COLIN CHANNON: We should all find time to appreciate surroundings

This week’s column is written by Roberta Grieve, a local author who specialises in historic romances. Her latest book, Divided Loyalty, is due out in November.

How well do you know your home town? In the hustle and bustle of modern life it is easy to ignore what is beautiful or interesting about the place we live.

When did you last walk around the cathedral precincts and admire the lovely gardens in Vicar’s Close, now in full bloom, or look up at the spire silhouetted against a blue sky?

Have you ever walked through the alleyway beside the Halifax bank to the Oxmarket, a delightful little art gallery showing works by local artists?

There is so much to see and do in our city.

When I moved to Chichester more than 40 years ago, it was still a relatively-small market city with the cathedral at its centre.

Inevitably, over the years, changes have crept up on us – some less welcome than others.

But it was the visit of a friend from America which made me look at Chichester with fresh eyes.

She waxed lyrical about the cathedral and its environs, the Festival Theatre, and the beautiful parks and gardens – all things which I take for granted as I cycle around the city, my eyes on the ground watching out for potholes, my head full of what I am going to buy for tonight’s dinner.

It is so easy to be negative, to grumble about the irritations of modern life – and yes, there is much to moan about – the A-boards which you trip over in the precinct, the uneven paving stones, the traffic, and those potholes.

But look around you. There is much to be grateful for.

We have a one of the best hospitals in the country – I speak from experience having been a patient several times over the past few years.

We also have a brilliant library service, the New Park cinema, lovely shops, plenty of places to eat and drink and meet friends, and clubs and organisations to suit every hobby and interest.

And of course, we have the peregrines who return every year to nest on the cathedral spire – they like it here too.