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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, 20 April 2010

Volcano v planes

Iceland has become the most over-heated topic of conversation at Baird-May Towers. First it was aboutWest Ham (icelanders bought the club); then we focused on the banking crisis (which led to West Ham changing hands) and now it's that pesky volcano. This post is by Nicola.

No planes over London is spookily pleasurable. Without the planes it's been possible to sleep (ALL night), and leave the windows open. To hear bird song and see such blue skies you'd think it was a Photoshop trick. London is still noisy, but not half as bad as it usually is. And with all those busy Brits stuck somewhere else the city's tubes, trains and roads are far less crowded making cycling easier, taking buses more effective and walking more enjoyable.

It seems this is the world's first carbon neutral volcano. The figures go like this - the European aviation industry is emitting 344,109 tons a day and volcano Eyjafjallajoekoll 150,000 tons - so while the planes are forced to rest our volcano has cut Europe's carbon footprint by nearly 200,000 tons a day. See here for more info from the number crunchers.

Ironically the best view I've ever had of a volcano was when I was in a light aircraft island hopping in the South Pacific and the pilot flew close to the snout of a newly emerged volcano so we could have a better look. If I'd known then what I know now about dust particles I'd have been terrified.

Instead I was smitten looking down from the tiny plane into the smouldering red heart of a new volcano spitting out boulders with gusto as it emerged from the Pacific Ocean floor. Two years later I was in Rabaul, the Papua New Guinean town destroyed by it's neighbouring volcano looking for a friend who'd lost their home to hot grey laval ash forcing his family to move into a shipping container.

I know volcanos are an expensive pain, but for us stay-at-homes the no fly zone has been an unexpected treat. And an early lesson in what happens when your sky supplies get shut down...

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