02 Dec 2020
This may be the very first time I've gone for a One Mile Matt wander and not actually gone down any new roads, trod any new steps. I just wanted a coffee, frankly, so I went the same old way to Imagine That in the marina and back again.
This is the current plan to replace the caravan park
03 Dec 2020
I love the isolation of Cliftonwood -- the geography of it, with its solid boundary of Clifton Vale to the west and Jacob's Wells Road to the east mean that you tend not to be in Cliftonwood unless you've got a reason to be there. It's not a cut-through to anywhere, at least not from side-to-side, and you can only really exit to the south on foot.
I sense that I'd be happy living in Cliftonwood -- like my bit of Hotwells, it's a quiet little area with a sort of quirky feel to it. Plus it contributes the colourful houses that are the backdrop of about half of all Bristol postcards ever made :)
I found the "secret" garden especially interesting, just for the fact that it really does feel quite secret, despite the obvious name on the gate. I've lived a half-mile from it for twenty years and I don't think I've ever noticed it before, despite exploring the area a few times.
I did once have a beer in the garden when it was The Spring Gardens. It became La Demi Lune for a while, from what I remember, then shut down. Having just Googled it, before it was the Spring Gardens apparently it was "Durty Nelly's"!
From what I can see on Street View it's just flats now, but I can't be sure without going and having a proper look around the front. Maybe next time...
14 Dec 2020
The lunchtime walk has been feeling a bit of a chore lately, especially as I only have an hour and have to keep a mental watch out for my "bingo" point or risk being late back. Today I went for a deliberately brief local walk and got home in time to have lunch on my sofa rather than while I was back at work.
It's interesting filling in the gaps in my Clifton Village knowledge, especially starting to "see" the bits I can't see, the negative spaces. The size of both Fosseway Court and the Bishop's House gardens (check out the latter on Google Maps for an idea) are both something I've noticed by just getting to know the areas around them. I may also have to walk into the driveway of the very well-hidden Nuffield hospital to get an idea of how big it is.
None of those are anything compared to the trick of hiding the gargantuan public school that is Queen Elizabeth's Hospital so well that I keep on forgetting it's there, until a glimpse of it from somewhere like Lower Clifton Hill reminds me about it, of course...
24 Jan 2021
I started this wander with my "support bubble" Sarah and Vik, after Sarah texted me to say "SNOW!" We parted ways on the towpath and I headed up into the bit of Leigh Woods that's not actually the woods—the village-like part in between Leigh Woods and Ashton Court, where I'd noticed on a map a church I'd not seen before. I found St Mary the Virgin and quite a few other things I'd never experienced, despite having walked nearby them many, many times over many years, including a castellated Victorian water tower that's been turned into a house...
A wander to knock off a couple of bits around Clifton Park that I'd missed out on previous excursions. This one took in the drinking fountain near Sion Hill and explained a little of how the Seven Years War, which ended in 1763, still has some history on display near Manilla Road.
Great name, Winearls.
I went to get my first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine today. Handily, the vaccination centre was Clifton College Prep School in Northcote road, next to Bristol Zoo, a road that's just within my 1-mile range that I hadn't visited before.
I parked up near Ladies Mile and tried to find a few of the tracks marked on the map I'm using, but couldn't see most of them. Whether that's just because they've disappeared over time, or with the recent lack of use or waterlogging from the 24 hours of rain we just had, I'm not sure. It was a pretty fruitless search, anyway.
The vaccine shot was virtually the same setup as when I got my winter flu jab back in November, except for the venue. I snapped a couple of pictures of the school while I was there, but I was in and out in five minutes, and you probably don't want to linger around a vaccination centre, I suppose.
Instead I wandered around the compact block of the Zoo, now sadly scheduled for closure. By coincidence I finished E H Young's Chatterton Square this morning: set in Clifton (fictionalised as "Upper Radstowe") near the Zoo, the occasional roars of the lions that can be heard by the residents of the square (Canynge Square in real life) form part of the background of the novel. The book's set in 1938 (though written and published post-war, in 1947). It seems a shame that the incongruous sounds of the jungle will no longer be heard from 2022. All I heard today were some exotic birds and, I think, some monkeys.
I was told not to drive for fifteen minutes following the jab, so I wandered out of my area up to the top of Upper Belgrave Road to check out an interesting factoid I'd read while looking into the history of the reservoir at Oakfield Road, that the site of 46 Upper Belgrave Road was a bungalow, shorter than the adjacent houses, and owned by Bristol Water, kept specifically low so that the pump man at Oakfield Road could see the standpipe for the Downs Reservoir (presumably by or on the water tower on the Downs) and turn the pump off when it started overflowing. Sadly I couldn't confirm it. There is one particularly low house on that stretch, but it's number 44, and though small, it's two-storey, not a bungalow, so nothing really seems to quite fit in with the tale.
I'm writing this about nine hours after getting the jab, by the way, and haven't noticed any ill effects at all. My arm's not even sore, as it usually would be after the normal flu jab. In twelve weeks I should get an appointment to get the second dose.
...the nicest entrance to a car park you'll ever see.
17 Apr 2021
I went rather outside my area today, as I went to pick something up from the Warhammer shop on Wine Street (Games Workshop as-was, and before that I think perhaps a rare retail outlet for Her Majesty's Stationery Office? I may be mis-remembering...) Anyway, a friend of mine wanted something picking up and posting to him, so I figured I'd knock some streets off my list along the way.
I first headed for the St George's Road area, walking down the narrow Brandon Steps and finding some strange wall art on Brandon Steep, then headed to the Old City via Zed Alley. The Warhammer shop visit was friendly and efficient, and, mission accomplished, I treated myself to a sausage roll and a flat white from Spicer + Cole, to take away and eat in Queen Square with its current decoration of hearts. I finished off with a detour up Park Street, looking out for St John's Conduit markers, before finally crossing Brandon Hill on the way home.
Quite a long wander, all told, and I'm a bit knackered today...
So I guess the pub's going to be flats. I'd have taken a snap of the inn itself, but there were some industrious Bristol Waste men and their van in the way.
10 Jul 2021
Lisa had a couple of hours to spare before going up in a hot air balloon (exciting!) so we went for a quick local walk, revisiting a bit of Cliftonwood we've seen before, exploring the secret garden I'd visited before that I thought she'd enjoy (I didn't take any new photos there) and then pushing on to another garden, Cherry Garden. Last time we passed this way, I'd noticed the gate, but we hadn't gone in as I'd assumed it was private. I'd since found it on CHIS's list of communal gardens in Clifton, so I wanted to have a look inside this time, and try to figure out whether it was private-communal or public, and possibly Council-owned, like several of the other gardens in Clifton.
"Managed by local people in conjunction with Bristol City Council", confirming its status as a public space, so I'm definitely not trespassing. Good.
31 Jul 2021
At the end of July I went to have a look around some of the private gardens opened up by the annual Green Squares and Secret Gardens event. Sadly it was compressed into a single day this year, for various Covid-related reasons, it seems, so I didn't get to poke around too many places. I went to:
And snapped a few things in between, too. It was a lovely day—a bit too hot, if anything—and it was interesting to get into a few places I'd only ever seen from the outside, especially The Paragon and Cornwallis gardens, which are the least visible to passing strangers of all of them.
18 Apr 2022
I didn't really set out with a theme of flowers and gardens in mind for this walk. I just fancied heading up to Clifton Village to get lunch. As it turned out, though, Spring was springing, so a minor theme emerged as I started off with the graveyard flowers of Hope Chapel and wandered up to see the beginnings of the new wildflower garden at Clifton Hill Meadow.
With a special Platinum Jubilee celebration on offer, too. I imagine The Mall Gardens will do that rather well.
The "Brigstowe Village Band" is a whimsical name. Brigstow—the bridge at the meeting point—is the origin of the modern "Bristol". Apparently they're "modelled on the village bands of Thomas Hardy’s day when local musicians played for all the local gatherings and celebrations."