2011 thank you

Nell in cold weather gear points out paddles, spears and necklaces from Oceania. In 2011 the world got far more interesting at Mayhem Corner.

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post is one big thank you. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting, click here.

My family has a huge list of people to thank for 2011. I hesitate to thank publically as it would be so easy to forget someone (think what trouble that caused in Sleeping Beauty) but if you’ve got this far, please consider yourself thanked. I love readers of my blog!

But I also would like to thank lots of others who’ve made life that much better this year for us all, in all sorts of ways.

The hugest thanks therefore must go to ML and her family who had us to stay for two months during our Solomon Islands trip. They are the most generous, kindest, most entertaining and wonderful set of people (although ML – you’re my favourite!!). It is fantastic that Lola is still in Facebook contact with ML’s boys too.

It was also fantastic to meet up with Jennie Wate again and be reimmersed in Solomon Islands Development Trust – go SIDT! And thank you so much to Navie, Nelly, Rose – all their gorgeous children/husbands – and Sam and his family for dinners, catch up and story. Iufela evriwan kaen tumas. Mifela sori fo stae long home blong mifela, Solomon kolsap home nao!

To get to the Solomons we needed to rehome our hens, find a house sitter and have our dog looked after – all for three months. A huge thank you to Caroline and Louise for taking Vulcan (who won a dog agility class with Louise!); Christina for taking over our house and turning it into a clean palace and keeping it safe and of course  Liz at Freightliners Farm who didn’t just look after Violet and Jay, she also gave us new hen Lavender as a going home present.

Nicolette (the best neighbour ever) and the hedge cutting squad took on our privet monster. Amazingly the garden won a Bronze prize and was described as “very sustainable”. More backhandedly I was told it “could do with a good tidy” – well quite, but we were away for three months, so not really possible…

Our family had the most amazing offers of accommodation – from Jacquie in Sidney which we couldn’t take up. But we did spend a week with Laraine and Grant at Loose Goose, at Nannup (not so far from Perth). We were WWOOFing,  a genius way to get somewhere comfy to stay and to help out. Pete and I learnt how to put plates on top of fence posts, cut jarrah wood, prune lemon and other fruit trees and pot-rivet. Lola and Nell made friends with a kangaroo, emu and wallaby – experiences they’ll never forget. And if you ever go to Sydney, try kayaking with Patrick, see his website.

Pete’s sister Pam gave up her quiet Perth lifestyle to have four of us (and her sister Kaz) to stay for five days.

Steve Cross and Dominic Murphy have given me work when I really needed it.

Denis Campbell, Christian Graham and Andy Neather were all willing to come into University of the Arts or share with my Year 1 and Year 2 students super-tips on how to write features, run newspapers or make a blog. Fiona Forsyth also sorted out a trip to GQ with the indefatigable Bill Prince. Fabulous to be in the Conde Nast boardroom!

if I hadn’t bought a french horn for Lola then I wouldn’t have met Jonas Grimas – what a film making star. He took on the challenge of creating a film about Highbury Fields School, and with Ellen Berry, and a lot of other support from staff made a fantastic 23 minute film, have a look here.

Huge thanks to Hugh Warwick who came in to talk to Highbury Fields students about his hedgehog opus, A Prickly Affair, in November, have a look at his blog here.  Meg Rosoff (can’t wait to see her book How I Live Now become a film…) has been very supportive and has promised to visit the school again. We are very lucky! Playwrite Charlotte Eilenberg also came into the school in January 2011 and wowed the students with her knowledge. And a special thank you to Sue Jandy, one of the members of our book group, who was deservedly voted Islington Volunteer of the Year 2011.

Pete does a pub quiz at least once a month – and I’m just really impressed by the team captain’s dedication, Bob Gilbert. For the few pub quizes I’ve attended I certainly wouldn’t have scored as well without the help of Matthew Wenban-Smith’s east end knowledge.

Kate Baird gave us free tickets to an Arts Theatre show (it’s a lovely venue, right by Leicester Square). And my godson George Selwyn Sharpe  (starring in Living with the Amish) also treated me and Lola/Nell to two free shows – Kes and The Trial.

Annie is such a cheerleader, thank you. Christian Graham continues to mentor both Pete and me through the new media minefields. Jane Hutchings over at www.portavie.net made me a second NEW, FAB website www.nicolabaird.com – (the other lovely one from 2010 is www.homemadekids.co.uk)

Highbury Babysitting Circle members, especially Sarah and Robert who hosted a get-together that filled their house with tots.

Caroline Bucknall for looking after Vulcan on the occasional overnights (especially December when Pete and I celebrate our wedding anniversary – this year we made it to the glam Essex town of Colchester (link takes you to my aroundbritainnoplane blog entry).

Clean air and traffic campaigner Caroline Russell has given us all plenty to think about. Follow her via twitter at #highburyonfoot or just vote for her the next time you see her name on an election slate!

And I’m really lucky to have two fabulous daughters and Pete to live with. So here’s a special thank you to them and all who’ve read anything I’ve written this year.  Cheers. Nicola x

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4 Comments on “2011 thank you”

  1. meg rosoff Says:

    What a great year you’ve had. Solomon Islands and all the associated people. Happy 2012. x

  2. nicola baird Says:

    From email:
    Nicolette: “What a nice compliment, thanks! I hope you all had a good Christmas. I have some bras for the Solomons that my Mum unloaded, if you are interested in sending another package.”

    Nicola: “Oh no, I forgot to thank Anne in Bristol for her whirlwind collection of bras that we then delivered to Solomon Islands. When there’s no M&S (or equivalent) interesting donations/and drawer clear outs can be a godsend!”

  3. Thanks Nicola *blushes*. We all have much to thank you for too. Your commitment to sustainable living is an inspiration to me and I imagine to many others too. Am off to clear out my underwear drawer…. Happy New Year!

  4. Sue Smith Says:

    Hi Nicola, thank you so much for your thank you, and thank you to you tooooo for all your endeavours this past year! Tell me more about bras for the Solomons??!!

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