A-Z activities

A-Z countries

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.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Here be dragons (aka griffins)

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. Here's how to find fantasy beasts via a trip through London. This post is by Nicola Baird 

I love visting the City's griffins. The picture above looks rather like a sacrifice, although it really shows Nell trying to climb on to one of the City's guardians between Temple and Blackfriars tube. Using the old I-spy game a griffin deserves at least 10 points (a pigeon would be 2, a cathedral 6), and there are plenty of griffins to find in the Square Mile, so a good way of exploring London as you look around the protest site at St Pauls.

Griffin ID please
Look for the body of a lion, the head and wings of an eagle and furry horse ears & what do you see? Scales. Clearly the griffins guarding the City are actually dragons. I doubt such a mish-mash beastie could ever have been real - although the Greeks and ancient Egyptians made statues of them. As for dragons, I've always assumed they are a folk lore memory of dinosaurs (or at any rate dino bones).

More info about Griffins on Wikipedia here. And if you want to remind yourself about I-spy books, then look here.

If it's London dragons you want though, then go to the National Gallery and enjoy Uccello's St George and the Dragon - a slaying of what appears to be the lady in pink's pet.


nicolabairduk said...

From email:
Dan: Glad the weekend was a success. We haven’t been to Firstsite yet, but we had friends from Colchester over for lunch yesterday and they were telling how good it is. It was a struggle to get it built though. It’s on the site of what used to be a really grotty bus station and there was huge opposition to it being closed. God knows what people liked about it. I think the new bus station is closer to the town centre. There’s no accounting for folk.

Great write-up on your blog. Makes me want to go and visit!

nicolabairduk said...

From facebook:
Caspar "I always thought Humpty Dumpty was a siege engine with which the Royalists tried to break into Parliamentarian Gloucester!"

Penny "The Vajazelling reference I could have done without"
· 1
Nicola Baird "Interesting Caspar as I'd heard it related to Wakefield before. I guess the one thing in common is that this rhyme was used a lot during the civil war, a bit like New Labour's anthem 'Things can only get better [grrrr]'"

Jon "I grew up there. Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder - nice to go back now and then"

Nicola Baird "Cool - I really enjoyed your Essex wedding too. Do you ever look at Pete's blog http://thejoyofessex.blogspot.com/ as, like you, he's now an Essex exile looking back in fondness."

The Joy of Essex

Tom "I went to university there. Only ever been back for the football when Leeds have been in town...and to the zoo. But as Roman towns go it's got some cool stuff that i want to go back and see when i can find the time."

Nicola Baird "Having kids is the perfect excuse to stop and stare and go all cultural in places like Colchester. What was the uni like? I'm told all the lecturers live in Wivenhoe so where did the students live?"

Diana: "Cannot believe it's only up the road and we've never been - only drove through. Drive for miles on holidays abroad to seek out roman bits and pieces and they are on our doorstep all the time. Thanks Nic."

Tim: "like going to Italy? without the politics I hope...."