Why not Enjoy England?

I’ve just returned from a great holiday in Italy. However having to depart for the airport three and a half hours before the flight, arriving and queuing to check in, then queuing to go though security (well, scrummaging at least), queuing to get the shuttle bus, queuing to get on the plane, queuing to get off the plane three hours later, queuing to go through passport control, queuing for our bags, and finally queuing to get through customs, it occured to me that maybe I’ll stay in England for my next holiday.

Enjoy England are the National Tourist Board for England, the domestic arm of Visit Britain. They promote England to it’s inhabitants.

Enjoy England logo

They have just released their new website that allows you to quickly plan a day out near where you live, find a place to stay (quality-assured accomodation), and also to book tickets for travel and events. There are plenty of ideas and suggestions for enjoying your home country (if you currently live in England of course…) that sometimes we forget about because we live there, such as the great food, culture and incredible history.

There are plenty of competitons, free brochures to order, and inspirational ideas. Go take a look!

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Grow your own

xmastree-small.jpg

Although the picture doesn’t really sell it, why not start planning early for Christmas and grow your own tree? Although it might be too late now unless you want a little table top tree I suppose.

I have a friend who after Christmas put her tree in the back garden next to the water tank to keep it until next year. Six months later it cost a fortune to repair the tank after the roots broke through it. Her parents’ were delighted. But most councils pick will recycle your Christmas tree if you ask nicely.

Or just get a plastic one. With lights already built in. And preferably pre-decorated. Job done.

Green books

Sorry if this seems like a bit of an advertorial, but I’ve just bought some books and wanted to share my find.

I like to think I do my bit for recycling, putting the paper in those little pink sacks/green box/recycling centre (delete as appropriate) but I must profess I’ve never put a book in one. Now that may be because I hate throwing or giving books away. I mean, really hate it. I like to keep all my books in a huge bookcase and stare at them for hour after hour. Sort of.

But if you do have a healthy turnover of books, there’s a website I use to buy used books that you can also sell your old books on. Green Metropolis pays £3 for every book you sell and you can buy most paperbacks for £3.75.

To buy a paperback the postage is free unless it’s a brute, but if you’re selling you do have to pay postage. The site keeps no books of its own, it’s a marketplace like eBay I suppose that just advertises the books and sorts the money out. Five pence from each sales goes to the Woodland Trust to plant trees. Hopefully in the middle of roads like a natural slalom course. That would be fun.

Electric cars – no, really

Living in London is sometimes like living in a kitchen when you’ve burnt the toast. Hazy, smelly and there’s a bad taste in your mouth. I have no idea why buses and taxis aren’t more environmentally friendly, I’ll ask Ken Livingston if I ever see him. Anyway as part of my job I go to meetings in the West End quite often (or ‘up West’ as they like to say in EastEnders) and while I’m there I see quite a few of these little babies.

Gwhiz

Yes, they look ridiculous next to a big 4×4 but I think they’re great. The cost of electricity of running the car for a year is £50 supposedly. Yes, a year. No congestion charge, free parking in certain places and who needs to go over 30mph in London (apart from maniac bus drivers)? I can only see a few problems. Firstly if you don’t live in a major city centre then you’re screwed. I don’t fancy the trip up to Leeds up the M1 in that thing (and you’d never make it as the range is 50 miles). Secondly, you need to burn fossil fuels to create electricity (well not ‘need’ but that’s where the majority’s from) so how much better is it for the environment?

Thirdly watch this video:


and answer this: where exactly is she unravelling her charging lead from? If it’s from the house are you telling me she’s had it strung across the pavement all night like a tripwire? Or even if it’s loose on the ground I guarantee some kids will enjoy having a tug-of-war with your sockets.

Anyway more can be read about it here.

Walking Sharks

Seriously: http://tinyurl.com/or8jp

Okay it wasn’t as exciting as it promised. I thought they’d be walking along the beach smoking cigars or something.

Walking Shark

They’re (as opposed to me) finding new areas of the earth that show how rich the diversity of life here is. I find it amazing there are still unexplored places on the planet. I kind of think scientists and documentary makers should leave certain areas alone for a couple of hundred years and then go back and see what they’re like. If they let anyone one else in we’ll only ruin it.

Planet Earth starts again soon (well autumn as the BBC vaguely puts it), in the meantime you can enjoy their website – who doesn’t want a polar bear as their wallpaper eh?