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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.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Moth collection

I've been travelling for the past three months - and I'm sorry to admit that this involved making nine flights. There is no defence other than I hadn't been on a plane for 10 years so had a few carbon credits in hand. PIc is of Nell, me, Lola and two Solomon Island guides - Ofani and David - who had just taken us for a very long walk to see this amazing map, the Kolombangara stone.

But now I'm back at home. The first thing I noticed was that the kitchen seemed to have shrunk after the experience of living without windows, or clutter, while we were in Solomon Islands for two months. The next was the plague of moths.

Confession#2
Clothes moths drive me crazy - they've followed me around London to a range of different houses and their caterpillars have destroyed far too many of my clothes. They chew rugs, carpets, dresses, silk, jumpers, curtains even. I'm told they can even take over sheeps' wool insulation. They get into the food jars, and once the kids were sent home from school with a vicious note from the lunch supervisor telling me not to send them to school with maggoty fruit bars. When I protested that these were moth larvaes the teachers were even less sympathetic.

The result is that I am willing to kill these poor moths, and do so with a pheremone trap, ie, it's laced to stop the male tineola bisseliella mate with the female.

Unlike most of the world's 160,000 moth species, clothes moths (tineola bisselliella) like dim light. As everyone knows, most moths are drawn to bright lights, so they've done a clever bit of adaptation. In fact I admit to freaking out, just once during our three month travels, and it was over moths chaotically fighting to kill themselves on the kerosene light. We had to leave at 5am, ie, it was going to be dark in the morning, and was already dark, so I had to pack. Easy! But the torrential rain seemed to make hanging around the kerosene light even more attractive to the moths. There were 100s, maybe more, anyway enough to darken the lamp and to reduce me to a weeping lump lying on the dark wooden floor of the very special eco-lodge, Imbu Rano, Kolombangara, Solomon Islands.

I literally couldn't see for moths. 

Moth worries aside Imbu Rano is the place to base yourself if you ever want to take a walk through montane rainforest on a dormant volcano (the equivalent in the UK would be wooded parts of the Malvern Hills, or imagine the woods on Arthur's Seat or the Lake District). The eco-lodge has the world's most lovely view, read more about it here. There are some good pix here too. And by the way we stayed two nights and moths weren't a problem on the first night - it must have been the weather or the moon, or some other natural phenomenon.

DIY moth removal
Finding moth pheremone refills for the plastic traps isn't easy. But at the fourth hardware shop I visited (ironically the one I first stumbled across moth traps) had some for sale. A pack of 10 refills is £17.50, or buy one for just £2.

"Are you selling a lot of these?" I asked, and got a laugh for a reply at SX Wallpapers, 113 Essex Road, London, N1.

"We've sold 3,000 refills this summer. I've been saying we could turn the upstairs into a moth refill showroom and show people how best to swat them!" he added.

I'm sharing this with you so you can keep your clothes in a decent state, ensuring you have a little more cash available for travel around Britain without a plane...

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