Life on The Beeb with Mark Cummings: June 2022

Mark Cummings' Tour de Gloucestershire

Previously I’ve hosted the Tour de Gloucestershire, a two-day, 220-mile marathon all over the Cotswolds to promote all the best bits - Credit: Mark Cummings

with BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Mark Cummings 

The hills are alive with the sound of panting 

The Cotswolds go bike crazy from this month. The women’s Tour of Britain comes to town on Wednesday, June 8, followed by the men’s event in September. They both start in Tewkesbury and end at Gloucester Docks. I have an internal debate raging as to whether I should ride both courses to suss out the route and meet the folk who will be out cheering the professionals.  

It’s an amazing thrill to have full-day stages based here and the opportunity to promote the Cotswolds is massive. The world will see images of finely-tuned athletes pictured racing out past Tewkesbury Abbey, up Cleeve Hill, dashing through the Stroud valleys, climbing effortlessly up the hills in the Forest of Dean and sprinting furiously into the waterside amphitheatre of the docks. The last time the tour came to town, I rode the route a few days before with the team from Cotswold tourism and local cyclists. We took hours to do Bourton, Stow, Moreton, Stanway, Winchcombe, Cleeve Hill and Cheltenham – what took us a day took the pros minutes. Previously I’ve hosted the Tour de Gloucestershire, a two-day, 220-mile marathon all over the Cotswolds to promote all the best bits. This route started on the old Severn Bridge, through the Forest of Dean, Tewkesbury Abbey, round the cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral, past the finishing line at Cheltenham Racecourse, Cleeve Hill, Stanway Hill, Chipping Campden and an overnight rest in Moreton. Day two took us to Stow, Windrush Valley, Fairford Runway, Cirencester, Stroud, and Frampton on Severn, ending at Berkeley Castle. It was an amazing experience with BBC Radio Gloucestershire listeners lining the route and cheering us along. However, having just remembered the pain of those hills, I think I’ve now made my mind up regarding my mad idea of volunteering to ride the Tour of Britain route. Never!

Long table of party food and drink from a street party in Great Britain.

What are the ingredients of the perfect street party? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If Carling did street parties 

A good friend of mine confessed they had no ideas for the Jubilee street party about to take place outside their house. This anxiety was exacerbated by the fact they’d agreed to be on the organising committee and needed to come up with some ideas. Luckily my listeners came to the rescue. The perfect street party starts off with at least three barrels of rough cider. Bunting can be a great team-building opportunity – created by at least five people working seamlessly together is the perfect mix. Massive bowls of trifle, fish paste sandwiches, and cheese and pineapple on sticks have to be included. You need to embrace new technology, so as well as the obvious photos, how about something a bit more memorable? Find someone on the street who has a licence to use a drone and get it up high, recording the festivities, and share later on everyone’s smart phones. Finally, I love the idea of the ‘Know your neighbour’ competition. Someone needs to interview the whole street and dig for little snippets about their lives. This gets turned into a quiz which results in something like this… ‘Which person on the street has the middle name of Zebedee?’ Of course, it’s Alan at no 23. ‘Which person on the street got told off by Prince Philip when straying off the official course at Badminton?’ Of course, that was Mary at no 3. ‘Who has a cunningly concealed electronic tag on their ankle?’ Of course, it’s shy Derrick at No 48. 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

If you could have one item from a famous movie, what would it be? How about the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? - Credit: Rex

Memorabilia madness 

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If you could have one item from a famous movie, the actual thing from the film, what would it be? This was a question I posed after Dorothy’s dress from The Wizard of Oz was expected to fetch over a million dollars at auction. I would love the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the bike from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid when they rode around the garden to the song Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head. My listeners chose the following: The shark from Jaws, the canoe from Deliverance, Superman’s outfit, KITT from Knightrider, a DeLorean from Back to the Future, a Golden Snitch from Harry Potter, the Golden Ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, John Wayne’s hat from True Grit, the Aston Martin DBS from Dr No, Apollo Creed's shorts from Rocky III, John Travolta’s white suit from Saturday Night Fever, the flying cows from Twister, the green door from Notting Hill, the Harley-Davidson from Easy Rider, the Triumph motorbike from The Great Escape, Wilson the ball from Cast Away, and finally the most useful, as you can get a lot in it, Mary Poppins’s bag.

3D walking 

I’ve challenged my team and my listeners to try something new this summer. The simple premise is to take the walk you do on a regular basis and try it in three different ways. Firstly, do it at a much slower pace and heighten the senses by listening to the sounds around you. Take time to look at all the mundane or magical things you pass by every day. By slowing everything down I’m hoping people will see something different, experience something new and maybe appreciate something fresh for the first time. The second dimension is to find a different route from your starting point to your end destination, and thirdly stop and chat to someone you might see regularly but have never had the chance to start up a conversation with. Those who’ve tried it have found it deeply satisfying, even if my friend Sally on May Hill got completely lost, and her 20-minute walk took two hours! 

Email: cummings@bbc.co.uk