Monday, 16 July 2012

Time away

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday workstuff in Crewe was fine. Nice to connect with people and work was work and Thursday was positively summer like, so time was spent outdoors. Then it was off to Bristol on Friday midday.

I arrived in sunshine and with a little help from the locals managed to find my hotel, The Ramada Bristol City Centre, without getting lost. When I'd booked my room I'd specifically asked for a quiet room and so was surprised to be in a room which looked right onto the main road with traffic whizzing about. I phoned reception and asked if there was another room. No problem it seemed and off I went to my new room. Boys came and after a quick phone call to the balloon company, we discovered that there was to be no ballooning that evening as it was too windy, so we headed out to wander about and go get something to eat.

It might have been too windy, but it was sunny and bright which was nice. I was most taken with this pigeon that was sitting right in the middle of the water in the fountain park, where the fountains weren't working to disturb its peace.

We ate at a rather interesting place called Zaza Bazaar, which is an all-you-can-eat of a variety of cuisine's. It was fun and the food was good, not 'fine dining' good, but tasty and well cooked with loads of choice. I'd definitely go there again. And then back to my hotel. I was going to drop my bag off and go down and get a glass of wine at the bar, but when I tried to turn the bedside light on it didn't work. Then the bathroom fan didn't work. I went down to reception and was offered another room, this one a twin, and as an apology for having to move they offered me a glass of wine!

On Saturday I woke to.... rain! The boys were off doing boy things and I was left to be a tourist for the day and then go for dinner with them later. I decided on something indoors to start to get out of the rain and set off for the Aquarium. As I stepped out of the hotel I couldn't help but notice what seemed like thousands of police. They were from West Mercia, Birmingham, South Yorkshire and Devon and Cornwall as well as the local Avon and Somerset brigade. I asked what was happening to be told that there was an EDL rally, an Anti EDL rally and Gay Pride. Not great news.

If you look closely you can see loads of police vans
The aquarium was a good choice. Lovely fish and I enjoyed myself. I only felt a little sorry for the octopus that apparently arrived last week as it seemed to be a bit unsettled. We weren't allowed to use flash so the pic isn't that great, but it's suckers were amazing.

Some of the fish looked like they'd had their stripes painted on with Tippex. Here's one that kept coming back to look at me:

When I got out of the aquarium the rain had pretty much stopped. I took a walk by the Gay Pride festival on College Green. It was colourful and the music was good and people were having fun, but I decided I'd head on up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge as I have a thing about bridges. I'm so pleased I did. It was amazing. Great views and totally incredible to think it's been around for so long.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The view from the bridge
I'd heard there was a Foodies Festival going on in Millenium Square and that's were I went next. It was a great way to spend the afternoon sampling food and drink. At about 3.30 I decided I'd had enough and would head somewhere else, but when I got out there was a distinct eerie quiet. The police numbers seemed to have doubled and all was calm... too calm for my liking. Apparently the EDL and Anti EDL rallies were due to end at 4 and they were going marching. The police were expecting difficulties and had blocked off pretty much every road and weren't letting anyone through.

all roads had at least 5 or 6 police blocking the way
That was a bit of a problem as all roads heading for my hotel were the ones that were blocked. I asked a local police officer how I'd get back and she told me I'd have to walk all the way down and some miles out of my way, but as I was walking in that direction I noticed a guy seemed to have persuaded a policeman to let him through. I stopped and very politely said I wanted to get to my hotel. 'Where is your hotel?' 'Just over there,' and I pointed behind him. 'Oh well,' he said, 'You don't look like you're going to cause trouble so off you go' and he let me through. I was mightily relieved. I made it back to the hotel with time to spare and then spent the rest of the afternoon listening to helicopters overhead, sirens, shouting etc. I was pleased I was where I was.

It went quiet as time went on and I headed off to meet up with the boys at their favourite Japanese restaurant, Masa. Great choice, fab food, brilliant company. What more could I ask for? Then it was time to say goodbye to them and go back for my final sleep in Bristol.

Yesterday I travelled back to Edinburgh and my man and I went out for dinner. That meant 3 dinners out in as many nights... but you won't find me complaining.

And so that was it. No ballooning, but some lovely meals and lovely times and great to catch up with both my boys. And now I'm back home in the Borders with lots of washing to do. That's the only problem with travelling, the mundane stuff I come back to.

I thought I'd add a pic of my boys just for the record. I don't know why but they always insist on making faces and doing 'shapes' whenever I take a pic, but I love them just the same!

My boys


  1. Glad you had a good time although the demo's sound frightening. You've crammed a lot into a few days.

  2. The demo's were frightening. I could hear the rallies, but not see them and it's so hard to describe the 'quiet before the storm' time, but it was... scary!

  3. Oh my goodness, you've gone from having boys to having young men! They look great. Sounds like you had an interesting time. Sorry you didn't get up in a balloon but perhaps an excuse to go back.

  4. Definitely going back for another attempt, Lizzie. We have a year to complete.