Easing the carbon guilt by walking to nursery

Andrew started working from home last week, to finally finish his Kickstarter-funded never-ending video game. This has meant that I’ve had to do the nursery run on my own. This involves getting the kids in the car, a not so simple task when we’re involved in complex, tear-inducing negotiations about car snacks and footwear, and driving four miles across Sheffield in rush hour. Rarely has a car spent so much time in first gear than our Peugeot on our drive to nursery.

After two days of driving in conditions that range from boring, having to concentrate just enough so as not to rear-end the car in front, to white-knuckle horror, accidentally pulling out on a tram, I’d had enough.

I was done with the stress and guilt that comes with driving, I have legs, I’m relatively fit and I don’t have to drive to work. So last week I didn’t. I pushed two toddlers four miles across the city, hopped on a tram for the last half mile and rolled up at nursery an hour after we left our house.

The kids loved it. Joni only moaned once, after I asked her to walk as she was tipping up the buggy board when I was pushing them downhill. After literally walking for two meters I heard the cry “Mummy my little legs are tired now, can I get back on the skateboard, pleeeease?” I know this is non-negotiable after having had this battle many times before, so I continued our rollercoaster dro down Meersbrook Park, with Joni back on the skateboard.

I felt liberated, no traffic jams, no traffic lights, just the odd cyclist tutting if I dared encroach onto the cycle path whilst negotiating litter and dog poo.

The only delay in our journey was Joni’s ‘nature wee’. Waitrose wasn’t open yet so Joni had a wee on a bush in Waitrose car park. Other than that, and Evan’s continuous need to free his hands from his gloves, it was a great way to get to work.

The smugness was palpable as I judged every person driving themselves around solo in their cars. If I can walk to work with two weighty kids, surely this might inspire other road users to give up their cars and walk instead? Probably not, but you never know.

Today we set off for nursery without the car again. As an experiment, I decided to get the bus. The bus arrived on time at 7.31am and exactly thirty minutes later we were in town.

Joni kicking-back on the bus, oblivious to my ongoing screams of ‘hold on!’ ‘sit on your bottom!’ ‘don’t press anything!’

It’s half term this week so this is a speedy journey compared to what it must normally be like. Thirty minutes seemed like a long time though and it wasn’t a door to door service. After getting dropped off in town it was a further 15 minute walk to nursery.

In total it took fifty minutes to get from our house to nursery, which is only ten less than walking and getting the tram. And I had to pay £4.70 for a return ticket.

Next time I’m going to try the X17, a super quick service that, rather confusingly, only stops at a handful of bus stops. It’s always busy though – two over-tired toddlers on a packed bus – what could possibly go wrong?

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