Home again



Somewhat symmetrically… back at southern cross for sunrise. Turns out our fellow passenger from London was also catching the Sandringham line, we meet him again on the platform.

Dolphins! On the bay past Brighton Beach. Good to be home.

Bristol Street Art

Bristol Street Art Tours – although we could have walked the streets of Bristol for free and seen these amazing works, we wouldn’t have had a window into the other world that street artists inhabit.  Our guide opened up the complexity of practicing street art – legality vs illegality, tourism, technical production, attitudes from city authority, impermanence,  the inter-generational conflict, digital archiving and promotion, and international participation in the recent historical context.

I was so good, I didn’t mind it was 12 degrees and raining.

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BTW, the guide did cover Banksy, too.

Bristol – Squirrels around Cabot Tower

The squirrels around Cabot tower are obviously hand-fed; they come hunting around to see if you will feed them. In this case, the squirrel wanted to see if the camera was edible. The grey squirrel is an invasive species in the UK; the red squirrel it is displacing was signposted in a number of places in the Lake District (including one notable 20% gradient and squirrel alert sign), but we failed to spot any.








SS Great Britain

The SS Great Britain is one of the first hybrid steam driven screw/sail power iron construction ocean going ships. Built in Bristol in the mid-1800s, it was scuttled in the Falkland Islands in the 1930s. It was then salvaged in the 1970s and returned, with the dry-dock used to construct it retired by receiving the recovered vessel and being converted into a museum conserving the ship.

The most unusual thing I found out from the exhibition, is that the ship was later converted to have a retractable prop to allow pure sail driven locomotion. In the late 1800s they were trying to save money in the cargo freight business by avoiding burning coal!

The displays seem to be dumbed down a little and would be quite accessible to a younger audience, at the cost of drawing you into the engineering details and illustrating Brunel’s mastery.

The olfactory component of the ship kitchen and bakery exhibits was a nice touch.

All in all, a good experience.







Transit time from Australia to Bristol via Dubai and Heathrow, courtesy of Metrotrains, Skybus, Qantas and National Express was around 32 hours including all transfers. While Danielle had been around here for a week visiting Ben, I spent only spent two nights in Clifton. Nearby attractions include Cabot Tower, SS Great Britain, and the Brunel Suspension Bridge.


houses in Clifton, Bristol


Bristol panorama from Cabot Tower.


Ducks, in the water labyrinth beneath Cabot Tower


Strawberry clover, beneath Cabot Tower


Meadow inspection, beneath Cabot Tower

Brunel Suspension Bridge.

Brunel Suspension Bridge.


Bristol Railway Station Art Installation – Aluminium on Brick


Bristol Railway Station – Art Installation. We are becoming digitised?



Today brought us through wonderful Welsh countryside to Llangollen. The river Dee rushes past the old corn mill, now a pub, and steam trains run on the other side of the river.

The pub celebrates the history of trap shooting.


Chirk and the local nobility


Today we’ve arrived in Chirk. Transferring train at Newport was like arriving in a foreign european country – not the mother country like Bristol. All the station signs were bilingual. The train through the Welsh country side was lovely. On arrival at Chirk, we walked across to the hotel, puzzling about the sweet smell in the air. Turns out that a chocolate factory opened here around 1967, as we found later from a local.

The Hand Hotel, Chirk (pictured), four centuries old, was owned by the local Myddleton family until 1911. The Myddleton’s had also owned the local castle (constructed in Norman times) since the 1600s.

After eating lunch at The Hand and then checking in, we checked out where to buy provisions in the morning (including the butcher’s 6 varieties of bacon), and then started a walk up the hill to the castle. The walk through meadows and farm land was lovely.

The castle is now owned or long term leased by the National Trust, but one wing is still inhabited by the Myddleton family. The surrounding farming operation seemed to have been outsourced / agisted over the past century. The bus driver for the national trust shuttle to the car park kindly gave us a lift home at the end of the day. He told us how his grandparents and father had worked on the estate most of the 1900s.

Heading off

I’m excited to be finished work and to be going to join Danielle today. Not quite Brighton in the UK yet. Soon though. Well at least somewhere in the general vicinity.


Brighton Beach stop on the Sandringham line.

We will be posting to our travel blog once again, at least I will be; Danielle has not contributed much in the past week. She has been seeing her brother in Bristol, this past week, ahead of me.