The Brunel Mile (after mile after mile)
as promised, I had a Brunel adventure on the weekend.
On Saturday, I walked from my cosy flat at the water’s edge to the Clifton Suspension Bridge where it spans the Avon Gorge. A few factoids about the Bridge, some stolen (oops, I mean cited) from the official website:
- This was Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first major commission, which he gained by winning a design competition in 1830.
- The bridge was not completed until 1854, 5 years after Brunel’s death.
- 11-12,000 motor vehicles cross it every day, even though they have to pay 30-40p a go.
- It is only ever sunny in Clifton when other people are photographing. All my pictures are grey and dreary.
On Sunday, foolishly optimistic, I thought it might be warmer and sunnier. However, as the 17th corollary to Sod’s Law clearly states – “adverse weather is naturally attracted to the recreational days of the week”. At the thermal peak of the day, the mercury registered 6.6 degrees. On such a day, I heartily (though not warmly) endorse a visit to the SS Great Britain in Bristol. No other reason is required than the comfortable warmth and 25% humidity of the below-decks, where a massive machine called Deep Thought labours to keep the fragile iron hull of the Great Britain from further deterioration. Nevertheless, the SSGB (getting too lazy to type the whole thing) offers a very entertaining couple of hours, with interactive exhibits, funny stories, dressed-up shop window dummies, and even authentic smells…
I finished my visit to the SSGB (still lazy), but did not entirely bid farewell to Brunel. Tuesday morning I set off to London to house-hunt. I left from next door to the Great Western Railway Terminus (as designed by Brunel), travelled by First Great Western (though at a price that I’m sure Brunel would gasp at), and stayed at the Paddington Hilton (former Great Western Railway Hotel). I don’t think Brunel would have been very impressed by the gym or the food or the central heating, but the room was nice.
Next blog, 26 bathrooms in 260 minutes, as I search for the perfect London piéd-a-terre…