Monday, January 12, 2009

Part 3 - Brizzle

Our final major excursion was to Bristol, where Martha and Graham were holding their 'We ran away to Hawaii to get married' party. The family drove down early in the day so we could get in a spot of sightseeing. One of my favorite spot in probably the whole country is the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It always strikes me as exactly the right bridge for the setting, spanning the Avon Gorge. On one of the adjacent hills stands a camera obscura at the top of a short tower, and it's fun to go in and watch the cars crossing the bridge.
We were soon in need of some lunch, and the man manning the dark chamber suggested we find a pub in Clifton Village. We stumbled across the Portcullis, run by a friendly young chap who actually came out the front door to gain our custom. In the end, I'm not sure the fare was to everyone's liking, but I rather enjoyed the experience. As you may have guessed, this was because the barman served beers from small, local breweries. He had selected which varieties to have on tap and was able to recommend and talk knowledgeably to those of us to desired a fine ale.
After lunch we popped into the City Museum, which pretty much took care of all genres of history in a very small space. I took in some Natural History (including a hedgehog), Egyptian history and some ornately decorated pianos. They were also displaying the entries from a nature photography competition. The room was very crowded, and many of the pictures, while stunning, were your usual nature photography cliches. The standout for me was a shot of a lopsided mushroom in the rain. I think most people would have completely overlooked that mushroom, but the composition is great.

Having had our fill of sightseeing for the day, we checked in to the Travelodge and made ourselves pretty for the party. Well, we did our best considering the Travelodge was the grimiest place I've ever stayed in! We arrived at the hotel and met Martha, looking stunning but a little chilly in her wedding dress. Soon other family and friends began arriving and the party got started. Everyone was very interested to hear how I was getting on in America, and more importantly to meet my gorgeous fiancee. We had to spread ourselves thinly to get around everyone and still get some dancing in! It was great to see so many people again, albeit far too briefly in many cases.
We were treated to a short speech by the bride and groom, and the best man did a grand job of digging up some of Graham's embarrassing past, as is the British custom! Graham and Martha wowed us on the dancefloor, and will probably never live down the fact that their 'first dance' was to ABBA!
Soon the party was over, and ever the old folks had made it through to midnight. In the next installment: One final day in London before we bid farewell to Blighty.