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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.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Running out of loo roll

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. Here are some thoughts about taking the piss, politely. This post is by Nicola Baird 

It may be possible to use leaves, newspaper scraps and bits of magazines to wipe your bum. But... I'm not keen on these options while recycled loo paper is so cheap and easy to come by (unless you forget to keep the stocks up). The obvious answer is to make sure you always have a couple of slices of toilet tissue tucked into a pocket.

British people are often very conservative about their toilet habits. I remember being amazed at about eight years old that there were squat toilets in France. Since then I've learnt that many countries use squat toilets - in some rows of "ladies" in Singapore, say, you can choose between the Western sit model and the Asian squat.

That flush costs how much?
Our family is just about to switch to a water metre in a bid to help everyone in the house understand that water has a price. It's easy to follow Ozzie rules - "if it's yellow let it mellow; if it's brown flush it down," when it's only family in the house. Far harder when there are visitors. At least that's what I think, anyone got any thoughts about how to internationalise your own toilet habits so water isn't wasted and blushes spared?


Karin said...

I'm not sure how environmentally friendly leaving it to mellow is, I think you just need more loo cleaner. I think the answer is to have a dual flush if possible and not to use more water than is needed. Water is essential to hygiene. We need balance in everything.

Equally, what's wrong with recycled loo roll? It's not the best quality paper and may have been recycled more than once. The Romans had re-usable sponges, but I can't imagine them being that hygienic and you'd need to use a lot of hot water trying to clean them.

nicolabairduk said...

Hello karin, I've been wondering how you are?! The loo cleaner is the conundrum. About every three months I end up removing all the water in the toilet pan, leaving it overnight with a splash of vinegar and then scraping off the limescale. It's a complete faff and may be the wrong thing to do. Nicola

nicolabairduk said...

From Facebook:
Chris: At Kensington Town Hall yesterday (where the Commonwealth Fair was held) I noticed, for the first time, an alternative 'Economy' flush in the Ladies' Loo....

Karin said...

LOL, Nicola, does the 'economy flush' cost less than a penny?

Your toilet cleaning routine sounds quite time consuming. Is it effective? I've never found vinegar works that well, but then I've not removed all the water from the toilet.

nicolabairduk said...

Haha! to continue this - vinegar is great if you soak cloths/rags and then lay it directly on to areas that need the limescale removed (& much more effective without the water). This loosens the limescale so you can easily scratch it off as learnt watching TV's How clean is your house? A simpler method is to try it out where the tap and the basin join - often a spot where limescale builds up. Once a year I also unplug and soak the inside of the kettle in about 1cm of vinegar over night to try and rid that of limescale. I think more cleaning tips are in my book SAVE CASH & SAVE THE PLANET (Collins/Friends of the Earth)but I am not that house proud, just v anxious about what evils I might have to put into the sewage system. Nicola x

Karin said...

I have borrowed your book from the library a few times. I tend to buy books I can't get from the library as I already have a lot of books.

This does sound like a very complicated way of cleaning the loo. I don't want to pollute our water systems, but I do like things to be fairly clean, too, so I use an Ecover toilet cleaner about once a week, and a brush a bit more often, and hope it really doesn't pollute too much.

nicolabairduk said...

I reckon Ecover is good stuff! Look forward to our next conversation. Have a good week. Nicola x

nicolabairduk said...

More Facebook:
Caroline: Nicola, your toilet cleaning ritual is hardcore - not sure how many people are committed enough for that! Definitely agree re dual flush comments.

Pete May said...

I won't mention the drop loo with coconut crabs in the Solomon Islands... or the trowel and leaves at the aptly named Pooley Bridge.

Thomas Crapper was a genius! BTW Ken Livingstone agrees with Nicola on the letting it mellow front...

Karin said...

I take it you mean the former mayor of London - I know another Ken Livingstone. I believe Bob Flowerdew also follows that maxim, never mind how he activates his compost heap.

I remember you mentioned an unusual loo on some exotic island in 'There's A Hippo in My Cistern', perhaps it was the same one.

nicolabairduk said...

Hi Karin, yes you are right - pete is easily traumatised by non conventional loos! He has a long memory too. Nicola