Bath, Bristol and Concorde

Finally got round to uploading a load of photos from last weekend’s little jaunt down to Bath and Bristol.

Clikie on the “photo gallery” link on the sidebar to see them.

It was a nice little weekend break, half a day in Bath, then the evening in Bristol followed by a tour of Concorde the following day.

Started rather ominously though, as there were floods on the trainline down to Bath, so the train was diverted – but I arrived no more than 20 minutes later than expected.

Bath is a very nice town, lots of interesting shops and little side roads all over the place, but with enough “decent” shopping to make the place appealing to me. If I had to leave London, and stay in the UK – then Bath would look like a viable alternative home.

The only problem with the town is how small each shop actually is. Loads of shops – all tiny. Come lunchtime, I could not find a single place that didn’t have a queue that reached out of the shops!

Anyhow, a nice wander round the impressive Bath Abbey (not a Cathedral, as it doesn’t have a Bishop) – and I deliberatly hung around Bath far longer than necessary so that I could get a few floodlit photos when it got dark.

I had been to the Roman Baths as a kid, but frankly, couldn’t remember any of it – so took in a tour. It’s one of those places which offer “audio guides”, one for kids, and one for adults.

I thought I had picked up the kids version – but no, this is a place where re-enactments and sound effects are deemed vital to the experience.

I wanted more history and less theatrics. Maybe one day they will record a set of audio-guides for people who want facts, not theatre?

Anyhow, was nice to wander round the place – minus audio-guide.

Off to Bristol in the evening and an Indian curry with some of the guys at the old Bristol Stock Exchange Building, which is a marvel of Victorian design.

On the Sunday was one of my pre-booked tours – this time to visit Concorde at Filton, and I had suggested two meeting points. One at the venue itself and the other in Bristol town center and we can share a cab to the venue.

At 9am, I was still the only person in the town center and really started to panic that the attendence would be really low, as I honestly expected half a dozen people to use the town center meeting point.

After taking a taxi to Filton, it turned out everyone had made their own way to the venue. Phew!

We had a coach to take us to the Concorde, and I was sort of under the impression that it was a fair ride away. As it happened, the factory was on the other side of the road! However, what we got was a quite facinating tour of the estate with all the buildings and factories with a history given by our tour guide. No photos during the bus tour alas, as some of the stuff there is military or commercially sensitive. A military VC-10 was parked there having work done on the engines.

Then onto Concorde and a tour of the iconic plane. Split into two groups one went inside for a look, and the others went around the outside – then swapped. The volunteers there were very knowledgeable about the plane and there were few questions they couldn’t answer.

As it was the anniversary of the final ever flight of any Concorde plane, Filton had invited a former flight captain (and book author), Christopher Orlebar to give a short talk about his experiences, and afterwards he signed copies of his book. I also picked up a souvenier guide of the place, which no one else noticed they were selling ;)

It’ll be good when a proposed public museum is built in a few years time, as currently it is a tad difficult to visit the plane, being inside a private estate.

We finished off with beers and food at a pub in Bristol – and back home by train, and back to work on my news website (damn!).

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