Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Meeting the Family

I know I'm probably breaking the rules of blogging by writing about one thing and then switching to another topic, but bear with me - I wanted to share these photos of the weekend and, well - why the frig not?!


C came back with me to the homeland this weekend - I, was buzzing with excitement crapping my pants in fear that the weekend was going to be a awkward mess.

Why awkward? (Well, meeting my parents was always going to be tough), and frantic because I had a million and one places to show C and realised we probably would only be able to see 6% of the things I wanted to show him in the 48 hours that we were going to be in Bristol. Hm...slight problem there.

I'm not going to tell you too much about how bleh the coach journey as it was to be expected - overpacked, the heater is always blasting out air that is slightly too warm, and due to me not checking the gate human error, we almost missed the coach in the first place!


We looked forward to checking out a place on Gloucester Road called Bakers & Co.

I went there for a flat white in December and wanted to check it out properly and try some of their grub, so was glad to be re-visiting.

But this time we had a special guest...

No, not Lego thing. (We thought this was Ironman but sadly, he isn't. Anyone know what this little guy is called?)

We arrived a few minutes late, and had to squeeze our way past the queue to find L sat down at the table already.

I warn you... this place gets incredibly busy by 10.30, and they don't take bookings. Bakers & Co is quite small,  the tables are packed and you are all quite closely seated together, among the hustle and bustle. The kitchen is at the front, whilst the waiting staff work at a speedy pace, dotting past you whilst carrying bundles of hot, frothy coffee with plates of sourdough toast and poached eggs.

Here are some pics:

Busy busy...

J & A - checking out the goods.

Whilst we ordered, J went to play.

Lauren ordered the huevos rancheros with tortilla and beans, C - the custard toast, and Annie had the sourdough toast as she was still feeling a wee bit fragile from the night of cocktails.

I had the rarebit with poached eggs (with added chorizo!) - luckily, the rarebit wasn't as heavy as I expected. This, was yokey heaven. Nom.

We gossiped away whilst sipping our beetroot juice, A and L both were kind and didn't interrogate C too much - but he had his hands full anyway!

Playing Peekaboo!

We decided to be nice and gave up our table for the massive queue that was hanging around the front. Said our goodbyes and headed to Clifton.

We have a suspension bridge - incidentally called...Clifton Suspension Bridge.

C is a bit of a engineering geek so we parked up and strolled through Clifton Village to make our way to the bridge.

We walked across to the visitor centre (yup...we full on nerded out) to take a look at Brunel's masterpiece and found out some interesting facts, which may entertain you?

  • In 1829, there was a competition launched to find someone to design the bridge.
  • They couldn't find anyone during the first competition, so a second one was launched - from this, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was just 23 years old, was appointed as Project Engineer.
  • Both towers were originally going to feature Egyptian style features, but when they started building, it was realised this couldn't happen and so, Brunel had to redesign the bridge in a plain format.
  • Brunel had a coin stuck in his throat, and he created his own special forceps in attempt to remove it. Yikes.
Alright, the last one had nothing to do with the bridge - but interesting, right?!

I hate to admit it, but during my years of growing up in Bristol and Bath, I hadn't taken the time to go to the tourist attractions, purely because I got stuck into the mindset of 'Oh, well, I have plenty of time to see that, I can go another time' or 'argh, it's so busy and touristy - hell no am I doing that!'

I'm glad to admit I was a tourist for the weekend as much as C was and embraced the things that make Bristol, the beautiful and historic city that it is. (Bath too..but we will get there, further down the post!)

Right next to the bridge, is the Clifton Observatory, which features one of only two camera obscuras in England that is still open to the public.

We had to take a look. I took a photography module as part of my degree in university and heard about the existing camera obscura but never got round to visiting.

 We climbed up the narrow and windy stairs and went inside...

 And this is it:

I didn't know what to expect. But what we saw, was delightful.

Here is how a camera obscura works - thank you, Wiki!

I tried to take a few snaps... can you see the vague outline of houses and the green? (This is what was outside of the observatory).

And here, you can see the mechanism - in order to see the image, you have to slowly pull the handle across.

Could you see the bridge and the Avon Gorge?

We marvelled at the images and decided to head back down and head to the cave.

The observatory has a cut out passageway that leads to the face of Ghyston’s Cave. The cave was previously only accessible by cliff face, so this gave us the opportunity to see the view of the bridge and Avon Gorge down below.

Ahem, no pictures of the view here sadly - the grates meant I could see right down to the gorge and I had to retreat back to level ground! So you get some graffiti on the cliff face instead...

We came out of the Observatory and stopped to take a look at the family who were having fun and sliding down the hill..a little bit jealous we didn't get involved!

We wanted to stop off for a quick drink before heading back to the suburbs (we were off to a stellar dinner later on with some more friends (round 2).

This isn't the first time I've mentioned this place, The Lido.

But this time, they even had their own ale!

C couldn't resist the flour less chocolate cake... and for me, the apple and ginger (go for the hot version, way way better).

We chatted and I shared flashbacks and snippets of when I worked here...and told him how much it had changed over the past few years (noticeably, the extended bit behind me used to be a terrace) and in my opinion, was a much better feature.

Fast forward to a couple of hours later, after a spritz of dry shampoo and Marc Jacob's Daisy, I put on my snakeskin heels (on sale, you lucky jammers!)

We laughed, we cried (from too much laughing) and ate... May I point out, very very well.

 Josh and his excellent team looked after us that night and cooked up a storm.

We started with some brawn cubes... (kinda like square pulled pork) with apple sauce (which wasn't overly sweet).

Now I can't quite remember this dish (bad wasn't my dish either so didn't take note)

I had the rib eye steak with chips and some extra ox cheek ragu on the side...

Go on. Here is another shot of it again. (Just because, it's THAT good).

I could have eaten this (if it was this size x 5, obvs) and I would have been happy. The green on top I think was pea puree?

After some more prosecco, it was time for the desert course - the girls and I all had the same deserts (the beetroot and chocolate fondant with a beetroot sorbet) whilst the guys had the sticky walnut toffee pudding with salted caramel.

I have to admit - my fondant had no scratch on the mighty sticky pudding.

I really liked the beetroot but the sticky pudding just had that extra something...

Which one would you have gone for?

Sunday mornings were meant for lie ins. We would have such luck as our dim sum reservations were at 1pm. We were glad we didn't have to wake up cripplingly early as we got back quite late.

I don't have many pics from dim sum, however I can tell you that Pops rated C on his chopstick on noodle skills (a 3/10), and we stuffed ourselves silly from siu mai dumplings (a family favourite) and lots and lots of jasmine tea. (And the odd bit of interrogation from ma and pops.) So here is the one snap I managed to get:

Dad is not as stern as he seems, really!

We had ourselves a mini road trip to Bath after dim sum - and fancied doing something neither of us had done before.

The Roman Baths was our next tourist spot. I'm a bit ashamed to say I hadn't been here before either until now.

The ceiling to the main entrance.

 Did you know that the baths used to be called Aquae Sulis?

We took one of the audio tours so we could find out more about the baths as we walked through and explored.

Here is some original carved stone from what they thought was the face of a temple, that was a part of the baths.

This piece of inscribed metal was behind glass and it had inscriptions on it.

They are called 'curse tablets'. They were normally made of lead or pewter, and the person who had a crime committed towards them would inscribe their curse (to the person who committed the crime) onto the metal and throw it into wells and pools, in hope that their curse would come true.

An overflow from the spring.

Just look at the steam rising...

The spring pumps out naturally hot water at a average of 46 °C (114.8 °F).

And here, was where they would go and plunge into cold water to cool off...(kind of how we do it when you go into a really hot sauna, and then into a cold pool).

A short but sweet trip as we headed back to London shortly after, but I wouldn't have spent it any other way, especially now that I can tick off the things of my 'Bristol/Bath - Tourist things' list! But there's still so much I want to show and see... until next time.

F x



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