All Ship Shape

It has taken a while for me to get back to this and I apologise to those who read this rubbish whenever I publish. I will get on top of it all soon. I have many draft communications and not many rants so it might actually be a pleasant read for you five.

Sally and I went to Bristol for the weekend, way back before the summer holidays. Why Bristol? Well, it’s a place in Britain and it has good engineering history. That’s about it, all of my reasoning for choosing Bristol. Oh, that and it’s not London.

We drove down (across) on a Friday. I think we left late to avoid a lot of the traffic but it didn’t matter, there was plenty. Also, it pissed down. Thoroughly terrible rain! On the way there we listened to an 80s mix on Spotify. It surprised me how much I knew about this music, given that I consider myself to be a metal-head.

We stayed at the Double Tree Hilton, which was chosen because it had a car park and looked close to the centre of town. When you check in to these hotels you are given a cookie [warm]. Not sure that makes it worth the price but it was a nice touch. We only had time for a drink in the bar before heading to bed. Breakfast was nice in the old kiln room of the hotel.

The Saturday morning we toured the SS Great Britain. It was a wonderful piece of engineering and I recommend everyone see it and learn about it. Brilliant. There was an Olympus jet engine as part of the museum, that was cool. We then did a harbour [harbor] tour of the Bristol Floating Harbour. It was fascinating and I also learnt why the phrase:

All ship shape and Bristol fashion.

Turns out the Bristol shipmakers had to cope with large tides, when the water was in the boats floated. When the tide was low the boats rested on the rocky floor. Therefore they had to be build stronger and better to cope with this. “Bristol fashion” means study, well built. The harbour tour was on a little boat called the Red Shank.

Red Shank
Red Shank

During this harbour tour we spotted a “green”, “emission less” boat used for tours and another boat which was the harbour’s fire boat. Somehow the conversation revolved around these for a short while and I started to make a matter-anti-matter annihilation joke and Sally laughed before I had finished. That was the moment I knew.

M-Shed was our next destination. It’s a museum of Bristol stuff. It had stuff in it. I can’t quite remember but I think there may have been a jet engine somewhere in there. There was definitely an exhibition of photographs taken showing local industry and people in their workplace.

After the M-Shed we walked around to the centre of the city and as sheer luck would have it there was a thing going on. The festival of nature had taken over one of the city squares and it seemed to be quite a big thing! There was a hashtag and it was well worth the time to take a selfie.

Following on from our journey around the festival of nature we went back to the hotel before heading out to dinner.

Dinner that night was at The Ox. It’s a steakhouse, if you can find it. We walked up and down the street a few times before seeing a tiny ox head picture above a door to a basement underneath the local Weatherspoons pub. We started with cocktails and then had dinner. We drank a Dr Gonzo, an Elevator, a Martini along with wine with the main meal. There was a meat platter to start and then I had steak and Sal had what seemed to be the world’s biggest burger. After breakfast we went to walk the length of the Clifton Suspension bridge (twice). Getting there was fun as lots of roads were blocked off for a cycling race, so we pretty much made up a route through the back streets making sure that our general progress was “up”. We made it and spent some time admiring the bridge. DSC_4634 I do think that if you don’t find bridges fascinating then you are potentially dead. They are glorious! The ingenuity of man continues to amaze me. It was time to head back to the real world and the south east and so we travelled home along the M4. I decided we should drive once around Swindon to see what it has to offer. I had made some disparaging comments about the town on the way to Bristol and I felt bad about that. It seemed a good thing to do, to see what Swindon was like. We drove in to the town centre. There really isn’t a great deal there, it’s awful. We did find the magic roundabout and drove around/over it just to see what that would be like. Magicfuckingroundabout Yep, it really is as crazy as the sign shows. It was strange driving over it. I just kept following the arrows on the ground and checking that nothing was in my way or coming to hit me! After that we found some sort of outlet centre and I bought a tea pot. That is how exciting my life gets sometimes! It also turns out that I might know some of the Spice Girl songs. They were playing in the car and I accidentally sang some lyrics and mentioned that I knew how the dance went in the video. I got quite a bit of grief for that!

There you have it. A very boring run down of the things Sally and I did for a weekend in Bristol. Great fun and very interesting, for nerds.