Sunday in Bristol

August 9, 2015 - Bristol, United Kingdom

The Holiday Inn Express in Bristol offers breakfast until 11am on the weekends and we took full advantage to sleep late and eat later. Their buffet breakfast is not as good as many but is sufficient to give you a good meal to start the day. We then went out for a walk around the block to look for somewhere to have coffee with Sarah K. The best of a bad lot appeared to be just across the road.

When Sarah arrived she arranged to leave her luggage at reception and we gathered in the foyer before heading across the road for coffee. The usual poor effort we have come to expect from English coffee but it was a good place to sit and talk about family, the wedding and more pointedly about the appalling state of Western politics. No-one with any gumption, ability or mandate to take any positive decisions. I  guess you can accept that the system gives you what the people want and that appears to be middle of the road, moderately ineffectual and less than open government by wishy-washy political animals.

With the nations condemned we agreed that there is little possibility of change in the near future but made suggestions for our personal futures and took ourselves back to the hotel. Sarah then went off for a train to London.

We did a quick online search for the nearest Marks and Spencers Department Store and walked off to see if we had the directions correct. After a walk across the Avon we found 'The Galleries' centre but had to ask directions to Marks and Sparks. After almost circumnavigating the precint we eventually found the store and replenished our underwear collections. It was either that or a laundrette. We can deal with washing later - much later now.

Our good intentions then foundered as we crashed into a cheap bookshop and picked up three books for £5 so our digital library is once again cast aside in favour of hard copy. It seems to be our personal preference. A little further up the hill and toward the point of closing the circle of our exploration was a Waterstones bookshop which also enticed us inside. I resolved not to buy another book and instead browsed through 'Back To School' items and the like in the somewhat vain hope of perhaps finding a cover for my phone or at least keeping away from the books. Margaret disappeared among the shelves with less resolve.

I was tempted toward tables of novellas with many classic titles I could see myself reading or re-reading but remained strong until I came upon Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' which reminded me of other National Theatre productions of which we had thought we would like the scripts. I had to ask Margaret to remind me of the names and after some discussion she disappeared once more and returned with Tom Stoppard's 'The Hard Problem'. So much for resolve!

Now with more books than intended but a good travelling library we began our walk back to the hotel. On the way we looked around for places to eat tonight and instead discovered that Bristol is closed on Sunday. Well at least anywhere that looked like somewhere we could eat within reasonable distance of the hotel. We returned to our room and wrote up some more of this journal before heading up toward the station to perhaps find a sandwich.

We ended up accepting a railway cafe. The rather large woman proprietor was sitting at one of the tables and on the phone when we walked in and she nodded to us as we looked at the chalkboard menu and muttered 'No chips' which at least we were happy to do without. She eventually extracted herself from the confining nature of the table and chairs, 'What would you like then, love', she sighed in a resigned tone.

'Two cheese and tomato pannini?', we queried.

'Athol', she yelled, 'see if there are any pannini next door will you.' This wasn't looking promising and when he came back with a negative we decided on simple sandwiches which she offered to toast for us. I guess this is typical of an old style railway cafe. We took our toasties back to the hotel where we made our own cups of tea rather than risk an explosion of internal scale from the massive water boiler under the bench in the cafe.

We finished the evening watching some television and relishing our stodgy old caff sandwiches. I thought England was proud of their cheeses!

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