Tomorrow is Day One of what we hope will be a whole week without the car.
Shocking, I know! This subversive suburbanite mum intends to get through a week of school, kids’ activities, play dates, shopping, medical appointments and weekend entertainment without once getting into her oversized Volkswagon!
This extreme action was prompted by a number of things, but a moment last week brought them all to a head. I was driving from east to west in the Volkswagon along the North Circular on a clear sunny morning when I came to a rise in the road, and suddenly most of London was spread out ahead of me. It was covered in brown haze. It wasn’t pretty. And fresh in my mind, or perhaps fresh isn’t the right word, were a) the smog that covered half of England a few weeks ago b) the recent report that claimed 3,000 Londoners are dying a year due to air pollution and c) the fact that while better cycle infrastructure seems an obvious way to reduce pollution from cars, my local high street is currently fighting against plans to install cycle paths.
I’ve idly toyed with the idea before of experimenting with life without petrol, but when I showed the girls a recent post on Upworthy, they were the ones who wanted to throw the car away. The Cutester (7) is actually very attached to the car, because she is not good with the physical effort of propelling herself up hills under her own steam, but even she could see sense.
‘I love cars,’ she said sadly. ‘But they kill polar bears.’
And so it was decided.
How will we manage? Is it really possible to get around Greater London (on time) without one’s own vehicle, even resorting to public transport, two wheels, or actual feet?? (Not judging by my daily choices so far it isn’t: for instance we just went on a jaunt to the only swimming pool in the borough open for public swimming on a Sunday afternoon, and I doubt we’d have reached it on time by bus.)
So it’s going to be interesting.
I’l keep you posted.