About Me

My photo
Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Friday 23 April 2021

Bristol, the morning after the Saturday night before, after lockdown

I have a collection of poems mostly set in Bristol coming out later this year. It's called 'Learning Finity', and I need an arresting cover photograph, so I got up early last Sunday and went to town to wander the old lanes.

In my enthusiasm for the project, I'd overlooked the fact it was the morning after the Saturday night before, after lockdown, and it wasn't that pleasant down there. The Mud Dock car park was full of discarded food, take-away packaging and broken glass, and the stench of piss in the doorways and alleyways was overwelming. Not that this state of affairs isn't understandable, with no venues able to offer inside eating, and all the public toilets closed years ago on account of the council thinking 'let's try and keep within our meagre budget by making them use shops and pubs, because there will never come a time when those facilities are out of commission, will there?' 

Anyhow, here are some photos, one or two of which are contenders for a cover and most of which aren't. I haven't made up my mind which of my shortlist to use yet. 

St Augustine's Reach

The empty plinth where the slavetrader once stood

The old SWEB building, St John on the Wall, and St Lawrence House, where I worked in the mid 80s, now student accommodation

The bottom of Zed Alley

Looking up the upper section of Zed Alley. My great-grandmother used to go to school somewhere here in the 1870s

Looking down the upper part of Zed Alley

Christmas Steps, where my great-grandmother lived with her parents and sisters

I'd completely forgotten about these. I begged my mother for one for Christmas because I wanted to be a writer so badly - I think I must have been about five - only for her to point out - quite reasonably - that it wasn't actually a proper typewriter because it didn't have any keys. I was gutted ... 

Down Johnny Ball Lane

Looking through one of the side arches of  St John's Gate, up Broad Street

Leonard Lane

St Nicholas Street

Welsh Back


  1. It seems we've been wandering similar places recently (I wonder how many other people have wandered down Zed Alley in the last week...) The middle of Bristol's changed quite a lot while we've been in lockdown. I noticed my first Bristol employer's building being torn down—but then it was the ugly thing behind the Everard building frontage, and desperately needed knocking down!

    1. I always think William Morris would have hated the frontage of the Everard building, though I love to look up and see him there.

      That's a great photo of Zed Alley, thanks for linking to it. It does get overlooked as a short cut in favour of Christmas Steps, but it has an atmosphere all of its own.