Back to basics & (car free) family values…

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All this talk of hypocrisy and rallying (though on the latter we were probably part of only the 1% who arrive at the racetrack by public transport!)…… it was now time to get back to basics and car free family values: a bike ride from Edinburgh to the Falkirk Wheel with Nige.  Bikes and canal paths (ok, and a busy road) for a great 35 miles.

And a journey home via Scotrail – doesn’t say much for our mettle.  But at least there was a public transport option for us.  We had set off in high spirits in spring-like sunshine, but cycled predominantly in heavy drizzle and cold.  Preferred a trip home with a coffee and a bun.

It was the first time I have put my bike on a train.  The bike rack was great, though occupied by one little bike belonging to an equally little boy.  He looked like he was called Dermot.  He looked up at Nige and I and eyed our bikes.  He was very polite, thanking us when we commented on the coolness of his bike and helmet.   I think he thought we were professional cyclists (who of course always catch a train home for the return leg).

We did not disabuse him.

Great ride.  Saw lots of canal boats.  And a canopied small ship.  Super Falkirk Wheel.  Falkirk Railway Station a bit scary.  Mistaken for Lance Armstrong & Greg LeMond.  Not a bad day.

And again – THANKS NIGE! – nice headcam and even better editing.

Wild Child, Poppy & Freddy, Robin Hood & Boggle Hole

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OK this year’s summer holiday has involved hiring a 1972 VW Camper Van and driving over the N Yorkshire Moors and visiting a music festival.

This begs the important question, as posed by a friend: should car free family be hiring a van for a holiday? Good question.

I suppose it’s all about ownership versus use.  But hey, a few facts (and confessions)

Last year’s holiday:

Location: Greece

Operator: Club Med

Cost: Extortionate

Travel: Taxi, train, flight, Bus, bus, flight, train, taxi

Food and locale: Everything you could eat and more,  lager and wine, and lots of green grass (despite heat – lots of watering), plus air con

Entertainment: French Extravaganza (every bloody night)

Celebrity rating: 0

Carbon: Ouch

This year’s holiday:

Location: Robin Hood’s Bay, Boggle Hole, Fylingdale, Buxton

Operator: Cassidys (and my mate Ian)

Cost: 75% less than last year

Travel: Taxi, train, taxi, van (350 miles), lift from Ian, train, taxi

Food and locale: Quorn, pasta, flies, bitter/ale, cold and blustery, drafts

Entertainment: Ian, kids and amazing music (esp The Futureheads and Imperial Leisure)

Celebrity rating: 9 (Emma Roberts had been there once for Wild Child – see link)

Carbon: A lot less than last year!

Summary: I think this year’s holiday was the most relaxing I have had for years, and T&M enjoyed it more than they have a holiday in ages.  Just drive (very slowly – that is the only ption in a 1972 VW Camper) and sit and listen to music. Even cooking on the stove was strangely relaxing (if not for the fly).  Greece was more of a rush and a push to get there and enjoy – at all costs.

So – yeah, we hired a van.  Result all round. Our friends at flightlesstravel (see link) may be onto something.


Wish I knew the full accurate costs of each holiday: money, environment etc

Big Tent Festival 2010

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What an ace weekend.  Old friends, new friends, lots of nice beer and laughing a lot.  Very funny, mellow and just downright good! (and even Co-op bubbles and a fridge magnet)

Car Free?  Well….

Home to Edinburgh Train Station – Taxi (I was late back from work and we had lots of bags)

Markinch to Festival  -Taxi (last festival Bus at 630pm – bit early for a late one! (Hey, we also saw a showdown between local taxi drivers looking for our trade:  all cracks off in Markinch))

Back from festival – given a lift (thanks Duncan and Boyley)

From Dot’s to Leuchars – lift from Dot

There’s lots of people who help us out with lifts, especially when we go to rural areas and need to get to/from the station.  Good chat with Brodie about helping with petrol at the end of the blog…

So kind of car free.

Mind, we did take our strawberry pot incentive for using public transport.  They were very sweet.  (Could have done with verification (smartcard?): I talked to an old lady who admitted she had lied – the shame!!!)

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.

A day trip, pirates and reflection on the age of consent


So we wanted to go to York – about 2 hours away by train.  Usually we would drive down – about 4 hours?  Just easier.

The train was the option now: £70. We would have spent about £40 on petrol.

We usually have a bit of fun when travelling, but I do think train takes the (British rail) biscuit.  So many lovely journeys – I instantly recall loads of trips on Eurostar to London, and loads of trips to from York when I was a student travelling to/from Lancaster.

This day we learnt Pirate language, guided through by our Pirate Host Maddie.  We could have learnt Pirate in a car, but to be honest I would have been distracted and would have been a bad student.  Just a bit less stress on the train. Even managed a McKewans (the only time anyone has a can of McKewans is on a train isn’t it?).

We paid child fare for Tess, having just jumped off a bus where we paid full fare, and about to jump on another bus, in Edinburgh, where she pays half fare.  Tess is right – what IS the message to teens about the age of consent?  Seems to vary just a tad.  No wonder they are confused.