Embracing our History

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

For an article that’s supposed to highlight ‘hidden’ Gloucestershire the following few paragraphs may seem like a prime example of a writer not fully understanding the brief. Surely hidden means searching out those tiny unheard of places, those places off the beaten track, or the sort of places you only actually hear about from friends who discovered them by accident. In short, the sort of places that don’t shout about their existence.
So why then am I about to tell you about a place you probably already know all about, a place that sits blatantly right in the
centre of a busy Gloucester and by its very size alone is anything but hidden. Well, because I discovered something quite extraordinary the other day, sometimes we don’t really notice things no matter how big they are, or do we choose to not notice
them? It’s a bit like the elephant in the room syndrome, you know it’s there, but you choose to ignore it. And the elephant in question is Gloucester Cathedral. It’s been standing on this planet longer than any of us, and will hopefully still be there
long after we have all gone, and yet when I asked 10 random locally living people if they’d been in it lately only two said ‘yes’.
That struck me as a rather sad number, because really even if you’re not in the slightest bit religious the Cathedral is quite
simply a magnificent place to spend some time, because I guarantee, it will make you think. For starters, whenever I walk in or around Gloucester Cathedral I’m always asking myself one question, just how did our ancestors manage to build something
as spectacular as this all those years ago, it’s just staggering. I’ve had builders round my house who’ve baulked at my ideas for a modest extension! The technology then, was miles behind what we have today and yet they went and built it, and then kept adding to it!

The Cathedral is also a great place to go if you just want to get away from the modern world for a bit. I often ‘pop in’ during a lunch hour, taking in the calm, relaxing ambience, actually enjoying the silence within its walls and embracing the opportunity to grab some quality thinking time. Sure I could do all that in the pub but that’s what everybody else chooses to do isn’t it? nd I’ve rarely come out of a pub feeling that I’ve spent my time wisely or gained a bit of a connection with our history.

 could go on, but why not find out for yourself, go on, embrace our elephant. Oliver Cromwell didn’t, he nearly had the Cathedral demolished. Thankfully he was thwarted but if he’d succeeded, there would probably be a supermarket standing there now, and you can guarantee it wouldn’t look anywhere near as beautiful.