Well here we go again, a day later than my usual Friday jaunt. This week, I’ve chosen a festive trip. The  key event was on Saturday, rather than Friday, but what the heck – I’m flexible! This is the first time on my Friday (Saturday) adventure that I could take friends along. They all normally work on Fridays, which somewhat limits their ability to join in.

It popped up on What’s on in Bristol. Illuminated Boat Parade. Sounds nice, I thought. Bit festive; chance to wander around Christmas markets, grab a mulled wine, then wander down to the harbour and enjoy the parade – why not?

So I gathered some available companions, booked some group tickets on the train and anticipated a festive, jolly trip, particularly as no-one needed to drive.

Soggy bottoms

It could have been snowy or frosty and bright, but no…. a balmy 15 degrees and pouring with rain. Never mind, we thought. We’re British and used to it. Brollies in hand, we tramped from Bristol Templemeads into Broadmead, ladies delicately dodging the ginormous puddles, whilst the blokes just sploshed through them.

We could have caught a bus, but I’m glad we didn’t, because we would have missed these:

We were more than a little damp by the time we arrived at the Christmas market. We were all agreed – a little tipple to cheer us up! So we crammed into the cider and mulled wine bar in the centre of Broadmead. Every shopper in Bristol had decided the same as us!


The men hit the bar, whilst Lou and I stalked groups of people who looked like they were about to leave their seats. To no avail – the only seats available were in the splash zone of a nearby roof, and none of us wanted what Mary Berry made famous; soggy bottoms….


Shopping anyone?

So we stood for a bit, drinking mulled wine from paper cups, until it got unseasonably hot and sweaty. Time for a bit of shopping on the way to the harbour.

There were lots of beautiful gifty things on the market stalls, but we ended up with 2 new brollies for £6!

For those of you that read my first blog, 19240 Shrouds of the Somme , you will know that I discovered a number of nice spots on my walk up Corn Street. On this trip, we walked down Corn Street. I was hoping to catch the sights and smells of the streetfood stalls, but the rain had dampened enthusiasm for the stall holders, who were packing up.

So we nipped into St Nicholas Market, mainly to get out of the rain – and find a loo! Nice to put the brollies down for a bit.

After a while, we exhausted our shopping tolerance, and streetfood was already off the menu. It was too early for the Illuminated Boat Parade. Still, we were in a street full of pubs and restaurants, so thoughts turned to a meal – and of course, a small prosecco in the Walkabout Bar while we were deciding where to go.

Here’s us in an obligatory selfie – we’d dried out a bit by now.


It was a bit of a shock to find that every restaurant within a mile was fully booked! We moved on the Commercial Rooms, where there were more Christmas jumpers than Primark! The party atmosphere was very cheery, if a little risque….


It was fast becoming a Merry Christmas!

Illuminated boat parade………….

Eventually,the restaurant was booked and Christmas cheer was building up alongside the lager and prosecco. A quick walk down the hill and through the roadworks (they seem to be everywhere in Bristol) and we were at the harbourside. Still chucking it down though…….

We stood, excitedly looking for the illuminated boats. We looked…….and looked.

I think we missed them, apart from the canoe!

Somewhat disappointed, we headed for the restaurant.tikka-flame

We had a lovely meal and more prosecco, before having another last look around for illuminated boats.

Nope. Musta missed ’em!

The rain had finally stopped and it was a pleasant walk at the end of a fun day out, back to the station to catch the last train.

Bit of a train issue

You know how it is with trains – Sod’s Law often comes into play. Well, we got to the platform to find that our train, which was the last one of the evening to stop at Milton (allowing two of us to walk home from there) was delayed by 30 minutes. Ho hum.

This meant that the last train of the evening, which didn’t stop at Milton but went straight to Weston, was to arrive 5 minutes earlier than the Milton one, and was on time. Knowing trains as I do, I could see that the delayed train could get delayed even more, so it would be better to go on the one direct to Weston and get a taxi home.

Hmm, 35 minutes to kill. Every refreshment establishment on the station was closed – before 10pm – with loads of people still on the station. In desperate need of refreshment (after all, it had been at least 30 minutes since we finished the last drink….) we walked back down the hill to the Restless Engineer. We could hear very loud music emanating from the dodgy-looking building before we even crossed the road but, as there was nowhere else to get a drink, we decided to brave it anyway.

What a surprise! The pub was really small, and there was a spare table – what a novelty !

The ceiling was amazing. The band was amazing.


A quick drink, then we legged it back to the station, running along the tunnel and up to the platform, with seconds to spare before the train doors closed. What a good end to the day!

And finally…….

As I sit here typing with a hangover, I’m reflecting on the main things I learnt from yesterday’s trip:post-trip-fitbit-reading

  1. This type of trip is the best way of adding steps to the day.I never even noticed, but my fitbit said over 15, 000 steps!
  2. Have modern pub toilets become as much a place to be seen as the pub itself? We noticed the decor – artwork, seats and tables – and loads of ladies chatting together!
  3. I want my living room ceiling to be like the one in the Reckless Engineer – balls!