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Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Foot sore


Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood whatever the weather. This post is from Pete

As they say in bad war films: “For you, ze walk is over!” In the best tradition of West Ham signings immediately getting injured, Pete May has succumbed to a pre-season triple whammy of foot ailments. My right foot is swollen, poisoned and maroon around the ankle. The doctor says I am suffering from cellulitus, athlete’s foot and a bruised and sprained ankle. Six weeks in sweaty Zamberlan boots has proved more than my plates of meat can handle.

Cellulitus is an infection of the foot that might have been caused by the athlete’s foot fungus infecting a mosquito bite or a rubbed spot from a dodgy sandal. It’s all been made worse by tripping over a hidden concrete step at Wooler youth hostel while wearing a heavy backpack, straining and bruising my ankle.

So now it’s a two week course of antibiotics and anti-fungal cream for my toes, wearing iffy Clark’s sandals with my foot propped on a stool, lying low in Hexham waiting for the big one - or at least a walk on Hadrian’s Wall - as I listen to the Hold Steady (our hosts are hipper than me). Nicola says it’s all down to my poor personal hygiene (surely washing once a year is enough?); I say our itinerary allayed to youth hostel mattresses would have had the SAS on antibiotics by now. Travel is inherently dangerous; both the girls have had tonsillitis, while Nicola is suffering from a persistent “productive cough” ever since our four days loitering within tents by a flooded Ullswater.

And how does anyone in the Scottish Borders ever get treated? On Saturday and Sunday there were no doctors in Greenlaw, Coldstream or Duns, while on Monday the entire Scottish NHS declared a public holiday and closed all its surgeries. Even the pharmacy was closed. The only appointment for Tuesday was at 2.30 and while we were waiting in Duns we noted that the café was closed because the owner had been taken to hospital and the pub was shut due to flooding. Forget Nashville; all the ingredients for a perfect country song can be found trying to find treatment for a septic ankle in Greenlaw.

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