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Archives for March 2011

Do you remember "Dial a disc?"

Mark Cummings | 12:05 UK time, Wednesday, 30 March 2011

This week we have looked at how our use of the phone has changed over the years.

Many more of us are now ditching the landline at home and just using our mobiles...however how many of you can remember your three digit number...ringing dial a disc...and sharing a party line with the person next door?

We will continue this on Thursday's show with the services on offer many years ago. Does this ring any bells for you? Can you recall calling up to hear a radio station...listen to a recipe...or maybe just hear your favourite tune? Love to hear your memories and experiences of eavesdropping on other people's conversations.

Here are some of the comments from today.

John from Kingsholm...Gloucester use to have two dialling codes covering Gloucester and 1978 the two codes were merged...they were then changed again in the 1990s when we had local dialling codes for Cheltenham, Stroud and Gloucester.

Andy from Hardwicke...he used to fit party lines for BT in the was hard to maintain as a you have to get the right line connected to the right place or phone calls for the neighbour would be put through to you.

Connie in Gloucester remembers having a party line which her family shared with another around the corner. They were convinced they were being listened to by their neighbours as every time they said don't say anything personal as someone's would suddenly hear the noise of another phone hanging up.

Jill from Gloucester has experience of sharing a phone line with her neighbour. It was annoying at times because her husband worked abroad at the time and he would always ring when next door was on the phone.

How likely are you to be burgled?

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Mark Cummings | 03:59 UK time, Wednesday, 30 March 2011

On Wednesday's show we will find out from the burglar what factors encourage or discourage them from breaking into your house.

Did you know that homes worth £258,000+ are considered too risky...the car on the drive influences the decision to burgle...and what specific items they tend to go for.

We will explore why you are more likely to have your Volkswagon Golf stolen rather than a Porsche 911. Join me this Wednesday for a riveting listen.

Coach trip around the Stroud valleys

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Mark Cummings | 11:53 UK time, Monday, 28 March 2011

I hope you enjoyed the wonderful weather this weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts...rain coming in late on Tuesday.

I took my sister and brother in law around the Stroud valleys for their first ever visit. Here was my itinerary...

A trundle through Tetbury...a wander through the tree tunnels of Avening...up the Nailsworth ice cream on Minchinhampton Common with some kite flying thrown fresco lunch and a couple of pints of Uley bitter at the Woolpack at Slad...a guided tour of the Chalford Valley...finished off with a spot of shopping in Cirencester.


Let there be light

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Mark Cummings | 11:31 UK time, Monday, 28 March 2011

The lighter evenings are here!

Hooray...what a long winter that was. Thanks to John for some blissful blossom in Cam. I would love some more beautiful blossom photos if you are out and about. Any delights to please.

Have a blissful weekend

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Mark Cummings | 10:16 UK time, Friday, 25 March 2011


Thanks to Robin for these pictures from Dymock Woods.

This coming weekend will see the Oxenhall Daffodil Weekend...when teas will be served in the village hall. The following weekend Dymock will be the hosts.

I'm spending the weekend taking my sister around the Stroud valleys...she has never experienced the joys of this magical place.

I've planned the route...Tetbury...Avening...up the Nailsworth W...a quick play in the "dilly dumps" on Minchinhampton Common...into Stroud...up to Slad for a quick one in the Woolpack...cut across to Painswick...back to Stroud...Chalford...Frampton Mansell...Sapperton...BLISS.

Have a great couple of days...any wonderful photos of Gloucestershire in the spring would be

The mysteries of Minchinhampton Common

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Mark Cummings | 11:42 UK time, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Spot the dog 2 was a photo taken in one of those "holes" on the common.

On Thursday's show we will investigate their history. Join us after 8;00 when I will be speaking to Diana Wall about the anti invasion mounds and much more!

If you ever used to play in these " dilly dumps" or know more about them feel free to leave a comment or email me at

Painful maths

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Mark Cummings | 11:29 UK time, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Have you ever worked out how much it costs you in petrol per mile?

We did this on the show today and it really makes you think. If you know the trip to the shops and back costs you 3 pounds 50 a go it could make you change your journey habits

Three people have agreed to keep a record for the next week of the price of all their short and long journeys...they range from a smart cat to a real gas guzzler.

Have you done the maths? We ranged from 17 pence a mile to 49 this morning...and have you changed car to make sure that cost per mile has been drastically a comment or email me at are a few thoughts from today's show

Alvin from Hempstead has a Rover now costs him 17 pence per mile to run when he bought the car in 1996 it was 6 pence per mile.

John says it may cost 49p per mile to drive the Jag but it's all about style and comfort...some bus journeys are £2 for around 3 miles...that's 67 pence per mile to travel in a noisy uncomfortable stop-start environment.

Tim in Cirencester is divorced and his children now live in Stoke. H spends £80 every other week in fuel to see them and that's after down-sizing his car. It used to him £140 every fortnight and that was killing him.

Jim in Tewkesbury drives a Jaguar and it costs him 49.2 pence per mile to run. His wife drives a Peugeot 206 but only drives locally and costs 49 pence a mile to run.

Ray emailed...he drives a Honda Civic and it is very economical. He worked out that for every pound he spends at the pump he can drive 7 and 1/2 miles.

What a wonderful night for a Moon dance.

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Mark Cummings | 11:24 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

Thanks to Jim from Hardwicke for this weekend's monster moon experience.

Jim writes..."Morning mark and the team...hope you all like this one taken from Apple Tree Park near Claypits looking towards Stonehouse just off junction 13 on Saturday night."

Get in you beauty!!!!

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Mark Cummings | 11:14 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

At last Gloucester have some silverware.

What a stunning performance on Sunday...demolishing Newcastle 34-7 in the LV Cup final. The win guarantees Gloucester will have a place in the Heineken Cup next season.

The moment of the match was Fuimaono-Sapolu's stunning try. I asked for one word to describe this magic moment on today's show...


any other suggestions please post a comment or email me at

Spot the dog 2...the truth.

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Mark Cummings | 10:55 UK time, Friday, 18 March 2011

So where was she?

I took the photo from the bottom of one of the quarry holes on Minchinhampton Common.

According to Steve who heard the answer on Friday's Breakfast Show...they are colloquially knows as "dilly dumps"

Have a great weekend. Good luck to Gloucester on Sunday and another spot the dog and other great stories next week.

Here are just a few of the guesses...John thought Selsley Hill...then revised it Stinchcombe Hill...Sid reckons the launch pad on top of Coopers Hill...
Ewan from Siddington reckons she is at or very near Haresfield Beacon...Pam in Eastington thinks she could be on Cam Longdown near Coaley Peak...Terry now reckons she is on the golf course at Minchinhampton...Joan and Andrew think Stinchcombe Hill...Sid is now going for Uley Bury Hill Fort...Ann thought The Cirencester Amphitheatre...Ruth thought Crickley Hill or Barrow Wake...Steve thought Painswick Beacon

Protection for the hulks?

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Mark Cummings | 09:12 UK time, Friday, 18 March 2011

One of Uk's largest and most important collections of maritime archaeology could be lost because of a legal loophole...which protects the grass and rocks on the shoreline but not the submerged vessels.

Volunteers say they're worried about the future of the Purton Hulks on the River Severn...Chris Baxter is talking about this on Friday's Mid Morning Show

Thanks to John for this stunning photo.

Burning issues

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Mark Cummings | 12:07 UK time, Thursday, 17 March 2011

In future it looks like Gloucestershire's rubbish will be burned rather than buried.

After years of debate about how to dispose of the county's waste, the county council has chosen the final two companies competing to run a new plant which will get rid of the kind of rubbish which can't be recycled.

Both plans involve building an incinerator at Javelin Park in Haresfield, near Junction 12 of the M5.

It's a controversial decision and many local people have campaigned against it.

Stan Waddington, the County Cabinet member for the Environment, told me it was the best option available as its "affordable, proven, clean and safe."

Here are some of your comments from the breakfast show today...

John in Quedgeley says although junction12 improvements are much better adding all that extra traffic through that region, especially at rush hour would be awful.

Ted says he thought he heard Mr Waddington say that by using incineration we would be able to stop using landfill...not so...Gloucestershire's 150,000 tonnes a year into the incinerator will produce 7,000 tonnes of toxic dust to be buried at Wingmoor. These dusts are openly dumped after inadequate treatment and have been proved to blow out of the site onto nearby houses.

Dave in Longlevens says he can understand a touch of nimby coming from those directly affected by this...but I'm not aware of any significant housing conurbations in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site. In north London the Edmonton incinerator has been there for 50 years and still operating today as is an incinerator in Stoke on Trent.

Fred in Cheltenham says Sweden have made a success of this. We need to learn from them as we can't keep putting all this rubbish into the ground.

Steve in Abbeydale got in touch to say 4 years ago he contacted this programme to say it was a 'done deal' and it seems I was right. The decision makers live no where near the site and so wont have to smell the ash.

Andy in Harwick emails...I can say that we are pretty disappointed and feel let down about Stan Waddington's decision in Hardwicke.
In my personal opinion this will be rejected by the Parish Councils, Stroud District Council and then approved by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal based purely on a legal position. We will take this all the way to Eric Pickles and just hope that the new Localism Bill "putting power back into the hands of the local community" will be worth the paper it's written on!!

Stan - You have a fight on your hands mate!

Taxi for Minsk please!

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Mark Cummings | 12:12 UK time, Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Paul Archer from Cirencester is as mad as a March hare!

He has quit his job in the city to drive a classic 18 year old cab around the world. Paul and his mates will cross Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, China, South Asia and Australia.

Tune in this Friday for an update as I speak to him in Minsk...with stories of wild nights out in Amsterdam...problems with the police in Russia...and fascinating tales of his accommodation plans.

The team are raisings funds for the British Red Cross. Have a listen now to some of his adventures.

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Spot the dog...number two

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Mark Cummings | 11:34 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

So Stella the lazy lurcher has now turned up where?

Did you get the first one right? Scroll down and have a go if you missed it.

Have you ideas of the new location? Post a comment or email me at

Guesses so far...

John thought Selsley Hill...then revised it Stinchcombe Hill

Sid reckons the launch pad on top of Coopers Hill

Ewan from Siddington reckons she is at or very near Haresfield Beacon...

Pam in Eastington thinks she could be on Cam Longdown near Coaley Peak.

Terry now reckons she is on the golf course at Minchinhampton.

Joan and Andrew think Stinchcombe Hill...

Sid is now going for Uley Bury Hill Fort

Keep guessing and good the way I got into quite a hole getting this shot

Open for business

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Mark Cummings | 04:01 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

This morning we're hearing from traders on Black Jack Street in Cirencester who say they are very much open for business - even though the road's closed because of gas main works.

Many of the shopkeepers say they're losing trade thanks to a lack of joined up thinking. It looks like the street will have to be dug up again in the near future so that the area can be pedestrianised.

Cheese rolling is £20 a ticket

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Mark Cummings | 17:27 UK time, Monday, 14 March 2011

Ticket prices have been announced for the new look Cooper Hill Cheese Rolling Festival.

If you are 14 or over it'll cost you £20 a ticket ... 13 and under its £15 a ticket.

The organising committee say that "We feel that £20 is not an exhorbitant fee for a wholesome day's entertainment"

But what do you think? There are 5000 tickets available on each day ... so will you fork out now to ensure that you can get in on the day? will you hold out until the day to see what the weather is like? Or will you decide to pass?

Let me know by emailing me ( ) or leave a message here on the blog.

Cheese rolling - photo copyright press Association

updated comments...Tuesday 15th

Chris who's the event organiser for the Nailstock Festival is struggling to see why it will cost so much to put the event on.

Tim in Cirencester has only lived in the county for a couple of years and was planning to go to the famous cheese roll. However for me, my partner and three children it would now cost £85. What do you think my kids would say if i give them a choice between Drayton Manor Park or watching people fall down a hill hurting themselves? I know what they'll pick. It's a shame i would have loved to have gone.

Gill in Quedgeley says as far as i can tell this event generally attracts people on low income families. Therefore I'm not convinced they would be willing or even able to afford these kind of prices. People go to this event because its local and its free.

Brian in Coleford says he won't be going although he may go and watch the unofficial race with some of the locals

Dominic says he wouldn't pay that amount of money a fiver - maybe but would be much better free as it's a fine tradition.

Rachel on twitter says that she wouldn't pay £20, £5 tops.

Bern from Stroud asks why the cheese roll is costing so much? Nailstock has similar costs and actually has more staging costs but it's budgeted at £50 grand not the 200 grand being proposed here. Nailstock is also ploughing profits back into the local the way...Nailstock tickets go on sale online this morning!)

Shirley in Bourton thinks that a lot of money to spend on watching people falling down a hill! May be it will stop as many people turning up and causing havoc in surrounding areas. i will pass!

Walking down the Kingsholm Road

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Mark Cummings | 12:01 UK time, Monday, 14 March 2011

What a great day we had on Sunday.

700 men ventured out in the spring sunshine for a charity walk for The Cotswold Care Hospice. We walked around Gloucester before the thrashing of The Dragons in the LV Cup semi final.

A glorious Sunday was completed with a pie and a pint.

How Common is The Severn Ham

Mark Cummings | 16:54 UK time, Thursday, 10 March 2011

A high court judge is being asked to make a decision over who should be able to get onto, and tend, a huge area of grassland just to the west of Tewkesbury Town Centre.
The Severn Ham is 177 acres of common-land, used by dog-walkers, and looked after by local farmers.
But the owner of a neighbouring mill has gone to court over the route the farmers use to get their tractors in to cut the grass. For a look at the site click here for our 360 view of Severn Ham.


Mark Cummings | 17:51 UK time, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

BBC Radio Gloucestershire has been sent updated plans for this year's Cheese Rolling down Coopers Hill, near Brockworth. After the event had to be called off last year because spectator numbers had risen too high, a weekend-long event will be held this year - and you'll need a ticket. It will be held over the weekend of 11th & 12th June, but there will be no overnight camping and no live bands. Tune in for the full story.

Finlay Community School celebrates.

Mark Cummings | 14:54 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A failing Gloucester school - which was set for closure has been classed as outstanding by OFSTED. Head Teacher Naomi Walsh and some of the students celebrate.

Locals cause a stink over landfill at Bishops Cleeve.

Mark Cummings | 14:28 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Despite a report by the Health Protection Agency marking Wingmoor Farm as safe, local people living nearby are still concerned over the type of waste being dumped.
Do you have a problem with the site - can you smell it from where you live?

updated Wednesday 9th


We have lived next to these huge landfill sites for over 30 years. We are amazed and alarmed that these sites are not been continuoulsy monitored for hazardous substances for the whole of the life of the sites, and the cummulative affect it is having on the health of all the communities living around the sites.
We have no confidence in one survey done with one monitor over a ten week period.

Oh what a beautiful morning!

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Mark Cummings | 10:14 UK time, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Thanks to Hilary for this stunning view from Leckhampton Hill this morning

What a cold but inspirational morning we woke up to. Pauline in Kemble said the sun came up as a beautiful red looked really stunning
Martin from Tibberton saw a green woodpecker looking for food on a very frosty lawn.

According to Ann it was -3 in Lightpill but the colours in the sky as the sun woke up were amazing...It was -5.5c in Salmon Springs this morning...according to Steve he saw a purple pastel dawn silhouetting the hills on the far side of the Painswick valley

It was.-6.0c on the A40 at Andoversford just above the reservoir...but coldest went to Pat with -9 in her garden in Staverton.

Spring into another week

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Mark Cummings | 12:16 UK time, Monday, 7 March 2011

Thanks to Robin and Sue Warren from the Forest for this little beauty.

A perfect picture from Parkend is a great start to the week. Enjoy Monday and Tuesday with the bright weather...and cold nights!

Another spot the dog on the way very soon

Peak time hits for spot the dog

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Mark Cummings | 11:55 UK time, Friday, 4 March 2011

Well done to so many of you who got it spot on!

Stella the lurcher was spotted at the Coaley Peak picnic site at the top of Frocester Hill.

We had a few guesses of May Hill...a few thought she was in the Forest of Dean looking back over the River Severn...some went for Painswick Beacon and a couple for Robinswood Hill.

Top marks go the Sid who writes...

Hi Mark,

Yes, I believe I do know this area as my Dad (when he was alive) loved to go up there... I am looking at the tree in the background... wind blowing from the S/West... hmm? That means it's not Forest of Dean side. My guess is that it's taken at Coley Peak, as the photo shows that it is on a walk along the edge... fence in background, looks like Cummings' County!

Have a great weekend...fingers crossed for Gloucester against Bath...cold but bright weather ahead for the beginning of next week. Another spot the dog coming next week...and it will be much harder!

Where will it stop?

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Mark Cummings | 11:50 UK time, Wednesday, 2 March 2011

How high does fuel have to go before you throw away the car keys?

The average price of a litre of unleaded has climbed to 130p for the first time. At what stage does this make you change the way you live your life? Do let me know your thoughts.

John sent me the above photo from his past life with the comment.... "When I worked in Saudi Arabia for two years, petrol was 10 pence a gallon - and that is just about what it is worth...OPEC countries make too much money from oil revenue...I would stop driving and revert to my bike at 1.60 a litre.

Paul says he can claim 25p per mile from his employer for petrol and help towards servicing the car etc. with the price of fuel now he's out of pocket at least £300 per month and says his standard of living is like it was 10 years ago when he was just starting out.

Frances in Christchurch said it would be helpful if petrol was a uniform price across the country - she goes to cornwall a lot and it's 7p cheaper than in the Forest of Dean.

Dave in Longlevens said why don't we just crack on and look at alternative fuel - electric cars etc. then we won't be held to ransom ever again.

Ian in Cheltenham said it's simply unacceptable that prices have doubled in two years. I'm not quite cutting back on other things currently but if it continues i may have to.

Roger in Stroud said a few years ago lorry drivers and farmers were holding protests and road blocks at oil refineries - why aren't we hearing from them now?

Adam in Quedgeley said you can't do anything about the price of petrol so you may as well make it pay as best you can - look at reward schemes, points at supermarkets, money off vouchers when you spend a certain amount.

Chris is Churcham said he drives for a living and so has no choice but to fill up. He wants a uniform price across all the pumps.

Andy in Abbeydale said it's not so much the price of where the fuel is coming from, the tax that the government add on to fuel doesn't help. if they cut that it would make filling up your car more affordable.

Spot the Dog...your first challenge!

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Mark Cummings | 12:08 UK time, Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Today is the start of spring!

Officially it is March 21st but after a very long winter we have decided today is the day. Meteorologists always state the first of March as the beginning of spring so who are we to argue?

To celebrate I am launching "The spot the dog" competition. My rescue lurcher Stella...named after a certain brand of lager...has travelled all four corners of the county and all you have to do is guess where she is.

I have started with a dead easy will get harder I promise. Post a comment or email me where you think this photo was taken from.

The answer will be on the blog by end of play on Friday and at 8;10am on Friday's Breakfast Show.

updated 2 March

wrong guesses so far...Haresfield Beacon, May Hill, Littledean Hill, Stinchcombe Hill, Blaize Bailey...could it be taken from the Forest side? Could it be taken from the vale side of the river. Many of you are getting it "spot" on...don't forget the answer on Friday's show and I'll post a new one over the weekend.

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