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Archives for June 2010

The red sky at night, Gloucestershire's delight...

Mark Cummings | 11:34 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Many thanks to Kevin Powell from Gloucester who snapped these late night beauties at Sharpness Docks.

Bring your own... could it catch on?

Mark Cummings | 11:57 UK time, Tuesday, 29 June 2010

bottle_of_wineOn Wednesday's show we are looking for restaurants in the county that allow you to bring your own wine.

Do they still exist? If you know of any please post a comment or email me.

A special club have just launched a venture in London that allows you to take your own vino to selected eateries. Could it catch on here?

The best "Bed and Breakfast stories" ... ever!!

Mark Cummings | 12:49 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

b_and_b_GETTY_IMAGES.jpgHave you got a great story about staying in a B&B?

All week we are celebrating different types of breakfast experiences... for example a liquid breakfast on a boat at Saul Marina...a barbecue breakfast at a camp site at Wainlodes... and a continental start to the day in Cheltenham.

This Tuesday it's a classic English breakfast and we will be exploring the delights of a successful B&B in the Cotswolds.

However not all establishments are all the same. If you've come across the landlady from hell, the stingiest breakfast ever served up or the drabbest decor ever please get in touch. Post a comment or email

updated Tuesday morning 29th June.

Alistair Adams emailed..

Many years ago, I was an engineer 'on the road' visiting various factories in East Anglia.
I got to Kings Lynn at 8.00 o'clock one cold, wet night and needed to find some 'digs'.

Through the rain, I saw what looked like a nice welcoming B&B, so I pulled in.
On ringing the bell at reception, a man appeared and said yes, he had a room and could feed me.

After a long day this seemed like heaven!
He asked for his money up front, which I thought strange, but I was not going to argue - I had a bed and food!
I quickly went upstairs, dropped my bag, then went downstairs for my meal.

The landlord took my arm, led me back out of the front door (into the rain) and pointed to a pub about 100 yards down the road.
He said 'Go in there, tell them where you are from and they will feed you!!'

Well by this time, I was hungry and wet, so I did it. The food was not memorable.

To cap it all, when I got back to my room and got into bed, I found the floor sloped, which meant I had to cling to the bed to stop falling out, then it gradually soaked in, literally, - the bed was damp!

Next morning I left early and found a Little Chef for an early Starter!

Angela emailed

You have awoken an awful memory hidden away in the back of my memory. It was in the 1970s. My friend and I booked to go on a coach trip to Blackpool to see the lights.

While we were on the coach we were told the groups that would be together in the different guest houses. My friend and I were in a group of eight. Two married couples and four single women. When we arrived at our guest house the two couples were given bedrooms and us four women were told we would have to wait until the evening before we could unpack because camp beds would be put up in the dining room for us and it didn't look very good have them up during the day. We were also told that we would have to get up early in the morning so the beds could be put away and the tables put back in place ready for breakfast. We couldn't believe it. Talk about "money grabbers"! I couldn't wait to get back home.


Monster Hogweed... is it or isn't it?

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Mark Cummings | 12:45 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

hogweed2_595.jpgThe Breakfast Show's Kate Clark has a monster taking over her back garden... but is it the much talked about Giant Hogweed or something else?

Stroud Town Council have issued a warning after sightings of the beast... the sap can cause bruising and blistering. Gardening expert Reg Moule is convinced from this picture that it is the dreaded hogweed... however Angelica and Lovage have also been suggested.

Post a comment with your ideas or email

Red sky in the morning

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Mark Cummings | 12:40 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

sunrise_595.jpgThere is a god! For those of us up at the crack of dawn at the moment there is a "pinky" pleasure to be enjoyed.

This is what the sky over Kemble looks like at 4.20am!

The magic of a midsummer morning is one of life's greatest joys... the payback for all those dark, cold grim winter mornings. Any early morning snaps always welcome at

The Orpheus Pavement...should it stay or should it go?

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Mark Cummings | 11:57 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010

orpheus_595.jpgCould we loose a classic piece of Gloucestershire's heritage this Thursday?

The actual pavement lies buried under the Woodchester churchyard. The world famous replica is up for auction this Thursday and there is a massive effort to fend off big bids from abroad. How do you feel about the issue of raising thousands of pounds to keep this gem in the county? Email me at

Also on Thursday's show... reaction to England's result at the World Cup... the future of Coronation square in Cheltenham...why pay a fortune for hay fever tablets when you can get the same ones for a lot less... and celebrating the joy of an al fresco breakfast!

Gloucestershire turns red

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Mark Cummings | 09:10 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Enjoy this selection from Alan and Pauline Arthurs, Michelle Mills-Porter, John Wilkes, Richard Thacker and Colin Roberts.

See if you can spot the locations... the following are from fields around Bishops Cleeve, Dursley, Seven Springs and Foxfarm near Stow on the Wold. Keep them coming

Vintage "Record Breakers" steal the show.

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Mark Cummings | 11:59 UK time, Tuesday, 22 June 2010

athletics_595.jpgA kind listener sent me a copy of the all time best athletes from Tewkesbury School. The point was to highlight how many records haven't been broken for years... could this be to do with youngsters spending too much time with a computer?

I read out the names of some of the all time "greats". To my immense joy we had a call from Neil Franklin. If you look closely you'll see he shares the 100 metre record with Gareth Leng. Neil achieved his feat back in 1978. Tomorrow I shall introduce him on air to his younger running rival.

I'm looking for more record holders... so if you know any of the following and where they are please get in touch at

From Tewkesbury School... 400 metre record holder Jonathan Carter (1974), discus Mark Hughes (1983) and javelin and long jump Mark Payne (1976)

From Chipping Campden School... 100, 200 and 400 metres L. Stowe (1979)

More record holders throughout the week and lashings of Roy Castle singing a familiar theme tune!

Poppy Heaven

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Mark Cummings | 12:09 UK time, Friday, 18 June 2010


Many people rang the show to suggest great poppy fields. Feast your eyes on these beauties near Seven Springs. Gloucestershire photographer Jonathon Watkins has been showing us how it's done.

Here is my attempt at a dreamy shot of poppies.

Any more suggestions of the perfect poppy field would be great... email me at Or any of your own photos will be on the blog asap!

Pimp my radio car!

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Mark Cummings | 11:44 UK time, Thursday, 17 June 2010

It's the Algeria game at the World Cup this Friday... look out for us... our tastefully decorated car will be travelling along the traffic hotspots during the Breakfast Show.

If you see it please help us out with our goalkeeper survey. Honk your horn once if you want Robert Green to play... twice if you think he should be dropped!

updated Friday 18th. Lots of honking this morning! 80% honked in favour of Robert Green playing. Thankyou for a noisy and fun response along the Golden valley...The Cheltenham Prom...Air Balloon Roundabout and Gloucester Farmer's Market

How you've grown!

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Mark Cummings | 11:50 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010

On Thursday's we are revisiting the new community of Kingsway.

The Breakfast Show's Kate Clark goes back to the school she "adopted" a couple of years ago. We will be finding out how the community, just south of Quedgeley, is developing.

Music Trivia

Mark Cummings | 11:39 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The history of music is full of accidental masterpieces, here are a couple of my favorites... which start with a whistle. When Otis Redding recorded Dock of the Bay, he and Steve Cropper didn't have a last verse written, so Otis whistled it. He planned to return to Memphis and fill in the verse but he died in a plane crash before he had the chance... so the song was released with the whistle. He was not alone with unconventional endings to songs. A few years later Billy Swan released a studio recorded song which ends on applause... apparently while Swan was recording "I Can Help," his dog, who often joined him in the studio became playful and started tugging at Swan's trouser leg. He finished the take... and earned the applause from his band mates, this can be heard at the end of the released song.

Confessions of a Rolling Stone

Mark Cummings | 12:26 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010

brian_jones_595.jpgThis week I want your deepest, darkest secrets!

This morning we heard all about Rolling Stone legend Brian Jones and his adventures at Cheltenham lido. Since the pool was opened to the public in 1935, the temptation to sneak in for a midnight swim has been too much for generations of local teenagers.

Jones used to break in with crowds of friends after hosting parties at his house on Prestbury Road in the early sixties...according to his biography. Do share with me the places of "forbidden fruit" you couldn't resist in your youth. Enjoy the following confessions from people who are now aged anything between 50 and 80!

Anon... Skinny dipping at the Lido? Yep, we did that late 1970s early 80s, then they increased security

Gail in the Forest... Yes I went over fence at the lido in the 60 s !!

Graham in Glos... Jumping over the fence to play football on the hockey pitches at Saintbridge School (now Central Technology College) because the goals had nets - until we got chased off by the caretaker.

Anon... Getting in without paying to watch Greyhound Racing... The old greyhound track at Longlevens, now a housing estate, used to back on to the school playing could climb over a fence, cross the field, and then get into the greyhound track by squeezing through a gap underneath the perimeter fence which was conveniently obscured by trees and bushes

Mr X ... Getting into the cinema without paying (almost)... you club together with your mates to pay for one of you to go in. He goes to the loo which is by the emergency exit which has a push bar to open it. Door's open, everybody else comes in... but best not to all rush in at once as that's a bit obvious even in the dark

Alvin (name changed to protect the innocent) said he was a keen biker and they would go to the top of May Lane in Dursley for an orgy!
So go on then... the confessional is now open. Share with me those places you went to in your youth in Gloucestershire... and did anyone share a midnight dip with a Rolling Stone legend?

Have a great weekend!

Mark Cummings | 11:33 UK time, Friday, 11 June 2010

benhall_595.jpgI'm going to chill out and recover from a wild night with the Benhall WI. It's a new group... full of life and fun. If you live in the area give it a go.

Next week on the blog and on the Breakfast Show... confessions from 60 somethings about late night swimming at Cheltenham Lido... a fascinating list of gaffs you can hear in well known popular music... more of your seaside photos... former MPs Parmjit Dhanda and David Drew on life after politics...and the story of the Dursley lad who will be leading out the England team at the world cup this weekend... and see our pimped up radio car next Friday ahead of England's second match!

Come on ENGLAND !!

Pond in peril

Mark Cummings | 11:40 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Pond Improved? After many helpful comments, and a few not so... Andy from Hardwick has transformed his pond... a bit.


pondI have appointed myself the official "Professor of Pondolgy" for Gloucestershire. I feel a God-given right to dispense knowledge of this particular topic. If you look in the archive on this blog you'll see a photo of my own piece of watery heaven.

Andy from Hardwicke has asked me to be his mentor. He has just dipped his toe into the wonderful world of water. I shall add my comments after some deep reflection.

Study this photograph and add your expert knowledge. Any suggestions of where he's going right or wrong could be crucial... it could make or break his first faltering steps into pond heaven.

"Wish you were here"... from Wainlodes

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Mark Cummings | 11:04 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

wainlodes.jpgThanks to David Hanks from Cheltenham for this brilliant photograph.

Our Gloucestershire seaside series continues at Wainlodes... between Gloucester and Tewkesbury. This is from the 1900's when many people preferred this location. Apparently it was cheaper than going to Weston or a local swimming pool!

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!!

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Mark Cummings | 12:07 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

seaside.jpgAh the joys of living in Gloucestershire... we have a forest, river, valley, vale and hills... plus add in a coastline!!

The Stroud district alone has 42 kilometres of it... mirrored on the other side of the Severn by the Forest of Dean. The Severn Estuary Partnership defines the shoreline as anything affected by tidal water from the sea.

Experts are currently looking at the future of our coastline...taking into account the impact of tides, storms and climate change. In the past many people used to have a holiday on our very own "Costa del Gloucestershire"... tourist hotspots included Wainlodes, Rodley Sands and the Severn at Framilode.

John sent in a picture of his late mother, Peggy Bloodworth and friends bathing at Framilode in the early 1930's. If you have any memories or photographs please add to our saucy postcard collection.

Flapping flags

Mark Cummings | 11:35 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

Tasteful or tacky. What are your thoughts on the etiquette of flag flying during the World Cup... is this an affront to our national dignity or will you be running a flag up the pole and decorating your car with a bumper celebratory party pack of St George...

The debate began with Basil in Minsterworth who wanted to find a large England flag to fly from his flag pole. Pam in Podsmead came to the rescue... she says try Mary's in the indoor market in Gloucester.
Basil is not alone in flying the flag. Derrick in Newent always flies the Union flag and the St Georges flag outside of his house. He was a war baby, born in 1941 and flies the flag because he is patriotic, says he also flies the Jolly Roger as he is an old biker!
Janet in Stonehouse says she has two flags so far, and they may even get an airfreshner too. She says the best bargains can be found at the 99p shop.
Keith in Lydney is also flying the flag, but is waiting until the first game starts.
Meanwhile Sue in Cheltenham has a novel approach, she flies funny flags from the States but will raise St George for the football.
Hazel in Stroud raised her concerns, she says only one flag should be allowed per car because otherwise they are a visual hazard on the motorway.
Interestingly if you do decide to decorate your car with flags, you should consider that drag reduces your car's efficiency by about 3%. The average car, when sporting 2 flags will burn an extra litre of fuel per hour when running at an average speed of 7 mph.

Gun laws in Gloucestershire

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Mark Cummings | 12:39 UK time, Friday, 4 June 2010

shotgun_595.jpgSince Wednesday's horrific events in Cumbria, emotions have ebbed and flowed. Understandably the spotlight has now hit the UK's gun laws, so on Friday's Breakfast Show we looked at how a change in the law could effect Gloucestershire.

Our County has around 2500 registered firearms holders, and just over 10500 registered shotgun holders. The police told us that these figures are in line with areas of a similar size and amount of farm land.

Farmers Graham Nicholls from Kingscote, and Roland Blackwell from Stonehouse joined me on the show and told us how important the gun is for life on the farm, particularly for pest control. They told us about the 5 yearly gun licence checks that take place, which prompted lots of thoughts and calls including this text message...

"Gun licenses should be renewed every year not every 5 years. You have to renew your car every year. A lot can happen in 5 years - Edward in Hucclecote".

Cars are lethal weapons in the wrong or irresponsible hands, so Edward may have a point.

Many listeners told us that we should remember that "it was the man, and not the gun that committed such horrendous crimes", but this was a point that I put to Dr Derek Indoe, a consultant in clinical forensic psychology. He told us that, "the man had access to a gun, and it is no accident that most murders in the home take place in the kitchen - where there are knives."

So what is the answer? Should the laws be tightened? Delly Everard, from the Gloucestershire branch of the Countryside Alliance told us that "guns were an important part of rural life in Gloucestershire", and that they were "working with the government to prevent, what the Alliance felt, was a knee jerk reaction towards hand guns after the Dunblane tragedy."

Whatever the outcome we all hope and pray that nothing like this happens again, whilst thinking of those whose lives have been taken or effected in Cumbria.

We all have our opinions, and thank you for sharing yours over the past week. Join Mark back from his holidays on Monday from 6am whilst I'm back with Drivetime from 5pm.
Steve Kitchen

Save our shop!

Steve Kitchen | 12:27 UK time, Thursday, 3 June 2010

I'm a Gloucestershire lad born and bred, and one of the reasons that makes me so proud is the real sense of community that exists throughout the County.

This week, Breakfast reporter Claire Carter has been visiting some shining beacons in rural Gloucestershire, with today's trip taking her shopping in Down Ampney.

The locals there run one of the county's longest running Community Shops. Down Ampney is one of 11 villages in the County that have decided to club together an army of volunteers to keep the village shops alive. The shops are not just about offering the basics of newspapers and milk - some of them have cafes, post offices, fresh bread and a library built into them as well.

As a boy I grew up taking regular trips from Cheltenham to the Forest of Dean to spend time with my grandparents and family. My Great Grandad, and in my childhood my Great Uncle, owned and ran the very traditional village shop in Bream. I remember school holidays helping to weigh out sweets from the array of glass jars behind the counter and pulling the cheese wire across the huge lumps of Gloucestershire cheese. We then hopped into the Morris Minor van to chug up and down the hills of the Forest making deliveries of fresh goodies in white paper bags. The business is no more, and the shop building is now sadly flats, so power to the people of Gloucestershire who decide to do something for themselves.

Trouble at Mill?

Steve Kitchen | 11:59 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010

I'm addicted to property programmes on the box, especially the types that convert unloved or neglected buildings into modern homes. However some of these conversions cause a lot of debate, and there's a new debate taking place in Stonehouse.

The Stanley Mill is Grade 1 listed and has been described by historians as one of the most important surviving textile mills in the South West. Architecturally it is stunning, especially inside, but it is largely empty and unloved.

So should developers be allowed to preserve the mill by converting the building and surrounding land into flats and housing? There are some beautiful examples of converted mills in Gloucestershire, but should Stanley Mill be the next?

What came first - the timetable or the bus?

Steve Kitchen | 11:40 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Our week long look at rural Gloucestershire focused on the lack of regular public transport for our County villages.

I was joined in the studio by Phil Williams, the County Council's Passenger and Transport manager, who told us that we have to use the current buses to enable us to get more. But if the buses aren't running regularly enough to persuade us to rest our cars why would we use them?

We heard about a village bus service that has been set up and run by the Community in Ashleworth. Is this something that's happening where you live? I'd love to hear from you.

Tractor Trading?

Steve Kitchen | 11:37 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010


As we drive through Gloucestershire's countryside we pass, or get stuck behind, many a trundling tractor, but I didn't realise just how many of our farmers' tractors are going missing, and that they could be heading as far away as Iraq and Australia.

The National Farmers Union estimate there's at least one case a fortnight here in the County, so on Wednesday's show, Roy Limbrick, who runs a beef and cereals farm in Sherbourne, asked us all to keep an eye out for unusual activity around Gloucestershire farms. Roy and his neighbours had their tractors stolen over the last Bank Holiday, so now during a busy time in the agricultural calendar, he's without a vehicle and waiting for his insurance company to pay up.

Apparently these vehicles can be worth up to £100,000 and the trade which started with diggers in cities has spread to farms. Are you a farmer who's been hit by these thieves - tell me your story?

The future for Merchants Quay

Steve Kitchen | 05:13 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Maybe you visited Gloucester Docks over the Bank Holiday.

This week the long awaited demolition of the Merchants Quay begins.

Once a home to a variety of shops and a café, this is what it's replacement is going to look like.

Let me what you think and what you'd like to see in its place?

Rollers defy the rules!

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Steve Kitchen | 12:05 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Hi Steve Kitchen here! With Mark on his hols, I've switched from Drivetime to look after the Breakfast Show and the Blog this week. So far I managed to avoid saying Good Evening and Monday for the whole 3 hours.

I spent my Bank Holiday Monday watching grown men dressed as foxes stagger to the floor after the Tetbury Woolsack Races. It was a busy Tetbury where crowds may have been bolstered by the cancellation of the official Cheese Rolling at Coopers Hill, so I was intrigued to hear on today's show how the unofficial event was received, and if the official Cheese Roll can return.

2nd placed Jamie Lee from Brockworth joined us before heading off to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. Despite his injury he'd enjoyed a much more local and low key event "as it used to be", and wants big screenings in Brockworth to fend off the large crowd numbers.

Official organiser Richard Jefferies joined me in the studio and told us how ancient laws make an all ticket Cheese Roll impossible. Other text suggestions included spreading the races over a weekend. What do you think? How can Coopers Hill cope with 15,000 people from all over the world?

See a video from yesterday's unofficial cheese rolling on the BBC Gloucestershire website.

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