the beautiful south…

By amy ~ July 23rd, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

I post once again from my temporary train-based mini office having regrettably begun an unplanned early return journey; the lack of Left Luggage facilities at Temple Meads proved an insurmountable obstacle and game girl though I am, I was not prepared to drag a heavy suitcase full of condoms, stockings, vibrators of varying sizes and unscented shower gel around Bristol for four hours like a dray horse.

As much as I would like to have stayed to enjoy a few more hours in this lovely city, it was not to be and the opportunity to sneak in a return trip to the SS Great Britain, which has taken over from Battersea Power Station as number one of my list of current favourite permanent(ish) structures (along with, needless to say, the Clifton Suspension Bridge which I was lucky enough to see on the way out for dinner with a much missed old acquaintance yesterday evening) was lost. My entry ticket, however, is valid for a year and since I have been planning a more in-depth investigation of the South West for some time I daresay I will be back, if only to get another look at the engine and propeller plus maybe weaken just enough to buy a little model ship and Brunelesque stovepipe hat in the gift shop.

The beautiful ship is worth a special mention, having just celebrated the fortieth anniversary of her return to Bristol from the Falkland Islands, incredibly being pulled 8000 miles on an enormous pontoon without any real incident (although judging by the photographs, looking a little the worse for wear in much the same dignified way as all the grandest of ladies are wont to do following a difficult and lengthy international journey). I myself have not forgotten my snarling, wild-eyed, Captain Caveman-like appearance when I finally made it home after being awake and travelling for almost thirty six hours in order to get back from Shanghai a few years ago – a bit of rust, a few cracks in the hull and the odd barnacle are trivial details by comparison, believe me. She now rightly resides gracefully in dry dock in the Great Western Dockyard where she was built and launched in 1843, and is well worth a visit if, like me, you are particularly impressed by very large mechanical devices and also like me are secretly (or not-so-secretly) a bit of a transport and engineering anorak.

My stay also included my first ever visit to the supermarket leviathan that was the local ASDA, which resembled an airport and exhausted me completely with food-variety overload; strange though it may seem I honestly do not believe I have ever shopped at one of these, fortunate as I am to have local shops a couple of minutes walk away and a moderately sized Tesco with a delightful view from the car park not too much further. A couple of bags of shopping for my visit took over an hour to seek out, although once the initial shell shock wore off, the experience was not unpleasant as such, although I will be very happy to return to normality and the cool, reassuring embrace and lack of confusing variety in Costcutter, Marks and Spencer and the fruit and veg stall in the precinct.

After repeated prior warnings about the rain proved to be entirely valid, I spent a wet Tuesday night at the pictures following a cancellation (and I can highly recommend Toy Story 3, especially being smugly in the know now about the special glasses after my Final Destination 3D experience in London a few months back, when I discovered that removing my own prescription ones predictably hindered viewing and it was indeed necessary to wear both) although this did not save me from getting drenched on at least three other occasions and the torrential downpour on Wednesday afternoon in particular was deafeningly loud and insistent enough to distract my companion and I, although not for very long, and a fine time was hopefully had by all.

Visit over, I left my accommodation promptly before ten, and having still found no practical solution to my suitcase problem, action was needed; thus here I am, £52 lighter after springing for a new train ticket but otherwise cheerful as ever and looking forward to home, goldfish and yes, more DIY. I will be back in Scarborough for around 4pm today and business will be as usual from tomorrow – I am particularly happy to be welcoming back a couple of particularly lively and charming gentlemen before my Glasgow trip and Thursday daytime/Friday afternoon and evening are already fully booked. I will also be continuing the finishing-off bits of the bathroom and beginning the hallway, so once again, reasonable warning please! I am told the school holidays have now begun and appreciate that plans can change very quickly but if we have not met before, please be aware that as much as I would like to, I do not lounge about all day beguilingly attired in lingerie eating Charbonnel & Walker Violet Creams and if you could see the state of my work-in-progress apartment, you would soon realise why.

New photos on the way (along with woodworm updates, for those who have asked)! Watch this space…


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