The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius

Louise Minchin, BBC Presenter, Author & Endurance Athlete on her New Book "Fearless: Adventures With Extraordinary Women"

September 16, 2023 Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian
The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius
Louise Minchin, BBC Presenter, Author & Endurance Athlete on her New Book "Fearless: Adventures With Extraordinary Women"
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Louise Minchin has a wonderful story to tell and she tells it very well. Born in a typhoon in Hong Kong some 55 years ago, one of her earliest memories as a young child is of the water in her bath moving as her tower block shook in gale-force winds! To this day, Louise finds storms exciting…

You can also watch/Listen to Louise here: https://vimeo.com/chrisgrimes/louiseminchin

Her grandparents had a house at the foot of a mountain in Spain, which she fondly remembers visiting year after year. Louise loved the country, the water to swim in and the language itself. Small wonder she chose to study Spanish at St Andrew’s University, where coincidentally Louise also won a scholarship early ‘gap year’ in Argentina. Here her Spanish became fluent, if not strictly Castilian. Here Louise also read the iconic novel ‘100 years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - in its original Spanish! This fortuitous year’s experience helped Louise gain a better Degree than her tutors originally expected! 

Armed with her academic qualifications, Louise joined the BBC as a Production Assistant. Practically speaking, this involved providing early morning alarm-calls for the presenters on the Today Programme on Radio 4 and making tea or coffee for them on their arrival in the Studio. 

Louise then decided to do a Diploma Course in Journalism. She became a professional writer under the expert guidance of a great mentor by the name of Neil Dunwoody. This, she says, was “life-changing”. 

Louise’s career took off in style: for 20 years she was reading news and then presenting BBC TV’s flagship Breakfast Show. She did her last ‘Breakfast’ two years ago - but the adventures never stopped. She married successfully and now has two daughters, the first of whom arrived by emergency Caesarean section, followed in dangerously quick succession by acute appendicitis. Louise’s real ‘near death’ experience means that she no longer ‘sweats the small stuff’. She now describes herself as an ‘Endurance Athlete’ and has represented her country in that capacity. 

Louise is also an accomplished author. Her first book is based on her own personal experience and is entitled ‘Dare To Try.’ 

Her latest book is called ‘Fearless Adventures with Extraordinary Women.’ It does what it says on the cover, recording the diverse real life adventures of 18 extraordinary women. 

Louise invites you to hear her speak about it and buy copies of it for yourself, your family and your friends. She did not work with the one and only John Humphrys without learning to speak your mind. But always with a smile!

Tune in next week for more stories of 'Distinction & Genius' from The Good Listening To Show 'Clearing'. If you would like to be my Guest too then you can find out HOW via the different 'series strands' at 'The Good Listening To Show' website.

Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW wherever you get your Podcasts :)

Thanks for listening!

Speaker 1:

Welcome to another episode of the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes, the storytelling show that features the clearing, where all good questions come to get asked and all good stories come to be told, and where all my guests have two things in common they're all creative individuals and all with an interesting story to tell. There are some lovely storytelling metaphors a clearing, a tree, a juicy storytelling exercise called 5-4-3-2-1, some alchemy, some gold, a cheeky bit of Shakespeare and a cake. So it's all to play for. So, yes, welcome to the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes. Are you sitting comfortably here? Then we shall begin. Arar and Hazar.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to another particularly, if I may say, exciting episode of the Good Listening To Show stories of distinction and genius. This is the show where I invite movers, makers, shakers, mavericks, influencers and also personal heroes into the clearing to all tell their stories of distinction and genius. And how wonderful to have the comforting presence of Louise Minchin. You're just one of those wonderful fixtures on the sofas of the land, because you are always a news anchor. Of course, you presented the one show you were doing, the breakfast show, or breakfast, as the world seems to be saying now because of a wonderful thing that went viral, not about the breakfast show, but have you heard that?

Speaker 2:

No, what's that?

Speaker 1:

There's the most glorious meme of a very beautiful Down syndrome boy who his mum comes into the kitchen and says what are you doing? And he goes breakfast, and so my whole family can't stop saying breakfast. So I know you were part of the breakfast fixture breakfast for about 20 years and I happen to know, in the joy of researching you, that it's just coming up to two days since oh gosh, yeah, anniversary since you did your final show on the breakfast.

Speaker 2:

I just looked down at my computer. You're right, it was the 15th of September. Thank you, I keep it's not in the back of my mind, but I keep sort of then forgetting it. These are mean. So, yes, two years, and gosh, they've flown the two years. It doesn't seem like two years, but then it also. You know, time has a weird way of sometimes. I think it's been really quick and really slow, but it's been both of those and I've been lots of on lots of adventures which I know we'll talk about. But yeah, it's kind of feels significant actually, two years on.

Speaker 1:

And I've loved researching you. I'm fully aware you've hardly sat on your thumb, shall we say, for the last two years. I was intrigued by you also going free diving under ice as well. That sounds extraordinary.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, that was amazing and brilliant and terrifying and exhilarating and, yes, I want to do it again.

Speaker 1:

And can I wage a cold as well?

Speaker 2:

It was. Yeah, it was very, very cold, I mean so, obviously, if you get a free dive under ice, the water is hardly above freezing temperature. I think it was. I know it was in fact 0.6 degrees. When we went in we were wearing very thick wetsuits, but still, you know, the wetsuit doesn't cover everything. It doesn't cover your face, for example. It's very shockingly cold.

Speaker 1:

And we're here. This is a very special Good Books series strand episode. We're obviously here to talk about your new book, published in May of this year Fearless Adventures with Extraordinary Women. There are 18 in total and I'm intrigued to know who the 18 are ultimately. Yes, you don't necessarily need to rattle them off, but you may be interested to know. And I don't know if she features, but Leslie Patterson, who I think won one of the triathletes races you were in circa 2015. And she was the. She's the screenwriter for the film All's Quiet on the Western Front.

Speaker 2:

I know that, I know that and I'm just so. I wish that only happened in the last nine months or so, didn't it? And I wish that I'd been on BBC Breakfast at that time, because presumably I would have got to interview her and I think what a wonderful story, because she won, didn't she? She went and won a world championships and then that enabled her to have the money to write it. So just absolutely fantastic. So triathletes are multi-talented Absolutely Gosh.

Speaker 1:

And it's Hollywood right there because she also fell off a bike her to knee and broke her shoulder.

Speaker 2:

She was injured when she did it, she broke her shoulder. I mean, you know, I love stories, I love stories like that, and in reality she should have been one. Well, if I ever write another Fearless Two, she could be in it.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, she's brilliant, well let's world exclusive Fearless Two right here with Louise Mitchin calling out Leslie Patterson. So just to blow a little bit of happy smoke at you, obviously we're here to talk about the book. You're a very familiar fixture, as I say to anybody watching television on UK in the UK, but you're a British TV presenter, journalist and athlete, because your sporting prowess is very impressive of itself.

Speaker 2:

I call myself. It's strange how you change what you call yourself and I think it's very important that moment when you change actually, and I now call myself an endurance athlete. And you know, 10, 11 years ago I didn't do any anything. I mean I was. I did some sport, but I would never have put those two words together to describe myself. But it's been an extraordinary journey, which started with a sort of challenge that we did on BBC Breakfast in the velodrome, and now, yeah, I'm an endurance athlete and what I mean by that is I do events that are very long, and very long are over for me, sort of over two hours, one and a half to two, I think. Anything beyond sort of an hour is becoming endurance, isn't it.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and in fact, in really enjoying researching you, I know that velodrome experience you're describing, where your co-presenter said I can't be beaten by a girl and that completely made you go right, you know between your teeth.

Speaker 2:

You notice, when we started this, that I'm wearing a T-shirt it's from Sport England, actually which says this girl can. So that theme continues. Yeah, bill Turnbull, who many of you will remember very fondly, said to me on that day I can't. He was her to say I can't be beaten by a girl, and that just gave me the edge, which I just thought. You know what? Yes, he can be and yes, he will be.

Speaker 1:

You beat his ass. We all know that.

Speaker 2:

Only by, like it was half a second, but very, you know, a very important half second.

Speaker 1:

And just one other bit of happy smoke. I know Dan Kelly Holmes has said about your book Wow, I love this book. It's a celebration of women's courage, resilience and endeavor, and indeed what an ambassador for that imperative you indeed are. Thank you, a happy birthday for last week as well.

Speaker 2:

Oh yes, 55. It feels that again. You know, two years since I left breakfast, 55. You know I'm not really big into birthday milestones, but this feels like a happy milestone actually not at not worrying one in some ways.

Speaker 1:

And is your future broadcasting career pulling you towards endurance? Athletics is something you'll be covering or not necessarily.

Speaker 2:

I don't know if I've got a future broadcasting career. To be honest with you, you know I left the job that I loved when I wanted to, so I feel very lucky to be able to do that, but I don't yeah, I don't know. You know I've doing some filming this week, actually for someone, but who knows what that is? I mean, I know what that filming is, but I'm not sure. You know, I'm not that worried about having going in doing more broadcasting. I did what I really wanted to do, so I feel very happy that I was able to do that.

Speaker 1:

And just before I get you on the open road of curating you through this particular journey, I love your setting, by the way, with the on air sign as well. Is this you speaking from home?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this is home, this is the core. I mean it's so funny, isn't it? Because in those days of COVID we got so familiar with all everybody's backgrounds. Over there is the chaos, actually it's not chaos.

Speaker 2:

It's my book, it's my bookshelf, which I mean I'm not hugely organised or tidy but I do colour coordinate my bookshelf and then there's sort of a pile of my husband's records. There's the telly that we come and watch in here, there's some plants growing in the side, but yeah, it's a sort of little corner of calm in my house.

Speaker 1:

And where's the on air sign from, because it's a really lovely one.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's so sweet and my husband bought me that. He bought it for me ages ago and I never thought I'd use it, but actually it's sort of brilliant because you know, we all do so much broadcasting from home, don't we, and that's sort of it's perfect.

Speaker 1:

It is perfect. So you're welcome sincerely, and it's my absolute delight and pleasure to curate you through. Obviously, we're going to talk about the book Fearless, but I'm going to curate you through the usual route map, which is a clearing tree, five, four, three, two, one alchemy, gold, a couple of random squirrels, cheeky bit of Shakespeare, a golden baton and a cake, please, hurrah. So it's all to play for. Also, it's been a really happy chase. I know you're trying to get you out. Three or four months ago.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much, and then it went a bit sort of any quiet for a bit.

Speaker 2:

So I thought I actually went to my happy place.

Speaker 1:

Ah, which was oh yes, sorry Morning, it's my show. You're ahead of the game. I like that, so let's get you going on the open road then. So Louise mentioned where is what is a clearing for you? What's your serious happy place, please?

Speaker 2:

Oh well, I spent a month there this summer and that's why I had no comms, no Wi-Fi, no 3G. And it is in this, it's in the UK, it's the North Cornish Coast. That, for me, is my absolute. It sort of stirs something in my soul that nowhere and I've been lucky enough to travel a lot, but nowhere else quite in the world does it for me. There's something about the. You know, it's wild down there and I, oh my gosh, I was there for a month and we had two named storms, so it was really wild.

Speaker 1:

Was there a storm, louise, in there.

Speaker 2:

No, it was, it was, what was it? I think it was, I can't remember, Anthony was it, and or another one. Anyway, so yes, in North Cornwall, the North Cornish Coast, that wonderful coastal path, I love the, all the beaches. There's sort of this ribbon of about seven different beaches, including Trevon and Harlin, and lots of people will know it's near Padstow and that for me, is just absolutely the most special place and I was down there actually just writing something else and it's. You know, I just find quiet, but it's not always quiet. That's the thing about it. It stirs. It stirs my soul and it's sort of uneasy fashion, but I love it and I love surfing and I love going in the water and finding tidal pools. And have I sold it enough?

Speaker 1:

You certainly have, and it's music to my ears. I spend a lot of time historically in Trebeatherik.

Speaker 2:

Oh right, well, you know exactly the other, the other side of the estuary, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Lovely, and so you had no 3G and obviously no CG either. Harry and you used to be on his show, which I liked.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, no, yeah, nothing. I mean nothing, and it was. You know, in some ways that's great. And for and if you're writing, it's brilliant, because I do try and turn off all those sort of notifications when I am writing. I mean, there was nothing to turn off, I just have to go outside and stand in a corner of the sort of balcony to try and find a little bit of wifi. But yes, it's brilliant.

Speaker 1:

And I can't help mentioning if there's a storm called Storm Anthony. That sounds a bit tame, not going to lie.

Speaker 2:

It was the one after what was earned. They were not. They did not feel tame, they did not.

Speaker 1:

Yes, sure, just Anthony, sounds like a polite storm, does it yeah?

Speaker 2:

no, no, there's nothing polite about the storms, and I love the sea afterwards, you know, and it's coincided with really high tides as well, so just the whole thing for me just blows my mind. I love it.

Speaker 1:

So we don't need to necessarily pin a ponytail and a mat, but what part of that coast shall we stand on when I arrive with my tree?

Speaker 2:

Let's stand on Travaux's head. I mean, I'm not sure a tree would grow on Travaux's head because the wind, there is really something. But let's stand there because you have this incredible view for miles all the way towards Newquay and you've got the, you've got the lighthouse behind you. So, yeah, if a tree could stand, it could go there.

Speaker 1:

But it's very windy On the head of Travaux you said is that right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Travaux's, it's called Travaux's head.

Speaker 1:

So here we are at Travaux's head and, if I may interrupt your quiet and your, I'm now here with the tree a bit waiting for Godot Esk existentially because of my hacking background and we're now going to shake your tree to see which storytelling apples fall out. How'd you like these apples? And this is where you've responded to thank you five minutes to have thought about four things that have shaped you, three things that inspire you, two things that never fail to grab your attention. That's where the random squirrels come in squirrels. And then a quirky or unusual fact about you broadcaster, athlete and author Louise Mitchin. Okay, couldn't possibly think it. Well, until you tell us we won't know about it over to you to shake the tree.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so I'm going to shake the tree and then and you want to know about the things that have shaped me- or things that have shaped you first of all.

Speaker 2:

So I think number one was where I was born. I was born in a typhoon, so maybe that explains why I like well, I'm I'm afraid of, but also like storms in Hong Kong, and so I think that's definitely. You know, I think it's interesting, isn't it? I mean, I was, I left there when I was about only four and a half five, so the memories I have of it are very distant and they may not even be real memories, but one of the memories I have is we lived in a tower block, very, very high up in a tower block, and I remember sitting in a bath and the wind. The tower blocks need to move with the wind, or as they fall down, don't they? So I'm putting it very simply, obviously, and I used to sitting in the bath and the bath water moving with the wind which is a really extraordinary thing, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

You've got to. You had a tidal bath, please.

Speaker 2:

A tidal bath, which is terrifying. But I think that's definitely in some way shaped me, because I'm you'll find out, you know, in our conversation I'm a traveler. I love traveling, I love visiting different places, but I think, if you, you know, I don't live where I was born. I think that gives you a slight. It does definitely shape your future in some ways.

Speaker 1:

And I know you may talk about this. I know your dad was a major in the Irish. God Exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that's why we were there. Because he was working in the. He was in the Irish Gods and that's why he was there.

Speaker 1:

Sure and yes. So wonderful first bit of shape itch.

Speaker 2:

Next bit of shape is, again, it has to do with travel and that's to do with my grandparents. So I absolutely adored my grandparents and they lived for many, many years, for most of my sort of growing up and until I was much later, probably in my twenties. They lived in Spain in a place called Javier, and we used to go there and back in the day, you know, you did, you know traveling wasn't a big thing. You know, we weren't all hopping on and going, hopping on flights and going all over the world, were we? We just, you know, in the back in the 1970s as it was, it was a really quite a big thing to travel. But we would go there for two weeks every summer with my mum and I just was completely and utterly immersed in this beautiful environment. They lived under a mountain and also they, they spoke quite good Spanish actually, and I and I just picked up, started picking up Spanish from way, way back and went on very much later to do a Spanish degree.

Speaker 2:

But definitely the fact that they lived there and they lived in this one, I loved the language, I love trying to speak the language, and that definitely was part of my kind of childhood shaping. And then we spent. I mean we spent a gap. There'll be themes coming through this hours. I mean all day, all day swimming, and that's my other big passion in life. So, yeah, my grandparents probably living in Spain, other things that really, really shaped me, just to show do you still have a foothold in Spain because of them?

Speaker 2:

No, I don't, no, I don't Because then so so they, they sort of gave me the inspiration to learn a language and specifically learn Spanish. It seems to be sort of you know very much in my sort of subconscious memory actually. Yes, then went to universities, to St Andrews University. Many years later, after, that.

Speaker 1:

That explains why you studied Spanish there. Yes, I get it now. Yeah, sure.

Speaker 2:

Yes, exactly. So. So I went on and I studied Spanish there and I wasn't a very good student at the beginning. I did. I did get better because of something that shaped me. What happened was in my second year I got a scholarship to go live in Argentina for a year and work. So they were doing a sort of somebody was coming to the Glasgow and I was going to go to Buenos Aires so doing an exchange, and I went there and when I went, I mean I was really quite bad at Spanish. I'm so naughty. I go to St Andrews on my book tour. I don't know if I can admit this.

Speaker 1:

I was. I think you should admit it I didn't go to lectures.

Speaker 2:

I was so naughty, so naughty and so I mean ridiculous. Anyway, luckily I got this scholarship because I think because they sort of saw in me this sort of adventurous spirit, I've got not because I was any good at Spanish, and it wasn't the Spanish department that chose me, it was the company. So they saw something in me that the Spanish department didn't see until I got back and I went there, and you know, again back in the day, so that was in 1992. You know, there were no, there were no mobile phones, there was no email, there was no internet. The only way my parents could get hold of me was if I happened to be in my house at the moment that they called me and I.

Speaker 2:

Two really key things happened on my first day in the job. They said what do you want to be paid in? And I said, well, what's the option? They're like Australia's, all dollars, and I'm like I don't even know what Australia's are, so I'll have dollars, which turned out to be an extraordinarily wise thing to do because of hyperinflation. And secondly, they said do you want to speak English or Spanish? And I thought, well, I've not traveled 7000 miles to speak English. So I said Spanish, but the Spanish was like it was just totally and utterly different from that Spanish I had hardly learned. So, like Castilian Spanish, you know, they had, you know, very different accent, very different vocabulary. And I just, you know, I just thought, right, I'm just going to, I'm just going to knuckle down here, I knuckle down. I opened 100 years of solitude in Spanish and I was like, okay, I'm going to read this.

Speaker 1:

Not a lot of cares, not cares.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely yeah exactly Siena en Nuestes Solidad. I'm going to read it in full with a dictionary and by the time I got to the end of that I could speak very good Spanish. And I came back. Like I came back, I completely my life changed. A completely different person, in love with the language, in love with the literature, in love with actually working really hard, you know, and actually putting your kind of life and soul into something, and came out with a very good degree, much to my professors.

Speaker 1:

And how lovely that the 100 years of solitude was the sort of tome that it was. It was a tome, yes.

Speaker 2:

Gosh, it was really something. So that really shapes me. And then I try not to because I know we don't have so long. But I then went to work for the Latin American section of the world service and you know I'm so interested. My fundamentalist interest is in stories and in sort of storytelling. Yeah, work for them and then work for the today program as a making tea, and that you know long story short.

Speaker 1:

So, you've literally risen up through the team making up. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I was.

Speaker 2:

I was. I was a what was called a radio production assistant. Yeah, my job was making tea and also phoning the presenters to wake them up. Those were two of my most responsible jobs, Gosh. But yeah, you know that's and I love that. I love that. I did that because you know, I think when you you know that's, if you know an industry like that from the inside out and you get to where I ended up sitting on the sofa with somebody else actually often getting me tea, you just you've got to, I think, as a very grounded perspective that hopefully stays with you. So that really, really shapes me and sort of I don't doubt you're extremely charming to those.

Speaker 1:

What made you tea?

Speaker 2:

extremely grateful. Actually actually even more grateful for the coffee and those to take my. I used to take my own breakfast mostly, so, so that, yeah, so that was it. And then, oh yeah, number four, join me do. Shall I tell you my last one that shaped me. This is a bit heavier than all of those really. So when my daughter was born, who's now 22 Mia, six days after she was born, I had a burst appendix.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, I'd had a cease emergency C section, followed by a burst appendix, because nobody knew what was wrong with me, because I had an emergency C section, very long story short and I genuinely thought I was going to die.

Speaker 2:

I was in so much pain and that is a real stake in the ground for me. From that day on I became well, I've always been very, very optimistic, sort of relentlessly optimistic, and actually that was a real shock to me because to think the worst was not in what I have written as my you know character, to sort of what I assume, and that really turned me around and I've never since then I've been I mean, it took me a while to obviously sort of psychologically and physically to get over that, but I've I mean, you know, I do stuff that I'm sure I wouldn't have done if I hadn't come. What I thought was that close to not.

Speaker 1:

It made you more intrepid then in the way more.

Speaker 2:

And also, don't cry. I don't cry about stuff. I mean I don't cry. I don't sweat the small stuff as a way that I probably did before.

Speaker 1:

So the birth of a new philosophy through the yeah, yeah yeah, well, you know, I mean, how bad is it? Yeah, nobody's got a best appendix here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm not. I've not got best appendix.

Speaker 1:

It's okay, it's just this in Argentina as well, by the way.

Speaker 2:

No, that was no, that was here in the UK. Sure, sure, yeah, wow.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful, so lovely, shape edges. Now we're on to three things that inspire you.

Speaker 2:

Gosh. So I'm going to start with places, traveling, learning, so that would be all you know. Looking back at the sort of Latin American stuff, I spent a lot in that year. I spent a lot of time traveling and meeting lots of different people from lots of different places. So, yeah, I'm inspired by people. I think I would say people I meet in different places and I love that. For example, the Chilean as well. We're just people who live in Chile, we're just so. Every single one is a philosopher. You know, you sort of said hello, what's your name? And they go do you believe in God?

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Let's get straight to the big stuff. I love them for that. I really love them. So, yeah, places plural, is that okay?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, of course absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Definitely books, definitely books. I mean, I've been. I was a bookworm when I was tiny and I just spent the last year being chair of the women's prize for fiction and just got the incredible opportunity to read a lot. But I was on breakfast. I just didn't, you know, I just couldn't get through books because I was all the time having to read something new or do my research. But I just absolutely love that. So, yes, books.

Speaker 1:

Are you a bit of a speed reader in that case?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I am. Yeah, I didn't realize and that's again speeded up my reading even more. But when I on breakfast I would read sort of about 12. You know briefs and I'm showing you with my fingers. Yes 12 different interviews probably a day, so maybe 40 pages of a for maybe more in in probably 25 minutes.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

So and I didn't realize that my reading had speeded up until I went on holiday and I got through, you know, bought myself a book or two for the holiday and read one in a day and my oh gosh, this is fast.

Speaker 1:

Warren, peace in an afternoon, sort of thing, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, not quite, but I do.

Speaker 2:

I do read fast and definitely doing reading the women's prize. You know over 70 books. Yeah, I read fast.

Speaker 2:

Wonderful, and we could be on the third inspiring thing now, oh, third, yeah, third, and so I suppose to that point actually, but in a different way. And what inspires me? People's stories, you know, and that's right why we'll talk about my book in a minute. But I'm interested in stories of overcoming adversity, of challenging barriers, of being brave, of being intrepid, being courageous. Those are my favorite kind of stories and those are stories I really sort of identified with on BBC breakfast. Yes, and those are stories you know, I love hearing people talk about and you can, they can be, you know, remember, lots of. You know, the most interesting people I spoke to on BBC breakfast were not the politicians or necessarily the A list stars, but people had really pretty inspiring stories to tell.

Speaker 1:

Yes, Lovely. Okay, now we're on to two things that never fail to grab your attention. Oh, squirrels, you know whatever else is going on for you and you're wonderfully frenetic life. What are your squirrels?

Speaker 2:

There's two, that well, as there's two squirrels that they're my daughters, they are, they are just, you know, they're just so brilliantly distracting. They're both left home. And I say left home because you know, I've got one here now, one was here yesterday. They can't, you don't realise when they've gone that they come and go. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And the first one that popped out was that the appendix one, or was it?

Speaker 2:

that. Yeah, that was the first one. She was number one, so obviously didn't change me. I still wanted another one. So yeah, those two, you know they are both your squirrels.

Speaker 1:

That's brilliant they never fail to get your attention.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I've got, I've got another squirrel, but so can I put those two as one.

Speaker 1:

Yes, please, and then?

Speaker 2:

and then there's things like so they're one squirrel, but there's two of them, and then in the next thing, I think it's so today. I've been really distracted today because the new third series of the morning show is out.

Speaker 1:

The Jennifer Aniston thing. Yes, absolutely yes, yes.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So I know it's out and I've been waiting for it to be out and I'm absolutely desperate to watch it and I can't let myself watch it until I've, until I've done. What I think is you know, I set for myself a working day. Do you sort of mean?

Speaker 1:

So am I interrupting your watching that.

Speaker 2:

No, no, you're not. No, no, no, no, it's good, because I would feel really, oh my gosh, I so want to watch it. But I won't do that because I just I would feel that was the height of privilege to be able to sit here in a lovely Sunday afternoon what's the morning show? When I should be doing other stuff. So, yeah, so it can be. I don't often I don't watch an enormous amount of telly, but there are things that sometimes I just like, oh, I'll have to show.

Speaker 1:

There are box set squirrels, in other words, yeah box sets yeah, but not many, thankfully. Yes, thankfully. Yeah, it is a vortex that can suck the ball in.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to try the morning show there. It's not exactly like BBC Breakfast. For a start, they all live in these ridiculous mansions, which I assure you is not the case, and and they got all the timelines wrong too, but anyway, it's a really they would never be up that long. They would never be awake those many hours.

Speaker 1:

We'll all give you a ring for a reality check. Is that what happened? We have shaken your tree, oh good.

Speaker 2:

So now great.

Speaker 1:

Now we move away from the tree, but we stay in the clearing. Next we talk about alchemy and gold. Please. So when you're at purpose and in flow, what are you absolutely happiest doing?

Speaker 2:

So, and there's two things, can I say two things? Or shall I say probably that, because they are similar actually. So for me, go back to the endurance sport thing which, you know, I only went to start this kind of extraordinary take up of sport about 10 years ago, 11 years ago maybe, and I now do these events like, for example, this weekend I'm going to go and walk the three Yorkshire Yorkshire peaks, which is a. I don't know if you've done that, but I've never done it. I know I filled myself with fear by realizing it's over a marathon distance, so it's quite a walk on Saturday. So I do long distance events and when I'm at flow, when I'm most at peace, for example, I'm going to give you a really specific example I was swimming in Clint Hagan I hope I pronounce that right in Wales, nibala, and I did a swim which is four and a half kilometers.

Speaker 2:

So you know, four and a half kilometers swimming is a long way and just you know I have these moments and and you know this is a pain to have them in an endurance sport, because it'd be really easy if I could just switch them on like that. You know, I didn't have to do like two hours of sports for them to happen. But there's a sort of initial. You know you're going in and you're quite nervous because you know the water's going to be cold and there's lots of people and you want to do a good swim and everything. So you have that sort of nervous thing. You get in the water and there's sort of that first 10 minutes or so, maybe 15 minutes or so, when I'm like settle down, calm down. I'm like I'm going to swim for a long way, don't, you know, overdo it. And then, and then somewhere after that time and it's probably enough for a run. It's even longer for me. It's like sort of 45 minutes in. Yes, I get to this point when I'm just doing that thing.

Speaker 1:

Yes, that's all I'm doing In flow, in flow.

Speaker 2:

In flow. So swimming is, for me, the most mesmerizing, because I love the feel of the water, I love the cold, I love the fact that nobody can be in touch with me, that my thoughts are free, and so I get that with swimming. But it does have to be, annoyingly, you know, deep into a swim. It's not going to happen in a pool, it's not going to happen the first 10 minutes.

Speaker 1:

You can't just plop yourself into a tide.

Speaker 2:

You just can't compete. Well, personally I can't. I mean, I wish maybe I should do a bit more ice swimming, because maybe it would be like immediate, and then the same thing with writing. There's nothing in the world apart from this sort of endurance where if I go upstairs and I've been writing today and I'm, I just get lost. The hours just fly, if it's, you know and I'm not saying writing is always easy, because it's not, yeah, but there are moments when I'm just, my husband comes up because you've been here for two hours, you know it's past, whatever time it is. So that happens with writing as well. But you know none of none of the flow. I don't think. I don't know what you get. Your guess it comes immediately. You can't go all right, let's go into flow now. It's not going to happen.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yeah, exactly not. No very relatable. There's a bit of pain involved beforehand.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I had flow. When you go back to the ice diving. So the ice diving is in the book and basically all I had well, all I had to do, I was free diving so with no oxygen, under a meter of ice, in the dark. It's the first day at the time I did it and I had flow, even in the 25 seconds of that dive. So the first, and I can't the first five seconds, I'm just like, oh my gosh, I'm gonna die. I'm being pressed up against the ice, I can't breathe, I can't see. There, you know, everything's wrong. There's cascasing thoughts, catastrophic thoughts, and then I don't know how long that lasted, and then I just had this moment of like this is amazing. I'm all on my own. Look at the beautiful water bubbles.

Speaker 1:

Oh look, there's a whale.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's a whale, yeah it's quite quickly followed by oh my gosh, I'm never gonna make it, I'm gonna die again. So you know, flow comes wrapped up in other stuff, doesn't it?

Speaker 1:

It does very nicely put. By the way, that's probably a really lovely segue into now arriving with a metaphorical plinth in your clearing where we can put your book fearless adventures with extraordinary women. So what would you like to say about the story behind the story of the book and then the story behind the story.

Speaker 2:

So very briefly, and I think if you've listened to us you'll sort of understand that I love stories, you know I really and stories about courage and bravery I've talked about that and being intrepid and endeavour, so I love that. And what I noticed and I'll do this briefly because it's in the prologue of the book what I noticed, having spent 20 years on BBC Breakfast Sofa, that most of the stories that we covered in that regard starred men. Put really simply, yeah, and there's one particular moment when I was just like hang on what is?

Speaker 2:

it here. Is it that women because I love that, you know I'm doing, I'm not, I'm not like these women. You know I haven't got a Guinness World Record, but I was like, hang on, is it that women aren't doing it? Or is it that we're not hearing from them? And the book is the answer to that question. There are hundreds of women all over the world breaking records, climbing highest mountains, rowing across oceans, et cetera, et cetera. And you know, we need I personally think we need to tell their stories and that's what the book's about. So I've got 18 of them on doing 17 different things.

Speaker 1:

And my our very good friend, joe Bradders Bradshaw recommended you to me and I'm very happy that we have her in common.

Speaker 2:

She is not. Well, she is in the book.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

But she's. She wasn't, she was. She came on a hike bike paddle that I wanted to do with a friend I've suddenly used a friend of mine now, actually, who's an extraordinary woman, lucy Gossage, who is a 14 times Ironman champion and also a cancer oncologist, so she has these two things going on concurrently, and Joe was on on the bike bike paddle with me, and so she was absolutely lovely, and she I mean within herself she's done some incredible things, hasn't she? Climbing and leading expeditions. So, yeah, she was brilliant. We had an amazing day and I can't remember what your question was.

Speaker 1:

Oh, this is about putting your book on the plinth now, so you've got to read the next one To my book.

Speaker 2:

Here we go. So another person who was on the hike bike paddle I'm going to read from her actual chapter. So it's called Fearless Adventures with Extraordinary Women. I want to show you this because it's got Louise's copy written on it. I've got a terrible habit. I was talking to someone the other day about it looking because I'm trying to make it into TV, right, talking to a TV producer. I got home to realize I had stolen her copy of my book.

Speaker 1:

You'll never get it booked now, because she's thinking why don't you stole my book?

Speaker 2:

I've given it back to her. I've given it back, anyway. So this is from Belinda Kirk, who again is, like Joe, an expedition leader, and she's led expeditions all over the world and she really is a brilliant advocate for the power of adventure to change your life, and that's one of the reasons you know I'm interested in the subject. So I'm going to read you a little quote from her and what we did together. We walked across Dartmoor and I thought a walk was going to be easy. It was not easy when you're carrying all your kits. So that's about 20 kilos of kit, you know, rucksack, waterproof snacks Snacks is always a big thing for me Everything I need, you know warm clothes, cooler clothes, every clothes, whatever it was, and all our water. Actually, I thought it was going to be easy but it really wasn't because she also being a busy person like me and mum, et cetera, she decided that we would do a three day walk in two days.

Speaker 2:

So it's really hard, but she's really good on particularly and I think is so important for the book on the power of adventure and challenges. So I'll read you, ok, benny, page 64. It is and these are her words Choosing. A challenge that you can find, that you find intimidating, can unlock your potential because it shows you can do much more than you think you can. You're much more capable than you think you are. That is a huge confidence booster, and it doesn't have to be a huge challenge. We all underestimate ourselves, particularly women.

Speaker 2:

People are most limited by their own attitude, their own beliefs in themselves. If you can unlock that and embrace some discomfort, you can be more fearless, bolder and resilient. And then she goes on. She says I think there's this feedback loop of accomplishment and with those feelings of joy and awe you can keep growing. You can take those skills, that self-belief and that change in you to the rest of your life, and that is how adventure can be transformational.

Speaker 2:

So it's a big thought, isn't it? But I just think what echoes it for me is that you know, and I'm really passionate about trying to get people to have sport as part of their lifestyle. Should we put it that way? I had it Because I just think you can find solace in it. Physically I've talked about the mentality it makes you physically makes you stronger. Mentally it makes you stronger because it's a place for solace. And also, you know, look at the things that I do. For example, I've learned so much about resilience, how to be resilient and how I am much more resilient than I thought I was. So that for me is just if I could pass that sort of message on to people that would be so important for me.

Speaker 1:

And I know that the book Chronicles, an Eclectic Mix of 18, would be different intrepidations, shall we say.

Speaker 2:

Yes, eclectic, I mean everything from swimming from alcatraz to indoor climbing, to stand-up, puddleboarding, lots of different things, wild caving, which if you the Alcatraz one escaping Alcatraz, what was that? Yeah, yeah, yeah, escaping Alcatraz. So what we did? So the escape from Alcatraz is obviously swimming from Alcatraz, so we got dropped off by oh, that's the shark infested waters.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, yeah, exactly. So we got dropped off by a, jumped off a ferry and swam you can't actually jump onto Alcatraz because it's a national park and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco in Supposedly. I mean they. I rationalise things. People say shark infested. I say to myself when I'm jumping into water, like that, shark inhabited.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there could be a shark somewhere. It's a difference. It is a difference. They live here.

Speaker 2:

They live here.

Speaker 1:

It's their place, I'm in it, it's going to be fine and, by the way, I myself am going to San Francisco for work next week.

Speaker 2:

Oh well, go and have a look where I swam.

Speaker 1:

Someone said if you've got on your day off, you should go to Alcatraz.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you really should. Yeah, you really should. It's an incredible thing to go and see, actually.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for that lovely extract and we will give a big shout out to where the book is, specifically at the very end. So now I'm going to award you with a cake, please. So do you like cake? I love cake. So what cake are we talking?

Speaker 2:

please, that I can metaphorically splotch in your face what cake Cake is one of the reasons I do these things, Because at the end, like surely after three Yorkshire peaks, I will eat cake. In fact, sometimes it is only snacks and cake that gets me through. Thinking about them, even not even eating them, that gets me through. Oh my gosh, I mean any cake. I mean any cake, from a key lime pie to a banana bread, to chocolate coffee cake. A coffee cake, I mean, I just love cake.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. I'm pushing on an open door there when I give you all of those Cheesecake.

Speaker 2:

Is cheesecake allowed? I mean, there's not even that cake.

Speaker 1:

Anything's allowed. You can talk about all cake.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to go for a passion fruit cheesecake.

Speaker 1:

We shall do that then. So this is a metaphorical passion fruit cheesecake. You get to put a chair on the cake. Now. This is stuff like what's the favourite inspirational quote that's always given you sucker and told you to watch out.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so this is. I'm going to go really lowbrow Because I know lots of people here have been very highbrow, and rightly so. I'm very intellectual, but I'm going to go with finding Nemo, just keep swimming.

Speaker 1:

I love that. I hooked on to that in the pandemic. I thought, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Speaker 2:

And it's Dory, isn't it? Who does it? It is Because, honestly, that is a brilliant mantra for life.

Speaker 1:

And it's Ellen DeGeneres, isn't it? Who is Dory, I think? Is that right?

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

I think she is.

Speaker 2:

Just keep going. You know what, if you just keep going, it's all going to be okay in the end and you might enjoy the journey. So yeah, it's really lowbrow, but actually it's sort of brilliant. And I've had I mean, I literally didn't use that quote, I remember on this very it's called Norseman and it's an extreme triathlon A big long swim over two miles in a fjord, 180km bike ride up, I mean, enormous mountains, and there was one mountain, where there was the last mountain, that grown men were getting off their bikes and crying. Okay, I'm not a grown man. And oh, we did say I didn't cry much, didn't we? And I'm right because I literally my husband said oh my gosh, if grown men are crying, what is she going to be like? And I was just singing to myself just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Speaker 1:

How perfect for a triathlete that just keeps swimming, just keep swimming. I would advocate that for all triathletes actually.

Speaker 2:

But all things you know. If you're in a difficult place, just keep swimming.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and then you know until it's over, just keep swimming. I love that. That is perfect. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given, Louise?

Speaker 2:

Okay, so the best piece of advice I've ever been given oh gosh, that's kind of quite an easy one actually. So back on the day we mentioned that I worked on the Today program making tea for a very famous presenter, john Humphries, right, and he, you know, I had a degree, I spoke Spanish, had a degree from St Andrews University, and I was making tea, and then I decided that I did that for about nine months and I was going to actually send myself back to journalism school and get a proper journalism, radio journalism diploma, I think it was. Anyway, and then I spoke to John Humphries. I said what should I do after that?

Speaker 2:

He says go to local radio. Go to local radio. They can make as many mistakes as you like and it'll all be okay. I mean, I'm not sure we should say that because you know you won't make all the mistakes, but I did. I took his advice and I went straight from my, having done my qualification in radio journalism, went to local radio, got an incredible mentor who looked after me. It was absolutely amazing and you know, my life changed from that.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, that was incredible, he's called Neil Dunwoody and I've mentioned him. He was utterly unbelievable. He completely took and actually took me under his arm and just under his wing, as it were, and just you know, just I think, saw something in me. I mean, I was again a bit like the Spanish, really quite rubbish when I turned up at the radio station and I think they saw, he saw something in me that he saw potential and he just spent so much time helping me and teaching me how to write and I and I did cry. Those are the days I used to cry. I'd write a cue, then we'd re-write it. It would take about 45 minutes. I'd cry. He said put them in front of your mirror, yours and yours and ours, and then one day you'll wake up, you'll be able to write. And he was right. One day I woke up and I was a writer. So there we go. Thank you, neil.

Speaker 1:

Thanks. Thank you, neil. What notes help or advice would you now profit? Or younger version of Louise Minchin.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's back to the just keep swimming. Because age 15, I gave up swimming. I was really good swimmer. I was winning races. I was, you know, I was, I was loving it. I, you know, I loved the training, I loved the racing, I loved everything about it. And I looked in the mirror one day and I saw that I had these big muscly shoulders because of the swimming and I gave up competitive sport literally one day to the next bang gone, stopped, stopped everything, and I just if I could go back to that 15 year old and say that, Dory quote, just keep swimming. It would have made life a lot easier, I mean, just a lot easier to you know, to cope with. You know, just generate. That's the way I deal with stress is go swimming.

Speaker 1:

What's meant for you won't pass you by is a quote that's parallel to that, because it kept coming back to you.

Speaker 2:

Oh, do you think?

Speaker 1:

I think you're back in the water now.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm definitely back. I'm a gosh, I'm back, I'm totally back.

Speaker 1:

I'm like totally back. That's brilliant. Okay, so we're ramping up to a bit of Shakespeare legacy. Finally, but just before we get there, if I may, this is the past, the golden button.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

So who in your network would you most think would most enjoy being given a damn good listening to in this way?

Speaker 2:

I definitely so. In the book there are these 18 amazing women, and it's a bit like trying to choose between my children which, incidentally, I couldn't do but, given this 18 of them, I'm going to choose, and it would be Z Elima. And she is a wonderful, inspiring, incredible. I'm going to call her young woman she is. I'm going to give you the picture first. So she's a mother of three, she used to be a neonatal nurse and she wants to be the first black Muslim woman to play rugby for England, and she very probably will be. She's utterly I mean, utterly fearless, utterly determined and also just one of the nicest people I've ever met. So, z, talk to her, she's brilliant.

Speaker 1:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to furnish me with a warm introduction to Z Elima. Thank you very much. And now Shakespeare. And, by the way, this is a really authentic. It's not an actual first for earlier, but this is the one that I had when I went to drama school.

Speaker 2:

Did you? I've got up there on the left. I've got all the not all of them, but some of the books that when I was reading Spanish at uni. I've got them up there in Spanish law and whoever it is up there Anyway good to hear.

Speaker 1:

You know you're 100 years of solitude. It's not got. Is it Marquette Lorquez, the pub, who wrote that? To 100 years, yes it is Did you hear the wonderful thing he left to the world? It's an apocryphal story where you know he died of pancreatic cancer.

Speaker 2:

Right, I didn't know this, no.

Speaker 1:

And he left the world. He said I'm going to tell you two things. I'm going to tell you what I've noticed and what I've learned.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And what he left the world with was what I've noticed that everybody wants to live atop the mountain, right. What I've learned is that life is not the living atop the mountain, it's the journey towards the summit.

Speaker 2:

That would be my point about endurance sport is it's not getting to the end, or even is all of it's all about all that stuff. It's all the training. You don't even have to if you don't even make your big race. You've done this incredible journey and enjoy the bits along the way.

Speaker 1:

Lovely, so now inspired by Shakespeare and all the world's asturated, all the bit of wibbibili players. When all is said and done, louise mentioned how would you most like it to be? There's a sound effect coming. Remember that.

Speaker 2:

I love that you do your own sound effects.

Speaker 1:

I'm here all week.

Speaker 2:

That's a big question, isn't it? I would like to be remembered as and I know and I know some ways I know this is true as inspiring other people to go and challenge themselves. I say I know that's true because and I feel really honoured because my first book dare to try. There are people who have qualified for the world championships in triathlon because of that book. There are people who've gone to do Ironman distances because they read that book, and there are other people who've done other things. So just that I've inspired one or two along the way to go and do their own adventures is enough for me.

Speaker 1:

You may already know, but Louise, Patterson because she trains triathletes to her own coaching business.

Speaker 2:

actually, you may not know that I mean I'm not doing triathlon at the moment, but, who knows, I want to do lots more swimming. Funny enough.

Speaker 1:

Just keep swimming. We love that Wonderful. So where can we find out all about you on the internet? But particularly, where can we go and buy your book?

Speaker 2:

So I'm on Insta Louise Minchin, I'm on X aforementioned Twitter Louise Minchin, and on my link tree. If you go on the bios of either of those, you'll find my link tree where you can buy the book. There's various places you can buy signed books as well, and I'm also sort of in the middle of a tour going to lots of different places between now and Christmas, so have a look on the link tree as well, because there might be somewhere, if anybody's listening near you, that I'm going to be talking about the book.

Speaker 1:

And presumably your book sales are going very well because you're in the habit of stealing the books back, I'm gathering as well.

Speaker 2:

Must do that more often.

Speaker 1:

That was very good. So I'm just kidding and as this has been your moment in the sunshine, in the Good, listening To Show stories of distinction and genius, is there anything else you'd like to say, louise?

Speaker 2:

Buy my book. Buy my book and keep on swimming.

Speaker 1:

Ladies and gentlemen, min Min Min, you've been listening to the glorious fixture of our sofas for many, many years. Louise Minchin talking about fearless adventures with extraordinary women. Check out the website wwwTheGoodListeningToShowcom. Thank you very much indeed, and do you want to say anything else?

Speaker 2:

Oh no, thank you so much for listening everybody and I really I mean, I really I appreciate you talking about it, Anybody talking about it, Because my most important thing is to get the message out that there are incredible women out there doing incredible things and we need to shout about them, amplify them and enjoy their stories.

Speaker 1:

Thank you very much indeed. Good night. So, louise Minchin, this is a quick captain's log supplemental. What was that like for you being curated through this structure and this journey, if I can get your immediate feedback on that?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question, because I wasn't very good at this when I first started, when I left the BBC Breakfast Sofa because I like asking the questions, so for me to sit back it feels scary, but that was really enjoyable and it's because you're revealing stuff about yourself that I've not said before. So, yeah, it feels good, but a little bit scary. How's that?

Speaker 1:

Lovely and, by the way, you will get pulled into the UK Health Radio Space, which gives you the really big juicy audience it gets across. It gets 54 countries and about 1.3 million people. Please, hurrah, it's a great work, but so hopefully the books you'll have to travel the world stealing them back because they're going to be all over the place. I'm only kidding. Thank you so much, it's a pleasure. Well done Well you're very tenacious.

Speaker 2:

Well done you.

Interview With Louise Minchin
Shaping Influences on Life
Inspiration, Distractions, and Happiness
Flow and Inspiring Women
Fearless Adventures With Extraordinary Women
Inspiration, Mentors, and Endurance in Life
Fearless Adventures With Extraordinary Women