Due to circumstances beyond our control (i.e. having far too much fun!), we've slipped so far behind on the blog, that from now we'll post 'live' but put the date of the post at the header - Barry aims to keep the Google map up to date each evening showing our whereabouts ...
Sunday 22 August
Luckily I'd arranged some time ago to leave the boat at Bristol and take the train to my parents house in Ombersley, near Droitwich for a few days, and then to see my daughter Lisa, for her birthday on 26th August up in Cheshire. What good fortune that it tied in with the broken toilet problem which meant I was looking forward even more to spending some time on land - in fact I said I was on strike and not returning until it was well and truly fixed. I was due back on Friday, so that gave Barry plenty of time to get it sorted!
Waking up on Sunday morning the first thing I needed to do was take a brisk walk to find some open public toilets. We'd had a cassette toilet under the stairs on the boat when we purchased it, but foolishly didn't keep it (somehow it didn't feel right keeping someone else's) as it would've been a lifesaver! The first public conveniences I came to were securely padlocked, but eventually I found one open with a friendly lady cleaning the stairs - much to my dismay though she asked me to come back in a few minutes when she'd have finished the job! I didn't venture far away and managed to stop myself from skipping down the stairs - phew - what a relief, we take so much for granted in our modern world! I won't call the lady 'old', as she told me she helps 'old ladies' over the road but she's only 75 years young, lol! She obviously loves her job, and chattered away to me for a good ten minutes (after I'd used her facilities!), at one point asking me to guess how many hours she'd worked the previous month. Incredibly she said 290 hours - how can that be true, isn't there some sort of EU Working Time Directive in the UK?! Then again, you can opt out can't you, so I assume that's what she's done.
More views of the floating harbour ...
Now it's mostly used by pleasure boats with very little commercial traffic
If you've ever wondered where the saying 'Ship shape and Bristol fashion' comes from, the 'Floating Harbour' was constructed to maintain the water at a constant level to alleviate the strain on ships who'd previously become stranded on the mud for long periods. A ship that was able to cope with the rigours of using the port at that time, was said to be 'Ship shape and Bristol fashion'.
This beautiful charter Ketch "Irene" (Sandra's mum's name) was moored close to us
A statue commemorating John Cabot who sailed from Bristol in May 1497 and discovered North America
Remnants of a bygone era apparent at every turn
A mix of rooftops in Bristol
I was sad not to be able to explore more of Bristol, but my train was due to leave Temple Meads Station at 1445hrs taking me to Worcester. As seems quite a normal occurrence with public transport, the train was delayed by almost an hour due to 'electrical problems', and I then had to get off at Cheltenham where there was a coach transporting passengers to Pershore and Worcester. I sat at the front to see the sights along the way better, and was horrified to watch the driver texting as we were hurtling along the M5 at considerable speed - do you say "Excuse me, can you please not do that while you're driving a coach-full of people?" or would that make the situation worse? I decided, rightly or wrongly, to keep quiet, forgetting I had my camera in my bag until after he'd put his phone down. I did then take a photo to identify the driver that I may send to the powers that be, as when we were approaching Worcester Shrub Hill Station, he also had a phone call which he answered and chatted for a couple of minutes - I couldn't wait to get off, how can people be so reckless?! It's bad enough travelling at speed after living on a narrowboat without all that malarkey to contend with!
Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station and Sandra on her way - well almost, the train was delayed almost an hour
"I'm sick of flying," said the pigeon, "I may take the train instead."
After I left, Barry took the chance to get to know some more of Bristol 'through the lens' ...
A magnificent old boat sits majestically on the water near to smart modern apartments
The statue of King William III in Queens Square (King Billy to the Irish) defaced with an Irish flag which itself is being defaced by a seagull!
Trying to find beauty in a 1960's car park building!!
Barry caught up with Jamie later in the day, and they checked out some Banksy's graffiti around Bristol before having an evening together - a special treat. They'd called Tom, Barry's son, on Friday night as it'd been his birthday that day, and they said how sad they were that he couldn't be here with them - little did they know at the time that Tom and I had been plotting to get him over to UK before our return to NZ - but more about that later ...
Banksy began in Bristol - no-one knows who he is still - incredible!
Some of the gargoyles adorning the University building
We had 5 minutes in the City Museum and Art Gallery before being turned out at closing time
Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill and an interesting street - very French looking
The statues of Raja Rammohun Roy outside the cathedral and Queen Victoria by The Marriott Hotel
Very 1920's Havana
Barry and Jamie set off for a harbour cruise at dusk to find a new mooring closer to the toilet facilities and boatyard for the morning. They were amazed that of the 300-400 metres of moorings available there was only one other boat sharing the spot with them, and we'd been told moorings were hard to find! After dinner they went to the 'The Cottage' pub for a couple of drinks.
SS Great Britain hiding behind the buildings