Louise Minchin and Annie Emmerson talk to BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood.
Carol Kirkwood is a British weather presenter, trained by the Met Office, and employed by the BBC, in particular on BBC Breakfast and Victoria Derbyshire. In 2015, she participated in the 13th series of BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, finishing in 10th place.
There's often a daredevil side to Carol's work. She can be found trying everything from racing high powered speed boats to a charity tandem ride for Children in Need. Somehow most Children in Need broadcasts find her trying something new, which usually involves dancing or singing live. She's appeared as part of the newsreaders' "Rocky Horror Show", The Weather Girls' "Raining Men", she's danced the Can-can and duetted on "Baby, It's Cold Outside".
In 2006 , she even learned to ice skate for charity - performing live for BBC One's New Year's Eve Special.
Carol talks to Louise and Annie about enjoying being active, from running and walking to cycling.
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Louise Minchin: 0:04
Welcome everybody to the Her Spirit podcast. You can hear Annie there. Hello, Annie, my gosh, it was so exciting to see you in person at the summer solstice, the Her Spirit swim.
Annie Emmerson: 0:15
Wowsers. Well, we had such a brilliant time, didn't we? I was on this high for days afterwards. The whole sort of camping, the whole four hours sleep thing, waking up at 10 to 5, your next door in your van, and then we go and swim five kilometers. And the most bizarre thing of all, the thousands of bloody miles I've swam in pools and lakes and races. That was the best, the most I've ever enjoyed it. We just had. It was just like 5k flew by somehow. I mean it should have felt like an eternity, but I think the fact that we made it a bit so sure. We had the odd little chat when we reached a boy. We stopped halfway through and had a little snack and it was just lovely to know that you were there on my toes and I was sort of helping give you a little bit of a draft, but you swam well. It was really good, it was just amazing.
Louise Minchin: 1:08
You know I get emotional about all sorts of weird things, Annie, but yeah, I had equally. I absolutely loved it. I loved seeing everybody from Her Spirit there. I loved everybody doing all the different distances, all the different kind of experiences that they had. It was incredible. And I loved swimming with you. You're right, 5k went super quick and all I was doing everybody listening was following Annie's two little feet around these lakes as close as I possibly could. And my favourite bit was one moment I touched your foot and I like you know, because normally in a pool you sort of touch it and I like stroked it really gently. I was like I don't want it to be upset with me. And then, yeah, I got quite emotional on the second, on the first lap, end of the first lap, I just got emotional thinking about all the time we spent together on this podcast, everybody who supported this podcast, and it's been so much part of getting me through the last year and a half and. I was literally virtually crying. Thankfully you didn't stop at that point, because I would have sent me over the edge. You were just everybody. She was like a machine. She was like come on, lou, let's get this done. And all the messages we got about, because we started at the back. We started late, didn't we, because my sister, hello Nikki, had been faffing about, so we started at the back and we just went through the field like a sort of crazy train, didn't we? And everybody was like we're going to just go. Oh my gosh, there's Louise and Annie as they zoom past. It was so funny.
Annie Emmerson: 2:27
I find it really hard to. It wasn't about being competitive, because there were so many brilliant people there just doing it for fun first time and it's quite daunting. I know that you get in a lake and if you haven't done it before, but I think what people found was they did it, and they were just like wow, I'm doing that again. But I do, sort of like, tend to have that competitive head on. It's not competitive. I want to beat people. It's like I've got 5k to do and if you'd have stopped and had a blubber, I would have said oh, for goodness sake, pull yourself together, just get done, for goodness sake do the crying afterwards girl. It was really fun anyway, so 10k next time, yeah, yeah, I think we're going to do the 10k next time, although the following oh, I didn't think you'd say yes, yeah. The following day, though, my arms, they're not used to swimming and I've only got like little scrawny arms, haven't I? They were like ripped to pieces, like my biceps hurt, my triceps hurt, everything hurt, did they? Yeah, everything hurt, oh, yeah, well, you didn't, I was fine. Oh god, alright, show off.
Louise Minchin: 3:24
I went for a swim last night and actually I was feeling it then. So, yeah, thank you so much, mel and Holly and everybody who volunteered, who organised it genuinely was a really wonderful event and next year we'll get our guest on. She's been looking at her face. I'm going to do the introduction. She looks really shocked. I'm going to do the introductions. Gosh, I've known our guest at least 20 years, which is something I'll explain right in a minute. She is the one and only the best weather presenter that there is in the UK who keeps me company and the whole nation company on BBC Breakfast, I think. Is it four? Is it four? It's at least four days a week. Is it five? Now four or five Four?
Carol Kirkwood: 4:06
Louise Minchin: 4:07
Carol Kirkwood: 4:09
I just love to see you. Oh Lou, what a lovely introduction, and thank you for inviting me to do this with you and Annie. It's such a pleasure. And as for next year in your 10k, forget it.
Louise Minchin: 4:22
But, Carol, there's every different distance. You can do 1k, 2.5, 5, 10, honestly, it's really fun. The lake was really warm. How are you?
Carol Kirkwood: 4:34
I don't know how you are with cold water swimming. My goodness, do you know what? When I swim, I swim with my neck right out of the water. I can't swim with my face in the water. 10k would kill me, lou.
Louise Minchin: 4:45
I'm not asking you to turn, it's just a little one, and there were lots of. You'd find lots of like minded souls, wouldn't you, Annie? There were lots of people swimming breaststroke.
Annie Emmerson: 4:53
There were. I mean amazing, because I think it would be really tough to do 5k breaststroke. You know it's a tough stroke.
Louise Minchin: 5:01
I mean that meant the one case. Well, the what I don't know where they're from. I'm trying to encourage her here.
Annie Emmerson: 5:08
Listen, I tell you what I'm loving about Carol is. I know she is a girl after my own heart because obviously we're all on Zoom and I can see a nice picture behind Carol, but on the sort of on my screen to the left of her, I can see this wine rack and I can see 8 bottles of wine up there and I just thought I love her already. Love her already. It's my second passion after sport, carol wine.
Carol Kirkwood: 5:32
Excellent, you went the one on the other side of me as well. Have you got two? They can never have too much wine, can you Never Tell?
Louise Minchin: 5:40
us about the wine. What kind? Because I can see it looks like red wine.
Carol Kirkwood: 5:42
There's red and white, I like them both, and rosy for that matter. Let's not be discriminatory here. I like the lot.
Annie Emmerson: 5:50
And we like to be a champagne and a bit of fizz as well. Throw that in the mix too.
Louise Minchin: 5:54
You're making me sound like an alcoholic. Never, and we'll talk about. Let's talk about what time you get up. You can get up at the time you and I get up and drink those wines, probably on the day, but I don't know. So, carol, so everybody very well knows on this podcast get up at sort of like 3.40, but you actually wake up considerably earlier than that, don't you?
Carol Kirkwood: 6:13
Yes, I get up at 2.45 because I've got so much to do. I drive into work park, run from the car park, then when you get in you have to sanitise the studio, sanitise all the computers, sanitise your workstation before you even start doing your job. So there's a lot to do before you start building shows and having conferences and all that stuff. But you know what lots of people say to me you must be so used to getting up at this time of day now because you've done it for so many years, but you never, ever get used to it. It's still the middle of the night and boy, it feels like it too.
Louise Minchin: 6:52
That makes me feel sort of better because, as everybody well knows, after 20 years of doing it well since I first did it, I'm now just because of the hours, carol, they're grueling. They really are. So how do you because I have a big news in the day how do you deal with it?
Carol Kirkwood: 7:10
I just move my day back, so I get up at 4.30 and I go to bed at 8 o'clock. I remember our friend Bill Turnbull saying to me Kierke, you should have a snooze when you get in, like a par snooze, and I tried doing that, but it made me feel sick and when I got up I was then worried I wouldn't sleep in the evening, which is exactly what happened. So it just didn't work. Plus, it's the best time of the day. When I get home at lunchtime, you've got the rest of the afternoon to enjoy. Meet your friends in the summer, go for a nice long walk, you know, just it's good. The only thing is you feel you're missing out in the evening, especially when you're having a real sight, having a nice time, or, you know, going for a wander, going to a pub by the river or something like that, and you think, oh, I'd like to do that, but you know you can't have it always. And a lot of my friends don't work, and so it's nice to see them during the day, and it doesn't interrupt their lives either, because then in the evening they still have their family time with their loved ones.
Annie Emmerson: 8:11
Go on, Annie. I was going to say you get weekends off though, don't you?
Carol Kirkwood: 8:14
Yes, and I only work Monday to Thursday now, so I've got Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is almost as much as I'm working, almost just a day short. If it was an eight day week, Annie, I'd be in clover.
Louise Minchin: 8:27
Yeah, it's really interesting that because you just got to do, I suppose, what fits with not just your sort of biology but also your life, because for me I have to be with the girls in the evening, so that's why I have to kind of do that sleep in the day, and sometimes when I'm having that sleep in the day, I feel like it's so beautiful out there. I should be like doing something or enjoying it, and it's anyway. You just. I say we're not complaining, are we Carol? It's just a way of coping. And, Annie, I want Carol to tell you about how and everybody who's listening the reason she's on, by the way, everybody is because she's got her first novel out, which is just awesome. It's really good. We'll come to that in a minute, but I just want to talk to everybody, explain to everybody, because you stand there and you watch her everybody. She's completely flawless. She never stumbles, she never ums, she never rs, and this is all. I have auto cue right, so I can read the words, and I don't often, I don't always read them exactly as they are, but Carol has nothing. She remembers this all. So how do you do?
Carol Kirkwood: 9:31
it. There's two different ways, because oh bless you, lou, for saying that You're such a sweetheart when I'm in the studio, I can see my graphics in reverse. So when I say that I'm looking into what would be an auto cue camera, and that's where I see them in reverse. Behind me there's a green screen and there's nothing. So I look at the camera and then point to London or Birmingham or Manchester, edinburgh, wherever, and then turn around and look at my hand. So I'm always in the right place from that point of view. But I visualize it all. When I'm on location, I don't have anything at all no monitors, nothing, no graphics, absolutely zilch. So then I really do visualize it. I draw a picture of the UK as two triangles on top of each other, so upside down, and Ireland, including obviously Northern Ireland in the sea, is an oval, and then I'll put a weather front on it and if I can remember where that weather front is, I can tell you what the weather is. So it's just done like that. It's weird because I've been doing it for so long. It's second nature. I mean, I couldn't do what you do in a million years.
Louise Minchin: 10:38
Well, it's just. I know what you think. It's incredible, isn't it? And then she's on location. I can hear the director going and I can't remember what he says, but he just tells you what the charts are, doesn't he, or she, by the way, yeah.
Carol Kirkwood: 10:50
They will say something like right, we're on the charts, we're on the morning, we're on temperatures, we're on tomorrow, we're on tonight's or whatever it might be. So that's how I keep up with the charts and in a way it's quite good, because if my time is shortened for any reason, if there's breaking news, instead of having two minutes and 15 seconds I may just have one minute. It's easier to condense it. And it's the same when we lose the graphics it doesn't make any difference to me, because I can't see them anyway.
Louise Minchin: 11:19
What do you think, Annie? It's incredible, isn't it?
Annie Emmerson: 11:22
I think it's absolutely fantastic, amazing. I guess it's the passion, it's the love, it's the experience. I could never do it because I wouldn't have the fluidity, that's for sure. But I'm sort of listening to you talking about the weather like so passionately and so knowledgeably or not so much of the weather, but how you deliver it and I'm wondering where did it all start, the journey of you know what? I'm going to be a weather specialist.
Carol Kirkwood: 11:45
Do you know what? So much of my life has happened by accident, and that certainly was the case with weather. I had a different career to start with. I was in consultancy and, long story short, I fancied having a bash at television presenting and I'd worked as a secretary at the BBC when I was a student and I had a few friends there and a vacancy came up in television training. None of that is broadcast, but basically you're the stooge presenter and you're there with lots of other people like vision mixers, directors, producers, who are all training and so you learn with them as they make the mistakes, because it's treated as a live program. So I loved it. And then when the local cable channel opened up near me, I applied to them for a job, which I got, and that was all working for nothing, as many of us often do, and I did everything except for directing it again because it was recorded as live. And then that closed down. They lost the franchise and one of the chaps there asked if he could be my agent because he wanted to be an agent and I didn't have one. It was a catch-22. If you are well-known, agents will fall over themselves to represent you, but if you're not, nobody wants to know. So, as it happened, this chap was in a pub one night and he met the chairman of the American Weather Channel. So he said I've got you an audition, I've sold you in. I was thinking I don't want to do the weather, I've got no meteorological skills whatsoever. But he said don't worry, the Met Office will train you. So off, I went to ITV to have this audition and it was love at first sight. As we were saying earlier, just running your finger down a weather front that you can't actually see is so satisfying it really is. And just the weather was so interesting. So I got that job, went off to Atlanta, worked for the Weather Channel, was trained by them, came back to the UK where the Weather Channel was based in London, and was trained by the Met Office and the forecasters there. And then, when I got the job at the BBC, when the Weather Channel moved out of Europe and just stayed in America, I got the job on what was then News 24, then had to go off and do exams with the Met Office. But I love the weather. Do you know? It changes every single day, as Lou will know. Because I'll be telling you one thing today, lou, for the weekend, and then it's changed again, which is very annoying, but it does. We live in an island, so it's very changeable. And at the end of the day, too, I don't have to worry about. Well, that went wrong because there's nothing I can do about it. And there's nothing I could have done about it because the information we had at the time was valid and correct at the time. And so I go home and I just have to let it go. In the early days I'd be thinking no rain come on. I said it was going to rain by two. But now I think, well, it's annoying, but I can't do anything about it. But I love my job.
Louise Minchin: 14:43
I love the weather and you're so much loved. I mean, Annie, the love that comes back from the audience to Carol is something to behold. It's really lovely, it's very touching. And I always, always try and listen out, don't I, carol? Because this is terrible. But when we're on the weather, there's a lot of stuff going on in the gallery, but I'm always listening to Carol to hear what she's doing, whether it's, I don't know, rainy, what is it today? It's a pretty horrible state here, carol, and try not to blame you for the weather. And then, just again, so, because there'll be people listening who, you know, who might have I don't know might fancy a job and doing your job or whatever. So what's really interesting? When we go on location, we're both in the same place, because you, of course, we have to do our own makeup now. But normally, when we were having our makeup done which seems like 20 million years ago you'd be on a conference. So you have a conference in the morning, don't you? With who? And I see you trantically taking notes Is that with the Met Office?
Carol Kirkwood: 15:38
It used to be with the Met Office, now it's with Meteor Group, but it's the same principle, yes, so we have a chance to discuss the weather and ask questions, and so on.
Louise Minchin: 15:47
Right, and then I just let's go back. So you start on News 24, which is where I started as well. And what year was that, Carol? I?
Carol Kirkwood: 15:55
feel bad asking. It's about 23 or 24 years ago, lou. It's a long old haul, long time ago.
Louise Minchin: 16:02
And then you went straight from the news channel to breakfast.
Carol Kirkwood: 16:05
Yeah, well, I did the news channel and then I did the one six and 10 and BBC World and online. I've done every channel on the BBC as far as weather is concerned, and then went on to breakfast. I did breakfast as part of that, then went exclusively on to breakfast, and doing that was much easier for my lifestyle because it was regular hours. There were early hours, but they were regular, instead of going from an early shift to an afternoon shift, to two overnight shifts, night shifts I don't know how anybody does them they take my hat off to anybody that does but I used to find them dreadful. I couldn't sleep before, during or after them, so it was a wreck.
Annie Emmerson: 16:44
Tell me, I mean, you've been in front of the camera. I don't know how many hours, thousands of hours in your careers have you ever had to deal with like a major cock up of some sort in front of the? I mean, you must have done that.
Lisa Ashcroft: 17:00
Great great question Annie.
Annie Emmerson: 17:01
What is the worst one?
Lisa Ashcroft: 17:03
Annie Emmerson: 17:04
And how do you deal with it? There must be one that stands out. I mean, I remember in the Olympics in Rio 2016, calling Gordon Brown in the race. It was actually Gordon Benson and Matt's looking at me going Gordon Brown, and I'm like no, gordon Brown's definitely not in the race. I mean, but I'm behind the cameras, I'm not like you. You're face to camera, everyone's watching you and you must have some tricky moments.
Carol Kirkwood: 17:29
There are two and one evolves, lou. So one I was on a beach in Bournemouth and delivering the weather and I handed back and Lou was killing herself, laughing. As you can see, she's very good at doing that. Bless her, we love her and I'm known to me. A dog had decided to have a whipsie behind me and you were laughing and I had no clue what was going on. But because your laugh is so infectious, and more recently, oh, there was an horrendous one. I was in Greenwich Park and I was with a different cameraman and he wanted to rehearse what we were going to say. And during my spiel, before the weather, there are various keywords for the camera the cameraman, so that he knows to move the camera to the side. And then when I say today's forecast, that's my cue to the director to tell the vision mixer to drop down the graphics. So we use keywords all along. But I was saying to him I need to say look at this fabulous view from Greenwich Park and you can see we've been watching people walking their dogs and joggers all morning. So we did that and then came back. We rehearsed the move Today's forecast is and he said do you mind if we do it one more time. And he said of course not, we can do it as many times as you like. So we rehearsed it again. All perfectly, cameraman, superb did his job, we did it live. And I came out with good morning Well, lou, we've been watching doggers all morning in Greenwich Park. And then, worse, I said no, not doggers. So I said again, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry Well, there was a security guard with us and he was literally doubled over. The cameraman was straight and somebody barked in my ear we're on the charts. And I thought, oh, I'm in trouble. And then afterwards I was trying not to get the giggles through the middle of it, and afterwards I had to phone the editor and say I've just said we've been watching doggers all morning. And he said I know, I heard. Oh. And he said you've apologized for it, so it's all right, but it went round the world. Oh, the shame.
Annie Emmerson: 19:42
I think, in all this, you have to. You know what you girls are doing, you know it can be really serious at times for all sorts of different reasons, but I always kind of believe we have to keep a sense of humour, don't we? If it's not life or death, then we, you know, we have to keep a sense of humour, you know? And we are human beings. Are human beings make mistakes, right? Yeah, totally, some more than others Annie.
Louise Minchin: 20:06
That's not true. That's not true. It's live television. One of my favourite moments while we're doing it was when Mike was in. Do you remember, Annie, when Mike was in where? was he he was interviewing the swimmers in Rio. Oh no, actually, mark's going to say no, I was going to say it was, I thought it was Australia. I was going to say I thought it was Australia, anyway. So then he fell into the pool while interviewing and then that thing that you do, carol, which is like trying carry on when obviously the whole nation is absolutely wetting themselves with laughter and you're just like, oh try, but oh God, anyway, absolutely brilliant. I'm glad that I was there for both of them and they both involved dogs of a difference, of a different sort, and it was the producer's dog that did the, wasn't it? Oh, dear Carol, take me back. So I know you come for the most beautiful place in Scotland, because I texted you a few years ago when I was up there for the Commonwealth Games actually, and I'm going to pronounce it wrong, so I'm going to let you say where you come from.
Carol Kirkwood: 21:03
It's a wee village called Mordor. That's M-O-R-A-R, so it's quite hard to say, but it's beautiful. You know, in the sunshine it's like the Caribbean sand dunes silver, powdery, like talc, almost sand. It's gorgeous.
Louise Minchin: 21:18
Oh, and I was there on the most beautiful day, really hot, it was like unseasonably hot, I'm going to say Carol probably said that on the telly and the water was flat. I went for a swim Annie, you know swims, loving swims. It was beautifully flat and, like you say, the silkiness of the sand was just stunning. So a really beautiful place to come from. Tell us a little bit about life there, because it's also kind of it's a small village, isn't it really it's so funny because when you're there as a child you think, oh, there's nothing to do here.
Carol Kirkwood: 21:50
And as an adult you go back and you think, wow, this is stunningly beautiful. But we were very much outdoors kids. I come from a big family and you know we'd go out with dad in the autumn and we'd go and collect nuts and things like that. We'd go fishing and we always put them back. We never liked to take them home for little tiddlers and we did long walks. We'd go to the beach and collect clams and Wilks and mussels, that kind of thing. It was just very much a fresh air existence and it's beautiful there. The Gulf Stream runs past it, so you get lots of tropical trees and tropical gardens and, because of the amount of rain as well, everything is very lush. So growing up there was gorgeous. And after school I would come home, put on my swimsuit, jump on my bike, meet my friends and we'd go off for a swim. You know, cycle in the swim. It was just part of our routine that we did. But in those days we didn't have computers and things Probably hadn't been invented actually, and also our television was really very much monitored. So it was a case of you can watch Blue Peter, you can watch Newsround, and that was it. You know, if you were watching the telly, then it was homework time. My parents were very, very keen on education and making sure we had the best education that we could, so homework was paramount, and my mum in her formative years was actually a school teacher, so she was very much into that kind of thing as well. But oh, now when I go back, I'm thinking why did I think there was nothing to do? It's gorgeous, gorgeous. I'm talking about my teen years when I thought there was nothing to do. Other people were going out to you know discos and things, and we did have discos in the local village hall, so it wasn't the same as going to a club you know that some of my other friends were going to in other towns and cities around the place, but it was different. Now, my goodness, I'm going back in the summer, actually, and I cannot wait.
Annie Emmerson: 23:43
Oh, you come from a big family. You said that you ate your eight siblings, aren't you?
Carol Kirkwood: 23:48
Yes, that's right and it's so good. When I was growing up again, you know Christmas, for example, was so exciting because we all had a routine and you know all the presents. You imagine eight times eight how many presents that was. And also you know you have your presents from Santa and your aunties and the room is just full of presents, and we're not talking about things like computers. You know I might get some talk from one of my sisters or some chocolate, but that was brilliant and you were so excited by that. And then we would go down, you know, to church on Easter Sunday, easter Sunday, on Christmas Day. We did an Easter Sunday as well and all your friends were there and it was very you're very involved with the school and singing and all this stuff. It was quite an idyllic, very happy childhood, actually, when you look back again, something you take very much for granted.
Annie Emmerson: 24:41
It's funny because when you watch you speak, apart from the fact that I just love your voice and I could listen to your accent all day long you are always smiling, always smiling. But do you ever have a moment when you don't feel like smiling? I mean, we watch you on TV. I've watched you for years and you know you're just such a joy and you know that come from having lots of brothers and sisters.
Carol Kirkwood: 25:04
Thanks, Annie. Yes, I think it did, because we were taught to share and appreciate. You know what we have and I still very much feel like that. But you asked if I'm ever grand-pee. Yes, quarter to three in the morning when that alarm goes off, slam Snooms. So yes, and sometimes you know, when things like the technology doesn't work and you're doing everything and I'm useless with technology, I do my best it's like no, come on, because we're on a collapsing time frame, we've got deadlines right through our shifts. All of us do so. Things like that don't make me feel very happy.
Louise Minchin: 25:41
I love that phrase collapsing time frame. I'm going to use that, carol, I love that, and no, so, yeah, no, I honestly, even when she's grumpy, she's not grumpy, Annie, do you know what I mean? She's just charming.
Carol Kirkwood: 25:52
She's never grumpy, but yes, I do get grumpy. But generally speaking, I am very aware of how lucky I am and now I was saying earlier that you know things have happened to me just because I was there at the time and that's pure luck rather than anything else. So I'm very aware of that, very grateful for where I have and I've got friends. I mean, Lou, we've known each other, we've been friends for donkeys years and you know, if I ever have an issue, I know I can phone you and have done yeah, and we do. We do chat, don't we? What can I do about this? I'm really concerned about something and you're such a good, honest, loyal friend that you will give me good, solid advice and I really do appreciate that. And Annie, you're going to be on my list now as well.
Annie Emmerson: 26:36
Good, I want to be on your list, carol, I really do.
Louise Minchin: 26:40
When I was leaving breakfast, when I was telling it, I phoned Carol and I was like I need to speak to you and I was like are you like driving? She goes, yeah, yeah, what is it, what is it? And I was like no, no, I'll phone you later when you're not driving. Are you leaving? I was like I was trying to not tell you when you're driving. I'm so interested in what you say about your. It's so evocative what you're saying about the swimming and the bike rides, and I know that exercise is very much. It is part of your life, isn't it?
Carol Kirkwood: 27:08
So last, it was very much part of my life. I love running, which I didn't think I ever would. In fact, it was a BBC initiative that got me started running, called Be Inspired, and I really didn't want to run. It's just something I've never felt comfortable doing physically. However, they said, well, if you feel you don't want to do it, this is a good challenge for you, so do the couch to 5K. So I did it and you're a starter off and thought this is mostly walking, this is fine. And then there's the big leap where you suddenly go from walking to running. Yeah, but you know, by then I thought, okay, if I can't do it, I'll just stick on this day until I can. But actually I did do it and you just think, yeah, who, you have just met that challenge that I didn't ever think I would be able to. And then when you do the 5K, oh my goodness, you are skipping afterwards. And I just kept doing it until last year, like cycling as well, and I've done lots of charity bike rides like London to Brighton, palace to Palace, that kind of thing quite a few times. But I was out on my bike during lockdown and I got hit from behind by a car and that has destroyed my confidence on cycling on the road Now completely destroyed it. I tried it and it was so nervous of cars coming alongside me that I thought I'm going to wobble and I'm going to fall off. I'm just not going to do it. And as for running, because I've damaged my knee and my thumb in particular, I haven't got back into running. So I speedwalk and that's my exercise and I go for it so probably faster than I was running, but I do that as regular exercise and I love it because that takes you into the fresh air and even I think I'm getting old because even things like nature and listening to the birds tweeting and I saw a woodpecker the other day and that kind of stuff that I've never really appreciated before before lockdown actually. So all these things have been positive, but I hope one day to get back on my bike Do you know what we'll do.
Louise Minchin: 29:11
We've got a wonderful on her spirit, Carol. We've got a wonderful bike coach called Michelle, and we'll get her to get in touch with you because we've done quite a lot of work. Or a mel and Holly have at her spirit about bike confidence. And you know, that's absolutely you know you had a really horrid accident, you know, and if you hadn't worn a helmet, you know, things could have been quite different, couldn't they? So it's not surprising you feel that at all.
Carol Kirkwood: 29:35
Yeah, if I hadn't worn my helmet I would have face planted. I've got a huge nose, as you can see. So my nose hit the deck and had a lovely big black bruise in it. But my helmet had a peak at the front and that's what stopped me my face hitting the ground. But I'll never forget that accident. It was horrific. My knee was absolutely battered. There were nerves apparently hanging out of it, the sort of blood and you know it was all the way down to my kneecap. But fortunately my kneecap was okay and bruises all over my body. But anyway you get over that kind of thing. But it's weird because sometimes I'll dream about it and I can still hear that crunch of the car hitting the back of my bike. I can't really talk about that, oh darling.
Annie Emmerson: 30:21
Don't, oh, darling. I mean, we ride bikes.
Louise Minchin: 30:25
I'm going to give you a hug?
Annie Emmerson: 30:25
Let's just send her a hug.
Louise Minchin: 30:26
I'm going to send you a big hug. Give her a big hug, yeah.
Annie Emmerson: 30:29
It's A lovely couple it is. You know it's a dangerous, you know it's a dangerous thing and you know we are at the mercy of the cars on the road and it is pretty damn scary. I'm so happy you were wearing a helmet because you know, I'm sort of I'm a bit kind of like sick of you risks and stuff, but I've always been a massive one for helmets on a bike because we are so vulnerable. So thank goodness you did have a helmet on. I mean, I'm sort of sensing that you are a very outdoorsy person and so it's important for you to be outside. But you know what? Come and join the classes that Michelle does online, the virtual classes on the bike. So they so that's.
Louise Minchin: 31:09
I'm addicted to them, carol. So we do classes where on like static bikes, so inside bikes, so you still get the same kind of adrenaline and stuff and in a different way. You're not on the outside but you're getting your outside-ness from walking and things aren't you, but you know they've been really brilliant and I know lots of people have got confidence from that and then being able to go out on their bikes. But it's totally understandable and I just feel gutted for you actually, because it's clearly something that you loved, yes, yes.
Carol Kirkwood: 31:34
Well, that's a good idea. I will Thank you, girls.
Louise Minchin: 31:38
Oh, thank you. So what are we going to talk about? I want to talk about oh, so we're going to come to the book in a minute. Okay, promise, because I was up at 1.30 in the morning reading it. Okay, let's talk about the book now because, honestly, Annie, it's like one of those gifts when and if we can go on holiday. I'm suggesting it. Actually, if you don't go on holiday, you need this book because it'll make it you feel like you're on holiday. It's called Under a Greek Moon and it's a love story, isn't it, carol?
Carol Kirkwood: 32:04
Yes, it is. It's a love story with twists and turns. I wanted to write a book about the kind of thing that I like reading when I'm on holiday. So a bit of romance, bit of glamour, bit of movies and nice locations, and that's what I try to do in this. But I didn't want a straightforward love story where you've got the beginning and you can almost work out the happy ending at the end. If there is one, I wanted a few twists and turns in it, and I've never written a book before. What an experience I mean I know you have.
Louise Minchin: 32:35
But Not like you, though. This is a novel. This comes from your imagination. It's incredible, but you know it's funny.
Carol Kirkwood: 32:41
Lou, because I've put myself out there and it is from my brain and so if everybody doesn't like it, they don't like what I've actually written. But writing a book it's exciting. So that came about by accident as well. I've been asked to write books before, either about the weather myself or fiction, and I've always thought, well, I can't write a book and nobody would be interested in my story and I'm really private anyway, and there's lots of weather books out already by far bigger brains than me. So I thought this time, when somebody asked me if I'd be interested, I would meet them and just see what was involved. And anyway, this lovely chat. Publishing editor Kermah Cray said what would you write about? And I said just that Glamour movies, hollywood, nice destinations, escapism, basically. And he said, yeah, that sounds good, why don't you do me a draft? And before I knew it, I was writing a book. It just happened like that. But I got so into it and I'll give you a tip For writing my book. I didn't sit and type any more than I sat and wrote it out in longhand. I got my iPad, hit the microphone and dictated it so much quicker and then you remember everything you want to say and then you can go back in and you can edit it or add other bits, but the book has it's different from the one I started with in that it's evolved through the process and it's had six different endings until I came up with the ending that I liked the best, the strongest ending.
Louise Minchin: 34:10
Wow, I haven't got to the ending. I'm about what? Probably three quarters of the way through. I love that it could have different endings. It seems so because we have talked to Kate Moss, didn't we here the writer, didn't we Annie and the kind of process and I love hearing writers saying that you know the characters sort of lead the way. It sounds to me just like an extraordinary adventurous thing to do.
Carol Kirkwood: 34:32
They do, and you become very much involved and protective of your characters as well. So you know what they would and wouldn't do, what the wooden wouldn't say and what the wooden wouldn't wear, and where they would go and how they would react in different situations. And it's it really is exciting. You know, if you've never tried writing a book, have a bash. What's the worst thing that can happen. You'll have fun, it's really good and it's it really. I love to unleash the imagination and just let it go and see where it takes you, and that in itself is an exciting experience.
Louise Minchin: 35:11
Tell me about the locations, because a lot of it is on this, on this island. I don't know whether the island actually exists. Is it an island, right? Fine, so it's in Greece. I've been to Greece and you can feel it in your words. You know you clearly to me.
Carol Kirkwood: 35:23
I think know Greece quite well when I was a student especially, I used to go to Greece in the summer holidays. So you would work in the summer holidays, earn some money, go to the travel agent in those days, you know, and go for a bucket shop, as they used to be called, holiday. You'd say I've got 200 pounds, I've got two weeks. What have you got? And nine times out of 10, it would be Greece. So myself, when one of my chums from uni would go off and we would go to Greece, sometimes we didn't even know where we were staying until we arrived at the airport. But that didn't matter. You know, you were young and free and adventurous, and the visual imagery of Greece is so vibrant in my mind's eye and I always give the example of, you know, the gentle lapping waves with the bright sunlight just pulling down and making the waves twinkle like diamonds, and then this stark white of the buildings with the blue or terracotta roofs and the red bougainvillea. It's such a distinctive memory. And also things like there's a bit in it where I talk about the fishermen, you know. So the tavernas in the evening are busy with the cluttering of cutlery and the. You know people chatting and then you can hear the fishermen, you know, gathering the nets and things. I remember all that and that was partly why I wrote the book in my era. So the main character is the same age as me and I thought that was probably a good way of starting, because I can relate to her experiences in the sense that I know what the world was like in the first 40 years of her life. I'm not 40, sadly, but I'm older. The book ends before the current day, but then I thought I can describe things as I remember them, as I was growing up.
Louise Minchin: 37:10
That's really interesting because I wondered how much of you were in her and your friend Roxy and Annie, and she's already given us a hint on this podcast. You know Carol has deep and strong friendships which you know I see you going, you go off to I think it's New York with your sister every year and you know you give me, you know, wonderful friendship and there is that in the book as well.
Carol Kirkwood: 37:32
Yes, the story itself doesn't relate to me or my life or any characters in my life.
Lisa Ashcroft: 37:39
I like the way you say that.
Carol Kirkwood: 37:41
I just claim it.
Louise Minchin: 37:42
It's clear, but no it's actually true Demeterous is not in your life.
Carol Kirkwood: 37:48
I wish he was, but no, he's not, so no, there's nothing like that. But yes, friendship is very important to me, and trust and loyalty is as well, and I would like to think I give that to my friends and I certainly get that back from them, including yourself, lou, so that is hugely important to me.
Annie Emmerson: 38:10
We've talked about the sort of more you know sensible side of you, the worker, the writer. But there's another side to you and you've done something that I will I think I can categorically say I will never, ever do, and that's jump out of an aeroplane.
Carol Kirkwood: 38:26
Oh, Annie, do you know what? I did that for the one show and I thought just do it, just do it, get over yourself. Lots of people do this and I was with the Red Devils, so you know they're experts and I remember going up in the plane and getting really nervous and you know they're used to jumping out of planes. It's like you and me having a cup of tea, kind of thing. So we got up nearly to the height we were going to jump from and I said to the Red Devils that I was going to be doing the tandem jump with If we get up here, and I say, no, is that okay? And he said, up here, carol? No, sounds like go. So that was that. But the most terrifying bit of that was when you just before jumping. So he's sitting on the edge of the plane, you're outside it with your heels against the undercarriage of the plane and your arms outstretched, and then whoof out, you go and it's terrifying at that point. But then you relax and the parachute opens and you just think, wow, look at this. And as soon as you come down you want to go back up and do it again.
Louise Minchin: 39:35
It's exhilarating, it's fabulous it made me feel a little bit sick that.
Annie Emmerson: 39:40
Yeah, it made me feel not a little bit very sick and have you? I mean, I think from a quote that I've read about you, you've kind of got braver as you've got older and sometimes it works the other way. But I love that because I guess as you get older it's a bit like writing a book. It's like I'm going to write the book and stuff what other people say I'm going to be brave, I'm going to jump out of a plane, I'm going to fly with the Red Devil. That's something that's come with age, right? Yes, definitely.
Carol Kirkwood: 40:04
Definitely. Life is short, enjoy it. You know, as far as we know, we're only here once, so just do it, just do it. I mean, I was with experts so I wasn't afraid of her. To myself, I was afraid of jumping out of the plane, but then, as soon as I did, it was fine, and this is the same. I was very lucky and I've flown in a red arrow. And there I thought, my goodness, am I ever going to get these enormous hips in here, because they're very narrow? But I did and we were sedately going along, and then you have to wear the G outfit, you know, and the oxygen mask and all that. And then the chappy that was taking me out said, right, we're going to do some maneuvers now. So we started doing loops and shot up towards the moon and then shot back down and I was like, oh, I feel sick. I feel sick. I wasn't actually sick. So we went level again and, you know, we went upside down, did a couple of rolls and things, and I thought, whew. And he said, are you feeling okay now? And I said, yeah. So whew, off. We went again and I came out of that red arrow thinking, oh, my goodness, I couldn't speak. I was meant to do a piece of camera but I couldn't speak. But again, again, it was incredible. Oh, my goodness, how lucky. Not many people get to do that. How lucky was I. Really, that's part of the job. We get to do things, lou, don't we that? You? know what I always get to do, and what a privilege I also get to meet people.
Louise Minchin: 41:35
Do we talk about Brian Adams?
Carol Kirkwood: 41:38
Yes, let's how long have we got?
Louise Minchin: 41:40
Well, we've got a long, long time left. I mean to say she's a massive fan is an understatement, isn't it Carol?
Carol Kirkwood: 41:47
I love Brian Adams' music. He's brilliant and you know I've been lucky enough to meet him a couple of times and he is so humble for somebody so talented. He's so humble and so lovely. And gosh Lou, can I stop for a second?
Louise Minchin: 42:04
Is it Brian Adams? Maybe, it is.
Annie Emmerson: 42:07
Maybe he's going to put in a surprise appearance.
Louise Minchin: 42:09
Sorry about this, chaps. One of my favorite things, Annie, as she answers her door, was we made her do. I think it was for children in need, carol. We made you do, didn't we? For children in need, where you had to, in one minute, I think, do as many Brian Adams references in a weather forecast. Was that right?
Carol Kirkwood: 42:24
Yes, that's right, and that was good fun. And there was another time too, also for children in need. And Lou, I think you may even have been there at Carfest, where Brian Adams was the headline act, and Chris Evans had very kindly said if I gave a donation to children in need, I could introduce them on stage. So that was a no-brainer. So, anyway, long story short, chris was on just before me and then Chris started to say, rightly so, you know, brian is so talented, he's so humble, he's so generous, et cetera, et cetera, Everything I was going to say. So I was thinking, oh, what am I going to say? Because I am a super fan, I'm going to sound ridiculous and all I could think of was his song titles. So I said, is anybody here a Brian Adams fan? Which of course the whole crowd was, because he was the headline act. So I went, yes, I said, well, you understand this, and I was buying time, basically to get my brain going. So I said, well, each brand new day, which is a Brian Adams track when I get up, another track, that's another track. When I get up, oh, it cuts like a knife. Another track, especially after a night, to remember, cuts like a knife. And so it went on and Brian came on and blessed me, said that's a best introduction, but I'm sure he would have said that anyway, because he's a lovely man. Did you make that up the top of your head?
Annie Emmerson: 43:41
Yes, that's impressive. That's so impressive To think like that under pressure my brain would be going oh my goodness.
Louise Minchin: 43:50
Oh, that's that, anyway. So yeah, we love that you're a fan, and we do tease you a bit on the program, don't we?
Carol Kirkwood: 43:57
Poor Brian. He's probably thinking not again.
Louise Minchin: 44:01
Stop talking about me, listen. And the other thing, the thing that comes clearly through. All I know about you again is friendship, and you've got a great friendship with Judy Murray as well, aren't you? Are you actually real friends? You are Okay, because I'm like it should have been. I know you. She's one. We've had her on the podcast.
Carol Kirkwood: 44:19
Oh yes, I know, I don't know I'm sending surprised, I know. And Judy is Such good fun. She's got a brilliant sense of humor and she always makes me laugh. She's just a lovely, lovely lady and she.
Louise Minchin: 44:33
She had quite a lot to tell us, didn't she? About exercise and Jets. So do you remember? Jets are just enough to stay alive with her approach to exercise. And also, I can't remember what her balanced diet was. But what's your balanced diet, carol? You made me laugh and I told you when I asked you this couple of days ago a glass of wine in one hand and a Bar of chocolate in the other refreshing.
Annie Emmerson: 44:56
Yeah, I would do, I would do. Mine is a black coffee and a cream egg or a twirl and or a glass of wine in a packet of Chris. So I can't do the sweet with the wine, do the sweet with the coffee, definitely.
Carol Kirkwood: 45:11
How do you eat your cream?
Annie Emmerson: 45:12
egg, Annie? Good question. So I think you've got to bite the top off and then you sort of get a bit of the cream out, don't you? And then you just shove the whole thing in. I had a really bad time. We did talk about my cream egg thing, didn't we? Going on, I, I was sort of, I think, one day when I hit three in one day, I thought, you know, I kind of had to start raining it in Because, you know, yeah, I just thought, you know, maybe one cream egg a day, but not three. That was a bit over the top. But Carol.
Louise Minchin: 45:39
Then what do you do? Because I have I like have breakfast before. When do I have breakfast? I have breakfast about 6, 30 Actually. What do you do when you're working?
Carol Kirkwood: 45:45
I have tea in the morning and then have breakfast, which is normally something at all brand and at about quarter past nine, gosh. So you don't have anything. No, because when I first started doing this job, I would have something to eat. When I got up and just basically find I was incorporating another meal Into the day, so instead of having three of us having four. So I thought, no, I don't need anything. I'm on the go all the time, as you are, lou, at work, and I need to, and so at the end of the shift or the end of the Breakfast shift, I'll have something to eat.
Louise Minchin: 46:19
I expect you get used to it. I couldn't get through the program if I didn't eat, so I eat something at 6 30 and that was exactly what I told Dan when he arrived. Because, exactly like you, nobody ever tells you this. Carol, when you start doing hours like that, you start very quickly adding an, a whole extra meal into your day. And then I was finding, obviously that was, you know, making my dresses fit a little bit differently, to be honest with you, and then I just luckily discovered triathlon and stuff so that. So that kind of helps me on the way, but it's difficult. And, carol, just tell us a little bit about the one show that I I'm on a lifetime ban from. It is, of course, the one, and only strictly come dancing.
Carol Kirkwood: 47:00
Strictly was amazing and it's one of these programs I will never regret nor forget doing. And it's really strange. I was dancing with Pasha Kovlov, who's just a gentleman, he's lovely and I know Louie was talking about maybe low dresses and things. I was conscious of that as well, so they accommodated that so so it was a wee bit more modest. But Between Monday and Thursday, when it was just Pasha and myself learning the dance, oh my goodness, it was such good fun. And you think, yes, I've mastered this dance. Fine, I'm looking forward to Saturday. And you'd go in to do your rehearsal on Friday with everybody else and you would see how Amazing they were and you'd be thinking, well, I might as well just go home, just enjoy it for what it is. And then on the Saturday, oh my goodness, the nerves. And it's really strange again, because you think it's 90 seconds, that's all the duration of the dance. What can go wrong in 90 seconds? But everything can. You can miss a beat, you can start off on the wrong foot through nerves, and Then it can all just be a disaster. And then you know you're about to be Anniehilated by a couple of the judges not all of them and but then you just think look, I'm not gonna be a professional dancer, it's not going to change my career or my life, just enjoy it. And I did, and it was. It was good fun. It was good fun.
Annie Emmerson: 48:23
So, as I say, I'll never forget nor regrets and Judy was brilliant when she talked about the strictly on the podcast, because it was really interesting, wasn't it? Do you remember, lou? And she talked about the boys and she knew she had to speak to them before. She said yes, and, and, and Jamie sort of like said do it, mum, you'll have fun. And Andy said You'll be crap, mum, or something like that. She said it was both. I enjoyed it and I was crap. I'm sure she wasn't, because I I would never criticise anyone. I have two left feet. I can't hear the beat. I would be absolutely dreadful. But I still think there's a place for Lou on that show.
Lisa Ashcroft: 49:00
Louise Minchin: 49:02
Yeah, and, and I mean, if you don't want to do it, that's fine, but if you're not doing it because your family says you can't, that's not a good enough reason, in my what I'm more worried about is the other day on breakfast, dan mentioned it and I said you know the line that I've said for many years, carol, that I'm on a lifetime ban from my family, and my husband texted he goes, ban lifted. Yeah, is this breaking news? No, it's really not. It's really not.
Annie Emmerson: 49:33
Yeah, because you can have a bit more time on your hands.
Louise Minchin: 49:38
Listen, I would much rather be swimming behind you in a really cold lake than doing the 90 seconds that Carol's just described to us.
Carol Kirkwood: 49:46
Oh, you'll be brilliant though, lou, because you've got rhythm.
Annie Emmerson: 49:49
I would be terrible and the audience would love you because they do already. And you're tall, and you're tall, you're the right Statue for it. It's so much that is is working and you're competitive in a healthy way.
Louise Minchin: 50:01
The other reason I used to say no I used to say that I was saying no was because Darcy is one of my best friends. I obviously couldn't go when she was a judge, but then OT is judged by her sister, so anyway, no. But back to you, carol, moving on, so tell us, because we'll let you go in a minute, because it's your Friday's your, and it's time to have your day off. Um, so, so, so what? So what's next for you? Because you're so wonderful on breakfast and you've got this first novel under your belt, you're already started the second one, haven't?
Carol Kirkwood: 50:28
you? Yes, I have. In terms of what's next for me, I'm happy with my lot and at this ripe old age it's. I never thought I would have a secondary career ever and it's nice to be able to run them parallel. So I have no great ambitions to go off and do another program or anything. I love the weather, I love being on breakfast, I love working with all of you guys. I will miss you terribly, lou, terribly. You're such a loss to the program and personally, but but it's true.
Louise Minchin: 50:59
So so this is, yeah, I'm happy Content and you and you will stay in touch anyway. Um, obviously, um, but tell me about. So that's the second book. I mean, it's just super exciting and and I know you're a little bit nervous about how this lands on you, but please don't be Carol, it's just gonna be a joy for people to read bless you, thank you, thank you.
Carol Kirkwood: 51:20
Well, I've started the second week. It's fun, it's Different, but the same as the first book. There'll be at least one character from the first book in it, but it could stand alone. So if you haven't read under a Greek moon, just get another plug in there and the second one will stand alone, but it will be Demetrius.
Louise Minchin: 51:42
He's my favorite.
Carol Kirkwood: 51:42
No well, he might be, I'm not finished it yet. I might bring it back in just for you, lou. So if he appears, you'll know that's a private dedication.
Louise Minchin: 51:54
He's gorgeous, honey, brilliant. And the other thing is as well, because we're gonna speak to one of our her spirit as Lisa, who's been listening to this whole podcast. Um, and you've got so much joy. You just bring so much joy. I mean, and even I'm sure anybody listening to this will hear this what's your kind of advice to people who are feeling, I don't know, they don't want to get out of bed in the morning, that life is a little bit hard? What's your, you know, for your kind of going forward for people? Well, how do you keep yourself upbeat like you are?
Carol Kirkwood: 52:20
Wow, that's a humdinger of a question, lou. Yes, I Think, rather than focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. So we're covered. It's been horrible for everyone for so many different reasons, but hopefully there's an end in sight, and I always look at what I've got to look forward to, even if it's something like Having lunch with a friend or going for a walk with a friend, you know. So say, I was going out with you this afternoon, lou, it would be. Oh, I'm gonna see Lou and we're gonna have a good old goss and we'll have a chat and a nice long walk. So there's always something. Just don't focus on the negative, because it's you know, that will hoover up a good mood if you do that. So let's try and let it go and Worry about the things that you can change rather than the things that you can't.
Louise Minchin: 53:12
You know, you're such, a, such a good idea and I'm gonna look forward to when I'm not working anymore and it's a Friday for you and we get to drink some of that wine.
Carol Kirkwood: 53:18
Carol, a better stock up Lou, I know what you like.
Annie Emmerson: 53:25
It's such a pleasure, isn't it, Annie? Oh, just lovely talking with you, carol and I, and I hope we get to meet in person one day properly and and drink some of that wine together.
Louise Minchin: 53:38
Carol, my love, listen, good luck with the book launch you. We will. We will keep plugging it here under a Greek moon. It's absolutely lovely. If you need something to cheer you up, it will definitely definitely cheer you up and it's been such a pleasure talking to you. Thanks for coming on the podcast.
Carol Kirkwood: 53:52
And we'll send Michelle to help you recycling. Thank you both. The pleasure has been all mine. It's been an absolute joy, take care.
Annie Emmerson: 54:02
Wow, I loved chatting. I really love chatting with Carol. She's just like one of life's gorgeous people. I know we can get a bit gushy about our guests because we love them so much.
Louise Minchin: 54:11
We love them all.
Annie Emmerson: 54:12
Yeah, we do, but just a really positive, lovely, lovely lady, and she only lives down the road from me, so I'm going to go and hook up with her and have a walk and a coffee and a chocolate and a wine, and goodness says what else.
Louise Minchin: 54:23
I have to tell you I didn't say this with her but when you go, there's an event called the Trick Awards, which is like a big TV industry awards that we used to go to when we didn't have a pandemic, and it's in the grove now. It's massive. There must be, I don't know, 4,000 people or something, and I literally have to manmark her because people just love her and I literally have to stand in front of her. Go, she'll be with you in a minute, just so we could have an orderly queue.
Annie Emmerson: 54:50
She, honestly, she's got an orderly queue to.
Louise Minchin: 54:53
Wimbledon every year and she's literally treated like royalty at Wimbledon. There is so much genuine love for her, which is just wonderful to see, and you can see why because she's just gorgeous and generous and warm and lovely.
Annie Emmerson: 55:07
Yeah, she is Adorable.
Louise Minchin: 55:08
And when I finished the book before I finished the book, Annie, I'm going to say probably really bad. You should really go and buy your own copy. But I'll send you the copy and then you can tell all your friends.
Annie Emmerson: 55:17
I was about to say that. I was about to say can you send me your copy? And I said no, no, no, I'm supposed to be buying one. Go and buy it.
Louise Minchin: 55:22
Go and buy it. I've got a pre-copy. I'll do what I'll do because I've got a pre-. She sent me a pre-copy, so it's not even out yet and I've ordered already copy. I'll send you the one that I've ordered, because then I've definitely ordered. Okay, you Anyway go on. You said that.
Annie Emmerson: 55:36
Well, we've had one lovely guest. We've got another lovely guest on. Now We've had one of our Her spirit is sitting in and listening to a podcast. It's the lovely Lisa Ashcroft. Lisa, welcome to our podcast today and thanks for coming on as a guest. Thanks for having me. So your background is Well. What's quite interesting is, I think, that you are one of the real success stories from her spirit. Earlier this month, you did your first Olympic triathlon at Leeds. Tell us how that went.
Lisa Ashcroft: 56:07
Yeah, it was brilliant. I've been so lucky to find her spirit last March at the start of the pandemic and with you guys. It's so surreal to be on here with you because I kind of feel like I'm listening to you on one of my runs. But I'm not. I'm experiencing it and I'm not joking. My face hurts from smiling from Carol and being involved with it. So thank you for that. And yes, so it's been a real gradual build for me. I had no knowledge. There's so much to get your head round in triathlon, as you both know, but to be part of the community and have access to so much support, both from community members and coaches and the phenomenal Michelle Shal and on the bike and those excellent turbo sessions and also her brilliant direct messages if I ever had a query about anything bike related, total rub bike novice. So you know, and tomorrow I'm doing 50K with a lot of the spirit community. So I've come a long way.
Louise Minchin: 57:08
Wow, so total bike. Novice to Olympic triathlon, tell me about the swimming and the running.
Lisa Ashcroft: 57:15
Yeah, swimming is my strength, if you like. That's something I've always done since a kid. So and but again, I think the fear of open water put me off for a lot of years and my biggest regret is I didn't tackle that sooner, because it's such a massive love of mine now. I'm so passionate about open water swimming. I did the winter swim challenge along with my friend Kerry from the community and we were getting in icy lakes over the winter and having having a ball. It was such amazing to have that headspace and that focus over a really challenging winter. Running has always been in my life. It's something that I tolerate. Sorry, Annie, you're a big runner, but I always keep 5K in the bag. I try and maintain that because I know it's so hard to get back up and actually I had the pleasure of my mum and dad did running and all the marathons and everything and were a great influence on me growing up. And my dad actually had a heart attack just before the pandemic last year and I had the opportunity to help him go through the couch to 5K process and getting back up to health and that was amazing for me to give back to my dad and that positive influence. So running gives you a lot of different things. I get to listen to your podcast, I get the headspace and eventually I get to run up giant hills that leads in a tryout, oh my gosh, I mean the hills there, Lisa.
Louise Minchin: 58:42
I was watching Crazy Because I walked down on that first boy. We're only there one day, weren't we, Annie, Walk down from where we were broadcasting to the bottom and then saw these? I mean, these hills are really hard, weren't they? Were you walking them, I would have walked them, by the way.
Lisa Ashcroft: 58:55
I only did a little bit of walking. There's a top lake. It was quite humid round there at that time when I was on the course so I managed to. I was really happy with how the day planned out. I've done that run before. A lot of it is part of the local park run and sometimes I do volunteering with a great group called Mini Mermaid UK and they take primary age children and they get them to learn about the joy of physical education, of physical activity, and then you get to chaperone a mini mermaid around that 5K course. So I just channelled every nine to 11 year old I've ever escorted around that course and I thought you know, I tell them they can do it. I can't now tell myself that I can't do it. So that was a great opportunity to channel them.
Annie Emmerson: 59:45
How important is it for you as a mum of two children, to be physically active? You know we're in a difficult place. The last year and a half, I think people have gone either one way or the other. I mean, I make no bones about it. I'm deeply passionate about people moving about because I understand the importance of you know it's not just about you know looking great or whatever. It's what's going on inside as well, and for me it's always been about mental health. I think sports you know as much as about you know feeling good about myself and feeling fit, but the importance of sport and mental health as well.
Lisa Ashcroft: 1:00:26
Yeah, I often say that I exercise for my health, but I also exercise for my mental health and that's really important to me and I think I think a mum with a better head space is a better mum all around, as well as being a massive positive influence. And, as I touched upon before, I got that from my mum and dad and I think it does wonders for your own children to see you and just as a natural thing, just as normal that, whether it's walking, horse riding, climbing or running or doing triathlons, it's just giving those the values to take forward themselves later in life. I think.
Louise Minchin: 1:01:08
I just also want to ask you so you were there on Sunday helping us out on the swim, weren't you? Were you safe, do you? I was, sir. Wow, I was. That's a big job.
Lisa Ashcroft: 1:01:16
It is, it is. But you know, conditions were pretty perfect on the day. We didn't get the wonderful sunrise we would have liked, but everyone had such a ball and the conditions were just perfect. And what a joy to have that opportunity to see everyone taking on those personal challenges. That is the best part of my job and seeing everybody come home and you know, almost in disbelief themselves at what they've done and then almost immediately saying they want to sign up to the next challenge, which is amazing.
Louise Minchin: 1:01:48
That's what struck me about the day. There was something about the atmosphere which was really just kind of encouraging and people completely. My sister went in. She was really only going to do two and a half K and then she did five K. I mean, I don't think she's even swam two and a half K. You know, people were unable to do things they didn't think they were capable of, which was wonderful to see. Yeah, it was really inspiring and, as you say, I think people felt encouraged, they felt safe and they really felt part of the community, which is what we're all about is what we love, and what I loved about it, Annie and Annie talked about this at the beginning of the podcast was the camping and this, like campsite, full of her spirit, is all wearing a little wooly hat because it was, let's face it, summer, but freezing, and it was just wonderful to see, wasn't it, and be part of it, Annie. Thank you for feeding me, by the way.
Annie Emmerson: 1:02:41
Oh it was, it was, it was absolutely brilliant. And it's really funny, isn't it? Because you have that kind of dread thing where you go. Oh my God, I'm going to be sleeping in a van overnight. How am I going to feel when the alarm clock goes off? Well, we didn't need an alarm clock, did we? Because the light was blaring through already at sort of half past four in the morning. But you know, I really do like encourage people to get out there and challenge themselves, because I'm always kind of like, oh God, I don't want to do that, oh, it's going to be freezing, but the joy you feel when you do it afterwards. I was on an absolute high for the rest of the day, and that's coming from someone who's done a lot of sport, you know over the last 30 years of my life, you know, and I just I really, really, really did enjoy it.
Louise Minchin: 1:03:21
Lisa, just so. You mentioned the 50K. So this is from Michelle's birthday, I think, isn't it? It is Happy birthday by the way, michelle.
Lisa Ashcroft: 1:03:27
Yes, happy birthday, coach Michelle. Yeah, various, there's various groups of us around the country. Michelle's doing 50 miles, I think in Nottingham they're doing 50 miles, team Yorkshire are doing 50K. But yeah, it's great. And then on the back of that on Monday we start the Fit it Together Challenge which runs right through till August. So we've also set up our own Team Yorkshire and we're looking to get as many miles in the bank with that as possible. Are you trying to beat the other teams? Maybe there's a little bit of a competitive edge there. I've sort of got that from you. Of course we'll be encouraging everybody, but we might just be trying to. I don't think we've got any chance against Michelle Shal and then the amount of, because she could really put the miles in Because she could.
Louise Minchin: 1:04:12
So it's the 28th of June until the 8th of August 20th 26th of June.
Annie Emmerson: 1:04:16
Oh, thank you. Until the 8th, yeah, until the 8th of August, and people can still sign up, although obviously this podcast is going to be going out a bit later, but, you know, keep an eye out for it because there's loads of brilliant stuff. I've signed up.
Louise Minchin: 1:04:29
I can't remember how many miles I've signed up. I think maybe 200. Mel, can you remember how many I've signed up? 200. 200. You can do that in your sleep. Well, I could. If I was on my. Mel said he'd be message you a thousand. I'm not. I'll consider it, but anyway I'm going to put some miles in.
Annie Emmerson: 1:04:45
It's easier on the bottom. I'm doing a thousand. I'm doing a thousand, are you? If I can do a thousand, I think you can do a thousand.
Louise Minchin: 1:04:54
Oh right, ok, I'm going to think about it. Think about it. The next one, lisa. Thank you so much, I think we probably. Oh, thank you, let you go and get on with some training.
Annie Emmerson: 1:05:02
Annie, yes, absolutely Lisa, lovely talking to you. Have a fab weekend. You take care.
Lisa Ashcroft: 1:05:07
And you. Thanks, guys. Take care, Lisa. Bye Keep cycling.
Louise Minchin: 1:05:13
Oh Annie, I can't believe you put that on me now, Honestly a thousand really.
Annie Emmerson: 1:05:17
Here's a girl who's leapt off you know ferries and all sorts of stuff in the middle of the night into freezing cold water and run up mountains virtually on her hands and knees. And you know, I think you can do a thousand, do you know?
Louise Minchin: 1:05:28
what a thousand will depend upon. It will depend upon whether or not I'm able to go on holiday. If I'm not able to go on holiday, I might be able to do a thousand. So who knows everybody? All I can say is lots and lots of luck for everybody who's taking part, and thank you so much, lisa. I thank you very much to Carol as well. Annie, I cannot wait to swim with you again. Take care, come on, wait, darling.
Annie Emmerson: 1:05:47
You too, darling, have a lovely weekend. Bye, Bye.