09 Nov 2020
I like The Paragon as a terrace, especially the bowed porches. On the other side of the road, a house attic has a stone lion surrounded by rocaille leaves, according to its listing.
I also love the detail of the arrows in the wrought iron of The Mall's balconies. Today I discovered Westfield place, a road I'd never encountered that runs up to the rear of the Coronation Tap. (It's a famous local cider pub, but I've only been in a couple of times. I'm more of a beer man.)
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.
Glendale. One of those streets that's just around the corner from me, but that doesn't take me anywhere I ever need to be, so I've probably only walked up it half a dozen times in the couple of decades I've lived here.
21 Nov 2020
A rather more wide-ranging weekend wander with Sarah and Vik, taking in some mock Tudor bits of Bedmo (I should note that I've subsequently been corrected to "Bemmie", but I'm an outsider and have been calling it "Bedmo" for short for decades...), a chunk of Ashton, a path up Rownham Hill called Dead Badger's Bottom(!), The Ashton Court estate, a bit of the UWE campus at Bower Ashton, and some of the Festival Way path.
13 Dec 2020
A long walk around Cliftonwood and Clifton with my friend Lisa, taking in some of the 12 Days of Christmas display at Queens Parade, picking up a take-away coffee from Pinkmans of Park Street, and poking our heads up against the glass of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Cathedral.
Yet another sign of the times
I went to have a peep at the giant sinkhole that's opened up in Canynge Square—ironically, having recently discovered the gardens were public I'd had the (triangular!) square on my list to re-visit for a few days, but now there's no entrance to the gardens due to the danger. The area was well fenced-off for safety, but I tried to get a couple of photos from behind the barriers.
I also explored the area around Camp Road, an real melange of architectures, one of the most mixed-up areas I've seen in Clifton, in fact, and confirmed my friend Claire's suspicion that an earlier snap of a sign from Manilla Road was in fact for a fire hydrant. Nice.
A homeless guy used to live in that doorway. I don't know if the boarding up coincided with the religious order that used to run Emmaus House as a retreat centre moving to Whitchurch or not...
I'm glad my friend Lisa joined me today; she drove in from Shirehampton and told me that the Portway was looking rather lovely, so we set off that way. She's also braver than I am when it comes to doing urbex stuff, so this was just the opportunity to take a peek into the Portnalls Number One Railway Tunnel/Bridge Road Deep Valley Shelter whose entrance I'd found on a previous wander.
It was definitely dark and spooky and impressively big, with a side tunnel that Lisa explored that leads to a little door I don't think I've previously noticed on the side of the Portway. I didn't get many photos—even my astoundingly powerful little torch (£) didn't do much to light things up, and you're not going to get much joy hand-holding a camera in that darkness—but I did shoot a little video, which I might edit and add later.
After plumbing the bowels of the earth, we went up Bridge Valley Path to Clifton, explored some bits around the College and Pembroke Road, then came home via Foliage Cafe for coffee. Nice.
I wasn't going to take a very long walk on this nice spring evening; it just happened. I was going to knock off a path or two on Brandon Hill, home over centuries to hermits and windmills, cannons and Chartists, and then just wander home, stopping only to fill up my milk bottle at the vending machine in the Pump House car park.
However, when I heard a distant gas burner I stayed on the hill long enough to see if I could get a decent photo of both the hot air balloon drifting over with Cabot Tower in the same frame (spoiler: I couldn't. And only having the fixed-focal-length Fuji with me didn't help) and then, on the way home, bumped into my "support bubble", Sarah and Vik, and extended my walk even further do creep carefully down the slipway next to the old paddle steamer landing stage and get some photos from its furthest extreme during a very low tide...
16 Apr 2021
Another day, another quick dash out for a coffee. I did at least try to take a different route from normal, especially on the way back, where I yet again got a bit lost in the strange paths, flyovers and underpasses that make up the odd maze of pedestrian "infrastructure" among the concrete jungle between the west of Greville Smyth and my neck of the woods in Hotwells. I swear one day I'll take a turn I've not tried before and end up being gored by a Bristolian minotaur.
I'd heard there was going to be something of a wild party in Greville Smyth to mark the end of lockdown. It seems it may be the start of a regular thing, with a dance festival bringing 8,000 people to the park. I imagine I'll be able to hear it from my place, and therefore safely avoid it.
21 Apr 2021
Obviously, I was trying to connect to the industrial history of the Canon's Marsh area, to the old gasworks, the docks railway, the warehouses they blew up to make way for all the rather soulless modern stuff (though I do like the Lloyds building, at least.) But what I mostly got out of today's walk is a new cafe to go to for my lunchtime outings. It's perhaps a little closer than both Imagine That and Hopper Coffee; not quite as close as Foliage and Twelve up in Clifton Village, but also not at the top of a steep hill.
No, not the mediocre Costa, but only a little way away from there: Rod and Ruby's, which opened in 2018 and which I've seen in passing several times but never popped into until today. What can I say? I was foolish. Great flat white, lovely interior, astoundingly good cannoli.
Sometimes you just have to get your head out of history and enjoy a pastry.
Here's a weird thing that I always remember when I spot the endoscopy centre: in January 2019 there was a "Major emergency response after incident in city centre", where "Six taken ill after mystery substance is hurled from window near Harbourside".
As far as I know, the Bristol Post—who back then were basically just a Twitter aggregation service rather than an actual newspaper—never did any follow-up stories on what the substance was, or what on earth this was all about, but I do know the window that they mystery substance was hurled out of (or possibly into, the story's a little self-contradictory on that point) was a window of the Prime Endoscopy centre. The mind boggles.
03 Jul 2021
I was headed into town to return RA Gilbert's biography of AE Waite to the library and along the way I noticed that Dreadnought had finished their refurbishment, but wouldn't be open until midday. That left me some time to kill, so I bimbled around the old St Augustine's/Gaunt's area for a while, then headed up Park Street for a coffee and a snack to eat on Brandon Hill before heading home the way I'd came so I could pop in and buy a pamphlet on the Hot Well I'd been interested in for a while.