Thursday, September 29, 2016

And So We Began in Bristol

Our trip began in Bristol, where our flight landed. And our first culture shock was almost immediate: getting the rental car and learning to drive on the right hand side of the car on the left hand side of the road. That was Larry's job, and after the long overnight flight he was not really ready for it. But there was nowhere to do a little practice, so with prayers and crossed fingers off we went.

And it was fine. I've had such a fear of attempting to drive in Britain but after 1200 or so miles, I am here to tell you it's doable. Not that I was ever behind the wheel! I was navigator and Larry drove because the insurance for both of us to drive was too expensive. So my job was to remind him to stay on the left, to help navigate the hundreds of roundabouts, get the GPS (or SatNav as they call it over there) set up with our next destinations, and generally  keep Larry on track.

We didn't have a GPS for the first leg of the trip but we did have a good, new road atlas which got us around fairly well except for in Bristol. We'd hoped to meet storyteller Tim Sheppard for lunch but we never were able to find the place and after many laps around the city--so many that people began to think we were casing the place, I think--we gave up and headed to Bath for a late lunch. Bath proved to be far too busy and crowded a place for travel-weary us, so after lunch we left, and drove to the small town of Saltford where we discovered a lovely old church, and our first pub of the trip.

We needed this quiet break.

I could not believe the size of this tree, a yew I believe.

This is St. Mary's Anglican Church, which is over 1000 years old. It is believed to have been built by the Normans, and the tower is believed to be Saxon, although it has been added to, as you can see in the photo. There is a Norman baptismal font inside that was once used as a cattle trough, but was found and returned to the church.

Soft country views were balm to our souls after a hectic 48 hours.

Looking through one window to another.

We followed the narrow lane past the church and found ourselves beside the River Avon. (A different river, as my cousin corrected below, than that of Shakespearean fame.) This is the view from the Jolly Sailor pub, where we stopped for tea for me, and Guinness for Larry.

The long boats barely visible in this photo are canal boats (click to see better images of them) and some of them had their laundry hanging on their roofs! There was a simple locks on the river here that the canal boats let themselves through as they traveled. Wish I had a photo of that, but I was fairly brain dead by this time.

We left Saltford and drove into Keynsham to my friend Tim's home. And from that visit came stories. More about that tomorrow.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Sorry, Sue, but the Bristol Avon is a different river to the one in Stratford. In fact there are seven or eight River Avons in Britain. The name is from the Welsh "afon" meaning "river", so the River Avon is really the River River! The Welsh get around the problem by calling their river the Afon Afan. Complicated.

Granny Sue said...

John, keep me straight! Someone over there told me this was the same one, so I did not think to check on it. If I make other errors, please correct me--it was a lot to see and I might misinterpret here and there. I'll edit above.

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