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.)
...but I always forget they're closed on Monday and Tuesday.
14 Nov 2020
07 Dec 2020
I realised that if Hopper Coffee in Greville Smyth Park was in reach during my lunch hour, then perhaps Mark's Bread at the end of North Street would be do-able, too. And I was right. I also managed to cross Clift Road, with its pretty gable bargeboards, off my list, and encounter a dapper gent walking his dogs while playing loud jazz music from somewhere under his jacket. That's North Street for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Somewhat blurry pic of a 2.8 Capri. Couldn't resist. I think I've snapped this in this area before.
I got interested in Bristol's medieval water supplies after poking around near Jacobs Wells Road and Brandon Hill. It was during that research I found out about a pipe that's still there today, and, as far as I know, still actually functioning, that was originally commissioned by Carmelite monks in the 13th century. They wanted a supply of spring water from Brandon Hill to their priory on the site of what's now the Bristol Beacon—Colston Hall, as-was. It was created around 1267, and later, in 1376, extended generously with an extra "feather" pipe to St John's On The Wall, giving the pipework its modern name of "St John's Conduit".
St John's on the Wall is still there, guarding the remaining city gate at the end of Broad Street, and the outlet tap area was recently refurbished. It doesn't run continuously now, like it did when I first moved to Bristol and worked at the end of Broad Street, in the Everard Building, but I believe the pipe still functions. One day I'd like to see that tap running...
There are a few links on the web about the pipe, but by far the best thing to do is to watch this short and fascinating 1970s TV documentary called The Hidden Source, which has some footage of the actual pipe and also lots of fantastic general footage of Bristol in the seventies.
On my walk today I was actually just going to the building society in town, but I decided to trace some of the route of the Carmelite pipe, including visiting streets it runs under, like Park Street, Christmas Street, and, of course, Pipe Lane. I also went a bit out of my way to check out St James' Priory, the oldest building in Bristol, seeing as it was just around the corner from the building society.
There are far too many pictures from this walk, and my feet are now quite sore, because it was a long one. But I enjoyed it.
20th Century Flicks were an established video rental shop up in Clifton, conveniently next to the University of Bristol Student Union, when I moved to Hotwells in 1999. They moved to Christmas Steps a few years back, and are still, amazingly, in business.
I'd guess they survive by having an immense stock of films (20,000 available for hire), great expertise, and a high-density local student population.
I noticed I'd missed a bit of Circular Road and Ladies Mile, and it was a nice evening for a sunset wander up to Clifton. There was something I recorded along the way, not photographically but in video.
Bristol Zoo, the world's oldest provincial zoo, has recently decided to close its Clifton site after 185 years of occupation, which means that the sounds of wild animals will no longer drift incongruously through this leafy Georgian area. They're moving everything up to their existing second site, The Wild Place Project near Cribbs Causeway. As I was wandering the Downs, I heard some fierce roaring noises, so I decided to see if I could get a little closer while they were still going on and record a sound that's soon to disappear.
I don't have a way yet to put video directly on this site, so here's a link to the video of my attempt to catch a bit of the zoo noises that I just popped on YouTube. It's sad that this might be the last time I hear such noises in Clifton.
The Very Special Wildflower Meadow hasn't got any flower in it yet, that I could see. But I suppose it's only April.
07 May 2021
I saw this tweet the other day and started thinking of my second Covid-19 vaccination as my "Sequel Injection" (to a geek, it's funny. You'll have to take my word for it.) Whatever you call it, this morning I went and got it.
It was in the same place I got my initial injection—my left arm! No, okay, it was at the Clifton College Prep School. I didn't take any photos of the event itself; the NHS production line is so efficient you barely have time to do anything else, even if the privacy of other patients wasn't a factor.
Along the way I mused at all the road resurfacing going on in Clifton, and also discovered a secret (okay, not-well-known and possibly slightly trespassey) way into Canynge Square, and on the way back I knocked off a few streets from my "leftovers list" of north-east Clifton. I've got much of Clifton done now, with the only obvious "to dos" on the east side of Whiteladies Road...
It was quite a long walk, and I'm feeling pretty tired now, though that might be the effects of the jab too, I suppose. Anyway. Tomorrow and Monday I'm walking outside Bristol, I think, and I imagine my feet will need some recovery time on Sunday, so it might be a while before I post another Wander.
—now retire to your little tinder box right where they wan—
I think. Odd sentiment. I wonder if the length of time it takes to get to the "n" of "want" is also the length of time it takes a supermarket security guard to run here from their CCTV station...