Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


Bath & West – going green… (Jun07)

The Bath & West show was a bit of a wash out for its first 2 days. Luckily I wasn’t there but I did have someone who was supposed to be running my ‘stand’ selling The New Green Consumer Guide. Actually there was no ‘stand’ as such and they couldn’t sell books in the rain so this wasn’t brilliant. But I went on Friday – I’d been invited to the President’s lunch, which was hosted by Ewen Cameron (Lord Dillington).

There were quite a number of dignataries, including the Duke of Kent, and a lot of etiquette. I hadn’t appreciated that the Bath & West is very strong on traditions – one friend, Rob Drewitt (see middle photo), who is in charge of the main ring, wears a bowler hat throughout. Whilst I was talking to him an American couple stopped to take his photo!

Down at the Eco-Zone it was a lot less formal. My au pair Alex (see top photo) and I had been given a small wooden table, which we set up on the main walkway. We soon realised that we had to go and get customers rather than waiting for them to come to us! It was a bit like one of the tasks on the Apprentice – we had to see how many people we could capture and then whether we could convert their interest to sales of The New Green Consumer Guide. It wasn’t always easy identifying likely candidates but you soon got an idea from their response to ‘Are you interested in being green?’. Quite a few were not!

On the whole it was easier for me because I could pull out juicy facts from the book or debate any issue they cared to raise. But I did manage to frighten a couple of people away by mentioning the fact that the book covered ‘green death’ and had an ‘eco-rating’ of coffins… they looked horrified!

I wasn’t able to go on Saturday but Alex braved another day – and she was accompanied by my mother and my youngest son Monty (aged 8). He proved to be a brilliant salesman – selling the most books that day. At one point he even took charge of the microphone being used by the EDF green show house and encouraged everyone to come and buy ‘Mummy’s book’! He was also armed with eco-questions and an article in Telegraph, which included a picture of him and the rest of the family.

After a day in the office I headed past the Bath & West Showground en route to Kevin & Zani McCloud’s drinks party (Kevin of Grand Designs fame). They were saying farewell before packing up and heading off to live in France for a year. Kevin will be writing a book on green design while away.

I went on from there to Bristol before leaving in the early hours for the Hay Book Festival. But didn’t managed an early night because I watched a video of Channel 4’s Global Warming Swindle programme, alongside Jeremy Bristow (my host), who is very knowledgeable on the subject. He produced the BBC’s Climate Chaos programme, with David Attenborough. But even his critical commentary didn’t enable me to watch until the very end – collapsed into bed. (Have now managed to see the final bit). Had wanted to see this film because I’ve been challenged on its content a lot – and read many critical comments about both the producer of the film and the science used to support his argument. Apparently there were even a couple of participants in the programme who withdrew their comments because they felt they had been misrepresented.

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  1. Absolutely gutted that julia did not mention that she sold her book to one of the sceptics at the Bath & West Show – but I am half way through and it is fantastic!
    Rupert Cox says everyone should read it – I can’t believe I just wrote that!!

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