155: Bristol & Bath

OS Explorer map 155, Bristol & Bath: Keynsham & Marshfield – I do not own this map, but had visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 13th February 2022.

Google Maps location links: Bristol, Bath

My previous post told you of my adventures in Newport and Caerleon, which I’d visited on a Saturday morning in order to take up the time between working in London on Friday and a gathering at my friends’ Ex-Linguistician and Unicorn’s Cheltenham home starting on the Saturday afternoon.

I had a lovely time in Cheltenham (which is in the Gloucester map area that I’ve posted about before), and needed to travel home to Cambridge the next morning, but I had one more stop to make on the way: I travelled via Bristol, in order to have lunch with my friend Alcove Gremlin.

I hadn’t met up with Alcove Gremlin in the three-and-a-half years since we finished our masters’ course together in Cambridge, though we’ve exchanged postcards, Christmas and birthday cards, and instant messages sporadically throughout that time. (She has featured on the blog a few times before, though rather a while ago.) Alcove Gremlin met me outside Temple Meads station – which was rather pretty, except for the construction work going on at the time –  and, given that it was raining fairly heavily, she led me straight into a nearby café, whose intriguing name, “Sandwi”, had caught her attention previously. It was a good choice!

We had a very nice time catching up for an hour and a half over lunch. Alcove Gremlin qualified as a teacher recently and is now working in a Bristol school, so she had plenty of entertaining tales to tell of her time there. The food was good too – I had a great plate of mushrooms, avocado and kale on toast with some halloumi on the side, which somehow seems like the most stereotypically vegetarian meal I can think of. Unfortunately, I made the omission of not taking any photos while in Bristol, other than the single photo of the railway station below. Oh well!

Bristol Temple Meads station, with construction work going on

From the café, I went back to the station (it was still raining) to catch the train into London, and then on home to Cambridge. It was at this point that I made a rather unfortunate discovery: I’d left my little suitcase on the train from Cheltenham to Bristol! It wasn’t a good week for losing things – I’d left a scarf on a London bus just two days before. After consulting with a rather sad-looking lady at the information desk (I hope she was okay), I was told to report the loss on the website missingx.com, so I did so and carried on with my journey. Fortunately, this episode ended happily enough, as my suitcase was found, and posted back to me just three days later, after I’d paid a very reasonable £30 or so postage fee. My trip back home that day also faced another minor problem, when my train from London to Cambridge was delayed by half an hour with the rather amusing fault that they couldn’t get one of the doors to close! Oh well, it happens.

Bristol is, along with Newcastle, a major British city I’ve never visited before, so it was rather unfortunate that on this trip I didn’t do any exploring – the rain stopped that, plus I wouldn’t have had that long in any case: I very much need to return. But still, some hitches at the end didn’t take away that I had a great weekend, and fit a lot in – exploring Newport and Caerleon, spending time with my friends in Cheltenham, and catching up with Alcove Gremlin in Bristol. I was glad to have a more restful time the next weekend, though!

Previous visits

While I’ve not previously visited Bristol, I have once been to Bath, which is also in this map area. This was several years ago, when Mother Dearest invited various family members to come for a celebratory dinner and overnight stay in a hotel there, on the occasion of her 50th birthday.

I don’t have any particularly strong memories of the dinner itself, though I’m sure it was nice enough! The next day, I went for a wander around Bath with my parents and cousin Guacamole, of which I similarly don’t remember a whole lot, though I took plenty of pictures. I’ll have to just leave you with some of those, then!

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