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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.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Smell the petrol

One family's thoughts on how to travel the world without leaving home, much. This post is by Nicola

I'm ashamed of myself really: in just two weeks of holidaying I've managed to drive nearly 1,000 miles. Most of this was local trips in Yorkshire, although the big mileage came from an up and down of the A1, plus a return journey from Carlisle to Wast Water. Although the family also clocked up the miles on the gear-changing, brake-waring crossing of Hard Knott pass between Boot and Ambleside.

Because we need to drive so little, I usually stick to a membership car club scheme, Streetcar. But this time it was more convenient to rent the cars from Sixt.

As a result of this I've been into a couple of motorway service stations - better for clean loos than most train stations still - and nowadays also serving a good cup of coffee, but otherwise soleless places. Assuming it is not an April Fool (and we are months out as I am writing this in August) there are plans in the Cotswolds to build an apparently "green service station" with a grass roof, electric vehicle refuelling points, and a veg patch. The full story is in the Guardian here.

What struck me about the service stations on the A1 was they were an identical layout, and nothing to tell me where in the world I was. Apparently the kit-design is the way to make cost and building savings - you create a model that can be dumped anywhere you acquire the land, a bit like Lego. So if this so-called green service station was to go ahead it would make sense to build it just like all the others. Or to make a model that would be acceptable to all the other service station developers.

I wonder if there is still time to ask the question: do we need yet another service station? I'm guessing this is a no, even if you could pour unleaded petrol into your car while munching on a locally-sourced goat's cheese sarnie.

2 comments:

Karin said...

Motorway service stations do tend to be soulless places, but next time you are coming south from the Lake District visit the Tebay services http://www.westmorland.com/ They are a family-run enterprise and sell local produce as well.

kokorako said...

Good tip Karin. Maybe there's a book in visiting service stations before the end of the petrol age? Or at any rate another family project. When they are combined with farmers' market type shops they can be an amazing human battery recharger. Nicola