At the start of the week I decided to try to collect some information together regarding the Forestry Commissions’ owned woodland and map that data so we can see the scale and find out which ones are locally owned. (Jump to the app here if you’re impatient!).
Back at the end of 2009 I signed a pledge to reduce my carbon footprint by 10%, called 10:10, here’s my results.
Well, it was close… depending on how you calculate it… although in another sense I totally failed.
First of all it’s worth saying I’ve always tried to have a low Carbon Footprint so I was starting from a fairly low base – well I’d like to think so, must of my electrical hardware has a high energy rating and they are switched off when not in use. However, one area I thought I’d be able to make some progress on was lighting. Low-energy bulbs should be an easy way to cut back so I replaced all but two bulbs in my house with these.
Star Trek, a TV show that began in the 1960’s, is one of the most popular TV shows ever. Last years big box office movie release showed that it is still a show that many people want to watch and I believe this is because, at its heart, it has always shown a positive future for humanity. It’s a world – no, a galaxy – in where humans explore the cosmos for no more reason than to see what’s there, there is no financial gain involved, indeed money no longer has any meaning. People work for the good of others towards a common goal. And, of course, they have interesting, exciting, important and ultimately entertaining voyages from one star system to the next.
The Independent had a short story on what, today, it means to be English, and if there is such a thing as “Englishness”. It mentioned the Town of Ripley in Derbyshire, just next door to my home town. Apparently this is one of the most English places in England (not sure if that also means “in the world” too) so does this make me one of the most English people in the world?
I write this at the top of a hill looking over the green fields and the autumn woods – the quintessential image of England – as I try to work out what makes me English. Is it our history? It certainly plays a large part but this is always mixed up with “British” history and difficult to prise apart. Of the separate parts of Britain it is Scotland that has a very distinct identity, Wales a slightly less identity but still a recognisable culture of it’s own, England does not seem to have a clear image of its own.
We plan for an 8.30 hotel leave for the Smoky Mountains. So we struggle out of bed at 9.00 for breakfast…
We try to grab lunch early but get stuck in road works. It looks like they are rebuilding the whole town. Cherokee is an indian reservations so maybe that explains the 20 storey casino hotel that fits in the small town as well as Bugs Bunny fits in Disney.
We have a long almost six hour drive today so we grab a quick breakfast while watching the news. There’s been a mass suicide at a “cult-like” church, kidnapping of a young kid and a gunman shot out with the police. The “funny” story is a man who robs a shop at gun point – he’s wearing a pink dress. Is the news always like this?
We drive through Savannah, take a few shots but don’t stop but head out on a ridiculously large suspension bridge which dwarfs Savannah and is as long as the city is wide.
We will now spend almost the entire drive on Interstate highways. We normally try to avoid them but the distance means we can’t afford the additional drive time.
Time to pack. We seem to have a ridiculous collection of souvenirs, probably need an extra bag at airport, and there’s still two weeks left. Disney delivered a receipt for the charges to the room during the night, so if it’s all correct we can skip check-out. It is.
We start throwing things in bags bit it gets boring fast so we meet back up with a friend for breakfast at the main lobby. Afterwards we decide to go for a short walk to stretch the legs before the long car journey and it gives us an opportunity to explore the resort.
Up early for a refreshing swim in my own pool, at least while everyone else is asleep. The sky is clear but for a few wispy clouds, the heated pool feels great as I lie back and stare up at nothing.
Breakfast is cheap but expensive (I almost throw up when I open some out of date milk). And then it’s time to pack everything up and our first major drive, this time northward towards Orlando.
Arrived at airport right on time, but was told “No free upgrades now, even for birthdays.”, seems like everyone wants to make a few more pennies.
Flight was quite rough – swear we dropped several meters in the plane at one point – and it took longer than expected as there were numerous storms we had to avoid. And then during the landing an unexpected shower storm meant the pilot lost visuals with the runway and had to abort the landing attempt – which was fun! Still, Sheila had pre-purchased some champagne and had a few birthday cards, so that really was good.