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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.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Above the birds


Extraordinary moment just below Turret 43a on Hadrians Wall on the last day of July - and the sunniest day we've had over the past eight weeks. Lola, Nell and I had stopped for jaffa cakes at the top of Cockmount Hill as it gave us a bird's eye view of the valley to the south and let the sun sink into our limbs. We were nearly at the end of our longest walk on the wall - 6.6miles over endless ups and downs and a lot of chat about the antics of Harry Potter, and what the Romans have ever done for us...

As we relaxed Nell spotted a bird hovering below us, then diving down into the grass, then soaring back up again and repeating this. It's back was a golden brown and the markings on its tail were so clear it was easy to later look it up and find out that it was a female kite. She hovered close enough to us for us to see how her wings moved and because of the sheer drop off this hill we were always above her. It was spellbinding to watch not least because she seemed quite uninterested in our party, and for some time also ignored the train of nine young overloaded teenage backpackers snailing there way up the hill.

Our kite only flew off when one poor girl puffed at us "I'm going to die". She was revived enough by her friends launching into an irritating chorus of "If you're happy and you know it..." to set her draw into a look that suggested she might kill them first. But in our eerie we were uterly happy and all of us clapped our hands encouraging the teenagers to keep going with the tempting fact that there was some downhill soon, and only three miles away was a loo.

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