My friend Lisa texted me to see if I wanted to pop down and take a photo or two of the event she was taking part in: Santa SUP. SUP Bristol organise stand-up paddleboarding on the floating harbour, and their annual Santas-on-paddlboards event is quite the sight.
On the way there, I grabbed a historical photo I'd been wanting to recreate for a while of the shiny and new Cumberland Basin flyovers back in 1965, because I reckoned I could fit finding the same viewpoint into my outbound journey. Also, after having only used it on a wander for the very first time yesterday, I managed two crossings in the cross-harbour ferry today to get to the best locations for snapping the paddleboarders...
So, then, this wander is mostly a bunch of photos of paddleboarding Santas. Tis the season... Enjoy!
At this point they'd left me behind heading east up the harbour, so I decided to jump on the cross-harbour ferry to the inlet, grab a coffee and a pasty at Spoke and Stringer (their sign definitely worked on me!) and wait on the that side for their return, as knew they were heading widdershins around the harbour.
I took a moment to snap this little fella in the artificial reed bed between the inlet and Hannover Quay.
I'm pretty sure I never saw one of these on the harbour until they introduced the reed beds as an extra wildlife haven. Spotted this one just behind the landing stage I was snapping from when I got up to get back on the cross-harbour ferry and meet Lisa on the far side again.
26 Feb 2022
I needed to buy new walking shoes—my old ones were squeaking and it was driving me up the wall—so I ordered some for collection from Taunton Leisure on East Street in Bedminster, and decided to make picking them up an official wander.
I didn't cover any new ground within my mile, but I did take advantage of the trip to take in a few interesting things just outside my normal radius, mostly New Gaol-related. Along the way there are a couple of sanitation-related diversions, including a visit to a rare manhole cover. You can hardly wait, I can tell!
I took a long lens with me today in case the cormorants were around; I've been meaning to try taking a better snap of them for a while. Here's one on a buoy that seems to have "hosting cormorants" as its only purpose. There's often one there, anyway.
Bill found the ducks' lack of work ethic irksome.
And there's often also a cormorant and some other birds hanging out on the end of this pontoon at the slipway near the Nova Scotia, too.
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...
...it's nesting season. Coal tit, I think, though I'm more of a word-botcher than an ornithologist.
Loud little bugger, he was.
The best feature of the car park.
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.
It's the home of the Avon Wildlife Trust now, but back in the day it was Brandon Hill Police Station. It's marked on maps as recent as the 1950s Bristol Town Plans. An interesting tidbit from Bristol Then and Now on Facebook:
One of the first police stations in Bristol, it was opened in 1836 - policemen from the station used the building housing the Jacob's Well as a bicycle store and many old bicycle lamp batteries were found in excavating the small entrance to the mikveh. The Police Station closed in 1967 and it is now the base of Avon Wildlife Trust.
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...
03 Jun 2022
I managed to go for a wander a while ago that was meant to finish off a little tangle of paths in Leigh Woods, or at the very least finish off my wandering of the Purple Path there. And I managed to miss doing either of those things through some kind of navigational incompetence.
Today I woke up with a bit of a headache, feeling a bit knackered as soon as I dragged myself out of bed, but at least with the energy to realise that I'd be better off (a) going for a walk in what looked likely to be the last of the Jubilee weekend sunshine than (b) moping around the flat until it started raining, at which point I could mope more thoroughly.
I had a look at my map, considered going to Ashton Court, but remembered that there was a music festival there today, and instead found these little leftovers of Leigh Woods and decided to have one more try at walking them.
17 Oct 2021
For the first time in a while, I had the time and energy to go further afield and knock off some new roads from my "to do" list. I headed through the first Hotwells Festival to Ashton and Bedminster to cross off a few of the suburban roads south of North Street.
First, though, I decided to try to reproduce an old photo of the now-demolished Rownham Hotel just around the corner from where I live...
<Insert "nice shag" joke here>
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.
This little bugger had nicked an entire unopened chicken mayo sarnie from somewhere—possibly a distraction burglary at the nearby Co-Op—and at one point flew it up twenty feet and dropped it in order to break through the wrapper. Impressive, if violent.
The limes pleached over the walkway seem to be well-maintained.
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.
14 Nov 2020