by Penny M
Since writing my previous blog, Timing in the Countryside of the mind, I have found a job in the city and am going back to my roots. I was born in Bristol and returned to live and work there when I was twenty, before heading for the next few decades in ‘sunny’ South Africa. Both parents grew up in Bristol and family memories and records are still there, waiting to be unearthed on a visit to the Bristol Museum where a great aunt stashed them years ago. I have bleak, dank and drizzly flashbacks of a city without a heart.
Bristol 2017 is far from that. I was there today for an appointment and met one of my cousins for lunch afterwards. We walked down Christmas steps on route to a Moroccan restaurant, hidden in the depths of St Nicholas Markets. The steps were built in 1669 and paid for by a wealthy wine merchant, Jonathon Blackwell, who was probably tired of the slippery muddy street that was there before.
Passing the old buildings laced my senses with history. Worn flagstones brimmed with shoppers and diners, exotic cuisines wafted wonder amongst ice cream and sweet shops with their ‘penny’ jars. The Pieminister served up quirky, British humour with their scrumptious pudding-bowl pies with names like Kate and Sidney. No prizes for guessing the ingredients.
Old rippled with new in a melee of glorious abandon. We went in search of a place for dessert and found a cute coffee shop on the outskirts of a sun-bathed square. A massive, open air screen was showing Wimbledon to a crowd of hatted fans who were parked off in deckchairs on a fake lawn slightly off-centre. Ha ha – only in England.
Bristol has changed greatly and new buildings have transformed the city centre, but the vibe is way cooler. There is so much to see and do, I can’t wait until I start living and working there again in a few weeks’ time. Roll on August.