Weeknotes 2022.26: A week in the west

Looking up Park Street in Bristol towards a sunset. A neon sign with a picture of a ship reading "MAURETANIA" is lit up.

Bristol is a delight, albeit with some puzzling and haphazard urban design. I took a lot of photos. My ankles are still sore from all the walking (19.5km on Friday.) What’s interesting was that despite the hilliness, there were a lot of people cycling (and it wasn’t just the lycra commuter crowd); there were also a lot of people on those e-scooters (which frankly looked terrifying at high speed.) Bristol clearly has a long way to go, but I guess protected infrastructure and quality traffic management really works.

At the Clifton Suspension Bridge, we met a cat who was sleeping in a flowerbed. We presume they must know to come there because tourists are going to make a fuss of them, offer food, etc. They were very sweet, even if they weren't the scabious flower we were looking for.

A tabby cat curled up next to a sign in a grassy flowerbed.

On the transport topic, Temple Meads is a nice station. The smell of diesel trains idling while waiting to depart it is definitely not. If Grant Shapps wants to update ‘outdated working practices’ on the railway, he should stop attacking pensions and start looking at the decision makers who de-scoped much of the Great Western Main Line electrification project. It is absolutely incredible that DfT spent stupendous amounts of money on fitting the new Hitachi inter-city trains with diesel engines, so they could avoid having to do the necessary work of electrifying regional rail lines. Maybe that money would’ve been better spent on specifying the trains to have seats that don’t make one’s back ache, or fitting them with a luggage van that can carry surfboards or bicycles.

While in Bristol we enjoyed the Grayson’s Art Club exhibition at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Maybe a little loaded with the creators’ own works, but there was a suitably weird and wonderful collection of other things in there too. I particularly enjoyed Sisyphus Works the Night Shift by Jon Gale, Newport Pugwash by Alex Horne, Jhansi Ki Rani by Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Favourable Chicken by Mawaan Rizwan, and Clay Dumplings by Dora, Winnie, and Sam Lam. Outside this exhibition I also loved the small collection of netsukes, which I've always found delightful—the octopus one was particularly lovely.

I found this article on the planning cock-ups that led to London’s Olympic Park being the way it is fascinating (and depressingly accurate as I watch the rent go out every month.)

Garden Watch: On a lighter note, I came back from holiday to find that the “Snowcap” fuchsia had popped, and the red pelargonium in the same pot had also started to flower. That container on the table is now a sea of red.