Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Severn Project at Temple Meads

The Severn Project is a Community Interest Company (07253111) founded by Steve Glover in April 2010 with the aim of creating a more effective and person centred model of drug and alcohol recovery.

The Severn Project

The Project is designed to bridge the gap between treatment and social reintegration though a process of education, training and employment.

You can see some of what they have been doing on Bath Road just next to Bristol Temple Meads.

On a pretty coloured wall, with pictures pasted on and drawings colourfully used around the ages, there is a hole with the words look here.

The Severn Project

The Severn Project

The Severn Project

10 identities that I am giving my daughter

We create our children in so many ways from the way we talk, act, behave with others, eat and every single thing we do. Sometimes the responsibility of it all weighs me down but usually it helps me see how I get created as well. Watching it all is an amazing process. I didn’t even notice half of the stuff until I started writing this post.

Here it is though, just some of the identities I am helping my two-year-old daughter adopt:

1. Helpful – I spill some water on the floor, Mersina rushes to the mop and comes back to help me clean up. “Thank you very much, you are very helpful to me.”

2. Beautiful – “You are so beautiful,” times a billion.

3. Nice – She gives me a kiss and a hug. “Thank you, you are such a nice person.”

4. Clever – She counts, she repeats, she writes M, she identifies letters – numbers – animals – past visits: “You are so clever! A genius!” She loves jigsaws.

5. Athletically proficient – She runs for ages when she can and this weekend I bought her her first pair of trainers: running – “You’re so fast! You’re such a great runner. She’s been running for ages, such a great climber.”

6. Angry – I try to let her be okay about getting angry. Anger gives you energy and it can also cause you to be hurtful. I don’t have a problem with her getting angry about things but it can slow us down which may cause her to see impatience come up in response to her anger. Anger isn’t one of our usual emotions so I’m finding it hard to think of examples.

7. Creative – I encourage drawing and let her pick any colours and shades she likes. She is allowed to use most types of paper that aren’t necessary. I let her choose the colours for her online drawing and sometimes she wants the whole picture to be the same colour. That’s fine. She makes up stories about her froggies.

8. Sad – I don’t like her to be sad so it’s harder for me to not interfere to shake her out of it or distract her with something. When she was a little younger she started practising being sad by coming up to us with her head down and just standing there. I would rush to her to find out what was going on and she would look up with a big grin at having fooled us or at being successfully sad. That’s fine.

9. Happy – “she was born smiling”, “she’s such a happy baby”, “she’s so funny”. She does smile a lot. When I look back to pictures of me from when I was small and even now, my first response is not to smile. Her father is more likely to be smiling. Does smiling mean happiness? I don’t know.

10. Social – she seems to enjoy the company of other children. Whenever she sees another little person she gets excited and says “hello!”. I have yet to see many (any?) other little people say hello back. When she was all about “chasey” she would see another little person and run away from them hoping they would follow. That was so cute.

All the activities she does are natural and come from her. The labels and identities arise from our reactions and cues as to how acceptable they all are. Some I would like to cultivate are mindfulness, perseverance and the ability to express herself. For now I’m trying to notice as much as possible. Communicating her feelings is the most important one, in my opinion.

musical M

Cable knit cast on, YouTube brilliance

When I’m feeling poorly or just drained of energy (are these the same thing?) I indulge in mindless and repetitive behaviour. Sometimes these behaviours become passions and hobbies and other times they fade. I post this in the mid/end throes of a passion for knitting. And also of marathon Golden Girls-viewing on YouTube.

knitting needles and a ball of wool and a woollen square

I’ve been taking my knitting with me everywhere the last few weeks. I have been knitting squares for Syria which the Rainbow Cafe in Clifton are collecting and have spent about a week unravelling the mess I made of the beautiful and pricey wool I bought.

Squares and scarves are about the only things I can knit so far but I’m trying my best to learn. I have a method of casting on which seemed fine but recently it has become a bit of a struggle with my new silkier wool so I looked for a new method while I was waiting for the train and found it on Google. There was a video on YouTube but also some pictures on a Wiki.

I bought new wool and circular knitting needles and have been making something seamless but unrecognisable yet too.

knitting round and round

You really can find anything on YouTube. We have a YouTube on the PS3 and once you load a search query it plays the suggested videos automatically. I’ve been searching for Golden Girls full episodes and watching them for hours. That’s what I do with my time. In case anyone was wondering. Being very glad of YouTube.

Top five places for breakfast in Bristol, 2013

With great sadness, we say goodbye to Lahloo Pantry which has closed down. It takes with it some of our loveliest memories.

Since my last post on breakfasts, a year ago this time, there have been some changes and updates in the breakfast situation. 40 Alfred Place is now mainly used for pop-ups and the fabulous Hart’s Bakery has found a new house at Bristol Temple Meads. So let’s recap:

1. Hart’s Bakery at Bristol Temple Meads: excellent pastries, cakes, buns, toasties, lunch yummies (like pasties, tarts and soup) and most importantly and palatable all day – Laura Hart’s famous Custard Tarts. Possibly the best tarts in the world and I’m willing to do a global taste tour to find out.

2. Papadeli: their soy lattes aren’t that great but their food is delicious. They are at the RWA and in Clifton.

3. Source Food Cafe: just overall excellent quality food, own-made black pudding, croissants, a good selection including pancakes with bacon, porridge with Drambuie, hard-boiled eggs with soldiers and a full English breakfast. Also, their French toast with fruit selection is lovely. Good coffee too!

4. Bordeaux Quay: this restaurant is no longer on my bad books after my daughter and I visited two months ago and we discovered that they have a whole collection of books and toys for children at the back of the restaurant. There is a box near the back wall before you get to the toilets. Their scrambled eggs and soy latte were excellent.

5. Full Court Press: the new cafe which serves exceptional coffee (and BonSoy soy milk) now also serve Hart’s Bakery custard tarts and other sweet and savoury treats by Bosh. Coffee and cake counts as breakfast, right? A delightful little cafe with friendly and helpful Matt and Dave behind the counter. Update: Hart’s bakery custard tarts are available on Thursdays only and cinnamon buns are available the rest of the weekdays.

Full court press 1 Full Court Press inside Full Court Press 2

Bonus breakfast tips

Grillstock: from 8 to 10am, Grillstock serve breakfast rolls of pulled pork and egg. They come highly recommended.

Tart on Gloucester Road: I haven’t eaten here but have only heard good things from friends.

Watershed: excellent scrambled eggs. So-so tea from tea bags (as far as I know) and coffee is ok.

Boston Tea Party: Pre-baby, I used to be a regular at BTP and loved their soy lattes and poached eggs. However their stairs and distance have put an end to that for now. They also do great porridge.

Flinty Red at the Bristol Old Vic: This Michelin recommended restaurant makes excellent breakfast items but they stay out of the top five until I can visit and they have both coffee and soy milk available at the same time. Black filter coffee is nice but not good enough. Their granola is a true delicacy with hazelnuts and lovely crispy muesli.

Lahloo Pantry: – currently closed temporarily so not in the top five but — fresh cakes, a myriad selection of exotic and sturdy every day tea, locally sourced ingredients such as bacon from Ruby & White butchers on Whiteladies Road and excellent scrambled eggs served with sourdough toast. We celebrated my daughter’s second birthday there and if there is any matcha cake when you visit then it comes highly recommended by a two-year-old.

Flinty Red at the Bristol Old Vic for breakfast Breakfast at Flinty Red Flinty Red at the Old Vic

St Mary Redcliffe framed by Second Chances

There is a yellow frame planted by Second Chances in view of St Mary Redcliffe in Temple Quarter. Click through to read about how Second Chances is a theatrical guided tour and pop-up cinema experience, mixing the past, present and future of Temple

Here is the frame:

A frame of St Mary Redcliffe

Looking at a tree in front of a carpark

The big city read along with the Universe Versus Alex Woods

the-universe-versus-alex-woods-new I picked up a free book at the library this afternoon and I don’t need to return it because it’s part of a Big City Read sponsored by publishers Hodder and Stoughton, the Reading Agency, Bristol City and Somerset Council’s library services and local bookshops.

This is a giveaway with one thousand copies of Gavin Extence’s Glastonbury-based novel ‘The Universe Vs Alex Woods‘ available in libraries throughout Bristol.

The novel chronicles the adventures of unlikely teenage hero Alex Woods who, despite his unconventional start in life and clairvoyant single mother, knows lots of things, such as how long it would take to drive to the sun (over 140 years, if you drove 24 hours a day and stuck to the motorway speed limit).

When he meets ill-tempered,reclusive widower Mr Peterson he makes an unlikely friend, who tells him that you only get one shot at life. Then Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation is in uproar.

The Big City Read will culminate in special finale events in Bristol and Glastonbury, including a visit by the author to Bristol Central Library on Wednesday June, 12 at 7pm.

Tickets for the event are available at all local libraries.

Kate Murray, head of libraries for Bristol City Council said: “We’re celebrating 400 years of public libraries in Bristol this year, so we’re delighted to be able to offer our readers a birthday present in the form of this fantastic book.”

Mayfest, May 16 to 26

Here’s one of my favourite things to do with Mayfest shows: pretend that they apply to people from various parts of Bristol. For example, while walking down East Street the other week I wondered how the people walking through there would react to Hook, Skip, Repeat: being invited to use brightly coloured rope and a giant crochet needle, to help weave eye-catching spider’s web-like creations. It’s free.

How about Turning the Page, to who would this be most suited?

Imagine if your well-thumbed, outdated guidebook could talk. Think of the stories it would tell about the places it’s been, the characters encountered and narrow escapes along the way.
Through this intimate installation you are invited to investigate a series of clues hidden within a guidebook that magically come to life as you turn the pages.

How do books act as repositories of treasures and triggers of memories? When we read a book, do we leave something of ourselves in and on its pages?

I imagine that it would be magical for everyone although I may be a little biased as it is taking place in the library.

There’s something about some art installations or plays that make me think that it’s all designed for white middle-class audiences and then I read their program and realise that I am more than white and middle class.

Without trying to sound pompous (and failing), the human experience beyond labels is what the artists find as well and it was Brand New Ancients I thought of I as walked passed betting shops

The gods are in the betting shops, the gods are in the café,
The gods can’t afford the deposit on their flat …
Winged sandals tearing up the pavement,
Me, you, everyone, Brand New Ancients.

(Kate Tempest
Friday 17 – Saturday 18)

Mayfest brand new ancients

There’s also one where you are advised to only sign up if you are not afraid of heights and don’t have a heart condition. Goodness.

The Great Spavaldos

Mayfest runs from May 16 to 26 and there are many things to do – see Programme.

The Ethicurean cookbook

Cookbooks are the one print media that I can’t imagine disappearing into a collection of electronic means. One look and touch of the Ethicurean cookbook reaffirms my belief that you need solid pictures, bigger than the screen of your phone or e-reader, to see beautiful creations come alive just ingredients away. You also need the space just to appreciate the style in this book and text big enough and a medium robust enough to be able to leave it next to the stove as you cook.

The Ethicurean Cookbook

Divided into seasons, the recipes are scattered throughout with stunning accompanying pictures. Maybe too stunning, they were certainly a distraction from my search for sticky toffee apple pudding, more recently served at the restaurant with warm cinnamon infused cream, and duck confit. The former wasn’t in there but there was a section for confit which I found when I glanced through it for a second time. There was also the guessing game of whether Jack Bevan would be bearded or not in the next shot (or what he would be doing).

Aesthetically it is more than pleasing but it’s the food I’m interested in. My daughter’s dad waxed lyrical about how he thought it was so beautiful that he wouldn’t want to harm it by using it in the kitchen and having it get dirty. He doesn’t cook that much yet and I think it can only get better through use. I would have it dusted and greased and pollinated by all the ingredients I would surround it with. (Some of them are flowers.) I would write in the margins the date and names for who I cooked the meals and leave bookmarks scattered throughout for my favourite recipes. What’s the point of a book if it’s not for the beauty of its content.

So, yes, it’s beautiful because everything the Ethicurean seems to do is done well. My daughter and I have celebrated some our favourite events there with her father over the last two years and she has run around the gardens and fallen asleep in my arms while we’ve enjoyed coffee and cider and sticky toffee apple cake with cinnamon cream and looking over the garden and the valleys of Wrington.

We’ve been very grateful to the four friends who set up this restaurant in an enchanting Victorian walled garden in the Mendip Hills. With an ethos of seasonality, ethical sourcing of ingredients and attention to the local environment it is no wonder they have already been awarded the Observer Food Monthly best ethical restaurant in 2011, a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2013 and the Bristol Culture best restaurant of 2012.

Get 20% off if you travel there by bus. There are 120 exciting recipes in this book and I aim to cook most of them (apart from the rabbit ones).

Try this one for medicinal purposes : The Ethicurean cocktail. Includes thyme, vodka and honey.

m at the Ethicurean

The Ethicurean cookbook is published today by Ebury Press and costs £25.

Interview with folk singer Roy Harper

Tickets went on sale last week for folk singer Roy Harper playing Colston Hall on 27 October 2013. Here’s a link to an interview which Sam Saunders from Whisperinandhollerin did with him in 2011. He talks about music, women and death. As you do.

Roy Harper: “Well, playing with others has been sometimes inspirational and sometimes bloody awful to be honest.”

roy harper images

Grillstock, Some pictures

We went to Grillstock on Saturday and left it a little too late. The tasting table was being packed away, the chili eating contest had finished and people were more merry than social. We still had a nice time wandering around.

Some photos.

cracker jack stall at Grillstock
Grillstock 2013
some bbq preparations at Grillstock
Grillstock 2013