28 May 2021
Another dash to Greville Smyth Park for a coffee from Rich at Hopper, but at least this time I managed to divert a bit and knock off a small section of Cumberland Road I'd managed to miss on previous excursions. Along the way I muse on a strange residence in between a warehouse and a tannery, and wonder if the Mayor might be deliberately letting the Cumberland Road Flyover area go to seed...
Perched between the C Bond and the Thomas Ware tannery, I've always been curious about this odd residence with its tall mansards and unusual layout. It is, apparently, 8 and 9 Clift House Road. If it wasn't for the big busy route in front it could be in the middle of the countryside, really.
I imagine having that both the road and the tannery—operating since 1840 and still going strong, apparently—rather detracts from property value, but perhaps it's actually owned by the tanners and tenanted by people who are used to the smell anyway...
28 Jan 2021
With very little photography, and no new streets. Still, I did manage to buy milk at the "Simple Cow" vending machine—and "simple" is very definitely false advertising; it took me bloody ages to work out how to use the thing—and snap the new ACER/SEPR piece down in Cumberland Piazza.
It's really nice milk. And handy with the strain Ocado are under at the moment.
It was not simple. But now I have some clue what I'm doing I might manage it better next time.
03 Nov 2020
A very local exploration today, but there are still bits of the near field that I never need to walk down, so it didn't take me long to find somewhere I haven't been in a decade or more, the little enclave of smaller Victorian houses around Oldfield Road and Sandford Road. I'd really like to live in one of those houses, but I doubt I could afford it.
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.
As you would expect, there's quite a lot of nursing homes in Clifton.
26 Nov 2020
I took the day off my day job to do my accounts—or at least do enough bookkeeping to send them to my accountant. I hate doing the books. I woke up late, tired and with a headache and decided to bunk off for a walk around Cliftonwood, Clifton Village and Clifton instead, taking in a couple of good coffees along the way. Thanks, Foliage Café, and Twelve for the flat whites.
The Hillsborough Flats are a lot prettier from the back than their frontage on the Hotwell Road suggests, I think.
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.
10 Jan 2021
Went for a wander with my friend Lisa—the current lockdown rules seem to be that one local walk for exercise per day with a maximum of one person not in one's "bubble" is fine—up to the University of Bristol area right at the edge of my one-mile perimeter to see the Jeppe Hein Mirror Maze, among other things. On the way we mused about Merchant Venturers, the slave and tobacco trades, and dating in the time of Covid.
I imagine it would look a lot nicer if it weren't backlit. Maybe I'll try taking another snap of it at a different time of day...
17 Feb 2021
The long road between Clifton Road and Park Place—the little triangle of grass in front of the Pro-Cathedral, which also houses Quinton House pub, the Park Launderette and Mr Swantons Barbers—is one I've travelled a lot, as it's a nice route between my place and the top of Park Street, especially Ocado. It has many names along the way, even though it feels like just one continuous road. It's York Place, Tottenham Place, Meridian Place and Bruton Place before it finally spits you out onto Park Place.
It was Meridian Place I was interested in today, as I wanted to explore the set of steps that lead down from it in the direction of Jacobs Wells Road. Turns out they lead to Meridian Vale and Meridian Mews, and come out between the Strangers Burial Ground and the Eldon House, opposite the entrance to Bellevue Terrace. I liked the little terrace on Meridian Vale, though they probably don't get a lot of light in the front windows, what with Meridian Place and Tottenham Place towering above them.
On the way back home I popped into the little lane behind Regent Street that houses the Chesterfield Hospital, as I realised I'd neglected that up until now. It was... unexciting.
Interesting! This seems to be a modern block of student flats around the back of the old Pro-Cathedral. I knew the Pro-Cathedral was student accommodation now, but I didn't know there was a gert big block of modern block behind it, too. It's well-hidden. Or I'm not very good at noticing things. One of the two.
Apparently the site is called Cathedral Park, houses 263 students, and comprises the converted cathedral, "a modern new-build and the Upper School building."
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 liked this somewhat OTT attic on Sion Hill