Editor’s comment January 2016

Cotswold Life magazine's editor, Mike Lowe

Cotswold Life magazine's editor, Mike Lowe - Credit: Archant

Editor Mike Lowe has a lot on his plate this year…

According to the Chinese, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Well I reckon it should be the Year of the Plate. Let me explain. Back in the day, when lurchers ran across Lodge Park with true purpose, the assorted dignitaries inside would have eaten from wooden planks for the want of something better. Then, in 1708, a German chap from Meissen discovered that the Chinese had been turning out porcelain since 600 AD and promptly nicked the method. Spode soon followed in this country, opening a factory in 1732. Since that time, there has been no need for anyone to eat off anything that isn’t made of ceramics. It’s called progress.

A proper plate is a thing of beauty. It is wide enough to hold a decent portion of meat and two veg. It dips in the middle to facilitate efficient use of a fork and knife. It has a rim around the edge to contain your gravy. It is as perfect a piece of design as you will ever see. So why then do so many smart-arse chefs feel the need to serve their carefully-crafted food on chunks of wood, roof tiles or other assorted building materials? It just doesn’t make sense.

I can only assume that they think that such nonsense makes their food look better, but in which case why not just use a black plate? You know those blackboards you see outside pubs and restaurants with supposedly witty messages written on them? Well if they don’t say “Half lobster and chips - £2.99” or “No slates, just plates.” then I won’t be stepping inside in future.

There are a number of other things I would like to see in 2016. Here, in no particular order, is my list: I’d like to see a sensible, watertight Local Plan finally introduced for the Cotswolds to protect our precious green spaces (you can read more of which on Page 103 of the January 2016 issue).

I’d like to see more ‘wonky’ vegetables in supermarkets. Farmers - and the rest of us - simply can’t justify chucking away valuable food just because it doesn’t meet an aesthetic ideal.

I’d like a full and frank explanation of the ludicrously expensive Javelin Park incinerator contract, and also the reason why it was deemed necessary to chuck another £30million at Urbaser Balfour Beatty just to get them to start work. I’d can’t wait to see Top of the Pops back on the telly (it’s coming) just so I can pretend to be baffled by all those bands I’ve never heard of - just like my Dad was when he first clapped eyes on Boy George.

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I don’t want to see any more mega-dairies popping up and would welcome a national fair price for milk.

I don’t want to receive any more emails from lazy PR folk, who have no idea if Cotswold Life is a newspaper or a magazine and who flood my inbox with events taking place in the next few days when the relevant issue has gone to press weeks ago. As for the Scottish fishing quota figures...

I want charities to stop sending out expensive gimmicry - address labels, raffle tickets, wooden crosses etc - when that money could be better spent on the needy.

And finally fireworks. Bloody fireworks. They should be allowed on November 5, on the nearest weekend to that date and, reluctantly, on New Year’s Eve. Terrorising animals at any other time should result in an immediate hefty fine.

And on that note, have a Happy New Year!

Follow Mike on Twitter: @cotslifeeditor