ONE of my Scottish correspondents was eager to suggest a subject for this column.

I was wary.

Did he not come from the country that had given us The Krankies and Andy Stewart who had regaled us with a juvenile ballad about someone from the Isle of Skye who was without trousers?

Yes, caution was certainly needed.

“I have discovered the jewels in the Cotswold crown” my Scots friend continued.

“They are village halls”.

My fears evaporated, this was true wisdom.

He and his wife had been to a folk music evening at North Cerney and had enjoyed a wonderful evening.

The group were excellent but even more memorable was the two course hot meal served in the interval.

Ten pounds each was the price they paid for a first class evening.

The hall notice board told of other stimulating events.

What a community benefit the hall is was his perceptive summing up.

He is of course quite correct.

Looking back to my youth, the hall at Rodmarton served many purposes, not least as a pavilion for the cricket team.

I had some wonderful teas there.

The walls were adorned with tapestries sewn by villagers engaged in archery, practiced pre-war on the cricket field.

Memories of precocious but flawed playing at whist drives came flooding back with three of us to clothe mum valued the excellent jumble sales, buying me a lovely jacket, once worn by the Governor of Gibraltar.

There were occasional dances but I scarcely ventured on the floor, being a total teenager nerd.

Today this newspaper is full of different village hall events and may soon contain information about where to see those splendid pantomime dames, Bob Hunt and Phil James.

With too many pubs closing our village halls remain vital hubs of our communities.

My memories stretch from parties with jelly which had to be accompanied with bread and butter, Anthony Kershaw MP for Stroud speaking at Cherington, to being cheerfully and accurately insulted by Phil James at South Cerney and a fine auction of promises at Sheepscombe.

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