London workhouse.

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