With England currently mid their autumn tour to Sri Lanka, Abbotts Travel and ITC Sports Travel caught up with one of their long-standing associates and one of cricket’s best loved characters, ex player, coach and hugely respected television pundit David 'Bumble' Lloyd for a chinwag about everything from cricket itself to curling and cream teas…
You’ve been part of the ITC Sports Travel family for many years – what’s your best experience so far?
My favourite ITC tour was in the Caribbean when I was asked to host a SeaDream cruise. There were 80 people on the boat, sailing the Caribbean islands. We had an absolute ball, it was fantastic. The food was wonderful, I think I put a stone on – real opulence. An outstanding experience.
What do you never travel without?
I try not to travel without my charger, and I fail often. Sometimes I think “I wish I’d brought my fridge with me” – because my charger’s always on top of the fridge! Also insect repellent, I never go without it.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
I’d love to see the Northern Lights. I think it’s a bit Russian roulette, and you’re not always guaranteed to see them, but that would be spectacular.
What’s your favourite souvenir from your travels?
It’s a bit corny… We’ve got a little cottage up in North Yorkshire, and the bathroom depicts the seaside. So, every beach my wife and I visit, we bring back either a pebble or a shell for that bathroom. We’ve got quite a collection… no idea where they’re all from, of course.
What’s been your most life changing travel experience?
Last winter, in Christchurch, New Zealand. I did a documentary on the earthquake, and I had to go up in a helicopter. When you’re up there you can see the fracture and the real devastation, [the quake] just floored everything. Our pilot was [former rugby player] Richie McCaw! This fella, reputed to be the greatest rugby player ever, was right in the mix during the earthquakes, airlifting people to safety 24-7, with an hour’s sleep. I’ve been to Christchurch several times and to see it from above is totally different.
Besides ‘Sweet Caroline’, what’s on your travel playlist?
I’m a rocker. So The Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, The Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, Supertramp, Led Zeppelin, Roy Orbison. I collect vinyl; I’ve got a blue vinyl Supertramp which looks great. You can’t go without Roy Orbison A Black & White Night Live, with James Burton on guitar.
ITC Sports Travel is touring Sri Lanka at the moment. What makes it such a special place?
The people. There are some wonderful sights to see, with lots of things to get involved in besides the cricket. It’s very, very hot!
Away from cricket, where are your favourite places in Sri Lanka?
We’ve stayed in some fabulous places. The hotels are terrific. Down in Colombo there are so many really nice hotels. I love a sundowner in the Galle Face Hotel, and the cricket ground in Galle itself is fabulous, with the fort in the background. I also love the Victoria Golf Club in Kandy, and the ground there, Pallekele, is one of the most picturesque in the world. Once when I was staying in Kandy, I put my breakfast down for a moment on the balcony, turned round and a monkey had eaten it! He took one of my slippers, too…
England is also touring the West Indies in early 2019. What’s your favourite thing about the Caribbean?
For me, golf. I think Barbados is the best, with some fabulous courses. Sandy Lane, if you’re fortunate enough to get on there, and Royal Westmoreland are both absolutely magnificent. Barbados and Antigua are both fabulous places and great holiday destinations. Lots of sunshine, the people are wonderful, the music’s great and the food is terrific.
One massive tip for the Caribbean – don’t go out too early. It doesn’t liven up until late. Have a good kip and then, if you want the real scene, get yourself out at 10pm.
Who do you think will win next year’s World Cup?
England will be favourites – number one in the world. I think Eoin Morgan leads them really well. They’ve got most areas covered, they’re a dynamic team who play with a lot of confidence, and they’re at home. Home advantage is always useful. If not, I think it’ll be India, who are a fabulous team.
What do you think of the ICC’s decision to make the World Cup a ten-team tournament?
I’m very much for the Associate nations to be in it. I think it’s romantic for the fans. It’s terrific that you can get your Irelands and Scotlands and Afghanistans. It makes it a more interesting competition.
The ICC has said they want to make cricket the world’s most popular sport. How do you think they can achieve that?
I don’t think that’s going to happen. It’s a nice thing to say. We can certainly be competitive, and the way to do that is to advance the game with the World Cup, making it available to Associate nations. I would also be an advocate of cricket in the Olympics, but I’d have it six-a-side. I mean, you get a few obscure sports in the Olympics. I like that curling! I think it’s good fun. I’m probably not going to take it up any time soon… I mean I don’t like the cold, for a start, so I think I’d be at a disadvantage there. But it looks good fun.
Which is the best ground for tea?
Well, we don’t get tea! That’s a big disadvantage. We’re working, so we don’t have tea. I’m a traditionalist, I like the old-style tea, with the crusts off. Of course, the burning question is – for a cream tea, is it jam first? I’d say it’s jam first, and then cream. But it depends where you are, particularly in Cornwall… they know where you’re from if you do it wrong. Definitely jam first!
What’s your fondest cricketing memory?
A number of things, really. Commentating on the World Cup when the West Indies won it, with Ian Bishop. Ben Stokes bowling to Carlos Brathwaite… that was a brilliant piece of commentary to be part of. Speaking of Ben Stokes – a Test Match England won against South Africa in Cape Town, and he scored a 250. From a personal viewpoint, beating South Africa in a five-match Series when I was coach.
What’s your most memorable broadcasting moment?
The calling of a World Cup final is up there. For me, it was Jimmy Anderson’s 500th wicket; that brought a lump to my throat. I’ve known Jimmy since he was a young lad, so that was quite emotional. I wasn’t scheduled to commentate at that time, but my boss told me to go on.
When you’re not travelling for work, what do you do in your spare time?
I’ve got a little boat, and I cruise up and down the River Ouse. When I retire, I’m going to get a proper one in the Mediterranean. So that means I’ve got to take a navigation course to find out what buoys are and what they do. I think it’s dead simple.
You won’t be retiring any time soon, will you?
Well, I won’t be going on forever. I want to do other things. Get in my boat. Travel – that’s what I want to do. I want to travel for something other than work.
What’s the best thing about travel?
Meeting people. Getting out and about and meeting the locals. It’s fabulous, great fun. Travel is the greatest thing, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to do it.
If you could invite any three people for dinner, who would it be?
Can I have four? Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts.
You’re known as a huge Accrington Stanley fan, and obviously you’ve seen a lot of cricket. Which other sporting event would you love to attend?
The Ryder Cup, or the Masters. That would be a real experience. My boss at Sky always goes and I keep asking him if he wants a mate to come along. He hasn’t got back to me on that.
Any final words of wisdom for fellow travellers?
Get out and about. See different cultures. That’s the main thing, seeing different things and your eyes are open. Sometimes it’ll be sad, sometimes it’ll be very uplifting. Mind-blowing, unbelievably beautiful, spectacular. But you’re embracing different cultures which will stay with you forever.