Off to Bristol

Elegant cast iron windows and decorative balconies at Paddington Station
Elegant cast iron windows and decorative balconies at Paddington Station

Tuesday, 7:45am

What better way is there to follow the bank holiday than to go on a day trip instead of returning to work?

We are off to Bristol today on a courier run but it’s an odd one, involving some waiting around and an uncertain deadline.

Tigger left for Paddington just after 7am and will buy her train ticket and then wait for the document to be brought to her. No news reached us over the bank holiday weekend so we have no idea at what time the rendezvous will occur.

I will go along later because I can travel only after 9:30 if I want a cheap ticket but, on the other hand, I don’t know how long the queue for tickets will be, so don’t want to leave it too late.

Where to meet: under the beautiful Paddington station clock
Where to meet: under the beautiful Paddington station clock

Finally, we don’t know what the deadline is, though we were told vaguely that it might be the end of business today.

Taking these small difficulties in our stride, we should have a good day out because Bristol is a beautiful city and there is plenty to see and do there.

I will update this account in due course.

I left home at about 8:15 and caught the 205 to Paddington, joining Tigger in Sloe Bar, still without news of the package. As I feared, there was a queue at the ticket office but these days you can use the sophisticated ticket machines instead.

At last we received news that the motorcycle courier had started out at 9:34 to bring us the package. We went up to the street, expecting him to take about 45 minutes, but it in fact took him just over an hour to reach us. Waiting like this is always a little nerve racking as you never know whether the courier has gone to the wrong place, as has already happened.

The Guild Hall, Bristol
The Guild Hall, Bristol

Aboard the train now, waiting for departure, we can relax for a while. Tigger is looking up the address on a map on her phone as the sorts of places we go to are often not known to cab drivers.

A jolt and we’re off!

There are huge low clouds, white where there is a single layer and grey where one cloud is overshadowed by others. There is blue sky between the clouds and sometimes we run through sunlit countryside where the clouds are less densely crowded.

Which is awaiting us at Bristol, sunlight or grey skies?

At Bristol we took a cab to the client address and, though the driver had to stop a couple of times to consult his map, the job was done by 1pm.

The clock of Christ Church with Saint Ewen
The clock of Christ Church with Saint Ewen

While we were in reception, the skies opened and there was a sudden downpour. People came in wet and bedraggled. By the time we left, however, the rain had stopped and we walked to a nearby bus stop in the dry. The sky looks moody, though, and I think this may be a day of showers.

The bus took us by a roundabout way to Cribbs Causeway, where we entered The Mall. This large shopping centre reminded us a little of the Canadian malls. Another way of describing it would be as “Brent Cross on steroids”. It isn’t too unpleasant, as these places go, perhaps because of the high glazed roof giving a light and airy impression, not to mention the palm trees.

Palm trees in The Mall
Palm trees in The Mall

It was high time for lunch but the prospects were not good as there seemed to be only the usual suspects among food providers. In the end we plumped for Carluccio’s. I had never tried them before and I was favourably impressed. We might well try our local branch in Upper Street now we have made their acquaintance.


After lunch we took the bus back to the town centre. Bristol has a lot of beautiful old buildings, often in a good state of repair. There are of course modern buildings as well, ranging in quality from hideous to reasonably pleasant.

The market
The market

We toured around, seeing some old favourites and spotting some new gems. We also revisited the covered market with its rich variety of stalls.

Around 4:30 we felt we had done enough for today and took a bus to the station where we narrowly missed the 1700 Paddington train. Never mind, there was another at 1730 and we passed the time watching the pigeons and gulls on the platforms prospecting for food and occasionally squabbling.

The Grand and its splendid glass canopy
The Grand and its splendid glass canopy

Bristol is a fine and attractive city and one of our favourites. It is always a pleasure to spend time here. If modernity has wreaked some unforgivable outrages much remains that is beautiful and well cared for.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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