12 Nov 2020
My goal is walk down every public road within a mile of me; sometimes it's not easy to tell what's public. I've passed the turning for Cornwallis Grove a thousand times, but never had a reason to venture down it, and although the street signs at the end seem to be council-deployed and I didn't spot any "private" signs, it's a gated road and definitely feels private.
Gathering all the white middle-class privilege I could muster, I wandered down and was rewarded with the sight of a Victorian pump, a statue of Jesus, and from the end of the road, a view of a private garden that once belonged to a private girls' school.
The Cornwallis House history page says:
In the early 20th century the house, together with Grove House, became a Catholic school, St Joseph’s High School for Girls. The Congregation of La Retraite took over the school in 1924, with the nuns living in Grove House while the schoolrooms were in Cornwallis House. The headmistress was Mother St Paul de la Croix (Sister Paula Yerby). By the 1970s La Retraite High School had around 700 pupils.
It closed in 1982 and the building was bought by Pearce Homes Ltd (now part of Crest Nicholson) who developed it into 21 flats. Grove House next door was bought by the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, and was later converted into flats in 2007.
A formidably beardy cricketer of yore, widely considered one of the greatest players in history.
21 Nov 2020
A trip up the hill to get my winter flu jab. I'm not sure I really needed it this year, what with avoiding Covid—I haven't had so much as a sniffle in more than a year—but seeing as they offered... Instead of the doctor's surgery on Pembroke Road, they'd taken over Christ Church, presumably to give more room and ventilation for the necessary social distancing at the moment. As usual, it was their typically efficient operation, and I was in and out in about three minutes.
On the way there and back I snapped as much as I could, but I wanted to be home in time for the first online Times Crossword Championship. As it turned out, I needn't have bothered, as the technology at the Times couldn't keep up with the demand from competitors, and their system just collapsed under the weight of page-views. They tried again the day after, and it collapsed just as badly. Maybe next year...
This wander is split into two parts, as I turned my tech off to go into Christ Church for my jab. The walk home can be found over here.
14 Mar 2021
An enormous walk today, or at least it felt enormous. My feet are sore, anyway. I started off recreating a couple of local historical photos in Hotwells, but then headed for my traditional walk along the towpath in the Avon Gorge to the far extreme of Leigh Woods, up and through the woods to the height of the Suspension Bridge, finally crossing into Clifton Village for a well-deserved vanilla latte.
I say "traditional" because this used to be a very regular route for me, first walking, years and years ago, and later jogging—this route combined with a circuit of the Downs on the other side used to be my way of making sure I was fit to do a half-marathon (I did six of them in total, between 2010 and 2014).
I miss the routine of this walk, even though it's a long way and it used to pretty much wipe me out when I did it—I'd come back home and collapse and do very little for the rest of the day. But perhaps that's what Sundays are for, and I should try to remember that.
Doing this walk regularly was quite a meditative experience. Not so much of that today, but once I got to the further extreme of the towpath, where the roar of the Portway traffic on the other side of the river dwindles and I turned into Leigh Woods to climb ever closer to birdsong and further from rushing cars, I did seem to recapture a little of the feeling of previous walks. (I would say my mind cleared, but I was mentally singing along to Life Without Buildings' The Leanover for most of the wander. There are worse songs to have stuck in one's head, though; it's a great track...)
Anyway. Apparently the walk made me more likely to ramble in words, too. I'll stop now :)
I got interested in Bristol's medieval water supplies after poking around near Jacobs Wells Road and Brandon Hill. It was during that research I found out about a pipe that's still there today, and, as far as I know, still actually functioning, that was originally commissioned by Carmelite monks in the 13th century. They wanted a supply of spring water from Brandon Hill to their priory on the site of what's now the Bristol Beacon—Colston Hall, as-was. It was created around 1267, and later, in 1376, extended generously with an extra "feather" pipe to St John's On The Wall, giving the pipework its modern name of "St John's Conduit".
St John's on the Wall is still there, guarding the remaining city gate at the end of Broad Street, and the outlet tap area was recently refurbished. It doesn't run continuously now, like it did when I first moved to Bristol and worked at the end of Broad Street, in the Everard Building, but I believe the pipe still functions. One day I'd like to see that tap running...
There are a few links on the web about the pipe, but by far the best thing to do is to watch this short and fascinating 1970s TV documentary called The Hidden Source, which has some footage of the actual pipe and also lots of fantastic general footage of Bristol in the seventies.
On my walk today I was actually just going to the building society in town, but I decided to trace some of the route of the Carmelite pipe, including visiting streets it runs under, like Park Street, Christmas Street, and, of course, Pipe Lane. I also went a bit out of my way to check out St James' Priory, the oldest building in Bristol, seeing as it was just around the corner from the building society.
There are far too many pictures from this walk, and my feet are now quite sore, because it was a long one. But I enjoyed it.
07 May 2021
I saw this tweet the other day and started thinking of my second Covid-19 vaccination as my "Sequel Injection" (to a geek, it's funny. You'll have to take my word for it.) Whatever you call it, this morning I went and got it.
It was in the same place I got my initial injection—my left arm! No, okay, it was at the Clifton College Prep School. I didn't take any photos of the event itself; the NHS production line is so efficient you barely have time to do anything else, even if the privacy of other patients wasn't a factor.
Along the way I mused at all the road resurfacing going on in Clifton, and also discovered a secret (okay, not-well-known and possibly slightly trespassey) way into Canynge Square, and on the way back I knocked off a few streets from my "leftovers list" of north-east Clifton. I've got much of Clifton done now, with the only obvious "to dos" on the east side of Whiteladies Road...
It was quite a long walk, and I'm feeling pretty tired now, though that might be the effects of the jab too, I suppose. Anyway. Tomorrow and Monday I'm walking outside Bristol, I think, and I imagine my feet will need some recovery time on Sunday, so it might be a while before I post another Wander.
08 Jun 2021
I had to return a book to the library—Ellic Howe's Magicians of the Golden Dawn, very interesting, thanks for asking—so I decided to pick the Central Library as my drop-off point and walk down a segment of Deanery Road that I've surprisingly overlooked so far. In any normal time I'd have been walking to work that way quite often, or heading through at the weekend on the way to do some shopping in the city centre, or for a coffee at St Nick's, but those excursions have been quite thin on the ground for the last year or so, for obvious reasons.
I've never been inside a single building on Deanery Road itself; the Library is technically on College Green and the rest is mostly student accommodation or Bristol College buildings, by the looks of things. It's a fairly mediocre street, used merely to get to other places. (St George's Road, which merges into it, at least has the distinction of several good shops verging from the practical and long-lived car radio fitters to the excellent little Dreadnought Books, sadly currently closed for refurbishment...)
After dropping off my book I came home via the harbourside, the better to enjoy the nice sunny blue skies of the day.