I had prepared myself with some internet research; train times, tube lines, prices etc. I never venture up to the capital without having checked things out online, although my anxiety is much better than it once was, it can never hurt to be prepared. Getting the train into Paddington, we needed to get on the District line to Kensington High Street, then change to a different District line train on to Kensington Olympia. Simple :)
It was a bit of an early start for me, especially for a Saturday, but I got up without too much trouble. We got to the station in plenty of time, just how I like it, and our journey passed by without a hitch. The train was a bit busy and we had to stand, but it wasn't so packed that we were crushed up next to people, thankfully.
The expo itself wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The website kind of implied there were going to be more activities and that it would generally be more educational. Turns out it was more about companies and organisations trying to sell their 'eco' products. It wasn't terrible though, even though we didn't necessarily agree with all of their principles. Stands ranged from The Woodland Trust, Wildlife Trusts and FSC and The Vegan Society trying to recruit members, electric cars, organic meat, natural face creams, groups trying to encourage people to share and borrow items to prevent us all buying things we don't really need, recycled clothes, solar panels, recycled bunting and even fairtrade rubber condoms. I liked a lot of the ideas, especially the idea of recycling clothing, but all the stuff they had was so goddamn ugly! I'd really like to try and find some decent eco-fashion. There were a fair few baby orientated stands that I didn't pay much attention to, but I definitely liked the idea of the reusable nappies, and some of them were so cute! The highlight, however, was definitely having a go on an electric scooter. It was great fun but also a bit scary. I wasn't overly confident before I began and the seat on mine was a bit high, when I got to the first corner, which was a bit sharp, I ended up misjudging and had a minor crash with the barrier. So embarrassing :/ I spent the rest of my trial screaming that I was going to die, maybe a bit of an over-reaction. I really liked the scooters, they'd be a great way of getting around, shame they cost around £1750! There was also some great art made from old car parts, mostly hubcaps, that was pretty cool.
It was interesting, but we came away feeling (without wanting to sound too elitist) that we knew too much about the issues involved, as 3 environmental scientists, to really buy into a lot of the ideas. One really useful website I found out about and want to pass on is Disposal Know How, that has loads of information about how to recycle just about anything. Recycling isn't difficult but so many people get it wrong, it's one simple step everyone can take to help the environment (Preach over, although you should also check out SuperScrimpers on Channel 4/4oD on reducing waste).
|The boyf and I try out electric scooters. Oh yeh, I have purple hair now :p|
After we'd exhausted the delights of the expo, we headed into north London with out friend for a BBQ at her house. North London was nice, I've never really been to any part of London other than the centre, so seeing the more suburban areas was a nice change. The BBQ was good fun, even if it was rather cold, even though the days before had been almost summer like, the Saturday in London was very windy and cold. I'm such a wimp in the cold and spent most of the time inside, huddled next to a radiator. Met some really great people, which I love, sometimes it's too easy to feel like there aren't many decent people in the world, and definately none like me, but these people restored my faith :) As with many BBQs, food took longer than I had hoped, especially as the majority of the people there were South African and in South Africa they do BBQs by cooking things then keeping things warm inside til everything is cooked, then presenting a huge spread. I chose to stick to British tradition and ate things as they were cooked cos I was starving!! All in all it was a great afternoon/evening with some great people and some great music. We stayed much later than planned and didn't get on a train back until after 11, by which time I was completely knackered.
It was so good to get out and do something fun and different. I had such a good time and really hope to see the new friends we made again soon.
Hope you're enjoying yourselves,