Possibly the most perfect cup of coffee this year.
Park Row, Bristol
Possibly the most perfect cup of coffee this year.
Park Row, Bristol
Black Coffee at Hart’s Bakery
Sometimes Hart’s Bakery is the best thing about travel.
Coming back from holiday
Here is where we were, it was a lovely place and we have a rather wonderful time – I forgot to take pictures of the coffees
A Tuesday, last day before work
I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to spend four days a week with my daughter.
“Now it’s early. It’s early in the morning. Early in the morning and I ain’t got nothing but the blues.”
– Five Guys Named Moe (best musical I’ve seen)
17 July 2013
Thursday’s coffee has far to go
Coffee that got thrown out
The coffee had been opened at least two-three weeks and it tasted of nothing so I threw it out after a quick taste. I like the picture though.
Coffee at Wallfish Bistro
Most pleasant coffee. No soy milk on their first day but as they told me, they are happy to take suggestions.
A small piece on their breakfast which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Coffee in Clifton
Second coffee of the day at a Clifton playground where I ran into another mum who was at my antenatal class. We met for breakfast with M’s dad before he left for a few days.
(For consistency and flow 23-July-2013)
Coffee on the way to work
Golden Girls, knitting and a soy white mocha.
This is the knitting I’ve been obsessing over (free pattern):
Coffee at work
Saturday morning coffee
Early to bed, early to rise and all that. This coffee preceded a day around Bristol starting on Whiteladies at River Cottage for breakfast and ending up at the Stable for pizza and cider. There was much rain in between and three hours spent at the Bristol Old Vic where M had a nap.
At the Harbour Festival
A surprisingly wonderful Harbour Festival this year and here’s our last stop – at Cafe Gusto on the Harbourside for two machiattos (one with soy). M got to play with the toys. The paint on her face resembled a tiger for a while.
I was terrified of taking her out among hundreds-of-thousands of people but the rain drove most away luckily and her dad had a good plan for avoiding most of the crowds. We actually visited a fair few of the permanent non-festival things such as the M Shed, the Youth Hostel and Gusto (plus the Gromits at Aardman).
Morning coffee with the winning cup
M and I both won cups from the Clipper stand. You had to spin a wheel which had a one in five chance of landing at the right spot. Mersina was so happy to have won something that as soon as we got home she demanded to drink her juice from it. This morning her cup held my coffee at about 6 in the morning.
Second coffee of the day
My first coffee at Boston Tea Party was curdled so I took it back. My next one came with the information that the first was too hot which is why it curdled. I didn’t bother taking it back after discovering it too had become clumpy and lumpy. I just removed about a third of it and drank the rest. Not the most pleasant experience.
I ate my porridge while staring over at Starbucks across the way – there would have been perfect soy milk and porridge there but I chose to go independent instead. Good for Bristol but not for my taste.
Two days ago, I had some black-looking thick and ugly mushrooms on toast at River Cottage Cafe. They were most unpleasant to look at with the grimy streaks they left on my place and weren’t exactly exploding with flavour. A week before that I had been served the most beautiful looking girolles on toast served with herby butter and arranged like little flowers around and top of a slice of sourdough.
The Wallfish in Clifton may only have started serving brunch for the first time last weekend but they were certainly miles ahead of the River Cottage on service and flavour. They were perhaps a little overenthusiastic with the drinks menu which I was handed as I walked in and all the cocktails listed on the breakfast menu are a bit daunting for 10am but nevertheless, I have become a big fan of their breakfasts.
Their baked beans are home-made and taste authentically country-farm (probably). They were lovely and smokey and have bits of bacon. I ordered them for my daughter but she was not impressed as they tasted nothing like Heinz.
I did wonder about the freshness of our bread as the delivery came in from Jo’s Bakery on Gloucester Road after we had been served but it was toasted and sourdough so I wasn’t surprised at needing a knife to cut it, it tasted ok. The water jug looked like a fish and glugged when you poured in a most pleasing way. I liked it. I’ll be back.
Updated: 2014-05-21 In pursuit of the best Bristol novel ever written the first stage is finding as many Bristol novels as possible. Then there will be a selection and then the tournament.
In Progress: last updated 09 August, 2013 07.58am
And the best ever Bristol novel is … (the list so far)
LA Weekly have been running a 32-book tournament to discover the best LA novel ever written and it got me thinking about the best Bristol book and how to find it.
Bristol has a long and fascinating association with literature but it seems to be one of the less celebrated cultural aspects of the city. Treasure Island was purported to have been written just around the corner from where the Bristol Old Vic set its production two years ago. Allen Lane (1902-1970), the found of Penguin Books was Bristol-born and educated and there are many more well-known and lots not-so-known works that bring life to characters and places.
There’s a list on Goodreads about books based in Bristol but there are only 10 on it including Jeffrey Archer and something about a pole dancer. To be fair there’s also Julian Barnes’ peculiarly-reviewed A sense of an ending and Smack by Malvin Burgess.
Not much fodder for a tournament however.
Bristol Reads offer their own slightly more literary selection which includes Philippa Gregory and Eugene Byrne
The Last Llanelli Train by Robert Lewis sounds fascinating (2005). It features an alcoholic private detective specialising in the seedier side
of his trade, this noir crime-fiction novel is set amid the squalor and splendour of Bristol.
I had assumed the criteria for a Bristol novel would have to include a Bristol setting but there are other links to Bristol : Julie Burchill is a Journalist and novelist born in Bristol and I don’t know whether any of her books are set here. There’s also Jules Hardy, winner of the WHSmith Fresh Talent Award in 2002.
Eugene Byrne Things Unborn (2001).
E H Young The Misses Mallett (1922).
Marguerite Steen The Sun Is My Undoing (1941)
Philippa Gregory A Respectable Trade (1995).
Lucy English Selfish People (1998).
Lillian Bouzane In the Hands of the Living God (1999)
Jeannie Johnson A Penny for Tomorrow (2003).
Daniel Mayhew Life and How to Live it (2004).
Robert Lewis The Last Llanelli Train (2005)
Ed Trewavas Shawnie (2006).
Caroline Carver Gone Without Trace (2007)
Austen, Jane – Northanger Abbey (1818) (Blaize Castle is destination for an abortive expedition in Northanger Abbey)
Brown, Chris – Guilty Tiger
Cusk, Rachel – Arlington Park (2010)
Dickens, Charles – Pickwick Papers (1836)
Flood, C.J. – Infinite Sky (2013)
Godwin, John – Children of the Wave
Hall, M.R. – The Coroner (Jenny Cooper 1) (2009)
Lee, Jonathan – Who is Mr Satoshi (2010)
Maughan, Tim – Paintwork (2011)
Nichols, David – Starter for Ten (2004)
Smollett, Tobias – The Expedition of Humphry Clinker
Some additions from blogger Nose in a Book.
Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar
Dead Innocent by Maureen O’Brien
Future Bristol edited by Colin Harvey
Manson, Mike – Where’s My Money
The Sun is my Undoing by Marguerite Steen
Nathan Filer : https://twitter.com/nathanfiler
Missorts – a location-based work by app and writing;
I’ve contacted the following:
Akeman Press – publishers of books about Bath but they may know of some Bristol novels as they are regional specialists;
Bristol Short Story Prize – they read many Bristol stories.
Local history books for sale at the library – scroll down – link
University of Bristol
City of Bristol College
Dunmore, Helen – author of 11 novels
James, Amanda – A Stitch in Time
Powell, Gareth L.
The Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group – blog
There are all the authors from the Bristol Short Story Anthologies –
My coffee is in front of Maya, daughter of artist Luke Jerram, and now a pixelated sculpture at Bristol Temple Meads. The piece is made up of more than 5,000 photographic scans made into pixelated cubes.
I shared my attempt to find the little girl yesterday with Bristol Culture.
I drank my coffee while my daughter watched Mike the Knight* on Cbeebies. The show is on for about seven minutes. I also made toast for both of us, washed some dishes, made the coffee and then sat down to check my email. By then she’d finished with Mike and we were on to the Wiggles and Wallace and Gromit.
23 July, 2013
*Mike the Knight says practise is very important. I agree.
Today’s first coffee was in a hotel at the picturesque and quaint town of Painswick. In a garden, overlooking the Cotswolds, I poured black coffee from a small white jug into my white china cup. My two-year-old daughter was not happy at having to take second place to the men I was talking to. They were running through a crib sheet of things to look out for on my visit to the Rococo Gardens for a spot of secret filming. We had to pause until M’s auntie and cousin arrived to watch her as she was too upset.
I didn’t take a picture but see above, I visited the Exedra at the Rococo Garden a little later.
My second coffee was drunk at home. Made in the percolator and served with condensed milk. Every other train on the Cross Country service from Bristol Temple Meads through Birmingham seemed to have been delayed or cancelled and it’d been the hottest day of the year.
M and I were out of the house from 7.30ish until after 4pm. It was a very hot, sticky and long day. When we got home, we dropped everything near the front door and got into a cool bath for about an hour.
After barely getting dressed we sat down and relaxed. The cup of coffee was a bit of a sigh after a tiring day.
This Sunday was a busy one as I sorted out paperwork that went back years. It took hours but it was very satisfactory.
21 July, 2013
Countdown City is the sequel to the Edgar-Award winning Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters (see review here). With 77 days to go before a deadly asteroid collides with the earth, Detective Hank Palace is out of a job. The Concord police force now operates under the auspices of the US Justice Department, and Hank’s days of solving crimes are over, until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband. Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace – an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone’s gone “bucket list” or just gone.
With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off “impact zone” refugees. Is the conspiracy from his previous investigation actually real and happening, and is Cavatone part of it? Or is he one of the growing band of survivalists? How do plans to attack a US Navy Base fit into his disappearance, if at all? And how do you mount an investigation in a country under martial law, where there are food and water riots, where an undermanned police force does not bother to investigate the soaring crime rate but simply tries to keep as many people alive as possible so they can die at a later date, and where the most popular saying is “Who’s Counting?” – because, of course, everyone is.
Winters’ style is as practical and detailed in the second novel as he is in the first and yet he allows some touching bits of humanity to come through without resorting to melodrama and hysteria. The end of the world may be unimaginable to most without horror but here is a great work which envisages how day-to-day life would still be lived and how social interactions might in turn stay the same while in entirely different contexts. It’s a scary view of a situation which sounds very real.
I was critical of the way the love interest was introduced and dealt with in the first novel and this feeling has followed me to the second one as well. That was the only part that didn’t read particularly well and it’s not because of the setting. I think it’s a weakness of Winters’ but this is the only part that I don’t get along with. I’m looking forward to the third book (once I finish this second one).
£9.99 by Quirk Publishing, Published July 16, 2013.