26 July 2008

Generosity on Holiday

Well I'm back from a week in Staffordshire with hubby, Mum and my two big brothers. The weather gods were very good to us (much better than last year!) and all had a lovely time. 

It struck me that being generous on holiday isn't as tricky as it seems - in fact, it seems to come pretty naturally. Her's a run down of my holiday and how generosity just seemed to happen:

SATURDAY - drove down (not very generous admittedly, but unfortunately public transport just doesn't cut it if you're going on a country break), got there pretty late as we'd had to drop Millie off at 5pm because the cattery was full. Got to the cottage and had a nice meal with the family - generous thing: most of the vegetables we had with the meal were from Mum's veg patch!

SUNDAY - went to Froghall Wharf and had a trip on a canal boat through the Churnet Valley. I don't know how eco-friendly canal boats are as they still have engines, but it's probably better than a car. Plus there are no roads through the Churnet Valley to preserve it, so a canal is a much greener way of seeing the scenery without plonking a horrible road through there! The trip was run by a small family business, so we were supporting the little guy too!

MONDAY - went for a walk down to Froghall so we could walk along the towpath and see more of the valley. Very green, no car involved, and we stopped at a local pub for lunch (supporting local business, and it looked like he needed it as there weren't many other customers!) It was exhausting though and we got lost twice so ended up going further than we intended. I say we, I knew where we were supposed to go both times ...

TUESDAY - we went to Cheadle. If you're holiday in Staffordshire, don't go to Cheadle, apart from a very pretty Catholic church there's really nothing to see. But while we were there we did go to the local greengrocers and butchers so that's pretty generous.

WEDNESDAY - we went to Leek. Still not much to do but it's a lot nicer than Cheadle and has some lovely shops. Continuing with the 'shop local' theme we went to a sweet shop there, had a drink in a little tea room and lunched at a cafe that supported Fairtrade - unfortunately none of us had their Fairtrade tea or coffee as they had luxury milkshakes on offer!

THURSDAY - while Mum and my brothers went off to Tittesworth Reservoir and the Roaches (hills I think), I had a bad foot so hubby and I went to the Threshing Barn, a fabulous craft shop which also runs courses in spinning and weaving! I nearly cried with excitement when I saw all the wool and despite my resolution not to buy more wool until I'd significantly reduced my stash, I succumbed to temptation - and dressed it up as supporting the sheep industry by buying British wool! Seriously, it was a small business so I think a compromise on my promises for the sake of supporting local business is forgiveable. We then went to a Nature Reserve run by the RSPB - didn't see any birds and didn't leave a donation either which I feel a bit stingy about. Maybe generosity doesn't come so naturally when you've just spent money on illicit wool!!

FRIDAY - best day of the week, we went to Trentham Monkey Forest, a 60-acre stretch of woodland which is home to 140 Barbary Macaques, a very endangered type of monkey. I like to think the admission fee goes towards keeping the monkeys happy and healthy, they certainly all looked it, they're really beautiful creatures and the babies are so cute I want to steal one! Along with two other forests in France and Germany, they've managed to release 600 Barbary Macaques back into their homeland in Northern Africa, which is fantastic news, and the ones still in England seem very content. In the evening we went to a local pub for dinner - supporting local business again, and considering how many pubs we saw up for let in the area I think it's a business that needs help! 

And today we just drove back. So, a nice holiday plus a lot of unexpected chances to be generous. Don't feel so guilty about the car now!

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