WHAT’S it about?
Once a quiet, semi-rural shithole, Stroud has lately been elevated to a shithole packed with quirky Londoners convinced they’re doing it a favour by moving there and adding a whole new strata of twat.
The town was recently ranked the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, a dubious award from a journalist who presumably visited on Saturday when the farmers’ market is in full swing, rather than a Wednesday afternoon when the deserted town centre prompts suicidal ideation more than civic pride.
Any good points?
Not anymore. Stroud was a haven for gentle hippies who opened vegan cafes long before they became the preserve of hipster bellends. This mild alternative vibe has now morphed into full-on batshit quackery, so it’s now home to rabid antivaxxers who make Piers Corbyn look a harmless eccentric.
All of the good pubs have long since shut down, apart from The Prince Albert at the massive of a f**k off steep hill put there to punish you for fancying a pint. Otherwise it’s a car journey to a twee gastropub that has had all its character scorch-earthed out by some rich cunt interior designer, full of ex-cokeheads from Dalston trying to convince themselves they aren’t bored out of their arseholes.
Stroud lies at the meeting point of the Five Valleys, so it’s surrounded by undulating hills and hedgerow-hugged lanes. Which are now crammed with SUVs, but if you overtake the ethical hedge fund manager in a Land Rover driving Lupin and Meadow to prep school you’ll enjoy the views over the wood-fired hot tubs, yoga studios and yurts littering every back garden.
Laurie Lee, Stroud’s most famous resident, is turning in his grave. His beloved Slad Valley is now not so much Cider With Rosie as Biodynamic Wine With Pretentious Wankers.
Hang out at…
Stroud outdoor pool is the place to be in the summer, if you enjoy the rancid smell of Piz Buin and chip fat and like baking on a slab of shadeless concrete for 30 minutes before stopping your heart by jumping into ball-shrivellingly freezing water. There is an ancient by-law still in force stating any out-of-towner calling it a ‘lido’ can be legally punched in the face.
The farmers’ market is rightly renowned for charging the same for a complicated loaf of artisanal bread as half a week’s worth of shopping at Lidl. However, it’s so crowded with mothers toting handwoven baskets full of muddy vegetables and Lycra dads who brought the kids in £3k e-bike trailers that you’ll never survive the queue.
Where to buy?
If you’re coming from London anywhere you fucking like. Get two and rent the spare one out. If you’re from Stroud you’ve been screwed out of buying a house in the town you grew up in by an ex-Hackney twat who wanted to bring their kids up somewhere that looks wholesome and picturesque on Instagram.
Maybe you could rent the Hackney twat’s second home from them for twice the amount of their mortgage payments? Actually no, as they’ve decided to put it on Airbnb to supplement their already huge income by fucking over the local community. Never mind. Plenty of space in Merrywalks car park for you to lie down at night.
From the streets:
Oliver O’Connor, aged 34: “We adore Ruscombe, our little village on the outskirts of town. We moved from Peckham during lockdown and we love the change of pace that living in the countryside brings. You really have to slow down snorting your blow on a Friday night when you know you can’t just pop down to the street for another gram.”