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.
I shot this on a film camera when I lived at Baltic Wharf during the mid-nineties. Interesting to compare with the present day, I think. "Hand of the River God" by Vincent Woropay has lost its figure of Hercules carrying an obelisk in the meantime.
06 Jun 2021
The track on the map doesn't tell the whole story of this walk with Lisa around and about Clifton, Berkeley Square, Brandon Hill and the harbourside, because the batteries on my GPS ran out while we were on the roof of Trenchard Street car park, it seems. Oh well. I think I did most of the area I was interested in finishing off around the University; there were only a few new bits around Brandon Hill that won't be on the track, and I can easily do them again.
Still, technology woes aside it was a nice walk, albeit a bit warm for climbing all those hills, and sat on the harbourside watching the world go by for a while, too. It was good to see the Bristol Ferry Boats carrying people around again, especially.
01 Jan 2022
I picked a fairly arbitrary reason for a wander today. Really, I just wanted to do a New Year's Day wander just to get out of the house and to set a precedent for the year to come.
My ostensible reason was to investigate what looked like a road on my map that quartered the lawn in front of the Ashton Court mansion. As it turned out, this is just a muddy footpath/desire line similar to a half-dozen other tracks nearby, and must be some kind of bug or misclassification with the mapping system I'm using, but that's not important. What's important is that I went for a little walk on the first day of the year. As a bonus, I did happen to wander down a couple of sections of new footpath, so technically I broke some new ground too, which is nice.
I passed these when I was here around Hallowe'en, for ghost stories.
Well, seems to have a dog collar on, anyway.
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...
I don't know what I was expecting to see on Brandon Steep, but a sculpted stone frog sticking out of the wall would have been pretty low on the list.
So that looks like an overflow pipe, and I suppose that makes this a modern gargoyle.
27 Mar 2022
I wanted to have a wander along to the Tobacco Factory Market for some shopping, and checking the map for any leftover nearby streets I noticed a tiny curve of road on the way into the modern flats at Paxton Drive that it didn't look like I'd walked down before. I wouldn't take me too far out of my way, so I decided to head there first and then across to North Street to get my groceries and a coffee...
05 Jun 2022
Another day not dissimilar to my last wander: I'm feeling a bit tired and rather than just moping around the house I thought I'd find some tiny bit of somewhere that I'd not yet walked and get outdoors. This time I headed for the Tobacco Factory Market in Bedminster, as I often do, but went the long way around via Ashton Court Mansion as I knew there were some footpaths and a small section of road I'd not ticked off up there. Finishing all the Ashton Court footpaths will be quite a long job, but you've got to start somewhere...
I did feel rather better by the time I got home, and, pretty much astoundingly given the weather forecast, managed to avoid the rain completely.
Trasparenza, by Andrea Greenlees, originally built for Burning Man in 2016. It has transparent benches inside, but it looked a bit of a tight squeeze, so I left the children of the family that arrived a couple of minutes later to it. They seemed to enjoy exploring. There's a view from the inside on Andrea's Instagram.
I think the Latin edging the doorway is "Pulchritudo Est Aliquid Incorporeum": "Beauty is an incorporeal thing", near as I can make out.
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...
The park throughout a large part of history was used as a political meeting point – as a speaker’s corner and a gathering place. Over the years many groups met for discussions on the hill. This sculpture celebrates this aspect with all the thoughts of these gatherings, especially in the context of political meetings for political change and reform.
At the top of the hill there used to be an anchorage – a hermitage – where there would have been mediation and prayer – again thought patterns.
I'm not sure which version I prefer.
04 Nov 2020
I only had a second to catch this moment, and I think I just managed it.
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.)
Number 16 The Paragon lies on the other side of the street from the main terrace. It's grade II listed and has "a raised shield to the attic with a lion surrounded by rocaille leaves".
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.
This is opposite Grove House, but I'm wondering if it might be a remnant of the adjacent Cornwallis House having been a Catholic girls' school or a Protestant nunnery. All I know is that I've walked past the end of this road a thousand times without knowing how close to Jesus I was.