Car Free Family – 10 Golden Lessons

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The story so far:

Le Famille Cassidy leave Belgium to live in Edinburgh in late March 2010  – we have decided to be car free FOR A YEAR.  But the car was needed for the move : cats + international house move + using public transport was an expensive challenge!

But in July 2010 the car is taken back to Belgium to stay in its place of birth – the Car Free Clock begins to tick….

The posts so far have captured the drama and emotions, but the remaining question is:  did we make a year?

July 11 2011 was the day the tick would tock.  It would be 12 months without a car.

Tick. Tock.

The last post was February 23.

Tick. Tock.

Scotland swings like a pendulum do….Bobbies on bicycles two by two…

Tick. Tock….

Well, when the final tock ticked we were still car less.  Not a car in sight.

I rang Gardenlady on July 11 2011.  She was in Lisbon.  We didn’t even talk about the great Car Free Date – it was Lego and sun and the last 6 months.

Today is a beautiful sunny 20 May 2012 – The Cassidys are still car free (nearly 2 years), and we have learnt a LOT!  And we continue to learn a LOT!

10 Golden Lessons of the Car Free Year coming up – interspresed with stories of the last few months: house move, love, laughter, drama, crises, conflicts, tears, joy, smart cards.

A rollercoaster ride – not a car journey.


Christmas Day in the Workhouse

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So on 25 December after a fusion cuisine Christmas dinner of Veggie Haggis, gravy, sweet corn and Yorkshire Pudding, a treasure hunt for more AAA batteries, our ritual reading of all 21 verses of George Sims’ poem Christmas Day in the Workhouse, and a few songs around the banjo, the Cassidy family’s minds turned to our 3 day Yorkshire Tour comprising the well-known Edinburgh-Sheffield-York-Northallerton-Edinburgh Loop.

You will of course be thinking that, following the post of 21 November, we would be walking 10 minutes down the road to pick up our City Car.  However, you would be wrong.  Instead we walked 3 mins around to Matt and Kirsten’s to take up their very kind offer of taking their car for the journey.  How kind is that?  Thank you Matt and Kirsten.  They even cleaned out the crisps behind the car seats.  It was certainly easier that City Car, as well as being much cheaper given their insistence that we pay nothing!  (Matt did graciously receive a fluid payment of petrol and alcohol.)

In fact Matt and Kirsten have made their car available again…super kind.  And another lovely neighbour has offered hers recently, as has another friend from a bit farther afield.  It has made me think a lot about sharing cars between friends, and the model you could use: have a mutual financial pot for servicing, only one insurance necessary, pay per mile…?????  It could certainly work well.  I wonder if many friend’s do have “formal” car sharing arrangements?  This said I am still sceptical of the formal downtime car sharing scheme which Whipcar offer – see the link.  I just think it is a slightly different proposition borrowing a stranger’s car (but maybe you soon get over this social barrier and it becomes a beautiful “car-share-relationship”).  

So back to Christmas.  Sims’ poem was first published in 1879 as a dramatic monologue to highlight the harsh conditions of the Workhouses, the impacts of the Poor Laws in England, and also the hypocrisy of the rich Guardians of the Parish visiting the Workhouse with their gifts at Christmas.  Double standards, hypocrisy.  Nasty stuff.

But wait a moment!!!  Wasn’t Car Free Family accused of being no better than these hypocritical Workhouse Guardians and patrons?  Yes – hypocrisy was the call in Sheffield at Brenda’s Boxing Day Buffet. Everything seemed calm during an inter-family game of “Deal of no Deal” (with electronic telephone), but soon a mince pie and Stones bitter-fueled family exchange ensued (well mainly a discussion with my lovely nephews Matt and Simon – big Uncle hug to you both xx)  concerning our arrival BY CAR!

A small preview has been made available below suitable for all ages…..


World Cup 2010: goodbye England – hello the beach

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Today started so well.  Nice run up Arthur’s Seat and views which seemed to say “This is the day when England achieve”.

I had laughed at the Scottish strategy to win the 2034 World Cup by having children with Brazilians (see link) and thought that really, today, it would be the start of something big.

So we set off to Fife – 40 miles away –  on the bus and train, to enjoy the game at Boyley’s footy party.  It would be so easy to pop up in the car, but, that wasn’t a choice.  Planning to get a taxi from the station (Leuchars) to Boyley’s.

Dot rang to say she’d pick us up and we could have a pre-match-relaxation-walk on the beach. Hurrah!  This would not have happened if we’d driven  -we’d have been straight to Boyley’s.  All very sociable and nice.  Thanks to public transport…?

I do feel a bit bad that people give us lifts: we go car free and they pick up the tab. But it wasn’t a big detour for Dot and we did have a nice walk.  Flick was happy too.

Little did we know that England would never show up (well, we kind of guessed they wouldn’t).

And not driving meant I could ehjoy a beer and had empty bottles to throw at the telly.

Roll on 2014.