About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, will be published early in 2022 by Indigo Dreams. I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy. https://theleapingword.com

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Narroways, Boiling Wells and Cut Throat Lane

Apart from a doomed attempt to escape in the 1980s, I've lived in Bristol all my life, but there are many parts I don't know that well. A native's complacency, perhaps. 

One of the areas I should know a lot better is the borderland of St Werburghs, St Andrews and Montpelier, not least because I was born there, in a Salvation Army Hospital for Unmarried Mothers on Ashley Hill - though my mother (she would hasten to add) was, in fact, with husband. 

So with an afternoon to spare last Sunday, nearby Narroways Hill, a pocket of wild in this sizeable city, felt like a good place to start exploring. 

This is one of the footbridges at Narroways Hill junction. It was here that 21-year-old Ada James was fatally attacked by her fiancé, Ted Palmer, on 27th January 1913.

Ada managed to stagger all the way back to Mina Road in St Werburghs, despite the throat wound she'd sustained.  She later died in the Infirmary. 

The route she took that night is known locally as Cut Throat Lane. 

Even off the hill, down in St Werbs, it's bosky. 

A continuation of the footpath took us up to Ashley Hill, and another view of St Werburghs Church tower, now a climbing centre. (The church, that is - not the tower.)

More footpath took us along to this much-loved footbridge, again over the railway, on the edge of Montpelier and St Andrews.

Back on Ashley Hill, we took in the views over the allotments to Purdown and the secondary school where I work. 

Immediately before us, Boiling Wells Valley. (Not because they did anything interesting with vats down there, which is what I always thought - no, it's on account of the effervescent natural springs, apparently.)

In the middle distance, behind the trees, the Vale of IKEA. (No industrial or retail associations here either. It's probably to do with dog poo before it became the norm to clear it up.)

Yet another footpath (there are loads of them around here) took us through some of the allotments, about which I have mixed feelings. 

I mean clearly they are A Good Thing. Patches of green in the city, part of its pleuritic lung. And, rather sweetly, they remind me of strip lynchets ... 

... you know, when the soon-to- be-landed gentry pushed to the front of the queue, stole the ground beneath our feet, and let us have tiny parcels of it back. 

Since we're on a political note, down in Boiling Wells Valley there were reminders of the General Election just passed ...

... and its really quite hopeful outcome. 

I didn't have a magic marker on me so had to content myself with adulterating the photo of this board later, rather than the board itself. 

I was beginning to feel a bit disgruntled about the lack of fauna to photograph when I caught sight of one of our rarer species, a feral velociraptor in its natural habitat. 

That was enough to send us scurrying up the lane ... 

... past the geese ...

... and back to our starting point. 

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