Tag Archives: Bristol Harbourside

Blowing Away Some Big Cobwebs!

The Fabulous Dig Haushizzle,Rocking Dog

The Fabulous Dig Haushizzle

After the culinary savagery of the weekend there was still washing up to do on Tuesday. However I decided to throw in the towel and walk! Lovely calm friend and I decided to ditch ideas of a doggy muddy hike and to do something a little more gentle.

We didn’t have very much of a plan, but by the end of our foray I thought our trail was worthy of a blog post. Fellow Bristolian’s or visitors alike would find much to enjoy about our cunning plan. Calm Karen and I can promise walkers good coffee, lovely food, some extraordinary buildings, the historic docks and some quirky independent shops.

1. Parking. We chose to park on Portland Square (pay meter parking, cash or phone). Maximum stay is 4 hours and works out £1 an hour, that’s cheap for Bristol! Do not be tempted to park on nearby Brunswick Square as their maximum time limit is 2 hours. Parking sorted… let the trail begin! Please be aware that parts of this trail would be unsuitable for wheelchairs or prams (Christmas Steps and the possibly the changes in levels around St Nicholas Market) However, St Nicholas’s Market can be visited and circumvented cunningly, whilst the centre can be reached by staying on Colston Street, thereby missing out Christmas Steps.

2. Walk through the Bear Pit, the underpass (much more savoury than it used to be) and head past Loot and then onto Marlborough Street passing the Magistrates Court (Tesco will be across the road from you). Carry on walking, past the Bristol Royal Infirmary (the old bit), without realising it you will then be on Colston Street. Here on Colston Street you will find some eclectic shops which you may want to stop and peruse. Rag Trade is a great dress agency and I have picked up some lovely clothes there over the years. Further on, Makers and Blaze are unique shops to select unusual cards and gifts. A few steps on and you can enter a bookworm’s paradise, Bloom & Curll is a delightful secondhand bookshop and I adore it’s homely and eclectic style. Doug’ and Joe will each benefit from this literary visit. Keep Calm Karen and I then went slightly off piste by crossing the road to visit Dig Haushizzle. A real favourite of mine, I was disappointed that they had sold the lampshade I so loved. It looked as if it had come through moths, flood, fire, and neglect… but it had a certain charm! I know I would have had an uphill struggle to convince Andyman, especially since it had a somewhat eye-watering price tag! Somewhere there is a horror movie-esque lamp shade being coveted….. just not at the kennel! Track back across the road whence you came from.

3. Christmas Steps. You can’t fail to notice the wonderful set of flagstone steps which are the wonderfully named Christmas Steps. They are wonderfully atmospheric and it is easy to conjure up a picture of rather seedy Victorian life. On your way down the steep and worn steps there are a few interesting individual shops. Karen told me about 20th Century Flicks which can be found towards the bottom on the left hand side. Apparently she was invited to a cinema night there with friends. You can hire out the sweet little 11 seated cinema with a vast array of films to choose from. Sounds perfect especially if there is no noisy popcorner or rattly sweet opener sitting behind you!

4. This next stage is a little complicated as the centre is a tangle of road works, cones and taped off crossings (blooming Metrobus!). How ever you manage it, you need to cross to the other side of the road entirely. Try to get yourself into Small Street. Up on the left is a great place to drink lovely coffee (thank you Karen & Joe for the recommendation), Small Street Espresso. They also do delicious cake and serve everything with a smile. After refuelling head up past the Crown Court on your right and you will find yourself on Corn Street, notice the circa 400 year old nails where lots of business transactions were done. It’s where the term “Paying on the nail” comes from. On a Wednesday the Farmers market goes on here and it started in 1998. It happens to be one of the longest running farmer’s and producers markets in the country. You need to pass through the Grade 1 listed Corn Exchange building to get to our next destination.

5. Passing through the Exchange St Nicholas’s Market has an eclectic array of permanent stalls, some good, some tat and some frankly bonkers! Incidentally in the 1960’s the Exchange was a music venue and it saw the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Cream and  Spencer Davis play here. Carry on through the building and eventually you should chance upon the glorious glass arcade. Bristol was very badly bombed during WW2 and the glass roof was lost in the Blitz. Its roof was replaced in 1949 together with more recent renovation. You can eat food from across the globe here and it all feels very vibrant, fragrant and buzzy. I personally love Eat A Pitta. Close by is  Ahh Toots  a truly cakey spectacle and it sells good bread too. Flowers and fabrics, olives, cheese, lunch to go or to perch, a wheatgrass smoothie, raclette, a pie, the glass arcade is great. After picking up supper supplies head out to the back of St Nicholas Market (in line with the direction you entered the Corn Exchange building). You will probably find yourself passing through the covered market (again you will find the good, the bad and the ugly regarding stalls). You need to be heading for St Nicholas Street.

6. St Nicholas Street is where you’ll find Rag & Bone, another of my favourite haunts. If you aren’t into junk just pass on by! Directly opposite Rag & Bone there is a fabulous and rather regal water fountain set into the wall of the covered market. It looks like a very young Queen Victoria unlike the more matronly version (oops!) found near College Green, Bristol.

7. After dipping into R & B let’s head to the water! You’ll probably find a set of stone steps to head on down to Baldwin Street. You need to use the crossing to cross to the other side of the road. There are choices to be made here. You can walk on through to Queen’s Square and beyond OR you can walk along the cobbled street which is Welsh Back. Unfortunately due to buildings placed at the edge of the river there aren’t any great views along this stretch of water, just the odd glimpse. Eventually which ever way you choose to walk you will end up on a road called The Grove. Turn right along here there are some good places to eat (I love sitting out on the decking with a glass of wine and a platter at the River Station). Unfortunately over the years the Mud Dock has been rather inconsistent with its foodie offerings. Head on down to the bottom of the road (the Arnolfini will be directly in front of you on the opposite side of the road) and take a left turn. A bridge is coming up.

8. The newly renovated Prince Street Bridge will take you over the river Avon. Take a right turn onto the quayside and you cannot fail to notice the massive industrial cranes which make the harbour so iconic. Head past the M Shed  (if you wish you can while away some time learning about Bristols industrial past here). Bristols links with slavery is sadly not very pretty. Very Soon you will become aware of an area on your left which is very new to the harbourside. Wapping wharf is a development of shops and eateries. There are also a number of places to eat and buy art etc.. housed in shipping containers (how apt being a port city). We could have chosen to eat Spanish, noodles, fish, and any number of delicious foodie offerings but decided to carry on walking.

9. Journey’s end! We ate a bacon “doorstep” overlooking the grey water at “Brunel’s Buttery”. Unpretentious, it has been serving up delicious butties since 1980. Delicious!

10. If there was time you could follow the quay along to the SS Great Britain or you could hop on a ferry boat (either to cross to the other side of the Avon or for a leisurely pleasure cruise) Remember your 4 hour parking slot!

11. Our way back. In short, we headed back over Prince Street Bridge and took  a cobbled left then right, taking us past the front of the Arnolfini. Through the centre, through Broadmead shopping centre and into Cabot Circus (new shopping centre). We eventually arrived at House of Fraser (second level of shopping centre needed). Emerge by crossing to take you across the A4044 (Newfoundland Road). Directly across from you is Pritchard Street which will magically take you back to Portland Square and your car (hopefully minus a parking ticket!)

This might not make any sense at all, and I apologise in advance. My map reading has always been a little below par especially when I mistook a river for a road whilst on a journey with Andyman! Please let me know how you get on if you decide to walk this trail and i’d be grateful if you could share with any Bristol walkers, foodies or junkophiles!

It was a really lovely walk and many thanks to Karen for taking all the cobbled twists and turns with me. It certainly blew away the cobwebs.

More Dig Haushizzle!,Rocking Dog

More Dig Haushizzle!

Bookworm Paradise,Rocking Dog

Bookworm Paradise

Christmas Steps,Rocking Dog

Christmas Steps

St Nick's,Rocking Dog

St Nick’s

Pretty Cakes &...,Rocking Dog

Pretty Cakes &…

...Pretty Flowers!,Rocking Dog

…Pretty Flowers!

Regal Fountain,Rocking Dog

Regal Fountain

Love R & B!,Rocking Dog

Love R & B!

A Favourite View,Rocking Dog

A Favourite View

The Week That Came & Went

It's A Rocking Dog Summer Wrap,Rocking Dog

It’s A Rocking Dog Summer Wrap

Yes Rocking Dog has been a little bit quiet over the last week. A perforated ear drum in her good working ear has been naggingly painful! She has now entered a world of lip reading, shouting, subtitles and zorb like isolation. Thank goodness for antibiotics (Hallelujah!), analgesics (phew!) and TV subtitles (bliss!)

I have tried to stay calm and carry on, so my 2017 quilt is well underway. More in a future Rocking Dog blog post on that, perhaps when I have anchored the 100 or so vintage buttons to gloriously adorn it. Still on a vintage theme we were invited to a wonderful vintage birthday party and it was simply divine. Carnival glass, beaded handbags, bunting, frocks, cake and cocktails. I wrapped presents in crisp white tissue and customised Ikea baubles for summery frou! Summer Rocking Dog wrapping ideas in a blog post coming very soon.

There has been a trip to Bristol harbourside and HOW I want to stay in that crane! We ate a delicious Ploughman’s on the outside deck at Riverstation and wandered to Swoon for the best ice cream I have ever tasted (possibly some of the most expensive too!) Another trip took me to Clifton to the lovely Sahara to help choose wedding garb for my lovely friend. The staff member was just SO helpful. Thank you.

On Thursday I met oldest daughter and baby Douglas at Kilver Court. Winter wardrobe inexpensively sorted in Toast outlet and garden sorted with plant sale bargains (£1 a pot) Result! Needless to say i’ll be out in the wooded wonderland this week digging in my cut price greenery.

There has been food to cook for friends and family. Thursday Skye’s Roast chicken & bread salad with sour cherries & roasted red onions. Friday Yotams’ Meatballs with broad beans & lemon served with Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio & mixed herbs. There was Walnut & fruit crumble cream to follow. Sunday with family gathered I prepared roast lamb on a bed of baby leaf spinach with cherry tomatoes, green beans and baby roasted new potatoes. It was all drizzled with a summery mint dressing. I also cooked Toad in the Hole and a retro pud’ Pineapple Upside Down. This pudding is always the talking point of just HOW much my brother Jem hates this pudding. As a teenager I baked it twice weekly for a number of years and the mere mention of P U Down sends him into a groaning spiral. It was a good job therefore that he didn’t turn up unannounced from New York for Sunday lunch!

The week has also seen me deeply involved in menu planning, detailed shopping lists and ordering for a wedding the Dog is catering for at the end of the month. Meanwhile there are plans already underway for a Rockpipes Burn’s Night in Thornbury next January. There is the small matter of food for the masses. I rather think I have been volunteered for the task….hmmmm! Bah Haggis!

The ear is still sore and tirelessly frustrating but I hope i’ll be spreading the Rocking Dog word a little more frequently than in the week that was.

Hoping your week will be sunny and happy.

Love Rocking Dog x

2017 Quilt,Rocking Dog

2017 Quilt

Cotton Spring Clean,Rocking Dog

Cotton Spring Clean

Room In The Clouds,Rocking Dog

Room In The Clouds

Dream Ice Cream,Rocking Dog

Dream Ice Cream

Plants To Buy,Rocking Dog

Plants To Buy

Vintage Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Vintage Loveliness

Wedding Menu Planning,Rocking Dog

Wedding Menu Planning

Retro Family Food,Rocking Dog

Retro Family Food

I Hate Pineapple Upside Down!,Rocking Dog

I Hate Pineapple Upside Down!

The Tale Of Two Cities, Bristol & Bath.

Padlocks Of Love, Rocking Dog

Padlocks Of Love

Rocking Dog did a Mother’s Day post with the button ready to press. Alas, she thought it too cynical, bitter and twisted to post!

So indeed the over- gravy’d pub carvery meals have been served, Pandora mother’s day jewels given, Groupon breaks booked and nasty garage forecourt flowers bought up….the pink florally, over commercialised day is thankfully over for another year. Phew, I bet you are glad that this is the concise version!

I did have a lovely weekend and was lucky enough to spend time in two cities, so this indeed is the tale of two cities. Bristol of course is the city I live in, but Bath is the city that I sometimes hanker to live in. A small Bath stone terrace with handkerchief sized garden would be simply perfect!

Both cities have much to offer and though Bath is cited as a World Heritage Georgian jewel of a city there is in fact more Georgian architecture in its Bristolian brother! Bristol has just been proudly named as the most desirable place in the country to live. Creativity, food, technology, jobs market, lifestyle all have contributed to this accolade.

My weekend started in Bath. What better way to start the day than with A Bertinet Almond Croissant filled with blackcurrants and cassis. So much for my low carb’ mission! We sat in the sun delighting in all that is Bertinet. Andyman is not a shopper so he left little Liv’ and I to haunt Top Shop before heading onto older and more crumbly Bath. The antique market as always had lovely things to peruse. I particularly loved the tarnished pots and white Victorian jelly moulds potted up with grape hyacinths, moss etc.. How much more lovely than garage forecourt flowers!

Walcot Street (and onwards) is my favourite shopping street in Bath with a variety of interesting and importantly, independent shops. Shannon with its Marimekko fabrics and Scandi loveliness, Katherine Fraser’s lovely loom and weaving, Mebyl with eccentric old finds and Pencil Tree with mid century furniture are all great to peruse. Graham & Green have also set up shop on Walcot Street. I loved their gilded gate but wish their staff had been a little more friendly and welcoming. Heading back into the city there was a great display of Aesop products – no pink florally packaging in sight! These Australian products are often showcased in trendy restaurant and hotel bathrooms and smell TRULY wonderful.

We ended our trip to Bath at Selvedge Fair held at the Assembly Rooms. Everything was wildly lovely but mostly prohibitively expensive.

On Sunday the Tale of Two Cities took me to the harbourside in Bristol. Blue skies, sun and the feeling of spring in the air had brought people to the water. It is this fragment of Bristol which makes me most proud of the city. However back in time it’s history was much darker, and the port was a place to drop cargo’s of sugar from the plantations of the West Indies. Bristol’s merchants prospered and got rich on the back of the slave trade. Much much later my father worked in a stone warehouse close to the docks. The derricks would offload huge sacks of brazil nuts, peanuts, grain and seed. As children I remember clambering over these hessian sacks and watching as warehousemen tried to keep the mice and rat population under control!

On Pero’s Bridge I noticed that there are evermore love token padlocks appearing. Paris, Venice and Florence have padlock habit bridges. Authorities turn a blind eye for a while, but then when bridge structures look as if they may suffer under the weight of so many heavy love tokens they are cut off and cleared. Pero’s bridge incidentally gets its name from Pero Jones (1753-1798). He was a 12 year old slave boy bought by John Pinney to work on his sugar plantation on the Caribbean Island of Nevis. In 1784 Pero accompanied the family to Bristol where he worked as a personal servant at The Georgian House for the rest of his life.

Buskers, food stalls, skateboarders, sailors, eateries, museums and art galleries ….the waterside was buzzing! Thankfully I didn’t witness too many over gravy’d luke warm carvery plates!

The tale of two very lovely cities.

Remember the Rocking Dog creative huddle this evening 7-9. Delicious cake, creativeness and chat. Donations into the teapot with a proportion going to Fine Cell Work, training and supporting prison inmates with sewing projects.

Dock History,Rocking Dog

Dock History

Sun Blessed Harbour,Rocking Dog

Sun Blessed Harbour

River Station Eats,Rocking Dog

River Station Eats

St. Nick's,Rocking Dog

St. Nick’s

Aged & Wonderful, Bath,Rocking Dog

Aged & Wonderful, Bath

Mother's Day Pots,Rocking Dog

Mother’s Day Pots

Lovely Smells,Rocking Dog

Lovely Smells

Wonderful Weaves,Rocking Dog

Wonderful Weaves

Beautiful Buns!,Rocking Dog

Beautiful Buns!

Illuminating Store,Rocking Dog

Illuminating Store

Gilded Gate,Rocking Dog

Gilded Gate

Terraced View,Rocking Dog

Terraced View