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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.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Andy Goldsworthy rocks


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 Nicola (the Goldsworthy tribute band pic is on the right)

I’ve waited about six years to see it, but when Nell was told we were off to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park http://www.ysp.co.uk/ she had a meltdown. Half an hour later she’d forgotten and was skipping to the bus which runs hourly, even on a Sunday, from Wakefield to West Bretton and a short (unsigned) walk into the park.

It turns out that Nell is not the only child to disagree violently with her mum. On the 435 an only just still blonde woman, with a disconcerting bruise and cut on her right cheek, chats to us about life then and now in west Yorkshire and the famous sculpture park.

“My daughter loves it up there, but I just see three men with holes in them. It’s target practice not art,” she says happily as the bus passes The Station Pub and into the countryside again. “But when we were young we’d spend all day up there, looking for frogs. It never used to rain then. These days I think the sun has died that's why I always take this mac...” With her commentary, at turns painful and then delightful, the journey passes fast. Thanks also to her directions we enter the park at the controversial spot - Jonathan Borofsky’s tree-height Molecule Man 1+1+1. The girls siddle into a photographic spot by it, but as I snap they start squabbling, just like the giant men arguing above.

Tempers calm after a reviving hot chocolate so we walk to the Andy Goldsworthy’s rooms in the Underground Gallery. Here Nell undergoes a cathartic change. “This is cool,” she says breathing heavily as we walk into the second room, done out as an inverse bird’s nest made from sweet chestnut coppice carefully slotted together. In the third she’s the one to spot that the cracking clay is held together with hair – from users of Barnsley, Wakefield and Huddersfield hairdressers during Christmas 2006. And in the fourth Nell stares for nearly 10 still minutes at the curtain of horse chestnut stalks in front of us. Assuming these wonderful, and increasingly fragile, pieces don’t collapse you too can see the show until 6 January 2008 http://www.ysp.co.uk/ and also http://www.cc.gla.ac.uk/goldsworthy. The exhibition catalogue - celebrating his 30 year connection with YSP - provides an excellent future memory jog too if you are willing to part with #15 for it, Andy Goldsworthy at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (or just borrow it from me).

It’s still raining when we emerge from this bit of the show but Lola, Nell and I don't care; Goldsworthy makes us want to reconnect with every one of the elements. Which is why we also head to the Longside Gallery (a barn) where Goldsworthy has created his "shit" work: a river window from cow dung (genius!); a series of sheep feet canvases and a mud ball from the creation clean-up. He's also experimented, Damian Hirst style, with blood droplets on snow from a roadkill hare, and a deer.

Nell, ever bloodthirsty, adores these pieces too. I hope this doesn’t indicate a scary mother-daughter future ahead.

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