What I did on my holidays!

Social historians are fond of telling people that one of the most profound effects of industrialisation upon daily life was the separation of work from home, and the separation of work from leisure.  Not that all this happened overnight or even decades.  Large scale manufacture was taking place in homes long before what we would recognise as factories were built.  It wasn’t until the 1850s that the balance tipped from a largely rural population to an urban one.  But at some point during the late Victorian era the notion of ‘recreation’ became central to the contemporary psyche.  Recreation  was all about self-improvement and literally recreating yourself.  This lead to  the explosion of public libraries and municipal parks.   By the end of the century the novel idea of ‘going-on a holiday’ in order to recreate oneself  had been born.  

Many of us now would like to return to some pre-industrial idyll where home, work and leisure seamlessly run together - the good life.  Preferably we would like to do this with central heating and without the inconvenience of poverty, hunger and disease.  While we put our rose tinted spectacles back in their cases we should at least observe the general rule of thumb that the closer you can manage to keep all things to home the lower your carbon footprint is likely to be.  Holidaying at home is the new black (or something like that!)

So have we managed to recreate ourselves in a sustainable manner?  Well steering clear of the nightmare that is airports wasn’t much of a challenge for us and we certainly spent some of our holiday in a lovely canal side cottage.  We are also fortunate in having a number of strategically placed relatives by the sea!

We live within a stone’s throw from Alton Towers but I hate to think of the carbon footprint a place like that has.  We had to look  for an alternative way to get our thrills.  Only a few miles further on from Alton Towers is Buxton (a good Victorian resort!) where we decided to do one of those Go Ape experiences.  It was brilliant.  Goldilocks and her pals really had a fabulous time and couldn’t stop talking about their feats of daring.    Here is our little friend Netty silhoetted against a steel grey sky up in the trees.  Going ApeIn order to recover from the thrills and adrenalin rush I also spent many peaceful hours watching my vegetables grow and reading GYO magazines – who needs sunsets over beaches?

My veg is growing

We also went to visit Uncle Mike who has bought a tiny house not far outside of Conwy in North Wales.  It’s great, you literally step outside of the back door and you’re hill walking.  He lives in one of those terraces down there, from the front of the house you get a lovely view of sea and hills.

Uncle Mike's house

Willow was delighted to be reunited with her sister Bracken.  They both approved of the walking opportunities up here - lots of straggly sheep to size up as well.  I imagine this is what Border Collie heaven looks like.  It makes our little green hills at home look like teletubby land.

Willow and Bracken

While we were in Wales we paid a visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology.  This was a really fun and inspiring day out.  There is something there to amuse  and inform all members of the family, we could have stayed much longer and will definitely be returning.  I’m going to put their site on my blogroll.  Here is Goldilocks powering a smoothie maker with a bike.

pedal power at CAT

Goldilocks also insisted I put in a picture of the dens they made at a day out at Trentham Gardens.  This is a favourite haunt of mine and always has lots for kids to do and teaching survival skills, among other things, was part of the Summer Holiday programme.  The gardens there are stunning also and still look magnificent even on a grey September day, a real triumph of garden design.  But here is a picture of a den instead!

den building at Trentham

Now we are new people. We have been fully recreated and tommorow school starts again.  In sympathy with children up and down the land I appear to have written one of those rather dull and rambling ’What I did on my holidays’ essays.  My apologies, back to normal just as soon as I’ve cleared the backlog of soggy  clothes that have been lurking in the bottom of rucksacks!

 

 

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3 comments to What I did on my holidays!

  • Sounds like a really good time was had by all.
    I and family have just moved up to Unst in Shetland so have spent my time settling in and getting involved with the local permaculture inspired market garden. It is fantastic to be out of the towns.
    Cottage Economy by William Cobbett is a good and useful insight into a self-sufficentish Victorian approach and has some useful info on brewing, breadmaking, keeping livestock and building and icehouse, all done without the modern technology which we take so much for granted.

  • goo

    Thanks! Cottage Economy sounds good I’ll look that up. The icehouse will particularly appeal to The Man from Salford who is always bemoaning the fact we don’t have ice in our drinks because we are freezerless!

  • Thanks Goo
    I must admit the thougt appeals but currently I am too dependant on those mod cons (I am weaning myself off them though :-) )
    Any books on primitive living, permaculture and hedgerow medicene are good for ideas.

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