Sunday, 7 June 2015

Making Sunday special

The jerk chicken and goat curry certainly tasted pretty good
Our last full day in Bristol has been a busy one. And a hot one – the sun shone and we heated ourselves a bit more with a couple of spicy West Indian lunches from 'Ada Spencer's Amazing West Indian Cuisine' stall at the Make Sunday Special event.
Unfortunately Sunday didn't prove as special as we expected. Last time we were here the whole city centre was closed off to traffic; bands played, there were street games, performers, kids' play streets, the lot.
From rhythmic drumming band
To melodic string quartet
This time it was a much scaled down event centred around the covered markets area and waterfront. Plenty of food stalls, yes, some kids' stuff, a flea market and a medley of musicians from a drumming band to a string quartet. It was fun but not as much fun as last time.
And a street market for flea enthusiasts
Apparently it's scaled back because it cost too much to run and the edge of town traders weren't keen on the loss of business as everyone was sucked into the centre. Now they spend an hour or two and wander off to explore elsewhere – as we did.
Fine views in all directions from Cabot Tower
But we started the day with a stiff walk to stretch Seadog Brian's legs as well as our own. After all, he would be left doing on-boardsecurity detail while we were enjoying Jerk Chicken and Goat Curry.
We headed up the steep Brandon Hill park to the 105ft Cabot Tower at its top, built in 1897 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot who sailed the Matthew from Bristol and discovered what became Canada.
You can probably spot the SS Great Britain in the distance
And here's a x65 zoom of the top of its mainmast
I climbed the steep spiral staircase to the top and was rewarded with spectacular views in all directions. And several minutes of palpitations. Once recovered, it was a good opportunity to play with the ultra-zoom lens of my new Canon bridge camera.
Sometimes you have to bend the rules a bit
We rounded off our day with a walk up the steep hill (it's all steep hills in Bristol) that is Park Street, pausing to watch skateboarders practising their jumps over a ramp made of a bent-over "No Skateboarding" sign. And taking a look at one of the Banksy street art paintings that Bristol is famous for – now somewhat, er, modified in form.
Seems the paintballers have had a go at Banksy
At the top of the street is a fine University of Bristol building and next door to it an even finer building that is the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
The impressive exterior of Bristol Museum
Both, incidentally, were funded in large part by William Wills whose name every smoker will recognise from the WD & HO Wills tobacco empire, creators of Woodbines, Embassy, Gold Flake, Capstan Full Strength and a lot more that made me cough my student lungs out until I managed to kick the habit.
And equally impressive interior with its Bristol Boxkite
It's a fascinating place with a serendipitous collection of items from Egyptian mummies to stuffed sea birds as well as a fine collection of art from all eras.
An intriguing way to end a day that, while not as special as we'd hoped, turned out to be far from routine.

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