Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Monday 30 August 2010

Not so 'ship-shape' so Sandra escapes from the boat in Bristol!

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.

P1330075A The photo yesterday of 'The Lily' was this amazing bridge structure - Peros Bridge

P1330099A The bridge spans the moorings at St Augustine's Reach and is a lift bridge with the 'Lillies' being the counterweights - awesome

More views of the floating harbour ...




P1330425 In it's heyday this is what this whole harbour area was like - a very busy, smoke-filled place


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'.

P1330090 P1330087P1330088

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' ...

P1330157A  Ornate posts and church steeples around the Station

P1330153 A variety of dramatic designs in this roof

P1330156A Interesting piece of sign writing - he/she might have a stutter!

P1330163 St Marys Redcliffe church

P1330168 Permanent moorings in the harbour are very hard to come by apparently


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!

P1330183  The elegant houses around Queens Square



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!

P1330196-2 The tower of Bristol University




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

P1330210  Just a walk in the park on Brandon Hill 



Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill and an interesting street - very French looking


Bristol Cathedral



The statues of Raja Rammohun Roy outside the cathedral and Queen Victoria by The Marriott Hotel

P1330226A What about these for eclectic roof-tops?


Very 1920's Havana

P1330238 Another Banksy spotted on a boat

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.

P1330241A A surreal sight at night

P1330252A A big crane for a small ship?!


SS Great Britain hiding behind the buildings

P1330275A  A new mooring place on the other side of the harbour - looking out from the back of the boat

P1330158A Instead of a flower photo - a colourful wall (slightly enhanced!)


  1. Re the No Parking sign(s), they obviously wanted written down in black and white!

  2. Lovely photos!

    Have to point out that 'pigeon' wanting a ride on the train is actually a Herring Gull!


  3. I wouldnt worry about slipping behind and not posting realtime. Its a shame to hurry the blog posts as they are all part of the enjoyment of the trip.

    As you will appreciate - mine are way behind and I gave the 'Harnsers' a big surprise a couple of days ago when I sailed past them at Hanbury Wharf (Droitwich Canal) when they were imaginging us somewhere in London!

  4. Report that coach driver now!
    (Next time, he might be driving my bus! :-)