Posted in Updates on Friday 30th March 2007 at 9:59pm
When I first began travelling to Bristol on the train, I'd often walk along Temple Back to and from the city centre record shops. I was always curious about the Central Electric Lighting Station, which appeared to be entirely disused and almost falling down. Over the years I learned more about how the city fitted together and always regarded this building as a sort of central point for me. Then one day, probably in 1995 I think, I noticed signs on the end walls of the building advertising a new office development. A week later I returned with my cheap and poor quality camera to take a picture of a building I thought would soon be gone. Note also how the view towards the grand entrance to Temple Meads station is uninterrupted. The same view now would of course be obscured by much of the Temple Gate development.
Tonight, on a bus into the centre to visit my mother in the Bristol Royal Infirmary I glanced across from Temple Way to see demolition in progress. At first I couldn't place the building they were working on at all. Only the southernmost wall remained, and it looked quite different viewed from the interior. Gradually it dawned on me that my hurried trip up to Bristol twelve years ago may have been far too hasty, but was entirely necessary. Some searching today has located the new plans for the site and the south wall will remain, albeit cut down and shorn of much of it's interesting detail. So my rather grainy, dim photograph is suddenly significant. A fine building bites the dust.
Posted in Updates on Saturday 27th January 2007 at 10:42pm
Caught the train up to Redditch after work yesterday in order to be here for the Redditch & Bromsgrove CAMRA Beer Festival, at an old family stomping ground - the Bridley Moor and Batchley Social Club. Spent much of the morning persuading my uncle and cousin who were to accompany me that getting there for early doors would be a good idea! Finally convinced them and we were the first paying customer, soon followed by a huge crowd which I think surprised and impressed them both. A total of 43 beers on offer, with eight ciders and perrys too meant lots of choice. My cousin was lured by the promise of Harwich Charter Ale at 10% ABV, taking the plunge early! Local brewery Wetheroak had brewed an ale specially for the festival - Rubeo Fosetto (apparently Redditch in latin?) which was interesting but not a favourite.
I think both my relatives are now convinced of the merits of the beer festival, and after a steady day of tasting and discussing things took a turn for the strange. My uncle decided he could only sample beers from the lower reaches of the alphabet because the gruff Scotsman with military connections at the top of the bar was scaring him! A couple of the excellent filled rolls supplied by the Club were in order, and we set off for more tasting. A surprising number of locals appeared, interested in what caused the cancellation of the Bingo last night - but I was really pleased to see lots of people coming in by bus or train from more distant parts of the Midlands, particularly since by accident of venue availability this festival was competing with another in Burton-on-Trent.
After meeting some decent folks, talking like idiots and in total tasting or sampling 29 of the 43 beers on offer, we left in the early evening. Some opinions had definitely changed - my cousin in now a fully paid up CAMRA member and there are plans afoot for Tuckers Maltings in April. A very civillised way to spend the day!
Posted in Updates on Thursday 28th December 2006 at 8:51pm
The limbo days between Christmas and New Year normally see me in the office, trying to tie up loose ends and hiding from the by now rather stretched excesses of the festivities in the outside world. This year, for the first time in a decade or so, I'm actually taking annual leave! The reason of course is Pathfinder's Yo Ho Ho railtour tomorrow, and this meant spending a night in Swindon tonight due to the early start.
The journey went fairly smoothly, despite noting numerous cancellations on the boards at Weston and Bristol. Despite visiting the station fairly often, I've not spent much time in Swindon. I'll confess some trepidation, but a little research indicated that a Good Beer Guide listed pub, The Gluepot was nearby. It was well worth a visit, but the early start meant I couldn't fully enjoy the range of ales on offer. Settled for a pint of Quadhop and enjoyed the atmosphere for a few minutes before heading back to the hotel. Noted a slight feeling of menace creeping over the town as more revellers arrived. An early night seemed like a very good idea.
Posted in Updates on Monday 25th December 2006 at 10:58pm
Today went very well indeed. For the first time in a couple of years everyone was healthy and able to participate fully in the occasion, and best of all this was perhaps the first year that my nephew really understood what was happening. Looking back on previous entries I've realised that I really value these times. It is, after all, very rare that we are all together and not too busy doing other things. Christmas for me is not a religious occasion, or even a particularly celebratory one - its a chance for quiet time with my family. Something which doesn't happen often enough.
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.