Where's The British Summer?
It is a glorious day in Bristol today, too good. I set out to have another Shaun-y adventure but only got round to doing half of it. I actually had barely started and I already wanted to give up. I think the high was actually only 24, but it was a very challenging beginning. I'd intended to start at the Balloon Fiesta going via the Southbank Trail of Shauns, but had a last minute change.
Never fear, there's always a bus nearby in Bristol... unless the driver is a git and tells you you're wrong, even when you're right. I really couldn't be bothered with having an argument with this guy who had instantly decided I was an idiot tourist. I ended up going back to my original plan of getting the Balloon Shuttle from the station. First time I've encountered a bad bus driver in Bristol.
I queued up at the station and encountered some very friendly and efficient First staff. One guy was setting up the bus stand while another was selling the tickets. They were both lovely guys and the ticket seller came back to make sure that the wheelchair and buggies got on okay. A guy sat next to me and we started chatting, turns out the London complex [living close to London but never going] is not just a capital thing, he's lived in Bristol for 30 years and never been to a Balloon Fiesta. We exchanged random anecdotes and when we got off the bus and I looked blank, we walked up to where everything was... and that's where I wanted to give up.
The Ashton Estate is a very lovely and picturesque place, beautiful, but really... move the event to the bottom of the subtle hill. I was half dead by the time I got to the top, and I still wasn't close to the main area. Once I was in the event space it took me 15 minutes to get within view of a hot air balloon. I'm sure the event is great fun if you stay all day, you can take a picnic set up camp around the show ring. There were endless food stalls, and about a billion stalls to win cuddly toys on. On my own though it wasn't very exciting. If you don't want to get up early to watch the mass launch there wasn't much to keep you occupied. Being me, I'd taken a book with me to read... but with no cloud cover, and no breeze, every open space was the temperature of leather car seats when you're wearing shorts. I wasn't the only one to give up early, luckily there was an ice cream van at the top of another of those poxy hills that were everywhere and I had an imitation Calippo to cool me down.
I walked over Clifton suspension bridge... wasn't my best plan, I still have a few issues with the heights! By this point I was feeling a little tetchy, and the screaming kids weren't helping. Not that they can be blamed, I'm laying it squarely on their parents. The forecast said hot, sun, no cloud... if you're taking little 'uns out, bring lots of water, sunscreen and some kind of shade or umbrella for when you stop. I was so glad I thought ahead and brought a big bottle of squash... although mainly it was in an attempt to not spend a fortune on drinks at the fiesta.
Yet another dubious positioning of a Shaun... Dear Avon Gorge Hotel, I know you've sponsored Wish Ewe Were Here, but seriously... why put it on your terrace. It was a lovely scene as family after family with buggies and screaming kids traipsing through the bar to see the Shaun that is then the far side of an entire terrace of tables, chairs and people. Have you actually had anymore custom? Because all I could see where annoyed locals trying to watch the sport on TV.
I was overjoyed when I saw that the one I'd decided was going to be my last was positioned about twenty foot from a bus stop that took me back to my car. I stopped off for a Subway and then came home, put my pyjamas on and put my feet up.
Over a six mile walk today in full sunshine and with many hills... I'm done... I almost don't care if I get the rest of them done. Well that's a lie, because I'm currently planning where I'm going to go tomorrow, I haven't looked at the weather, but fingers crossed for light breezes and occasional clouds!