Be Inspired this Winter

Continuing with his new series of diaries, Heart presenter Russ Wilcox reveals hidden gems of the Cotswolds...

Let’s be honest, over the next few weeks we are all going to be gearing up for Christmas whether we like it or not. Our shopping centres will begin to bulge with more and more shoppers looking for this year’s must-have kids toy and those wallets that have spent the last 12 months battling the credit crunch will be challenged even more. In short, it’s going to be quite a manic and stressful time.

So, here’s the perfect antidote to all that hassle. Something that you can do on your own if you want to, or in a group. Something you can spend all day doing or just an hour. Something that might actually improve your knowledge and inspire you. Oh, and even better, in most cases won’t actually cost you anything. What am I talking about? Visiting some of our county’s vast array of museums. I admit, even the word museum sounds unfashionable in this internet age doesn’t it? Why would someone want to go out and walk around a stuffy museum when they could just simply get all they need to know about something from the world wide web? Well, because these days we seem to do everything behind a little screen, and I find
that a little disheartening. I accept that our laptops and our mobiles are great at bringing the world to us on their tiny little
screens, but so much so that we seem to have forgotten how great it feels to actually go out into the world and see those things for real.

And do you know just what sort of things you can see in our museums. There’s quite a varied choice. For example in Stroud in The Museum In The Park you will find a whole host of intriguing items, but my particular favourite is the world’s first ever lawnmower. Now, I don’t know exactly why that caught my eye when I visited recently. I’m not a gardener or lover of cutting lawns at all and I certainly didn’t go in there expecting to have my curiosity raised in such an strange way, but there is something infectious about understanding the origins of everyday things we take for granted, and museums are great for sending your brain off in directions that you ordinarily wouldn’t go in.

If motor cars are more your thing then a visit to the Cotswold Motor Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water is a must. This fascinating museum is filled to the brim with vintage cars and memorabilia from the 20th century, it’s certainly a nostalgic trip
and whatever age, I guarantee, you’ll see something in there that will evoke powerful memories. And that’s just two of our museums, there are loads more, everything from The Folk and Police museum in Winchcombe, to the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester or the Dean Forest Railway Museum. Sure, you can probably see all these things on the internet, and if you want to that’s your prerogative. But if they are all here, on our doorstep why should you? After all, the internet will never
replicate that little thrill we all get at the end of a trip to a museum - the gift shop. Just how much fun are they!