This week I wanted to walk Colliter’s Brook, one of the little streams that lead into the Avon. I haven’t walked it for ages, because the public footpath has been closed off for the (endless) Metrobus works, as the route runs alongside the brook. But the Metrobus works are finished, so I was hoping it would be opened, because it only crosses in a couple of places – and if they’re not, surely the bus lane can be closed off, like it is around Ashton Avenue Bridge? I was really excited to get back to the river, because I loved that walk, and I wanted to get all the way up to the Dundry Hills. So we crossed Winterstoke Road and walked down the path to the railway crossing and the start of the footpath.
A film-ette from Ashton Avenue Bridge. The river gets fast here, with the rapids just above it, and the tide was low and rushing out. It’s not my favourite film, but I do like the way the light changes in them, and the shadows on the river.
Dru Marland is a poet and artist who lives on a narrowboat on the Kennet & Avon Canal.
I went to visit her boat on a wet, grey day, and she told me all about her work and her life on the water, and about the community of canal-people. We talked about how she started out as a poet, and the traumatic experience that lead her to become a full-time artist, as well as the beauties and difficulties of narrowboat life, from having to find a new berth every fortnight, to more prosaic issues like dealing with the mud, and a boat’s equivalent of plumbing.
During the podcast, Dru read me some of her poems, and we also talked about specific pictures she’s made, some of which you can see below – all pictures copyright to, and used with the kind permission of Dru Marland.
The West End of the Kennet & Avon Canal, by Dru Marland
Back in July, I went to Portishead for the first time, where Dave Chillistone of the Portishead Railway Group took me on a podcast-walk around the town and told me about the history of the Portishead to Bristol railway line, and why it should be re-opened. One of the things Dave told me about was walking the line to Pill, and I promised myself I’d come back and walk it myself, before the railway was re-opened. It needs to be walked in the winter, when the summer plants had died back, and Monday turned out to be the perfect day to do it – sunny, cold and dry.
My photos are here (Olympus XA2 35mm point & shoot, Canon 550D DLSR and a couple of iPhone). If you mouse over or click on the first picture, it should take you to the slideshow, or you can go directly to the flickr album. And there are words and a map below too.
Crox Bottom is a little park, off Hartcliffe Way, where Pigeonhouse Stream (I really love the names!) runs from the lake at the old Imperial Tobacco Factory, down to meet and run under Hartcliffe Way, and then join up with the Malago. It’s a much bigger river than the Malago, and I don’t quite understand why it’s a tributary – but like the Malago, it’s taken underground by the Dreadnought Interceptor, a huge storm drain, so what passes out of the park is much smaller than what goes in.
I walked it with my friend Cee and her baby, on a cold-but-sunny Monday. We’d both passed it in cars for years, and wanted to know more about it, so we parked at Imperial Park, walked down the bank along Hartcliffe Way (stopping to run across the road to see where the river comes out), and then back up along the river. My photos are below – mouse over or click on the first one and it should pull up the slideshow – or just head to the flickr album.
This week’s podcast is a mini-episode, just ten minutes long, and it’s all about the auction that’s running until 4th March 2018, on Bristol’s Floating Harbour.
Every two years the Harbour Master’s office runs a salvage auction, of boats that, for one reason or another, they need to remove from the Harbour. They might have been abandoned; or they could have been seized as a last resource because their owners didn’t pay their Harbour fees; or in at least one case, the owner didn’t want the boat any more and rather than try to sell it himself, gave it to the Harbour Master. There are kayaks and dinghies, sportsboats, a narrowboat and much more, in all kinds of stats of repair. All the proceeds go into the maintenance of the Harbour, and it’s a chance to buy a boat for what’s likely to be a fraction of the usual cost.
I talked to the auctioneer, Graham Cockle, about what’s in the 2018 auction, and more about why it’s on. If you want to have a look at the boats yourself, even if you (think you) don’t want to buy one, the boats are on public view every Saturday and Sunday in February, from 10-4 on and around the pontoon between the Cottage Pub and the Underfall Yard. And you can also have a look at my rainy photos of some of them, below (mouse over or click on the photo to get to the slideshow – or go directly to the flickr album).