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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 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.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

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, 18 November 2009

Stories round the woodburner

Pete, Nicola, Lola and Nell spent the summer of 2007 travelling around Britain without racking up their carbon budget. We're home now but we still love travelling. Here's how we try and do it keeping to a low carbon footprint and getting a taste of everywhere in the world. This post is by Nicola.

One of the things I love about visiting people in the countryside is their tendency in the winter to have wood burning stoves. If the wood is sourced from the right place - and I'm working on this - then you can have carbon neutral space heating.

After long talks, debates and saving up we now have an Aga Little Wenlock woodburner fitted (suitable for smokeless zones) where our Victorian fireplace used to be. It's pretty warm today - 16C - but last weekend, when it was a bit colder, we set it alight both evenings with amazingly good results. In fact the woodburner's efficiency made our sitting room warm enough for me to stay up late (chatting), rather than retire with a hot water bottle to bed at 9pm. Its cosy glow reminds me of Hannah's in Wales and Exeter, and my childhood in Hertfordshire. Pete says - rather happily - that the atmosphere in our living room hints at warm ups by the pub after breath-freezing days in the Lakes and Yorkshire.

Of course you need kindling to light it, and so there's a new task for the children (see pic). Here's Nell and her three year old cousin Jago helping me collect up a big bag of twigs off an ash tree, which all fell down after a night of gales.
Searching for kindling, copying great ideas (I think the Swedes invented the woodburner, just checking) and being able to story around the fire make autumn and winter such a pleasure. next project may be to plant some more trees...


Kate said...

I too am saving hard for a woodburner and the Little Wenlock is one i have my eye on.
Are you still pleased with it, and what - if any - drawbacks have you discovered?

kokorako said...

Hello Kate, we like it very much! Last night tried experimenting with paper bricks (rolled up newspapers) as we are toying with buying a newspaper brick maker, but newsprint leaves a lot of ash and doesn't glow like logs. We also stuff old card boxes (eg, tea) with sawdust in a bid to cut down on our log use. But actually if we just stick to logs it's really warm, cosy and blazing. A big success - we like to put a camping kettle on to the stove so as it burns we can warm up water for a hottie or cup of camomile tea... Good luck. nicola