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Archives for September 2010

BNP office to open in Stroud

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Mark Cummings | 12:07 UK time, Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The British National Party is planning to open a base in Stroud.

They intend to use the property as a communication centre employing up to three people. The former Stroud MP David Drew...councillor John Marjoram...and Socialist party member Chris Moore have arranged a meeting to oppose the move.

I'll be speaking to David Drew and the BNP on Wednesday's show ahead of the meeting.

Post a comment with your thoughts on the you think it will encourage racism and division in the town as David Drew alleges...or as a legitimate, registered party do they not have the right to establish a communication base here in Gloucestershire?

Rock in the Docks

Mark Cummings | 14:53 UK time, Monday, 27 September 2010

Barge Semington in Gloucester Docks

Do you remember the Barge Semington?

She was a floating arts venue moored in Gloucester Docks in the 1970s and 80s, and was one of the few places where live bands could play in the days before the Guildhall opened.

But where is Semington now?

Well, we've manged to track her down (or at least what's left of her!) to a secret location on the River Severn. And now there are calls for her to be renovated.

You can hear all the details on the Breakfast show and on the Mid-Morning showon Tuesday.

And read more about the rediscovery of Semington on the BBC Gloucestershire website.

A tale of true love

Mark Cummings | 06:47 UK time, Friday, 24 September 2010

An American soldier who found his first true love in Gloucestershire during WWII has travelled back to the Cotswolds to visit her grave.

Tony Canino was serving at a military hospital near Cirencester when he met Joyce Stickland. A sudden posting away meant he never got to see her again and they both went their separate ways.

On Thursday Tony came back to Gloucestershire to place a flower on her grave and say goodbye to the woman he always loved.

On Friday's show we heard your stories of your first love.

We had a great response with your tales of your First Love on the show.

Angela Kelly got in touch with this story...

I had a lovely cousin called Mary who lived in Jersey. Her father was a farm owner and ruled his family of three daughters and a son very strictly. When Mary was a young girl she fell in love with a local boy who had an ordinary job. Her father did not approve because he didn't come from a similar background. He wanted to marry Mary but her father would not allow it. Mary complied with her father's wishes and remained a spinster and lived at home all her life. Her boyfriend eventually married someone else and her sisters and brother married. After her father died she continued to live as a wonderful companion to her step mother who loved her as her own.

Tragically, at the age of 52, Mary died of cancer. In her hospital room, during her last few days, a red rose appeared. Her stepmother asked her who it was from. Mary said "I KNOW WHO IT IS FROM." Mary's stepmother told me of her sorrow that she had not been allowed to marry the man she loved.

Eskimos spotted in Cam

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Mark Cummings | 12:02 UK time, Thursday, 23 September 2010

Thanks for all the photos of your own wild weather.

If you haven't had a look yet at our wonderful video ... have a scroll down and feast your eyes.

Many thanks to John for this photo from the winter of 1962/63. His igloo survived for several weeks!

Is that anti-social?

Mark Cummings | 16:44 UK time, Wednesday, 22 September 2010

On Thursday's programme we're talking anti social behaviour.

What is Gloucestershire Police Force doing to tackle the problem and what does it mean to you?

Have you experienced anti-social behaviour where you live? Let us know your experiences.

Email me at

Preserving the Purton hulks

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Mark Cummings | 05:16 UK time, Wednesday, 22 September 2010

It's described as one of the country's most important sites of maritime history and after more than a decade of campaigning, the Purton Hulks on the banks of the River Severn, have finally been adopted by British Waterways.

Over the last 100 years around eighty boats have been abandoned on the river banks to act as a defence wall against erosion.

But recently the site has been the victim of vandals and because the site hasn't had a formal owner there's been no-one to take responsibility.

Now British Waterways is taking it over.

Chosen Island

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Mark Cummings | 12:27 UK time, Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Many thanks to Richard Tebb for this dreamy shot.

The fog was swirling around this Tuesday morning. Richard was inspired to brave a chilly morning and whip out his camera after listening to an interview I was doing at 6.45am.

I was chatting to the team at Gloucestershire Airport who were describing the scene from the control tower. I think we should have a gallery on the blog of the "islands" of the county when our wonderful hills become shrouded in fog. Any autumnal vision would be most appreciated. You can email me at

Gloucestershire's wildest weather

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Mark Cummings | 12:30 UK time, Monday, 20 September 2010

Updated Monday 20th September

Thanks for all your photos of snow and floods. I shall be putting them up over the next few days.

I hope you are enjoying looking at our wonderful archive footage. Don't forget the Wild Weather programmes from the BBC Points West and BBC Midlands Today teams at 7:30pm on Monday evening. Here's an easy way to see them on the iPlayer: Wild Weather of the West and Wild Weather of the Midlands

Keep the comments and photos flooding in!

We're going to be exploring Gloucestershire's history of extreme weather.

To come over the next few days we'll be hearing about the Westgate floods of 1968, the record blistering heat in Cheltenham in 1990 and the ice storm winds at Westonbirt in 1940.

A meteorological expert has written about some of the weather events in our county, plus Les Leach in Frampton (a cameraman for BBC Points West at the time) has very kindly supplied us with this wonderful footage, including floods in 1968, heavy snow in 1981 and more flooding in 1982.

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Severn Bridge toll effect on Wales

Mark Cummings | 15:56 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Welsh Affairs Committee is visiting the Severn Crossings on Thursday, 16 September, to take a look at the concerns that have been raised about the effect of the tolls on the economy of Wales.

The Severn Bridge was officially opened by HM the Queen in September, 1966, ending Enoch Williams's lucrative business as ferryman and beginning talk of a future of greater prosperity and understanding between Wales and England.

You can watch video of the official opening on the BBC Bristol website.

Battle of Britain...the Gloucestershire story

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Mark Cummings | 12:03 UK time, Tuesday, 14 September 2010

This Wednesday it's the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.


We will be telling the story on the Breakfast Show of the 501 County of Gloucester Squadron. They were the only squadron to fight from the Battle of France in May 1940 to the end of the Battle of Britain without being rested.

And if you're interested in World War II aviation in the county, take a look at our exploration of one of the fifty or so abandoned airfields in Gloucestershire:
Abandoned airfields in Gloucestershire

You scruffy pup

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Mark Cummings | 12:01 UK time, Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Have you ever been turned away from a restaurant because you weren't wearing a tie?

The UK's 100 top restaurants do not require such attire. The Breakfast Show's Claire Carter went to Cirencester for some tips on how to look the part in the Cotswolds.

Here's a selection of comments from this morning's show... and if you know of anywhere in the county that demands a tie be worn please let us know... hotels, golf clubs, rotary organisations etc?

Ted in Tewkesbury says he was in New Zealand watching a cricket match and two men arrived wearing ties... this was commented on over the loud speaker and they were so embarrassed they took their ties off!

Lesley in Gloucester says a well dressed man is important... it shows that he cares and has standards...she adds that recently she went to a meeting were there was a German man immaculately dressed... says it did things for her!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jean in Tetbury says this sloppy dressing must stop... she says people need to take a leaf from the farmers... especially when they take their stock to market... well dressed with a tie.

Jill in Hasfield... working with her stock this morning...says country folk are always well dressed...especially when showing stock... says even the children will dress up.

John in Alvington says he and his wife go on cruises and from the moment you get on the ship you are told of the dress code...and you are informed when you will be formal for dinner at night.

Simon says years ago I was spending a sunny afternoon on a Gloucestershire golf course, when it was very very hot... and to survive the rising temperatures I removed my top....not only was I told off by the management...they told me to leave the course helping me on my way with the 'management golf trolley'

Dave in Tetbury... the wearing of the tie is a thing of the past, although I live by the adage that you only wear a tie for court appearances of funerals

Terry... When I joined Cass-Stephens insurances ltd in Spa Road 37 years ago you had to wear a jacket and tie. Things are a little less formal now and although you can remove your jacket it is still the dress code that a shirt and tie are worn. I think this is really smart and just adds to the professional image of the company, long may it continue. We did make an exception if the temp got into the 80s, by allowing the tie to be removed!

Excuse my French

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Mark Cummings | 12:39 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

Some days on the show you do something that everyone talks about afterwards. Today was one of those days

I spoke to a woman from Bishops Cleeve this morning who suffers from Foreign Accent Syndrome. Kay Russell suffered two bad migraines at the start of the year. Afterwards her voice had developed what sounds like a French accent.

It is in fact a speech impediment. She told me how her life has completely changed and how she is coping with the condition.

She used to be a high flying sales-exec for a local company...but now can't work.

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The viaduct is open

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Mark Cummings | 12:36 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

At long last the Westbury viaduct is now open!

The editor of the Forester Newspaper invited me and my family this weekend for the official launch.

Viv Hargreaves's husband Bob loves his model trains and has converted the garden into a magical adventure playground for them. Local MP Mark Harper, rugby legend Phil Vickery, and the vicar of Westbury would have loved it had they been invited!

Send in your photos of model trains if you can match this effort:

ASBO leaflet

Mark Cummings | 05:30 UK time, Monday, 13 September 2010

A leaflet has been delivered to hundreds of homes in the St Paul's area of Cheltenham, telling them about a teenager who's been given an ASBO.

The leaflet says the 17-year-old was given the Anti Social Behaviour Order because he shouted and swore at people and businesses, caused nuisance in Pittville Park and caused criminal damage.

But is it fair? Should teenagers be named in public like this?

Post a message on the this blog or email:

A ticking time bomb

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Mark Cummings | 12:06 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

On Friday's show we will be revealing how many people in Gloucestershire could well have Type 2 diabetes and not realise it.

It can go undetected for ten years. Early diagnosis and effective management of the condition are crucial in reducing the risk.

If you have any experience of late detection and how that has affected your life please share your thoughts with me. Post a comment or email me at

Get your stockings off

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Mark Cummings | 12:01 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

We have been discussing the "alternative" ways we used to fix our cars in the past.

Vehicles are now so complex it's virtually impossible to do a creative quick fix. Have a look at some classic examples of DIY mechanics...and if you can add some other examples post a comment or

Put an egg or a spoon full of mustard in a leaky radiator...

Cut a spud in half and smear on your windscreen if you wipers fail.

A pair of stockings can patch up an ailing fan belt

A coat hanger as an aerial

Paul says sawdust in an excellent cure a noisy back axle...

Derrick in Tetbury says he was told if your "big end" went you could fix it with some bacon rind!

Jim in Tewkesbury used an egg to fix a radiator...he says it's only the white of the egg that you can use, not the yolk, it's the white that welds the leak

Wendy in Tewkesbury says she has tried the mustard in the radiator...her husband has used a potato to stop windscreen freezing... and he's always kept one of her stockings in the car in case fan belt went

Alan in Gloucester used to work for RAC...he says if fuel pump went then you could fill the washer bottle with petrol and operate this with carburettor... also if accelerator cable snapped then you could attach choke cable and use this instead.

John in Stonehouse has several tales about fixing things on car - including chewing gum for burst tubes on the top of the radiator; wire to hold the exhaust up and several others

Somewhere over the rainbow

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Mark Cummings | 12:06 UK time, Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Many thanks to John for his delightful photo of Frocester Hill.

Since we have launched the blog you have sent me some wonderful seasonal shots. We've had vibrant bluebells...vivid fields of poppies...and dreamy sunsets and fields of gold.

When the delights of autumn take hold any masterpieces of a misty morning would be most

Handing you the axe

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Mark Cummings | 12:48 UK time, Tuesday, 7 September 2010

We heard today that Gloucestershire County Council will have to tackle a funding gap of 120 million pounds over the next 4 years.

That is more than the authority spends per year on libraries, waste, roads, trading standards and fire and rescue combined.

This will take major surgery. If you want to suggest what should be protected and what should be cut visit For general information go to

Here are some of the comments from Tuesday's show.

Letting the public decide which services to cut won't work...the general public don't know enough about what the services do - trading standards is a prime example....

John says he would pay 10p to borrow a book from the library to help maintain library services...

Mary from Cheltenham says her husband has 2 suggestions...limiting bus passes for pensioners... and says some people abuse this. Plus people admitted to hospital with drunk related incidents should have to pay for treatment.

Simon in Tewkesbury says the council should clamp down on workers - they should abolish the extra day of holiday to mark the Queen's birthday...make sure workers don't leave early on Fridays...abolish long service leave and stop people taking leave on from year to year!!!

Paul from Upton St Leonards says he is due a bus pass this year...but says he probably doesn't need to have it - says that it should be means tested...this would save money

Anon...please remember the county council budget cuts mean many staff are worried about thier jobs.

Anon... they could start the saving exercise by axing the chief executive's assistant post... it not needed when there are so many other people who could stand in for him should the need arise.

Scott Redding's dad, Adrian, shares anguish

Mark Cummings | 12:52 UK time, Monday, 6 September 2010

The motorsport world has been rocked by the death of Moto2 rider Shoya Tomizawa following a crash which involved Gloucestershire's Scott Redding.

Scott was taken to hospital after the crash but was not seriously injured. However, it'll hit the young rider from Quedgeley hard as he comes to terms with what happened.

His dad, Adrian, shared more with me on the breakfast show this morning. Click below to listen again.

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Hair today...gone tomorrow?

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Mark Cummings | 12:37 UK time, Monday, 6 September 2010

Many thanks to Steve Kitchen for looking after the shop for the last few weeks.

Whilst I was away on a road trip in the States I decided to chuck the razor away. I've arrived back from the States with a dilemma. Do I shave off the stubble or keep it?

I've already trimmed it back from a straggly grey mess and amazingly my wife wants me to keep it. However my youngest daughter hates it and runs to the hills when I swoop in for a cuddle.

Should it stay or should it go? Let me know your razor sharp thoughts. Post a comment or email and if you possess a proper beard send me a photo of what I should be aiming at!

updated tuesday 7th

Latest reaction from the emails.

Joy...I like it and I am sure your daughter will come round!

Jenny from Blaize Bailey in the Forest of Dean...I think it looks great you should keep it.

however if you look at the comments it isn't all positive!

Pay per view?

Mark Cummings | 11:47 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

From October Gloucestershire County Council is planning to start charging people to park at Crickley Hill and after listener calls of disgust we put your thoughts to John Lane, who's the Principle Rights of Way Officer.

He explained that the money raised was for the upkeep of the car park and toilets, but some of your views didn't sympathise...

*John in Cheltenham says of course you should pay for parking, you have to pay parking anywhere popular you go, he has to pay for hospital parking or town parking in Cheltenham.

*Don in Cheltenham asks how can they maintain the toilets on Crickley Hill when they can't even maintain the toilets in Gloucester City Centre!

*Ed in South Cerney says if you have to pay for parking, does this mean that if you have an accident you could claim from the Council.

*Colin in Ruspidge says if you go to Symonds Yat Rock you have to £2 for a days parking, someone has to look after and pay to keep the places tidy, so why not the people who use them?

*Kirsten in Tewkesbury asks will the parking charges at Crickley Hill will stop all the doggers? Why don't they just charge for the toilets?

*James in Southam says if you don't pay you may lose the services, they lost the toilets at Cleeve because they couldn't afford them?

*Basil thinks it's disgusting and one day we'll have to pay to breathe!

*Julie thinks it's a dismal idea, she thought the land was owned by the countryside commission. What right have they to do this? How long before the trend extends to other areas of natural beauty? People will just park further away on the roads and walk to the park.

*Bob in Rodborough wants to know how the Council are going to regulate it? will they have a parking inspector? Won't all the profits just go to paying staff and admin?

*Liz on email explained I would have said a £1 a car for use of Crickley Hill country park would be fine, except my husband has just been put on short hours causing us great financial hardship and is facing the possibility of redundancy, in which case every single £1 will be important, so it'll be tough to justify going there.

Thanks for your input and thoughts over the last 3 weeks. Make sure you join Mark when he returns from his holidays on Monday at 6am.

Best Wishes
Steve Kitchen

Gone Fishing.

Mark Cummings | 11:31 UK time, Thursday, 2 September 2010

Listening to your show this morning made me realise that if it is Autumn (or nearly Autumn). Then it is time for Roach fishing especially on the Gloucester Canal. The Roach is a fish of the Autumn when it is in peak condition along with Perch feeding up to see themselves through the winter. The Roach tend to migrate to Gloucester Docks between now and December. Off I toddled with my Hemp and Tares at 7 a.m. to fish at the Castle near Epney. A known hotspot for Roach at this time of the year, along with the vegetarian baits they love! The morning was perfect, quiet with the hum of the M5 in the background which eased as 9 o'clock went by. Only the Ducks and Swans for company along with a pair of Egrets on the Drainage ditch behind me. Gloucestershire at its best gearing up for winter with a good bag of fish in 3 hours (everyone was returned and swam away strongly) must go again!! Nigel Phillips

A Cotswold mistake

Mark Cummings | 05:31 UK time, Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Take a look at this new sign put up by the County Council.

Can you spot the error?

Once you've spotted what is wrong, read the full story on the BBC Gloucestershire website.

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