Yesterday was fun.
One reason this whole car-free experiment has been possible is that after 12 months of continual freelance work, I’ve had a month of no work at all. The next job is looming, but in the meantime I’m enjoying my freedom.
On Tuesdays the usual deal is that Gardener Mum, a local kindred spirit, drives my girls to school and on Thursdays I reciprocate. Now both drives have been replaced by what GM is calling a scooter bus. When I say bus – well, I took my two girls to hers at 8.30, to find GM, her daughter, the two other kids she childminds, and another child she was also taking to school that morning, all assembled on the pavement with scooters. Six children including mine. They were unbelievably excited and up for it, including the youngest, who is not yet five. GM thought nothing of herding this lot to school, and apparently they all got there – in fact GM struggled to keep up – although being a junior the Redster was due at school earlier than the others and was 10 minutes late. She had to report to the Scary Secretary who actually smiled when the Redster told her the story.
My mission for the day was meet a friend in Waterloo, then head back to the ‘burbs and pick up the girls from the two homes they were farmed out to – without the car. The Redster’s friend’s house was just round the corner from a Picadilly line station – no problem. Getting to the Cutester’s friend meant one stop on the tube and a 25-minute walk from the station. It was one of the highlights of my day, chatting with the Redster and sharing the stories we’re both writing at the moment. But I was not looking forward to then dragging both Cutester and Redster back to this station to catch the bus home. As it happened, though, the Cutester’s friend’s mum showed us a cut-through I didn’t know about, which took half the time and was a lovely walk, traffic-free, past playing fields and a graveyard. (She made my day by telling me that she had used this short cut to take her daughter to school, on foot, every day since I’d started my car-free challenge.)
Yesterday would have been entirely free of diesel consumption if the wretched cat had not brought a baby robin into the house at 6am – without killing it – which meant a drive up to the wildlife rescue centre. (Bus or bike too slow to get back and catch the train to Waterloo.) But as Mr Suburbanite pointed out, maybe you can only save one bit of the environment at a time.