Friday 13 April 2012

On being an eco traveller- part one, family relationships

So its Easter and I am at my dads for the weekend. I am wanting to be as green as possible but how do you do this and keep family relationships together? I remember announcing my vegetarianism years ago and my mum going into a panic and forever cooking me salmon whenever I visited. In some ways being environmentally friendly can be a similar challenge. Vegetarianism has become part of peoples' understanding of someones dietary needs in the same way you wouldn't serve nuts to someone who is allergic. So how much might someone accommodate your needs as an environmentalist if you went to stay and how much might you inflict your ideas on them?

I normally travel by train to my Dad's and then we drive around in his car. He lives in a small suburb of Peterborough that has its own pub, church and corner shop so it is possible to go several days without a car trip. I arrived with a free range chicken from Manor Farm Shop in Little Fransham. My brother arrived the next day and cooked an amazing Coq Au Vin with it. We made the rest into a chicken soup the next evening. We walked to see my mother in her care home nearby which is an easy distance. Afterwards my brother spent a happy hour in the loft re-discovering things I had forgotten about and I came away with a Ukranian lamp for my house shaped like a globe and a tin to put brownies in.

We visited a local Medieval Tower and picked up some tips on living without fossil fuels but when we got home we discovered we had no servants to make a fire and resorted to the electric cooker to boil a ham for tea. My girlfriend and I then travelled to London and stayed with her sister. I had cooked some brownies as a thank you for the accommodation and we handed over some handmade birthday cards made by her children.

So are you impressed? Pretty transitional eh? Well yes as I didn't mention the two trips to Sainsburys, the car drive to London, forgetting to take the brownies and mum being asleep so we had a wasted journey. But then that is why it is called Transition. We are not there yet and neither is anyone else. So be gentle on yourself and enjoy your relatives and friends. Next week I will be back to trying to find a way to work without a car so I arrive on time, looking professional and not too sweaty.

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