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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.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Glastonbury god and goddesses

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post finds a way to feel like a deity - and then gets a bit mixed up with rabbits and religion (in Melbourne).  Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).   

Glastonbury's presence has been even bigger than usual thanks to the amazing Olympic opening ceremony with the green hill far away brought to London (well a removable replica). By luck our family was visiting Somerset the next day and on the hunt for a picnic lunch ended up in Morrisons supermarket under the shadow of the Glastonbury tor. It felt all wrong.

A day or so later we're back at Glastonbury, this time to look around. The market - selling clothes you just don't see anywhere else, lots of hippy stock, tie dye and crystals - was on. Every lamp post was festooned with a yellow plastic bunch of sunflowers. At the meeting room there's a Goddess Conference - this theme's colour seemed to be yellow as all Goddesses were kitted out with something of that shade (they wore blue in 2011). I wanted to find three rubber two-headed dragons, but they didn't seem to be available despite a huge number of hard magic and priestess kit shops. Want a bird's wing, a dragon cup or a wand? Easy. Vegetables were also impossible to find.

At Glastonbury Abbey - which hogs one side of the main street behind a row of crystal, green man booklets and incense selling shops - a wonderful gentleman kitted out in black Tudor garb introduces himself as Robert Pollard. Glastonbury is billed as the earliest Christian sanctuary in Britain - possibly Jesus was brought here by Joseph of Arimathea... (I think this is rather a big possibly). It's still a place people like to make pilgrimages too - for god and goddesses.

But Pollard (see photo below) has a different story. He did the dodgy dirty work for Henry VIII and his adviser Thomas Cromwell to ensure that the abbey was closed. Obviously Henry wanted the cash, not sure what Cromwell's motivations were - power I suppose - but the result was the unfortunate Glastonbury Abbot, already in his 80s, was given a traitor's death. He was hung, drawn (your guts are slipped out and dipped in boiling oil), then quartered. It made nobody look good, but also made it clear that no one was to mess with Henry VIII.

Years later the ruins were included in businessman James Austin's garden  - which still has the most lovely views. Austin is infamous for introducing rabbits to Australia (he wanted better sport). He has another legacy - his Oz property was named Avalon (another Glastonbury link as the abbey grounds also boast the legend that King Arthur's bones were found there, see pic). Avalon is now part of Melbourne.

Over to you
What's a place you've visited that's offered a terrific tour?

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