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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, 6 February 2008

Hippo at the printers

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola

This is the face of a man (left) who's finally sent his corrected book proofs of There's a Hippo in my Cistern: one man's misadventures on the eco-frontline off to the printer. Now there's the long wait until 2 June 2008 when it comes out. I reckon he's done a Feverpitch for the eco generation. If Pete's funny book gets a lot of readers then Pete May could do more for climate change than most of us ever can.
Here's a summary of the book (lifted from the back cover):
WHY IS THERE A HIPPO IN PETE MAY'S CISTERN, YOU MIGHT ASK.
Back in the nineties, Pete May was busy watching football and drinking beer. He was quite happy surrounding himself with countless pizza boxes, beer cans and other environmentally unfriendly consumer stuff. Then along came Nicola - an environmental activist intent on saving rainforests. Pete, surprised to find himself drawn to someone so far removed from his planet-killing laddish lifestyle, began to wonder whether two people so different could really fall for each other?
Would Pete ever change his ways and sign up to the green lifestyle of composting loos, chicken rearing, energy saving and general self-sufficiency? Would he ever get to grips with devices called Hippos that he found himself dunking in his cistern to save water when flushing?
This is the charming and funny true-life tale of one man's struggle to grapple with the good life. GO GREEN and get the girl.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Using a storm kettle

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola

Inspired by our oven and hob breaking (a boring detail which was easily mended once the loose plug wires were coaxed back into place) we had a weekend breakfast in the garden. Porridge was cooked on the emergency gas ring which is a very sobering way to see how greedy for energy the hob can be. But our new storm kettle (see flaming pic on the left), a really useful xmas present for Pete, proved to be star. It was easy to light and boiled fast even though we only fed it with bits of unwanted weekend supplements and some green twigs.

The oven's all fixed now, but I think we might try boiling up a brew again - not least because it gives us some crisis cooking practice while our hens enjoy some supervised exercise in the garden.

Horses in the high street

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola

I've found a simple way to entertain myself - and the kids. Walk around London talking to the statues. This Elisabeth Frink bronze horse in Piccadilly gave us all the sort of energy boost that a packet of sweets can provide. Not all Frink's sculptures offer such free enjoyment though. Next trip we plan to hunt down all the statues in Charlie Fletcher's clever kids' story, Stoneheart, many of which can be seen using the Number 4 bus through the City.