Sunday, 17 February 2008

neighbourhood watch

We wandered down through the People's Republic of Stokes Croft, on our way to St Nick's Market- Katie has a new piece of plastic and a date with destiny at Beast and the stall that sells cuddly animals....

PRSC is a lively place. We looked at the exhibition in the Here Gallery, lunched at Pie Minister, noted the blokes with dreadlocks and cans of Special Brew lolling on Turbo Island, admired the graffiti... ticked quite a few of the tourist boxes, in fact. I'm glad it's there, and secretly glad we're just up the hill from it rather than in the thick of it...

And then an afternoon trip to see what Portishead Marina looks like.

I like old docklands. I like the air of dereliction and ramshackledom, the feeling that great things were once done here and epic voyages undertaken; and have admired it in places like Newport, Barry, Cardiff, Marseilles, Valletta, Colombo, and ...oh, all sorts of places. Modern docks combine dullness spread over hundreds of acres with the imminent prospect of being squished by the large lumps of machinery rumbling around.

And then there are harbourside developments.

I never got to see what Portishead Docks were like before the development, as the entrance was barred by a gate.

Now, the way lies clear before you, although if you stop to take a picture of a misspelt road sign ("Pheonix Way"? I don't think so) you will likely get beeped at by some jerk in a Merc. Thank you. Maybe if I lived here I'd have a sense of humour failure too.

This place ticked all the right boxes to bring out my snobbishness. Buildings-for-living-in simulating dockside warehouses, a job lot of art-lite sculpture, "thou shalt not" signs, rows of expensive boats, and absence of amenities. Maybe the residents alternate between the telly and the leisure centre just outside the gates.

The east wind funneled down the breakwater and froze us. We gybed, and ran before it. All the way back to Bristol.