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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.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Where do apricots grow?

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. Here I have a look at how to grow exotic fruits in the UK - and consider a fruit tour.... Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs). I also publish an interview every week with people who live or work in Islington at islingtonfacesblog.com - there's a prize for the 100th follower.

Can you grow exotic fruits in the UK? What would a fruit tour be like?

Peach tree in my garden - not looking too bad,
but it has struggles with peach tree curl and
in the winter when I cover it for frost protection
the fleece gets regularly blown off.
Apricot jam sounds English doesn't it? But years ago, after a trip to the north west corner of Pakistan I learnt that the best apricots are actually from Hunza orchards. This info remained unchallenged for two decades until I discovered that in certain cantons of Switzerland apricots are sold on roadside stalls and home brewed apricot liqueurs are popular. These two countries seem so far away that they'd be unlikely to have a reputation for the same fruit - although admittedly both specialise in super peaks.

Now I've discovered that there is an apricot capital in the UK, well a place in the flat lands of Northamptonshire called Aynho but known as "Apricot Village". I'm told you can spot an apricot tree growing up cottage walls or free-standing in most of the village's front gardens ... and the fruit grows beautifully thanks to the stony, sandy soil. Aynho isn't too far from Banbury, Oxon - or the amazing Aynhoe Park which can be hired for expensive weddings.

Over to you
Next time you buy some apricots will you be reading the small print to find out where they come from?

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