67 out of 67 - Hurrah! - Day 285
67 out of 67 - Hurrah! What an achievement! We did it! Well, Alan did it – he visited each of the 67 Wallace and Gromit statues in and around Bristol.
We had the pleasure of walking around with our old buddy Alan, seeing 18 of the 67 Wallace and Gromit statutes in Bristol. It was such great fun, exploring different parts of the city and seeing how the pieces of the jigsaw map fit together. We walked to Temple Mead first, watching a group of 5 young people do a little dance routine next to the Game of Cones! I wonder if they were dancing at each sculpture. We eventually got into Cabot Circus where we let Alan go off to find 2 of the figurines while we went shopping for a new waterproof jacket for Tim. He got an absolute bargain, with the jacket being reduced by £160! We do love a bargain! More Wallaces and Gromits, one of our favourite was called Ferne – very pretty…oh and there was The Howl – great fun, plus A Grand Gromplication and The Emperor… oh and The Hound of Music….a multitude of beautiful, funny and unique statues.
Bristol really is a great place, full of history. First listed in the Chronicles of 1051 as a trading port, it is known for its shipbuilding plus infamous pirates such as Blackbeard (and I’m not talking about Tim) and Bartholomew Roberts, who captured 456 ships in just four years. Sadly, it was also heavily involved in the slavery of people from Africa bringing approx. 500,000 slaves into the port. This blot on the identity of Bristol still causes people concern. The directors of Bristol Music Trust have decided to rename Colston Halls, named after slave trader Edward Colston when the building is finally reopened in 2020 after its £48.8m redevelopment. On a more positive note, Bristol is also known for Brunel’s mastery in engineering, the world’s biggest manufacturers of hot air balloons, inspiration for some of the characters and places in Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, plus Only Fools and Horse’s block of flats – “Nelson Mandela House” being located here. Walking around, we saw some wonderful murals and were lucky enough to watch a couple of guys spray their artwork on a legal graffiti site. Our tour took us to the University area including the Royal Fort Garden. This was originally designed by Humphry Repton in about 1800. Within the gardens now is an amazing installation called Hollow created by Katie Paterson in collaboration with Zeller & Moye Architects and members of the school of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol. As we walked around the structure of tall blocks of wood, we came to a small opening. We squeezed in to see over 10, small blocks of unique tree species which had been gathered from nearly every country in the world. It was magical seeing the small pieces of so many different hues, reminding us of the Cuisenaire coloured wooden rods used in maths lesson when we were young. Apparently, one of the blocks here came from the Gingko tree that survived the horrific atrocity in Hiroshima. What an amazing thing to do, first having a list of 10,000 tree species, finding them around the world and then creating this wonderful work of art so we can appreciate the amazing different species of trees. We were finally at Bristol’s Children’s Hospital to see Rocket Man, Alan’s 67th statue. He pressed the icon on his App – 67 out of 67. We waited expectantly for a big fanfare, I was imagining Wallace and Gromit flying up in the rocket they built in the Grand Day Out with a big firework explosion…. nothing. Alan pressed a few more buttons…nothing, disappointing. I gave him a hug instead. We trundled back to our Airbnb, after a well-deserved delicious cup of coffee at Dom's Coffee House, worn out from a very satisfying day. We said a fond farewell to Alan with a rendition of “When will we see you again?”. I wonder when we will see each other again – there is always Skype. As it was our last evening in Bristol, we arranged to meet up with John and Georgia for a meal at The Knowle Pub. So lovely spending time with this joyful couple, with lots of laughter and chat, chat, chatting away. No singing this time, as we know we will be seeing them again in a few weeks’ time. Hurrah!