[On the approach to Bristol Airport]
The rain wasn’t falling anywhere near us on the morning we boarded the EasyJet plane in Barcelona. I was stuck with a window seat (ok, I had a chance to move to the aisle but I chose to have a view). We soared out over the Mediterranean before making a turn to the northeast. Not fifteen minutes passed before I could see the Pyrenees, snow-capped and dazzling in the Spanish sun. However, the moment we crossed into French airspace, there was nothing but clouds, white and endless like an enormous bowl of milk. It was like that until we were making our approach to Bristol Airport (see above photo).
We checked into the Marriott on Lower Castle Street. Our plan was simple: we (I) wanted to visit the Cathedral [one list on my Bucket List is to visit all the English Cathedrals…I’m a frustrated architect] but the walk was a good fifteen minutes and I was having a serious problem.
The aforementioned “problem” is that my eye fell on a pair of handsome leather boot/shoes on a visit to the Bass outlet in Lake Placid. This was about three weeks before we were to leave on our three-month trip to England. To be honest, I haven’t wore leather shoes in a very long time. I remembered there was a process called “breaking the shoe in”…I did this by walking from our living room to the dining room about twenty times. This is not the way to break a shoe in! And, for what its worth, I have a slight deformity in my right foot. What does this all mean?
It means I had very sore feet only five minutes into the walk. I needed a rest. I needed a sit-down. I needed a beer.
And, there it was, on Corn Street. It didn’t look like a typical British Pub. It wasn’t the Queen’s Arms, The White Hart, The Fox and Hounds or the King’s Arms. It was called The Commercial Rooms.
[The Commercial Rooms]
We went in and found it was a fair-sized pub and restaurant. We ordered and sat. I whined about my shoes. I told Mariam I was willing to find a Nike store and buy a pair of proper walkers. It was then that I noticed a fine-looking clock on the wall behind the bar. Wait. It wasn’t a clock. There were no numbers. Instead there were cardinal compass points. It was a four-foot diameter compass on the wall. I was more than curious.
[A closer look]
I had to find out what this was doing on the wall so I approached the bartender. He told me that the building was once a club of traders and merchants. There was once a weather vane on the roof (it no longer works) that would relate the wind direction to the traders…informing them when it was the right conditions to launch their ships.
There were several plaques on the wall that listed the names of past presidents of the Commercial Rooms. There were names like G. Marsden-Smedley and Richard A. Flowerdew. Good and proper English names.
Then it was onto the Cathedral. I didn’t find it as beautiful as Salisbury (and it certainly wasn’t anything like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona), but it was worth the visit.
[Mariam stands in distance…near the Altar of the Bristol Cathedral]
Before leaving, I removed the inserts from my shoes. It made things much better. We walked home and made plans to have dinner.
I had Hake and Mariam had Scallops.
A beautiful end to an uneven day.