Free beer, stained glass, and Alice’s invention of screen wash.

If you are in the US then look what we’re giving away in sunny downtown Cheltenham, sound too good to be true? It is. You only get one on the day and you’ve got around 3,000 miles to come to get it, and don’t forget your passport.


I had a day out yesterday in nearby Gloucester where I was going to a talk given by Tom Denny, who has designed two sets of the wonderful stained glass windows, the first illustrated in detail here is well worth the 3,000 mile trip and a joy for me just 8 miles away. The second is a more recent project celebrating the works of local Gloucester poet Ivor Gurney and is no less stunning than this first project. Mr Denny was erudite and very interesting and it was fascinating to hear how he came to design the windows, his thought process and some details on how the glassmakers create his brilliant drawings and designs into the finished article. The Friends of Gloucester Cathedral organised the event in the Cathedral and I was lucky to get a seat.

denny window

I also had a first class seat before the event to watch the parade through Gloucester celebrating armed forces day. Sitting outside The Crow’s Nest, a tiny little salad bar on Westgate Street where you can get probably one of the best salads in the area, and the coffee is also excellent. Gloucester is not a wealthy city, struggling with inner city deprivation, homeless people and at times it shows its bleaker side, but I always enjoy a trip there and the very best thing about it is the friendly people. Don’t pass it by.


The band following troops were lucky to have this player following wearing regulation wooly gloves!

Then back to Cheltenham, friendly Gloucester bus driver, and back into Montpellier, Cheltenham’s poshest area. Unlike Gloucester, Cheltenham is the opposite, with one of the wealthiest town centres, but with some notable exceptions the people are a little aloof. It was the Montpellier Street Fair, and was complete with some vintage cars and here’s an English / United States contrast: the American car was from roughly the same age as the English car, which is an Austin A30.

I’ve always claimed that it was my Aunty Alice who invented the screen wash as she had a little Austin like this and whenever she went out took with her a full squeeze bottle of soapy water, so she could lean out of the driver’s window and spray the windscreen. She told me she’d invented it, who am I to disagree.


So, back home, calling in on the way at a bar for a beer, sadly not free but worth every penny. The young man in front of me elicited no reaction from anyone passing with his green hair, I wonder is he was inspired by a traffic light. Perhaps he changes it every week: Red, Amber, Green.



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