It was my sixty-second birthday this week (yes, now you remember!) and I celebrated it in Bristol. "Celebrated" may be the wrong word for such a low-key observance; "passed" may be the better choice. My partner had to be in Bristol for work, and the restaurants are considerably better there than in Southampton. In the end, though, we settled for a Thai curry at home, and a whole bottle of beer each. Yay!
My best present was, as always, the thing it hadn't occurred to me to ask for: a James Bond-style pen from my daughter, containing:
- Screwdrivers (Phillips and regular)
- Short blade
- Hole punch
- Wire strippers
- Long blade
It was a beautiful day, and I went for a lengthy circular walk that included the Knoll Woods nature reserve, the banks of the Avon, and the Bennett's Patch meadows beside the Portway. Where I encountered these:
Now, sadly, multiple whale beachings have figured prominently in the news recently, but I wasn't expecting to see any this far up the Avon. On closer inspection, however, you will see they are made out of basketwork. Yes, these are Wicker Whales! And, no, there doesn't appear to be any sacrificial Jonah, Ahab, or Edward Woodward trapped inside. Originally, it seems, they were installed in the town centre, as part of Bristol's year as European Green Capital. Now, they are forever breaching and sounding alongside the Portway. At least, until they rot away, or some idiot sets fire to them.