Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Baltic Wharf Caravan Club Site, Bristol

Monday 7th May 2012.

What a time we have finding this site!

The Caravan Club are normally very good with their signposting and instructions, but, I have to say, this was one of the worst Caravan Club sites to find we have visited (but see later). This is made worse by the fact that it is very near to Bristol City Centre, so traffic is heavy and taking a wrong turn and ending up in a narrow street lined with parked cars is not an appealing proposition.

Once we find it, the site is fine of course.

As we arrive, the sun comes out, but our joy is short lived, it is soon pouring with rain again. Not to be beaten, we set off to explore.

The site is in the former dockland area, which has been extensively redeveloped.

The rain gets even worse, and we are forced to shelter in a somewhat unsavoury pub.

Subsequently, I find another explanation for the difficulty in finding the place. The Caravan Club "how to find us" instructions, where being delivered via KatNav, not TomTom. The instructions I received were to look out for "Howell Road" (which never appeared). But, I discovered when sitting in  (the above mentioned) pub just along from the site (to escape the rain, you understand), this area is called "Hotwells". Later, I read the Caravan Club instructions for myself, sure enough, it was Hotwells Road, I was supposed to be looking out for. The moral of the story is "remember, TomTom, does not forget to put its glasses on before reading and issuing directions".

Then onto the Cathederal, always a good bet if you need somewhere dry!

It is rather impressive.

We have now been on our travels for approximately two weeks, and we have had only two days without rain.

As result, we have had to spend much more time "indoors", ie in the van, than we would normally expect.

This evening, we were discussing, (or to be more precise Kathleen was pointing out), the pressures which can be placed on a relationship when two people are couped up in a small space, for a long time.

I may be wrong, but, I detect, I have caused annoyance.

I am easy going, the only thing which irks me, is a woman's apparent inability to adjust a thermostat. In my mind, "adjust" means turning it to a comfortable, sustainable temperature, not, turning it to maximum, then saying, "I am too hot" and turning it off. I keep this observation to myself. I am sure the men among you understand exactly.

I limit myself to expressing my view on the dealing with the rain problem, which is basically, if you just accept it is pouring with rain, and you just sit and read your book (or whatever), without fretting about it, then there is no real problem.

Kathleen's answer to this, is, I am much better than she is, at sitting on my backside "doing nothing" (for, "doing nothing", read, reading a book, playing on internet, etc etc). Whilst she cannot just sit "doing nothing" and has to be "up doing something" (ie playing with the VAX).

I am still trying to work out if this is a compliment to me or not?

I also note, Kathleen has sat and done half a book of "Killer Su Doku", but I have more sense than to mention that.

Tuesday, 8th May, and the forecast says it is going to be dry all day.

I am all for cycling the 16 miles to Bath (it is along an old railway line, so fairly flat), but Kathleen does not trust the weather forecast enough to risk getting her hair wet.

We catch the bus instead, this is a little adventure. We must get a bus into Bristol Centre (Temple Meads), then another bus to Bath.

Bath is very busy, lots of visitors milling about, and long queues for "attractions" such as the Roman Baths.

Kathleen is in a generous mood, and treats me to lunch and a musical recital. Well, it was actually a sausage sandwich, on a park bench, while listening to a busker (he was very good).

Bath is a very attractive place, even the Travelodge looks upmarket, and has a very pleasant setting alongside a wide part of the canal.

Attractive, it may be, but I think, charging 80p each to walk in a park (Parade Gardens, 80p each for OAP, more for the rest of you!), is a bit much. Particularly since it is smaller than, and no better presented, than South Marine Park in South Shields (which of course is free).

In addition to the "therapeutic baths and hot springs", not to mention, expensive parks, Bath is probably best known for its, well preserved, grand terraces of Georgian style houses.

I thought, whilst taking these shots, the view is spoiled by all of the parked cars.

But, to be truthful, when these houses were built, the view was probably just as congested with horse drawn vehicles, and a lot more smelly!

Part of the reasoning in planning our route for this jaunt, was to indulge our pleasure in cycling along canals, the Leeds Liverpool Canal near Chorley, and here in the Bristol area, the Kennet and Avon Canal. The weather has so far put paid to those plans.

But, here at Bath, the Kennet and Avon Canal joins the River Avon, so we at least get to saunter along the tow path.

There is a whole series of locks (about 14, but I did not count exactly), which bring the canal to the same level as the river.

There are lots of canal narrow boats moored up at various points along the canal, but, not much activity on the actual canal, maybe they too are subdued by the appalling weather we have had.

Back to Bristol on the bus, and a meal in "The Cottage" pub, next to the site. This is because Kathleen is "too tired to cook" after, I, "made" her walk from Temple Meads to the site. What actually happened was that, we had ten minutes to wait for the bus, (guess who's) patience exhausted after three minutes, "it was decided" we would walk to the next bus stop, and so on and so on, until we found ourselves back at the site.  

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