Kerry and Kurtan’s summer of fun: Have a This Country summer
- Credit: BBC Pictures
From the joys of the Scarecrow Festival to the thrill of smashing wall tiles on the road, the Cotswold cousins have it covered
Fancy going where the cool kids go? Then follow our This Country guide to summer fun! We’re talking, of course, about the hit BBC mockumentary – written by Cirencester brother-and-sister team Charlie and Daisy May Cooper – focusing on the lives of two disaffected young Cotswold cousins, Kurtan and Kerry Mucklowe. Not for them the usual pursuits of visiting stately homes or Bourton-on-the-Water. (“There’s a tea rooms there and under the counter they’ve got a panic button and if I take one step inside, they can press that.”) Instead, try Kerry and Kurtan’s alternative tips for summer fun:
Fetes and festivals epitomise Cotswold village life. They’re a once-a-year opportunity for communities of all ages and persuasions to come together and – as Kurtan puts it – forget their utter hatred of each other.
The most important day of the year in the cousins’ village is the Scarecrow Festival. As you’ll know (if you read the Gazette last week), everyone makes a scarecrow and then there’s a public vote on which is the best. While Kurtan considers the festival huge fun, Kerry is more cautious. Many of the ordinary people who flock to join in the innocent revelry would like to see her slain. “I’ve got enemies in South Cerney, I’ve got enemies in North Cerney, I’ve got enemies in Cerney Wick, I’ve got enemies in Bourton-on-the-Water.”
The village hall
[Filmed at Northleach’s Westwoods Centre]
- 1 10 great circular walks in Lancashire
- 2 Can you rehome Surrey’s loneliest dog?
- 3 Win the full range of Bashall Spirits Gins
- 4 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 5 10 great circular walks in Cheshire
- 6 Seven Falls, Tintwistle - a hidden gem in the Peak District
- 7 6 waterfall walks in Derbyshire and the Peak District
- 8 Peek inside this £1.9m Cotswold house with breathtaking countryside views
- 9 12 beautiful waterfalls in Yorkshire
- 10 20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
The cousins want to make sure all hall ‘users’ – from the local WI to the Brownie pack – value it properly. (“Just to let you know, I changed all the light-bulbs in the toilets to UV, so if we get any smackheads tonight, they won’t be able to see their veins when they’re shooting up.”) The hall is where the Rev Francis Seaton, parish priest, has an office. From here, he (almost) persuaded Kurtan into further education; he (almost) taught Kurtan to drive; and he (almost) got Kerry into full-time work (much needed after she spent Kurtan’s gran’s Bitcoin money on an alpaca from Gumtree). Perhaps almost successfully of all, the vicar has cleaned up the cousins’ act: “I mean, last week, I don’t think they used the F word once. We had the C word a couple of times but that really is an improvement.”
This tip is the tip
(AKA the recycling centre) [filmed at Fosse Cross Civic Amenities Site]
Kerry’s Dump Gang Headquarters – home to the gang she founded – is a model of sustainability. Even Greta Thunberg has so far failed to use a toilet-seat as a doorknocker, a conked-out washing machine as a safe and – crucially – a Hoover bag as a hat. Kerry was particularly pleased with finding a way to recycle a box of wall tiles. (“Smash them on the road, probably.”)
This recycling experience stood Kerry in good stead when applying for a job at the local tip. Alongside Simple John, and Trigger (a white man’s Dennis Rodman), Kerry found she had a natural affinity with waste. Pity she nicked a load and got sacked.
[Fairford Bowling Club]
Once Kurtan’s empire – he had a job manning the bowls club bar and unofficially policing the seedier social side (stopping more established members brutally picking on new ones) – nowadays he feels only bitterness. Kurtan left when they told him they couldn’t afford a bar manager… only for them to hire a new one. Adding insult to injury, the new manager posted a photo of himself against Kurtan’s hard-won food hygiene certificate. “I got the rating from a none to a three… Terry used to use the raw-chicken board to cut the lemon on for the cokes.” The sad thing is that Kurtan, despite an age-gap, had taken a shine to members. “The important thing is not to mention foreigners or self-service checkouts.”
Peeping at the tennis club
A slightly controversial summer pastime, but a useful suggestion if TK Maxx is closed. Kerry’s dad, Martin Mucklowe (who actually wrote the song Wonderwall on the back of a beermat in the space of 10 minutes), is an experienced peeper, whose favoured subjects include women at the tennis club and Kerry’s Aunty Linda. We’re not condoning peeping, but it’s a release for Martin, who has suffered through losing close friends. “The last Thursday of every month I used to play pool with Fred West. I know he’s done some iffy things but as a builder he was top notch.”
For those having to stay home this summer, look no further than Kerry’s mum, Sue, who has practised self-isolation for years.
Spending the majority of her time in bed, Sue relies heavily on the kindness of family.
“Sue, do you need turning over?”
“If you wouldn’t mind. The snow shovel’s under the stairs.”
And so we say a sad farewell to This Country, one of the finest programmes to ever grace our tlevision screens. Kerry is the new Lord of the Harvest, Kurtan is on the brink of actually getting his own flat, and the Vicar has gone off to get stabbed by a junkie in Bristol. Although there is a rumour that he might be up for the role of Sexy Priest in the next series of Fleabag.
To the Coopers and all associated with the programme, thank you. You have brightened our lives.
Watch all three series of This Country on BBC iPlayer this summer... you deserve it. bbc.co.uk/iplayer