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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.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Where to live?

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

"We've had a lot of homes," muses Lola as we arrive at this week's holiday home, a place we are house-sitting in Yorkshire (not the pic above!). I think that home ought to be where you are right now, but deep in my psyche is also the gently rolling arable hills of the Herts/Essex borders - the area Andrew Motion has recently written about in his exquisite childhood memoir, In the Blood. He makes it clear how to grow up normalish despite a backpack of strange upper middle class ideas about what is right, and what is expected. The twist for him is how his childhood was severed by his mum's horrible accident out hunting.

At the moment Lola and Nell don't seem to have a trace of snobbery in where or what home is. They don't even need it to be close to shops as they are still a long way from being the sort of females Sunderland manager Roy Keane recently berated for stopping players moving to the north east.
Long may this last as they won't be handed homes on a plate, or even be able to anticipate enough cash from me and Pete to be able to get a mortgage on a flat in their early 20s. If I look in an estate agents' window (eg, while waiting for Pete or because I'm nosing around somewhere) the girls are as likely to choose a suburban '70s build as a stockbroker's palace. Right now they love home, London specifically, best. But they also love to muse as we pad around places how they'd "love to live in a castle" (see pic), or, as we were searching for the mermaid pool on Burgh Island in Devon "on an island" http://www.burghisland.com/.
On the latter location I can reassure them: they are islanders even if it's 800 miles by 100 plus (depending on where you do the measuring) so you can't see the edges.

As for castles. Well we have seen lots of castles, some with the roof on and plenty with just blue sky and clouds for decoration. But despite the variety Lola reckons that the best one she's ever seen is the Tower of London -visited on a school trip. "It's got masses of links with the Tudors, and prisons, secrets, jewels and the scratches of prisoners on the walls. I found one of a wild boar," she enthuses when I press for details.

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