Friday, February 16, 2007

My Carbon Fingerprint

“Carbon footprint” is the phrase that’s everywhere now. A year ago, I don’t think I’d heard it but now it’s a rare newspaper that doesn’t have it somewhere.

It’s often mentioned with regard to travel by plane. We all fly everywhere far too often, using up too much fuel, contributing to global warming, and we must do it less.

Hah! Well I may well be contributing to global warming in lots of ways but I don’t think plane travel is one of them.

I started young with the plane travel thing: I had my sixth birthday in Lagueglia, my seventh birthday in Sestri Levante, and my eighth birthday in Viareggio. Italy – I loved it, I couldn’t wait to return. I even did a year’s Italian at university.

But I’ve never been back. In fact that was it for the plane travel until I was twenty-nine, when I flew to Germany with Stephen for a few days.

And since then I’ve flown to Amsterdam, where my brother lives, three times, I think, but the last of those was to my brother’s wedding in 1999.

Why? It’s hard to pin down. I don’t mind planes – though I’m always worried about my right leg: it had a deep vein thrombosis once, you wouldn’t want one of them, trust me. I love the British coast and countryside. I love France, but that’s a boat trip, not a plane trip. I’d never want to go to one of those high-rise-hotel-crowded-beach places. I just don’t think of going to places that you go to by plane: and it’s generally me who books the holidays in this household.

But this week has been the half-term holiday and lots of people I know have flown off to all sorts of interesting places. In contrast, it’s been one of the busiest weeks in our office ever, and what’s more the “busy” part of it was mostly sorting out some work for people who were new to the job of booking actors and kept getting it horribly wrong and ringing to apologise and change everything. And some of the people who were supposed to be working with me got ill and couldn’t, which made it busier. And a grumbly bit of me kept pointing out to me that it was half-term, when I usually have some time off to see Emily and play out a bit: but it was just too busy.

So, busy but deeply uninteresting, and my job isn’t usually like that. I nearly had to do some work in East Anglia myself as I couldn’t find anyone to replace the person who was originally down to do it: and suddenly found I was quite looking forward to travelling to Kings Lynn. But then someone offered, so I was off the hook and back in the office - -

At the moment I’m feeling very sorry for myself and want to change my carbon fingerprint into a carbon bootprint the size of the Communist’s when he had the biggest pair of boots on the Yorkshire coalfield. A plane, please, to anywhere.


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