06 Dec 2020
I wasn't really feeling it when I set out today, on my first car-assisted wander. By the time I'd parked on Alma Vale Road in Clifton it was just starting to rain and I picked my way about in quite a desultory way. It felt strange, as I was very familiar with the area because I'd walked through it hundreds of times when I worked at the top of Whiteladies Road, and used to walk up the hill from Hotwells and through Clifton to get there, and back again, every day.
Then a complete coincidence seemed to make the change I'd been hoping for. I was standing taking a photo of Christ in the front garden of All Saints church when a couple of people walked out of the front door. I got talking with a lady I took to be part of the ministerial team, who invited me to come in and look around—something I'd always wanted to do on the morning commute. (I think we connected a bit when I recognised the name John Piper, who did the amazing windows—I learned about him while I was at Warwick, through his connections to Coventry Cathedral.
I left with much more of a spring in my step, wandered around the area a bit more, finally working out that the tennis courts I used to pass every morning are those of Clifton Lawn Tennis Club, and finally grabbing an excellent Hungarian sausage hot dog from the Budapest Cafe. I feel a lot better now than I did before I went out.
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.
06 Feb 2021
A lovely walk in the early spring sunshine with my friend Lisa. We headed directly for Jacobs Wells Road, to start off around the scene of one of our earlier walks, but this time took in Jacobs Wells from QEH upward, stopping to snap some photos of a Bear With Me, some interesting areas between Park Street and Brandon Hill including a peculiarly quiet enclave with a ruined old build I'd never found before, then crossed the Centre to grab take-away pies from Pieminister (I had the Heidi Pie) and head back to my place down the harbourside.
It's been a long time since I walked the length of Park Street. Maybe one day...
10 Feb 2021
I actually dashed up to Clifton to take a look at Arlington Villas, just around the back of St Paul's Road, one of those slightly odd little enclaves of overlooked housing that you know is there, but you never have a reason to visit or travel down. As it turned out, interesting though the (public) garden is, I actually took far more pictures of the now-completely-demolished site bounded by King's Road, Boyce's Avenue and Clifton Down Road where WH Smith and other places used to stand.
It's interesting to imagine how nice this little area would be if turned into a permanent public square, but of course the developers already have their planning permission to build it right back up again.
On St. Paul's Road
15 Feb 2021
I've noticed Oxford Place as a tiny little side/back road I've overlooked on my wanders a few times. Today I decided to pop down and have a look, as well as taking a few general snaps of Princess Victoria Street, which I thought deserved more pictures, as it's basically my closest decent shops, and in the Beforetimes I'd visit the Co-Op up there all the time, as well as the cafes (you'll be missed, Clifton Village branch of Boston Tea Party, recently closed in favour of Eat a Pitta.)
I'm definitely becoming more familiar with the area through the One Mile Matt jaunts and associated reading. Today I didn't just think, "oh, I'll head home down that weird alleyway with the electrical substation in it"—no, I thought, "I'll head home down Hanover Lane", because I actually knew its name. And on the way back from there I nodded sagely to myself as I passed St Vincent's Road, knowing now which St Vincent it's likely to be (St Vincent of Saragossa) and also eyed up the modern flats on Clifton Vale and wondered if they might have been built on the site of the former Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens... I don't know all the answers, but at least I have some idea of the historical questions I'm interested in.
The 2001 Bentley Arnage Red Label with its 6750cc engine would have retailed for around £140,000. Probably not enough to buy the cold bloke in front of the Co-Op a place in Clifton Village—I just checked, and the nearest available one-bedroom flat is £275,000—but he could probably rent one for a good long time.
17 Mar 2021
The other day I realised (hello, Maggie!) that my next walk would be my hundredth, and that I'd done 393.4km so far. I figured it would be nice to get to 100 walks and 400km on the same walk, so I went for a nice long harbourside wander after work, rather than dashing out at lunchtime. As it turned out, we're just coming up to the time of year where I can leave the house at 5:30 in the evening and there's still just enough light to take photos by the time I've made it around the harbourside. Though only just, and mostly because I've got a full-frame camera that's not bad in low light...
Still, the evening light made a lovely change, and some of the photos turned out to be pretty good photos per se, rather than just record shots of my walk. I'm looking forward to more evening walks like this as summer approaches.
On the way around this evening I wandered through one of the oldest bits of the city to extend my walk and snapped some interesting bits of architecture, including an NCP car park(!) and a nighttime shot of one of my favourite subjects, the clock tower at the Albion dockyard.
With Beacon Tower, formerly Colston Tower, in the background, displaying its shiny new sign.
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...
I bumped into my friend Lisa in town during yesterday's wander, and we decided to have a wander today, too. We managed quite a long ramble, starting up through Clifton and nipping down Park Row to investigate the two tower blocks I'd noticed popping up behind Park Street yesterday, then took in a few roads I'd not managed to get to before, including cutting through the grounds of Bristol Grammar School.
10 Apr 2021
There's a bit of Southville that I've been meaning to get to for some time, where the streets seem to take some strong inspiration from London. There's a Camden Road that crosses with an Islington Road, and a Dalston Road, even an Edgeware Road. For me these names are more evocative than the rather more exotic names I passed by to get there—Sydney Row or Hanover Place, say, because I've actually been to the places in London. The last time I was in Islington I saw Monkey Swallows the Universe play at The Angel, and I can't think of Camden without remembering a gondola trip with my friend Tara where a cheery youth played Beatles music for us on a saz...
I really liked this little area, with its mostly well-kept pretty houses and hints here and there of the creative side of the residents. It's arty and down-to-earth at the same time, and I wouldn't mind living there, I think.
On the way there I got the chance to walk through Underfall Yard for the first time in a while, and on the way back I had my first take-away hot food for many months, grabbing some crispy fried squid from the excellent Woky Ko at Wapping Wharf.