On September 13th, I went on an early-morning coach trip to Bristol from London to see my sister Melissa at her university dorm. On the way to Bristol, we whisked through the beautiful green Cotswolds with blue lakes, clear blue skies, yellow hay fields, and cows, horses and sheep grazing on the green grass.
Once we arrived in Bristol, however, the glorious light blue sunny skies we’d seen in London had faded down to dark grey cloud covers pouring slightly heavy rain. Luckily, there was a department store just a few minutes away from where our bus dropped us off, so we took shelter to wait for the rain to dissipate while we shopped for some suitable clothes and shoes and ate some lunch – I had my Christmas dinner three months early with roast turkey and potatoes! Eventually, Melissa arrived, and by then the rain had thankfully cleared up, giving way to blue skies again. We strolled through the centre of Bristol, riding a bus to Melissa’s dorm and buying some food and drinks for the upcoming night.
Once at Melissa’s dorm, I asked her to draw another picture of my characters as she’d done with the Halifax gang from A Nova Scotian Way of Life (which I’m really quite proud of, even though she drew it and not me). We got ourselves all set up, introduced ourselves to each of Melissa’s friends and dorm mates, and began our ‘welcome’ party with Netflix-and-chilling, pizza and Coca-Cola. I made myself comfortable in Melissa’s room with my new laptop computer, phone and tablet, happily tapping away on the Internet. While I loved to nibble on my pizza (it was my favourite topping, simply pepperoni and cheese), it did give me a few bad vibes later on…
The next day, having recovered from gorging on pizza the previous night, the weather was a whole lot better than the previous afternoon. (They say it’s the hottest September in a century, which I why I went to Margate the previous week!) We jumped on a bus going to the in-city village of Clifton not too far off from Melissa’s dorm, where we had a good stroll through the pretty streets and architecture, giving it a small homely village rather than big-city feel.
A little later on, we climbed up a hill to the Clifton Observatory, which gave fantastic, wide views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the muddy Avon Gorge, the river being a thinnish line of water in the centre of the mudbanks. We even found a little pet prancing around the hill, and I nicknamed him the ‘Clifton Cat’ for alliterative appeal.
Heading down the hill, we began a rather fearful (to me) walk along the bridge to the other side. I couldn’t keep myself from breathing heavily as I frightfully looked over to the gorge and the river far down under the bridge. I’d become scared of crossing bridges ever since I saw a movie while in Colombia where a steel bridge fell apart and crashed into a river, taking down many people who were crossing with it. Luckily, a part of me inside reassured me that wasn’t real – it was only fictional – and I got even more amazing views of the Avon Gorge and Bristol cityscapes, including the traffic traversing the road beside the gorge.
Arriving at the other side of the bridge, we visited the museum just off the road to find out about the history of the bridge itself and how it was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, possibly one of the most famous engineers of the Victorian era. I even got my hands on a few souvenirs, like a badge, a tote bag depicting the bridge and gorge, and a little red phone box filled with toffees doubling as a coin bank.
Returning to Melissa’s dorm to pick up all our things, we went back out into Bristol city centre to have lunch at a pub – I had hot chicken tikka masala curry with a refreshing glass of cool lemonade. We had one last stroll through the Shopping Quarter before just about catching the bus back home to London in time, where I listened to some music to help me relax before tiredness set in and I had a little nap. I caught a little glimpse of Bristol’s many Canadian connections just before I left out of it completely: