This week's offering from Stroud Life's candid columnist Pete Sake
THE litter had to be seen to believed, when I ventured away from the Homestead on the Hill this week to the extremities of, dare I say it, Gloucester.
The reason for our city sojourn was for the youngest Sake offspring to take a theory driving test.
All went well. A pass. So there being nothing really to attract us among Gloucester's outlet end of lines, we motored off to celebrate in Cheltenham.
But then the mess struck home. Mile after mile of litter lying beside the dual carriageway, clearly visible through the leafless winter scrub.
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It was disgusting. Horrifying even. Rather like the outskirts of continental capitals years ago on foreign holidays.
Even Sake Junior, who is not normally too bothered by adult concerns, agreed it was shocking before plugging his iPad earplugs back in.
White flaps of paper, plastic or whatever giving a simply ghastly impression.
A colleague countered later that our commons are bugged by litter too.
I found it hard to agree. And, any way, our countryside is rarely strewn with rubbish to the depth to which Gloucester's pride in its appearance has obviously sunk. We don't know how lucky we are.
Moved to ask the city's litter leaders to clean up their act I then became so bogged down in investigating who might be responsible I gave up the fight.
But, in these times of recession, regeneration, even Towns Team Partners brightly promoting our attractions, hadn't Gloucester better get the basics right first?
Slovenly surroundings indicate a slovenly attitude, viz homes with old furniture and cars piled outside.
So come on Gloucester, you need to tidy up your act to lure this family back.