Coles Notes

I admit, I am really quite terrible at keeping this up to date – but I have some excuses? We lived in a B&B, a super sketchy Hostel called the 007 (which had no visible sign – it fell off), and couch surfed for a few days (the guy left us his keys and took off. His house smelt like mold and I had to wipe off my feet before going to bed) before getting into my place. Been moved in for about a month, however have only had the internet for about a week and it was so difficult to do anything like this at the library computers.

So you may ask, how has time been spent? And for you, I give you the Cole’s Notes version:

– I had my first days of Teacher work! Well actually I was a TA, but close enough. It was at a monstrosity of a school – similar to walking through the bowl at the U of S to get to different buildings (which had 3 floors), but everyone was wearing matching jumpers and calling me “Miss”. I will be going back to this school for a few more days work this week, I have also been serving part-time at the Goldbrick House.

– Explored Bristol’s attractions, including:

Clifton Suspension Bridge: designed by the fantastically named Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The idea for a bridge across the Gorge was first put forward in 1753, it wasn’t until 1829 that enough funds were raised (10,000 pounds) to begin building. In 1831, construction started but was halted by riots, exhaustion of funds, selling of the ironworks, etc. The bridge was completed in 1864; it took 111 years for the bridge to be completed – the two years for that South bridge in Saskatoon, doesn’t seem so bad now!

The Watershed: showing wonderful independent movies. We went to a free series of Planet Earth, like films, including  one called Green (which scarred me against using a variety of products and grocery stores). A Town Called Panic (which  if you ever want to see a horse dress up as santa claus to trick undersea creatures into giving back his stolen wall, you  should go see) is just coming out here, so we’ll take in that again. Mary and Max, a delightful story of a young girl from Melbourne, Aus who becomes pen pals with an old guy with Asperges from New York. It is stop motion, delightful, humorous, and heart-warming.

Museums and Art Galleries: The glorious thing about the UK, is that a significant amount of the museums and galleries,  are free. While the galleries are not quite as vast as say, the London galleries/museums, but in Canada, they would  charge you at least $7.50/adult to go in.

@Bristol Science Centre: a fantastic way to spend a rainy day, pushing various buttons!

Exploring/Sneaking into Buildings: Bristol has some absolutely fantastic old buildings and Churches, which not all,  especially on campus, are open to the public. Thankfully, we look like a university students so just walk in looking like we have a place to go. Unfortunately, the university keeps its tabs on who can get where and most doors require a student card. However, I have been able to see some of the outstanding buildings such as the dominating Willis Memorial Building on Park street, Bristol Cathedral, and St. Marys Redcliffe church (with one of three Harrison & Harrison organs in England – with one of the other buildings housing it being Westminister Abbey) where a funny old lady gave us a tour of all the John Cabot (he sailed out of Bristol to discover Newfoundland) references in the Church.

Markets!! At least three days a week, there are markets. Markets with bread, fish, cupcakes, animal toques, sausage (I don’t even like sausage, but this stuff is tasty), flowers, vinyl records, Banksy prints, chutneys, pies and pasties, cheeses. We like to go, just to wander and eat samples. It’s like cost-co, but outdoors and everything was fresh and not frozen.

Green Space/Street Art: Bristol is somewhat famous for its amount of green space. Looking at a map of the city, you see signficant portions of the city that are green, but strolling through the city, you see the vastness of those portions. Walking up Whiteladies and you end up in Clifton Down, which is suddenly like you stepped out of the city and into the English country-side, without the cottages and sheep. As for Street Art, if you look up Bristol the things that will come up are probably the Clifton Bridge and Banksy. Banksy is from Bristol and the evidence is everywhere, most have been modified or done over, but some lay untouched after years since they’ve been put up. Alongside is countless other pieces of street art that change weekly (some daily). We live in an area where it is quite prominent, on my daily walks I can go around and see pieces that are gone up and that have completely changed overnight.

Charity Shops: Bristol has some excellent charity shops, if you didn’t look up to see that the name is Marie Currie Cancer Centre, you would think they were department stores based on the window displays. Not only are they fun to look at, but we are in search of an amp (flat has speakers all over the place) and a teapot.

Searching for +100g of chocolate chips: I found 500g at an American store in Bath, but is was 6.95 quid (over $11CDN) for the bag. Otherwise, nothing. Not even in bulk.

Baking Bread: So the flour here is different, to make bread you have to purchase “strong” flour. Now there is this and “bread” flour in Canada, but they are different and the gluten content totally affects your bread (they even market Canadian flour). So to make up for poor bread, we have undergone a bread challenge. No buying bread, unless from a farmers market or a proper baker (there is a lovely shop down the road called, naturally, The Bread Store). So far we’ve made brown, white, focaccia, flatbreads, pitas, biscuits, scones, bread twists, and more to come!

– Travelling: Made it to various areas around Bristol including Blaise Castle (Which according to Jane Austin is the “Finest place in England”), I walked part of the Severn Way to the town of Aust, a walk that lead me along a nice path, through a military testing zone/riffle range, a  few towns, a ruined Church-yard, and through various cow/bull/horse/chicken/sheep/goose filled farmers fields (if  you’ve ever read William Ferguson Beyond Belfast his description of walking the Ulster Way was far too similar to my  experience with the Severn Way, minus the Catholic-Protestant disputes).

– Planning: Planning where to go next! Most of November and December will be spent working, as I got off to a slow  start. However, I have purchased tickets already to go see The Pogues (possibly last) Christmas Tour in Birmingham just  before Christmas, and we are looking at going to see Vampire Weekend  in London at the beginning of December. After I  invest in a pair of good hiking boots (my lil canvas shoes just don’t hold up to the moist fields/cow pies of England),  hiking the Cotswolds will be the plan. We are also planning on hiking from Bath back to Bristol, going to  Netherlands/Belgium just after New Years, into Spain/Portugal in Feb or March to take in some of the Carnival festivities  and warmer weather, renting a car/attempting to drive on the wrong side of the road to visit Brighton and South-East  England as well as Castle Hunting in Wales.

– Experiencing British takes on Holidays. While I have to carve a melon for Halloween because all pumpkins disappeared as soon as Oct 31st hit (however the only evidence that people bought them were smashed remains on the streets, I saw no pumpkins lit up), Halloween was wildly uncelebrated. However! There was a MASSIVE Zombie March on the 30th. The majority of people walking through the streets that day, were zombies. The city is still cleaning fake blood off shop windows. Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes Day, Remember Remember the 5th of November, was a completely different story. The city events were minimal due to a downpour, but from the 4th to the 7th, the night sky was glowing with fireworks!

– Adjusting to the Autumn time change. I admit, I googled “What time is it in the UK”. I also had a mental wrestle with myself to decide if I could justify eating supper at 4:30 because my body was telling me I was hungry but my brain said it was too early – or was it? and if I could go to bed at 9:30 instead of 10:30. It was a hard few days.

– And just because I’m proud of them:

I cooked a chicken for Thanksgiving

My First Chicken!

I couldn’t find a pumpkin, so I carved a melon for Halloween

My Halloween Melon
My Halloween melon!

I found a smiling cupcake!

I can't resist a cupcake that smiles


I leave you with a link to my flickr account, give it a looksy if you wish to see some pictures of the above listed. (or else you can click “More Pictures” on the Flickr portion on the side)

I also plan not to leave the next update for another month…

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