There and Back Again Lane

Saturday/Sunday 5/6 December 2009

It’s a quick return to Bristol – a multi-purpose visit this time – to take some more street art photos, check out some of the dock area of the city that I didn’t get round to before and see (or should that be ‘hear’?) Clare DJ at the Big Pink Cake upstairs at The Mother’s Ruin pub. Bristol is a famously wet city and the last couple of weeks have been famously wet and seen the country as a whole experience rainfall of biblical proportions. (Dunno about you but I’ve begun pairing off them animals just in case). Indeed the Lake District, used to rain, has witnessed ‘a once in a 1000 years’ deluge. So it was fitting that it was pelting down as a I disembarked my National Express coach in Bristol city centre. It did, however, clear up briefly for a marvellous rainbow to appear over Stokes Croft a little later on. (I love rainbows me.)

Wasn’t much of an afternoon for taking snaps (or being outdoors really) so I de-camped to the Bristol Hotel, where I was staying, briefly before heading out to find a pub showing the Man City V Chelsea game on TV. Wished I hadn’t bothered really what with the mighty Blues losing 2-1. It also meant I started drinking at 5 pm so by the time Clare finished her set at 1’ish I was pretty tired, emotional and slurred. Remember children it’s not big or clever this binge drinking. (Although broken Britain doesn’t seem to mind too much if you’re a white, male, middle class, middle aged saga lout so much!)

Felt remarkably chipper the next morning (all things considered) and although the sun wasn’t exactly beating down outside, it wasn’t raining and the skies were mostly blue. We headed for the docks and found ourselves strolling along Bristol’s chocolate walk. I was a bit confused by this and wondered if the council had organised some competition among school kids to name the path. It had to be after something they loved and used every day and they’d chosen skunk (or some such like) and the council thought they couldn’t be having that so called it chocolate. (Note to self -perhaps a slightly reduced lager consumption would be in order.) Clare quickly punctured my bizarre out loud ramblings by pointing out, rather prosaically I thought, that the Elizabeth Shaw mint chocolate factory used to be close by, which completely pre-dated modern street drugs, and that’s how the path got its name. Pah. Continuing back towards the dock area across the harbour in the distance we glimpsed another bizarre sight – hundreds of jogging santas. I’d completely forgotten that these days the first weekend in December is set aside (globally it seems but probably not so popular in non-Christian countries) for that newly minted tradition – the santa dash. (Here’s a festive and topical joke.)

What’s the difference between Father Christmas and Tiger Woods?
Father Christmas stops after three ho’s.

 There was just time to head up to Stokes Croft and take some photos while the light and weather lasted followed by a quick visit to There and Back Again Lane. It really does exist and was made moderately famous by Sarah Records back in the 80’s. It’s one of those quaint streets where the ironic name is nearly as long as the street itself. The street sign gets nicked so often that the council don’t even bother to replace it so you have to know where you’re going. Don’t know if it’s worth a special visit but it amuses me.

Finally not really connected to Bristol but you might have noticed that in the last couple of weeks the media has been full of stories about photographers being harassed under the stop and search measures under section 44 of the Terrorism Act. So far these events have been confined to filming but are often triggered by security guards who warn people they have wandered onto private land and not only can they not continue with what they are doing but the police have been called. Exactly the sort of situation that could easily happen with an organised walk. Especially an organised walk in the City of London who’s police force appears particularly trigger happy over this issue. As the Act says: “… police do not need suspicion to stop and search people within certain designated areas. “ And there’s a lot of those in the City. It could especially happen on an organised walk that I might be leading ‘cos I take a lot of photos for this here blog. So anyway people keep your eyes out for the ‘Free the walking class hero 1’ campaign any day soon.

Listen to:

The Hit Nation – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Electric Light Orchestra (Elo) – Mr Blue Sky

Joan Baez – Before The Deluge

Johnny Bristol – Hang On In There Baby – Single Version

Herman Düne – Bristol

The John Cowan Band – In Bristol Town

Various Artists – There And Back Again Lane

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