Flying the Red Duster with pride and remembering the men and women of the Merchant Navy who serve and served their country at sea.
DRW © 2018, created 03/09/2018
This afternoon I closed the door on yet another chapter of my life, and the outcome can go either way. I have left my job in Tewkesbury due to personal and health reasons and I am hoping to find something else somewhere else.
It is quite strange to pack your goodies after so much time, hell, I have done it so many times I am an expert! But it’s the funny things that I end up breaking up that make me smile the most: my 2 decker paper tray and my makeshift shelf were all cobbled together from boxes and wood, and helped make my life just that easier. Let’s face it, I can be a messy worker at times so every little bit of shelving or organising space helps. Wherever I have worked I have built these contraptions, often because the companies do not provide decent spaces where you can stash your “stuff”. I also have bought a number of tools to make things easier and these will now join my every expanding toolbox at home.
It is depressing to think that the knowledge I have gained over these 3 years will never be used again, I can pull the little flush lever in my brain and it can join the knowledge of all the arcane stuff that I have fixed or worked on in my career that lives in the dusty archives of my brain basement. I do however keep some skills handy because sometimes odds and ends of it will be used somewhere else. A good example is my printer repair skills that were last used in 1998. Little did I know that in 2015 I would have to dredge them from the dusty archive of my mind, and when I first started here 3 years ago I was embarrassed to see how much things had evolved since I first started working on printers. Way back then a colour laser was unheard of, and ink jets were rickety machines that often stopped printing randomly. There was no such thing as USB or Wifi, it was serial or parallel only! Things have come a long way since then though, and pricewise they have definitely improved, although that may not be true in South Africa where nothing ever comes down in price.
The one thing I usually miss has to do with the people I worked with. Because I lead a solitary life I very rarely get to know people well except in the case of work colleagues. I spend 8 hours in a day with them (as they do with me), and naturally it can be an up and down affair depending on how much work we have or how much we get moaned at or how much we help each other. The tech field seems to draw slightly “weird” (in a nice way) characters and this time around was no different. I will miss them the most, and the sad thing is that in so many cases, when you walk out the door for the last time you never see them again. This will be true from the 1st of September.
Naturally there are those who I will not miss, but I will not discuss them, suffice to say that I have encountered many of these in my careers, and they exist everywhere too.
As I head into the last 3,5 hours I am still bogged down with broken machines, but my pile of stuff is steadily moving towards my backpack as I prepare to sail towards the horizon. Here be dragons? Who knows.
Will I remain in Tewkesbury? It really depends on whether I can find work to pay the rent while I look for permanent work wherever that may be.
As I always say: watch this space!
DRW © 2018. Created 31/08/2018
Yes it is true, I broke the Lusitania.
Actually there is a bit more to this title than meets the eye. When the Atlas Editions “Legendary Ocean Liners” collection was originally advertised most of us were very excited, but that excitement declined when we saw the first model come out (RMS Titanic). It was not what I expected, in fact it was not good at all. I had already decided to not collect the ships because of the outlay on these part works and hassles cancelling it. I was not after most of the ships anyway, just a select few, and it was easier to buy those off ebay once the novelty wore off.
I did pick up a Titanic for the princely sum of £10 at the local charity shop but really wanted the Lusitania model.
The Titanic model was not great, which is sad because the Atlas Editions warships were amazing models and I have a few of them. The warships were easy to waterline, you just had to unscrew the lower hull and voila: a waterline warship. The big question was: could you do the same with the passenger ships? short answer is: no! The hull is in one piece so it is going to be a mission to cut off the underwater part of the hull. I had done that before to a Revell QE2 model and that was plastic, this was some sort of alloy and would need a lot of work unless you had the right tools (which I thought I had.)
A quick squizz on youtube found me a video of somebody that had performed surgery on these models, and I watched it and it didn’t seem too complicated but there were snags in doing it. I have a mains powered mini tool and a whole wodge of cutting and grinding disks so it was feasible. It was just a case of getting a ship and actually doing it. With hindsight I should have cut the Titanic first.
A few weeks ago Atlas Editions suddenly stopped trading and a notice appeared on their website “it is no longer possible to place orders for new collections”. The playing field had changed and it was now in the realm of the second hand market. I did not really expend much energy looking for a Lusitania though but eventually found and bought one off ebay.
It is not a nice model, in fact it doesn’t really look too much like the Lusitania. The vents make it look like the Mauretania (incidentally they use the same model for the Mauretania), and I have no idea why there are strips of different colours on her superstructure.
Unscrewing the base was easy, and I tried a cut on the underside of the hull… seemed to work…
Phew, it turned out to be a major job, my cutting disks were just not up to the job and I ended up using a hacksaw to cut my way through the metal. The big snag is that there are at last two known pillars used to screw the base onto, and possibly more that I did not know about. The metal was easy to cut but the angles and sizes made it difficult. Surprisingly enough the paint and plastic fittings held out quite well although I eventually broke the mast and the foredeck crane (did the Lusie have one originally?).
Here are the 3 sliced up bits
And what it looks like as a waterline model only before I get down to finishing off the waterine.
I am semi happy with what I have achieved, but there is still a lot of metal work involved to get the model down onto the waterline. Watch this space is the operative word from now on.
The next day.
I repainted the underwater parts and add a new white line and remounted the mast and painted them brown. The ship looks like this now and I like it more than the full hull version. Will I waterline the Titanic? I am considering it, but at least next time around I will know what is waiting for me
As mentioned before, there is a Mauretania in dazzle camouflage, and it uses the same model for both. Do they really think we wouldn’t notice? Similarly there is a dazzle camouflaged Olympic and I expect that they are using the same Titanic model but may be wrong, I have not seen too many pics of that iteration yet.
The funny thing is that since there is no longer an Atlas Editions distributor the ships are popping up all over ebay as being available from China.
** Update 13/10/2018 **
I managed to pick up an Albatros Mauretania and she is amazingly detailed.
And this is what she looks like with the Atlas Lusitania.
I taped those strange brown lines on the Lusie and at some point may paint them instead. I do however like this waterlined Lusitania, it is quite a nice model if you don’t look too closely at it. This is what they look like from above:
DRW © 2018. Created 26/08/2018, updated 13/10/2018
The Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival is held around this time of the year pretty much longer than I have lived here. I missed the 2015 event as it was cancelled because of heavy rain, but this year, 2018, is probably the last time I will be attending the event. It is fascinating to walk through because so many of the vehicles are cars from my past, and my parents past too. It did not seem that there were as many vehicles on display this year, and of course the weather was grey and cloudy some of the time. But, it was still packed and cars were still arriving by the time I left just after 12 (and the sun was making token appearances too).
How to not repeat what I have posted before? duplication will creep in, and many of the cars on show were here in the previous years too, so unlike last time when i posted 4 pages, this time I am going to try to keep it at 1. I am really going to try post the odds and ends that interest me in this post instead of the usual vehicles.
There were 2 speed merchants to see this year, and it’s kind of hard to picture them hurtling along because they will just be blurs in the lens. The first was the Bloodhound SSC,a British supersonic vehicle currently in development. Its goal is to match or exceed 1,000 miles per hour (1,609 km/h), and achieving a new world land speed record. The pencil-shaped car is designed to reach 1,050 miles per hour (1,690 km/h).
The vehicle was supposed to be tested on the Hakskeen Pan in the Mier area of the Northern Cape, but it appears that the record attempt has been put off till 2019. Maybe one day we will hear that it happened, but this glimpse at the needle nosed speed merchant was a unique one,
Speed merchant number two was a dragster, and its the first one I have ever seen in real life before. Its an impressive beastie but seems almost fragile. I know nothing about these vehicles but the fastest competitors can reach speeds of up to 530 km/h and can cover the 1,000 foot (305 m) run in anything between 3.6 and 4 seconds (on a good day?).
Fortunately I prefer a more sedate drive and one of the many oldies I saw was a fabric bodied Austin 7 from 1928.
The British weather played havoc with the vehicles and I don’t think there are too many survivors around. The fabric used was called Rexine’, a cloth coated with a mixture of cellulose paint and castor oil and formerly used in the manufacturing of WW1 aircraft wings. I was quite fortunate to see this old lady and hear about the unique body. Truly a rare gem of a vehicle.
Two other oddities that tickled my fancy were a pair of milk floats in the Cotteswold Dairy livery. I cycle past the Dairy every morning and it never occurred to me that they would have operated floats too.
How many of us used to collect Matchbox cars as children? and how many were thrown away by our mothers? quite a lot of them end up in boxes like this one…
Spot the blue Mini… I almost had to have a dual with a munchkin over the contents of that box, and we both left satisfied and clutching our 50p toys in sweaty hands. Phew, these muchkins can play dirty though. On the subject of Mini’s, yes there were quite a few there, and I have probably seen most of the ones on display, naturally some caught my eye, although the pink one was kind of jarring. It was for sale too, but I had spent my last 50p so was skint.
The other Mini that hurt my eyes was this orange 1970 Mini Clubman Estate (the turquoise one was quite nice too), I will post the new Mini’s in my famous Mini Minor with two flat tyres gallery at some point.
Another interesting find was this Ford Escort that did not come from the factory like this. It is a four seater, 3 sleeper motor caravan based on the Ford Escort 8 cwt deluxe van.
The odd love of camper vans was also evident from the many VW’s Kombi’s around in various states of quirkiness. I believe the windows in the roof were for viewing mountains with.
And you can always enjoy your travels on 2 wheels if the need takes you, and there were some interesting bikes on display too. The show stopper however was this beaut. It was a seriously large bike, but I have no idea how the rider manages with it.
There were a few other vintage machines, the first one in this trio is a 1914 Triumph Roadster.
although I kind of liked this Lambretta step through scooter in spite of the colour.
Chrome was evident in many of the vehicles though, and that reminds me, have you seen my Figureheads and Hood Ornaments post yet? I started it way back in 2017 and was finally able to complete it in 2018.
Dream car? besides a Mini? there are a few that really make me ooh and aah, and right at the top of the list is the Morgan and this red example is perfect. Sadly I did not see any 3 wheel Morgans around this year.
There were not too many small commercial truck and van variants around, but there were two that made me smile.
I could probably waffle the whole day about the 400 images that I took, but I wont. Suffice to say I enjoyed this blast from the past. What I did find quite odd though was that there were a number of vehicles that are still in production on show (Golf’s and Mercs and Beemers), and I cannot quite class them as vintage or even classic. But if you look at it rationally, the VW Golf has been in production since 1974, and those 1974 models are now over 40 years old and technically are classics. What I do find hard to think about is that in 50 years time car enthusiasts may be looking at some of the plastic rubbish on our roads and discussing the merits of the internal combustion engine and a pre 2000 VW Golf, or the merits of a three wheel vehicle over a hoverspeeder.
And as usual I shall leave you with some random cars. In no particular order and with no favouritism anywhere.
And that was it for the Classic Vehicle Festival of 2018. It was fantastic and special thanks to all those who keep these oldies running and in such a great condition. I probably wont see you next year, but I have many memories to carry me forward of the event that I have seen this year and in 2016 and 2017.
DRW © 2018. Created 19/08/2018
The one item that seems to have disappeared from motor vehicles is the Figurehead aka “Hood Ornament”. In South Africa a hood is a bonnet and a trunk is a boot. Sound confusing enough? The age of plastic has left us somewhat poorer as can be seen by the examples that I photographed at the Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Event. Somehow a badge just doesn’t cut it as much a a chrome bird or symbolic creature. I don’t know of too many modern vehicles that sport these anymore, I know Rolls Royce still sports the “Spirit of Ecstacy” and Mercedes Benz still have their gunsight up front. These images are purely for enjoyment, no captions are needed.
I never published this post way back in 2017 when I started it because there was more I wanted to add in but never did, this year around at the Classic Vehicle Festival (2018) I went looking for more of these but the odds are I saw the same ones. Anyway, I am going to post this in 2018 come hell or high water!
Tewkesbury Classic Vehicles 2018
DRW © 2017 – 2018. Created 21/08/2017. Finally completed 19/08/2018
This is another retrospective blogpost that I should have done way back in 2013, on returning from Weymouth for a job interview. The exif data puts the images at 19 June 2013.
Weymouth is a seaside town in Dorset, and I was hoping to really see what the Brits were like when they were on their summer hols. I on the other hand was burdened with a tie and my usual interview gear so could not get dirty or sweat stained, and I would have to make sure that I was on time for the interview. I even left my bucket and spade at home!
I also could not dally too long either as I had a train to catch back to Southampton.
The station was close to the beach, but I do recall stopping at a taxi service to get a business card just in case I needed to get a taxi in a hurry. Because it is a seaside town most of what I saw was centered around the beachfront, although I did make an excursion into the industrial area. Naturally war memorials were priorities to photograph, and any big ships too although Weymouth Harbour is really geared towards the fishing, pleasure craft and tourism industry.
It was not too crowded either, although that could be because I had arrived while everybody was having breakfast. I hoped that the much loved seaside landlady trope had not been perpetuated into our new century and I am sure many of the beachside “boarding houses” had been where so many of the typical seaside holiday stories had been written.
There were three War Memorials of note along this stretch of beachfront. The first was an ANZAC memorial for the First World War, I covered this memorial in allatsea
In the image above you can see the town War Memorial with a poppy field between them. It commemorated “The Citizens of the Borough who made the Supreme Sacrifice during the Second World War”. It also lists those lost during World War 1. (allatsea link)
Weymouth, being a port city was also defended by Fort Nothe which is situated at the end of the Nothe Peninsula on at the entrance to the harbour. I would have liked to have had a close look at it but did not have the time to do so.
This side of the harbour mouth was the home of one of those strange towers with a rotating doughnut on it, although it was not in operation by the looks of it. There was construction work going on in that area so I could not really see what I wanted to. You can see the tower sticking out in the image below.
The king used to take a dip there because he had been advised to bathe in seawater to help with his Porphyria. Unlike today one did not just leap into the sea, and the much talked about “bathing machine” was taken out into the water, whereupon the person could have his paddle in private. Huzzah! they even have a bathing machine on display.
Staying with our beach theme, my experience of going to the seaside as a child was probably very different to that of a child in England, and there were some activities that we did not seem to have in common during my era. The first being the Punch ‘n Judy show:
Although I suspect Mr Punch has been sanitised and made more politically correct, and of course the seaside donkey ride.
It was quite a strange feeling walking along this beachfront because so many odd memories kept on popping up and I had to resist the temptation to roll up me trouser legs, tied a knotted handkerchief around my head and go for a paddle in the sea. I now headed for the harbour as time was marching and the harbour was a good place to navigate from. A lifting bascule bridge joins the two sides of the harbour and allows access to the inner harbour.
I stopped at the church that you can see on the left and came away with one very poignant image. It is quite odd to think that he really lives on in this church while his “schoolfellows and friends” have all been lost to memory.
Shortly after my harbour visit I headed off to my interview in the industrial area. It was not a long walk, but it was becoming quite a hot day and I longed to dispose of that tie. I did not get the job though, and I suspect I was much too under qualified anyway. On my way back I paused at the local cemetery and church before arriving back in town. I had time to kill so headed off along the Esplanade. There was a church in the distance that I wanted to have a look at.
The esplanade is composed of converted Georgian terraces that serve as flats, shops, hotels and guest houses. Many were built between 1770 and 1855 and they form a long, continuous arc of buildings which face Weymouth Bay.
This iteration of the Royal Hotel hotel was opened in 1899 and is a Grade II listed building. During World War 2 it was requisitioned for use as the local headquarters of the United States military.
The Memorial in front of the building serves as a reminder of the part Weymouth played in the invasion of Normandie.
IN MEMORY OF AMERICAN SERVICEMEN 1939-1945. 1944-1945.
THE MAJOR PART OF THE AMERICAN ASSAULT FORCE WHICH
LANDED ON THE SHORES OF FRANCE 6 JUNE 1944 WAS LAUNCHED
FROM WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND HARBORS. FROM 6 JUNE 1944 TO 7 MAY 1945, 517,816 TROOPS AND 144,093 VEHICLES EMBARKED
FROM THE HARBORS. MANY OF THE TROOPS LEFT FROM WEYMOUTH PIER. THE REMAINDER OF THE TROOPS AND ALL THE VEHICLES PASSED THROUGH/ WEYMOUTH EN ROUTE TO PORTLAND POINTS OF EMBARKATION.
PRESENTED BY THE 14TH MAJOR PORT, U.S. ARMY. (Added JUNE 1999:)
There is also an a reminder of the tragedy that befell man who were being trained for the assault at Lyme Bay:
28 APRIL 1944
749 DIED DURING D-DAY
TRAINING EXERCISE ‘TIGER’
WHEN A CONVOY OF LSTS WAS ATTACKED BY E-BOATS
24 DECEMBER 1944.
The other landmark in this area is the Jubilee Clock Tower, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 50 years of reign in 1887.
My destination was in sight, although still quite a walk away. If only I had my bicycle back then.
I suppose I could have caught “the train”
Or hired a boat
Make no mistake, the sea was flat calm out there, and you would be able to wade out quite far too. In the bay was a sailing ship and I was able to zoom into her and later identified her as the 1971 built TS Royalist.
and then finally I was approaching St John’s Church.
The church stands out for me as it had what was probably the scariest angel I have ever seen on a church building.
And then it was time to turn around and head for the station.
The exif data says the image below was taken at 17H39, but that could be when I uploaded them. At any rate, my train is here, its time to go.
My trip to Weymouth would not be complete without random images…
DRW 2013-2018. Retrospectively created 11/08/2018
I was now in the area around the cathedral, and while there was no sculpture to photograph there were a few other places of interest. The building below is labelled “Central Library”, with the former Abbott’s Gatehouse tacked onto the left hand side. The statue with it’s back to us is of Rajah Rammohun Roy, who died of meningitis on 27 September 1833 in Bristol.
I first encountered his name when I visited Arnos Vale way back in 2014, as his original tomb is still in the cemetery, although he is no longer buried there. From what I have read he was an enlightened scholar and philosopher and greatly respected. The statue was unveiled in 1997 and sculpted by Niranjan Pradhan
The choir school is also close to the cathedral and it is a fine building in it’s own right although I did not manage to get a decent photograph of it due to the sun position. I did however get a nice image of the cathedral which I was not able to get last time due to the closures of this area.
My next destination was Millennium Square. I had only picked up one sculpture last time (Oceans 1: Deep Blue) but there were 2 others in the area. The first I must have stood next to and missed, but it is more likely because the area was so crowded.
A fellow hunter also showed me where to find the next one too…
I had completed this area now and decided to head back to where the Cenotaph was and see what I could find there, I was not confident of much success as that area was densely populated with buildings and shops so it would have been quite difficult to find anything. Still, I did have one destination in mind for there so off I went.
Actually my first real discovery was not a sculpture, but the facade of doorway worthy of any Victorian cemetery. It was simply magnificent.
There were some very beautiful buildings around me, but the streets were narrow and I got distracted again. It was not the smell of pizza though, but the alleyway that had been created by construction.
Lo and behold.. I found a church close to it, hemmed in on all sides, with a tiny garden/possible former churchyard. Unfortunately it was closed, but by the looks of it was still an active church. Called St Stephens, it was just one of the many churches that are in the city, and it looks like it has been here for a very long time.
The smell around here was bad though so I headed towards a collectables market, pausing to grab another sculpture.
The market was fascinating, and there were a few items that make me ooh and aaah, but I did not buy anything and was frankly at somewhat of a loss as to where to head next. I went into another doorway which was one large market and it really reminded me a lot of South Africa. In fact there was even a South African shop! and I came out of a random doorway and found myself in a area that seemed familiar.
I had been here before…. but from the other side, and it was close to Castle Park which I wanted to explore too. I had a new destination! Full steam ahead.
While doing my reading following last months trip I had wanted to investigate the spire that seemingly hid behind a derelict building. Indeed the buildings were derelict but I had to walk all around them to find what was left of the church, and there was almost nothing. You could not even see the spire for all the trees.
I turned my bows towards the other ruin in what is known as Castle Park. St Peter’s Church was a victim of the bombing in 24–25 November 1940 and was left as a memorial to those who perished in the bombing of the city.
It is strange to see these gardens surrounded by the skeletal remains of these churches, they do make for very effective memorials, but unfortunately this one was also closed off. A proper memorial is affixed to the wall of the church. I will cover the memorial properly at allatsea.
The park is a large one and one end of it had some very interesting structures so I headed in that direction because there were some more sculptures on my map close by.
Castle Park got its name because once a there was a castle here. The first record of it was from 1088, and it was probably a “motte and bailey” design.
The castle structures were mostly demolished in the 1650’s and redeveloped more in line with what a city of the time looked like. Houses sprung up and associated industry flourished, but the Blitz flattened this area too. Castle Park was developed during the 1970’s and there may still be foundations dating back to the castle underneath the grass. It is a pretty space, but an awkward one too.
Just past the park was a large shopping precinct which is not my favourite place to be in. I was starting to tire though and I needed to consider getting home. I could not find the one sculpture so headed for a grouping of three in that dreaded mass of shoppers and browsers. The first was found easily.
I bumped into another group of hunters, and believe me there were a lot of people out there hunting these sculptures down, not to mention hordes trying to photograph themselves/their kids with them. The hunters told me where there were 3 more, and off I went. The first was at the House of Fraser, which I found by following the paw prints. It is probably one of my favourites too.
And the next one was in the movie house foyer.
That was as far as I was prepared to go. If I left immediately i could get the 12.47 train, and given my reduced speed I would just make it if I left now! I knew more or less which direction to go in, so headed back the way I came, pausing to pick up the last sculpture that I would get. It was also in a Marriott Hotel (which I had not found initially) and had a Minion theme.
I kind of liked that one, definitely shows promise 😉
And then I was off….
It was not too far to the station, but there were many distractions along the way. Including:
Another church (Pip N Jay Church)
This odd lookout tower and friendly lampost ( have no idea…)
And some awesome street art
I was now at the Avon again, and needed to cross it but do not know yet which bridge this was. But the view of the ruins of St Peter’s was a good one. I had to crop the image tightly though because of the structure on the left which was very close to the church and which I did not want to include.
Had I followed the footpath at this point I would have come out at the Temple Bridge, but because I was on a tight schedule I was not prepared to risk possible detours or clocked off paths.
This huge building below fascinated me, the only markings I could see on it read: “Courage Accounting Centre”. Some kind of temple to bean counters? Actually it turns out that the building was once the Tramway Generating Station, built in the late 1890’s by William Curtis Green, the station delivered power for the Bristol trams until the bridge was bombed in April 1940 and the power cables cut. This proved to be the end of Bristol trams and the building was later taken over by the Courage Brewery. It is a grade II listed building and is part of the development going on around this area.
I recognised a spire in the distance and I just had to go confirm what I had read at the time “The other peculiarity about the building is that the tower leans by roughly 1,6 metres from the vertical, and the top was built so as to correct the lean, but it ended up looking somewhat odd as the lean increased. “
The station was close, although the same roadworks that had bedevilled my trip last month were still in full swing and I battled to cross the street, fortunately I made it to the station in time, arriving as my train did, although it was at a totally different platform that I had used before. But I didn’t care. I was just glad to be on my way home because I was flat.
It had been a very interesting morning, and I enjoyed “the hunt” and seeing more of this city. Bristol is big, and there is a lot to see in it, although the odds of ever seeing it all are nil. The context of a lot of the places has changed from when they were first in use, and of course demographics alter everything. The once grubby harbour area is now prime real estate, and the glorious buildings in the city centre have become supermarkets or banks. Listed status does mean that many buildings are stuck in time with nobody able to do anything to them. Urban decay is real, and Bristol is not immune, but it has retained a lot of history, and frankly that’s the part I enjoy.
When will I see Bristol again? I was planning for December, but those plans are now in the balance. I will have to wait till October before I can decide.
DRW © 2018. Created 05/08/2018
Since getting back from Bristol last month my mind was flooded with thoughts of places that I had not seen. And of course there were all of those Wallace and Gromit sculptures just waiting for my camera. I was also running out of time till the weather changes and the days get shorter, and some other bad news that I won’t dwell upon yet. I decided that today was suitable seeing as it seemed like a nice day to hit the town. I downloaded a map of where the sculptures were (amazing to see how many I had probably walked past) and plotted a rough course that would take in the Quaker Burial Ground, the harbour, Queen’s Square, College Green, The cenotaph area, and anything that caught my fancy along the way. A revisit to Bristol Cathedral was a must too, and I was hoping to get some decent pics of the building and the parts I had not been able to access on my last visit.
Right.. off we go!
Aschurch for Tewkesbury was gloomy and grey and when I arrived in Bristol it was gloomy and grey too, but it looked like it was going to clear. At Temple Meads I espied another of those thumping great Class 800 electro diesels and I was hoping to get a pic of either end or the middle bit. But as luck would have it, the one end was in a no go area of the platform while the middle bit was blocked off by a whole wodge of people having a conflab. Best I could do was…
I did not feel like walking to the opposite end of the train so decided to head off onto my destination instead, stocking up with a bacon buttie along the way. My first destination would take me past St Mary Redcliffe, and as usual I tried for a better photograph of the church, this time I may have gotten it right too! Unfortunately that white pole ruins the pics…
It is a beautiful building and worthy of being a cathedral. But it is awkward to photograph because of the 89 metre spire, which makes it the tallest building in Bristol. I visited the church way back in September 2015, and again last month and I always find something interesting in it.
The reason I was here was to photograph the Old Quaker Burial Ground close by. It was purchased by the Quakers in 165 and was used for burials until 1923 and was donated to the city of Bristol in 1950. It is also known as “Recliffe Pit” and enclosed within the site is a hermit’s cave which was established here in 1346 by Thomas Lord Berkeley.
The cave is really the only thing to see in the burial ground,
I get the impression that this is really somewhat of an awkward space, but I believe it is quite popular with residents in the area, but I deplore the way those headstone are stacked behind the gate.
My first objective completed I headed for the harbour to see how many of the sculptures I could get. I had been this way before so it was not all new territory. But it is a harbour, and that is enough for me, even though there are no real ships worth seeing in it. There are however a number of interesting bridges…
I was aiming for the opposite side of the harbour and crossed the Redcliffe Bridge. and walked along the quayside which is now a mooring place for pleasure craft as commercial activity ceased in Bristol Docks many years ago. I really wanted to cross to the other side at the Prince Street Swing Bridge which would take me to the Museum area where I wanted to be. But, I spotted a certain dog perched on the bow of one of the ferries.
And then I was at the bridge with the museum in sight, but it was closed, as it was only 8.30 in the morning! As to to be expected I was running very early, and the harbour was blissfully peaceful compared to the chaos of last month.
I had a look at the Mayflower, which is supposedly the world’s oldest steam tug and the oldest ship afloat in the harbour. She was built in 1861 and worked all her life on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. I have however yet to see her move. Outboard of her is the firefloat Pyronaut.
and there goes Gromit on his way to the Great Britain side of the harbour. It is possible to ride the ferry from the harbour entrance all the way to Temple Meads Station, and one day I am going to do it!
I had already photographed the one Gromit in the “M Shed Museum” so wasn’t concerned about the museum being closed (Gromitronic). My map however listed three in the immediate area of the the museum, and I found one of them next to the museum.
And, a short hop across the road and I had Space Oddi-tea in the bag too, although it was probably a tea bag.
I was also pleased to see the small Avonside tank engine being prepped for the days run. If things went well maybe I could go for a trip on her.
It was time to move on and cross back to the other side of the harbour, although I really wanted a pic across the water of the Lloyds Amphitheatre. The people in front are upright paddle boarders, and it looks waaaay to unsteady for me (and slow..)
Back the way I came, and there were two reminders that people may overlook in the harbour. The first is a proper dockyard crane. These are becoming increasingly rare, and I am glad that some have survived in the harbour.
The second is probably missed by many people, but it is a reminder that the city of Bristol had a part to play in the slave trade.
The last time I had seen Prince Street Swing Bridge had been in October 2015 and it was in the process of renovation. It is such an important bridge that a temporary structure had to be fabricated to carry the load while renovations were happening.
You can see how the sky is starting to lighten up too. That was a good sign, although it would also mean that it was going to be a hot and sticky day. I had to turn left after I crossed the bridge to where my next sculpture was. I am not sure how I missed him last month though, considering I was standing almost next to it. The bronze is of the Venetian Navigator John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto; (1450 – 1500), who sailed with his ship Matthew to America in 1497.
Having visited this pair I now had to make a slight detour to Queens Square which was not too far away (fortunately), and where I would find (25) Bristol’s Own
Actually I enjoyed this slight detour because I was able to photograph some really interesting buildings. The pink building below is called the Merchant Venturers Almshouses, and it was built around 1696 by the Society of Merchant Venturers for convalescent and old sailors to see out their days, Today it is private accommodation
The building below is marked “Bristol Free Library” and it is now a Chinese Restaurant. The building dates from 1738–40.
And then there is the Bristol Old Vic, unfortunately it was undergoing some sort of construction or renovation so I could not get a better image of it.
Back on the trail I crossed Pero’s Bridge, it is the one with all the padlocks; where is my bolt cutter?? The bridge is named after Pero Jones, who lived from around 1753 to 1798, having arrived in Bristol probably from the Caribbean in 1783, as the slave of the merchant John Pinney.
There were two sculptures in the vicinity that I was after, and I managed to snag both, although one was in a window and was not really easy to photograph., and I have no idea how I managed to miss the other the previous time I was here.
Time was marching and I was now heading towards the College Green where the cathedral was. I really wanted to relook the cathedral as I had missed part of it last month, and I wanted to try for a better photograph of it. I am happy to report I succeeded in that endeavour.
I am not adding in images of the Cathedral here but will add them into the original Cathedral visit post.
My map said that there was another sculpture at the Mariott Royal Hotel, but I could not find it. A chance encounter with another hunter explained that the sculpture was inside the hotel and not outside. Now the hotel is really an outstanding building, situated on that fork in the road.
What I did not know at the time was that the building above is a later addition to the hotel, and the original hotel below celebrated its 150th anniversary in April 2018.
Built between 1863 – 1868, By WH Hawtin, it opened on 23 March 1868 and was named the Royal Hotel and it is a grade II listed building. The Sculpture is found by following a set of paw prints…. and what a find it was.
Feathers McGraw never looked this good.. or bad… The sculpture is on a turntable so it was quite an interesting one to view.
That really concludes this portion of the blogpost. Part 2 will carry on in the cathedral area before heading back towards Cabot Circus and Castle Park.
DRW © 2018. Created 04/08/2018
From July 2nd until September 2nd, 67 sculptures of Nick Park’s Academy Award®-winning characters Wallace, Gromit and Feathers McGraw were scheduled to hit the streets of Bristol and the surrounding area to raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital. (The images are in the order that I found them)
Once again I ended up making detours to grab pics of the large statues that were often festooned with fans of the Aardman characters. The giant sculptures are designed by high-profile artists, designers, innovators and local talent. Unfortunately I will never get to photograph them all, but its worth showing what I did get (10 out of 67).
There were two more sculptures that were mobile and more difficult to see, one was on a bus and the other on one of the ferries which I was fortunate enough to photograph when I arrived.
In 2015, while visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge, I spotted some Shaun The Sheep statues, and they too were on the fund raising trail for the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity. There were 120 of these statues and they were auctioned off for the charity.
Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep are the work of Nick Park and Aardman Animation.
DRW © 2018. Created 23/07/2018. More images added 04/08/2018
The Harbour Festival at Bristol was the clincher when I was making plans for a visit, although I had done quite a bit of sniffing around in it before. My agenda had two points in it: I wanted to get images of the Great Britain from opposite where she was berthed, and I wanted to go as far as I could towards the exit channel. I entered the harbour from behind the cathedral and that put me in Millennium Square. It was very crowded and noisy and I was not really interested in much that was going on there, although the huge silver ball was kind of fascinating..
However, as they say in the classics.. “It’s all very well, but what does it do?” I do not know, but it does seem to have an exit from the building it is attached to. Parts of the square were fenced off so I headed to the water, having to make a large detour to get there. When I got there I discovered that they had blocked off the waterside path too, which was extremely irritating because they had also cut off access to the bridge that crosses the harbour. I thought that Balmoral was berthed near the bridge which is why I wanted to go there, but it turns out she was not, and was berthed opposite the Great Britain. With access cut off to the bridge I decided to try for my Great Britain shots so headed towards Balmoral in the distance.
The right bank was relatively quiet, but I could not find the spot to catch the ferry that runs from behind Temple Meads station to the opposite end of the harbour. I was prepared to grab that ferry and to travel with it to my destination but could not find a berth to do it from. The one area had a lot of small craft in it, including some lovely steam pinnaces.
I would have loved to have gone on one, but as a solo traveller you really end up filling in odd spaces, and besides no matter how hard I looked nowhere was there a sign that said where they were going or how often they ran.
I continued my walk… and spotted the John King approaching. She is a steel hulled tug built in 1935 by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd. of Bristol for Kings Tugs Ltd. She was purchased in 1995 by the Bristol Industrial Museum and is kept in working condition and will continue to be part of the new Museum of Bristol. She is a handsome old lady, and it was nice to see her still running up and down.
I finally reached Balmoral, I had last visited her in 2015, and was hoping to get onboard to have a look at the wheelhouse that I had been unable to see then because it was so crowded and it appears as if it was still crowded!
However, the little old lady at the gangplank was doing her best to not let me see the wheelhouse, insisting that I needed to go with the guide (who was leaning on the opposite rail studiously ignoring us). Nothing I said could persuade her to let me go have a look so I left very disappointed and without reaching that goal. This has really ended my interest in this vessel, and as much as they are looking for funds frankly it is no way to treat somebody that would be a potential future passenger.
Berthed in front of the Balmoral was “Bee”, which is a 1970’s built supply tender, and between the two ships I could see the Great Britain in her drydock. I had achieved my one aim, everything from here on was a bonus.
I was starting to get peckish though and fortunately I spotted a nearby crepe seller. I had had my first crepe in Bristol and was chuffed that I could have my second in the same harbour.
Suitably supplied I continued my walk, but was still not sure of how far away the bridge over the harbour was. I spotted a ferry stop and decided to catch it and see where it goes. The boat was crowded and lots of space was taken up by one guy who was sitting on the bench with his legs taking up 3 seats while he took selfies and filmed randomly. I was at least able to catch up on my crepe while we continued towards the bridge over the harbour. Behind us the Matthew was rapidly approaching in that sneaky way that sailing ships seem to have. She is a reconstruction of John Cabot’s ship.
And while we turned Matthew continued her voyage and you can see the bridge across the harbour in front of her. That was the spot I was aiming for originally.
I decided to bail out at the Great Britain as the area in front of it was a large boatyard and I would have had to make another detour around it to access the Great Britain. I had visited her before, in fact I even used to have a ticket that allowed me free visits for a year, but it expired a long time ago. I really just wanted that bow shot of her which I now had.
I walked around the shop before heading back to the other bridge across the harbour. This place got more crowded as I got closer, and somewhere in that mass of humanity was a steam engine with wagons and a brake van.
I had heard the engine while on the opposite bank so was curious to see what was providing motive power.
As I approached the Fairbairn Steam Crane there was no sight of the train, but sooner or later though I would be bound to see her. Unfortunately the crane was not in steam and I did not get to have a look around her interior. The sailing ship is Pelican of London, a reasonably new vessel built in 1948 in France as a double-beam Arctic fishing trawler. She was rebuilt as a main mast barquentine, and as of 2012, operated as a sail training vessel by the charity Adventure Under Sail.
Close to the crane was a modern vessel: Graham Robertson, a multi-role Damen Shoalbuster 2308S tug. She is quite an adaptable ship, as she was modified to undertake a multifunctional role that includes towing, pilotage, plough dredging and survey duties.
And then, over the cacophony of noise I heard a steam whistle.. I had to make a decision quickly. Would I watch John King coming alongside? or would I see what the steam engine was? John King temporarily won.
but it was a close won race
It was quite an experience seeing this train safely pass through the throngs, although she was helped by men with flags and high vis vests! Given that many people are much too busy on their phones this can be a decidedly difficult operation.
By the time I had finished with the museum the “Carboard Boat Race” was in full swing, and this part of the harbour was jammed packed. There were 3 small naval craft berthed up close to the bridge and I threaded my way towards them. The more modern ships were HMS Ranger (outboard) and HMS Smiter (inboard). Both are Archer Class patrol ships, and are used to provide sea training to members of University Royal Naval Units.
Astern of them was “Pride of Bristol”, the former Royal Naval Tender RMAS Loyal Supporter (A107). She is operated by the Pride of Bristol Trust, and was built in 1982 by Richard Dunston Ltd. Yard T1370.
From her decks I could see the other ships berthed across from us, and there were two sailing ships amongst them. The ship below is the Etoile Molene, a 1954 built vessel that was initially used to fish for tuna in the Bay of Biscay and then for trawling in Ireland.
Astern of her was Iris, a 1916 traditional Dutch herring-lugger.
Unfortunately I did not take specific images of her, but as you can see the sky was clouding up and I was starting to consider raising anchor and heading home. I really just want to look at one more oddity I saw in 2015.
She was still where I saw her last, although I do not know whether she had deteriorated since then or not, or even whether she was in use.
Some digging provided me with more info: she is the former John Sebastian “Light Vessel 55” (LV55) and was purchased by the Cabot Cruising Club in 1954. She was built in 1885 by Charles Hill & Sons, Albion Yard, Bristol, for Trinity House and has a double skinned iron hull with wooden beams. She 31.39 metres long, 7.37 metres wide and has a draft of 3.66 metres. She would have been manned by a crew of 11 men (master and six ratings on board and a master and three ratings ashore). The lantern is not the original one though, it is just a facsimile, although it does work.
The building in the background is the former General Hospital which is now yuppie pads by the looks of it.
That more or less concluded my Bristol expedition of 2018, I returned via St Mary Redcliffe, and popped in for a visit.
On my way back I paused at the original Brunel station, it was being used as a car park at the time, but I believe there are plans for this space.
I then went to have a look at the bridge where the ferry starts from. It is quite a quirky bridge and one day I may walk to the other side and see what lies there.
At the station I saw one of the new smarmy Class 800 electro-diesel intercity trains that were being built by Hitachi, but could not investigate further as my own train arrived at the same time.
My day was done. I have 700 images to process and it has taken me longer to do these 3 blog posts that it took to do the trip! I may have to relook that.
I will probably revisit Bristol again, there is a lot that I would like to relook, in December CWGC will be unveiling replacement headstones for the men buried in Soldier’s Corner in Arnos Vale, so may go down for that although the days are way too short for an extended trip. I will see how it goes.
There are a number of drawcards for a return trip, I would really like to photograph more of the Wallace and Gromit statues and visit the Quaker Burial Ground which is opposite St Mary Redcliffe. I would also like to try look around the area where the cenotaph is, and of course the Wills Tower is a drawcard, it is just a pity there is that hill….
DRW © 2018. Created 22/07/2018