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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.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Teddy bears' picnic


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

It’s all part of the excellent Little Hadham parish plan that we are turning up by the Millennium Wood in Bury Green for a teddy bears’ picnic – a free event for those with bears. The last time we were here it was for a polo match that only locals were invited to watch (held at Easter).

Lola and Nell are excited by the idea of a teddy party and ensure that my sister Eliza’s two bears get a makeover from Granny Fiona’s bit bag, and looking much smarter than they have for some time a sandy creature (Eliza/Hagrid) and a brown straw stuffed creature are soon in smart enough outfits to go down to the woods in.

Lola is in charge of Eliza’s old bear and is lucky enough to find it is the biggest – a bit impractical as we have to walk home with him later – but she also wins a beautifully designed teddy plate commemorating the occasion.

Nell is happy too because she’s picked for the magic show (note to Mums, dress your kids in red it’s a sure fire way to get them invited on to the stage, though white and every other colour works too…) and then wins a giant paper fiver that the cunning magician, Mr Ted, says her mum will swap for a real five pound note.

Even though I don't live here, I've lived in this area long enough while growing up to know enough people to really enjoy joining in. I absolutely love events like this - where there's a chance to get to know people, and zero pressure to contribute lots of money (unlike PTAs say). The organisers also have a brilliant recycling system - four dustbins labelled paper, cans, plastics and bottles - placed in the centre of action. Anyone could copy this idea, and I certainly will at the next event I find myself embroiled in.

Besides all the other pleasures - a family friendly event, old friends, prizes, veggie burgers on the BBQ and a fun trail to get you walking around the handsome wood (with wishing tree, lollipop tree etc) there was an ancient red London double decker bus (159) owned by a local man used to get visitors to and from the party via the village hall. Another brilliant idea, and free.

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