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What's this blog all about?

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, 13 July 2007

Links with Canada

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. This post is from Nicola (pic is of Nell and Lola looking at a giant redwood/sequoia planted in 1857 by Queen Victoria)

At Haddo House http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/73/ (partly administered by the Scottish National Trust) Nell cannot believe the ballroom (modelled on a Canadian style dance house) has a wooden roof. "It looks like slate," she insists, and it does. But this is cedar, skilfully cut to make roof tiling. The building has been there since Victorian times CHECK and is still looking good, what's more it's got a new lease of life as a music centre. Indeed Haddo is known as the Glynebourne of the north (ie, Scotland).

The Gordon family (now uber-grand Marquesses of Aberdeen thanks to a 1916 gift providing the title in perpetuity) has long links with Canada. Sometimes they've ruled it (as governor-generals) at other times they've sent their black sheep there in the hope they will see sense (eg, woman trouble) or avoid spending money (to sort out debts, death duties etc).

There's obviously a lot of fondness for Canada though and at the bottom of the main staircase you can see a sweet little sledge - ideal for the slopes at Haddo House's famous gardens - which was brought back from Canada and can be made to go even faster if it is harnessed to an obliging dog.

You don't have to use cedar to get the same roof tile effect. In Surrey woodsman Ben Law has used his sweet chestnut to do something similar on his unique house in the woods - the one that viewers reckoned was the best of all the Grand Design TV projects. Surprisingly Surrey is the most wooded county in England (not sure about Britain) and full of sweet chestnut that could be brought back into sustainable harvest management - either for coppicing to end up on your BBQ or for the sort of poles and palings that could create you a ballroom, music room or just a bit of an extension to the kitchen...

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