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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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Cold, need Canadian gloves

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This February old snap leads to questions about how people cope in really cold countries.  This post is by Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about books and blogs). Pic is of my daughter Lola checking the post box hasn't frozen...  

Misery on my bike yesterday as both hands appeared to freeze during my 50 minute journey from Elephant and Castle back home. I wondered how cold it had to be to get frost bite. But I was wearing gloves - it's just that they are an old lady's pair, from a charity shop in Colchester. Moaning to fellow cyclists (forced to stop by me at red lights), all sympathised, but pointed at their cosy fingers claiming their gloves were warm as toast.

I think they meant bought in Canada or suitable for winter extremes.

"No such thing as bad weather, only bad gloves"
Although I have had toasty, ski gloves the problem is that one, then the other, always gets lost. Strangely I find it harder to ride my bike if I'm not in matching gloves (does anyone else have this problem?). So what I'd like to know is how to avoid losing wet gloves, damp hats and scarves. Do you know a system that makes it far harder to lose things? People living in cold places must have some secret - perhaps like gloves on a string I used when the kids were toddlers.

It's an east wind but shops are too hot
This particular cold snap comes with high pressure, and a very full moon so dry and bitter cold nights. You can see how the cold has leached the wet out of London's grey pavements. But on a shopping trip today (to get a warm duvet for Nell, for her birthday) Pete and I struggled to be warm enough for walking the streets, without dying of overheat in the Oxford Street shops.

Over to you
How do people manage this conundrum in really cold places like Moscow or Stockholm? Are there vast, efficiently run cloakrooms in their stores? Or do they just keep the store temperatures lower than we do in London .(In John Lewis quite a few of the staff were able to be in shirt sleeves - a habit which people often take home and might partially explain why the UK's carbon emissions rose by 3 per cent. It's the first time emissions have not been on a falling trend since 2003 (see story here). Horrible.


Jon said...

I travelled to Finland for work in 2010 and it was really noticeable that the venues where we met had really large foyer/cloakrooms for people to store large coats and heavy boots. Not sure if it's the same for shops, but definitely true of youth centres.

nicolabairduk said...

Thanks Jon. Also found out from a one-time Canadian resident that many people have wet rooms at home to dry off equipment & also en suite garages. That way they step into their dry warm 4x4s and then drive to the big shops which have underground parking. I was quite shocked by this, but apparently it's one way to avoid the endless wrapping up and unwrapping of big winter coats.

nicolabairduk said...

From ~Facebook:
Caroline: "I'd like to know where the gloves go but more importantly right now the teenagers socks. We have an epidemic of odd socks. I keep all unpaired socks in a basket by the drying rack in the vain hope that a pair might come through the system eventually. But the basket keeps filling & F just uses the odd socks now, so perhaps I should just give up?"

Chris: 'A friend of my husband's once sent him a PC with the memorable quote, "Sometimes I feel like a lost sock in the laundromat of oblivion..." With animal skins/fur....in answer to Nicola's query. We see quite a lot of it in West London, with the influx of Russians to the hinterland...'