|Park Street, Bristol|
Chris is at the 21st Safety-critical Systems Symposium here at the Bristol Marriott Royal, taking copious notes as he listens to the talks (on Day 3, tomorrow morning, he gives one) and I, as usual, am along for the ride. This evening he is at the conference Banquet, listening to a speech by the Hon. Sir Charles Haddon-Cave, QC, who told the uncomfortable truth about the tragic Nimrod case, calling it "a story of incompetence, complacency and cynicism," and who is consequently one of Chris' heroes. Instead of sharing the Banquet, I have just had a French supper for one at the Café Rouge, which in my own way I probably appreciated just as much, contentedly reading the Ottawa author Mark Frutkin's memoirs of a draft resister, "Erratic North," between courses and sips of red wine, and watching the people go by up the hill (Park Street) towards the university.
Inside the Wills Memorial
tower, on Park Street
Monday evening, Chris and I took the train to Bristol, exploring the vicinity of the hotel after dark when it was mild enough to sit on a bench and look at the boats on the water, not something we can do in Ottawa at this time of year. We went for a walk up and down the hill as well, which walk I repeated yesterday (Tuesday) in the company of Faith, with a day return ticket from Cardiff, and her friend Ben, who lives in Bristol. We found the Clifton suspension bridge, near which Ben encouraged me to pick up a leaflet that proved most interesting, about the remains of a 500ft long cliff railway, presently being restored, that had been built inside the Clifton Rocks in 1891. The construction was quite ingenious.
If the lower car was heavier than the top car, water was allowed to flow into a tank underneath the top car until it was heavier than the lower car. Water had to be recycled from the bottom station constantly, as there was not a continuous supply at the top station. A Crossley gas engine pumped the water from a reservoir at the bottom station, some 230 feet to the top station.
|I K Brunel's suspension bridge, spanning the Avon Gorge|
|Old cemetery near Victoria Square, Bristol|
|Detail on a gravestone|
Today, I used a Bristol-Cardiff day return to meet Mum again, doing some shopping in Cardiff and taking a stroll through the old Arcades and past the snowdrops in Bute Park, the daffodils and magnolia trees not quite in flower yet. To my delight, in the chilly north wind, it was another fine, bright day.
I took the opportunity to participate in Evensong at the Cathedral, as I did this time last year, not once but twice, this time round, sitting in the "Quire" stalls on successive evenings, once on the south side, once on the north, hearing / watching both the girls' choir and the boys' choir sing under the carved stone arches. I listened to settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Moeran and Ridout, responses by Piccolo and Nixon, and anthems by SS Wesley and Holman. At this evening's service I joined in the Isaac Watts hymn O God Our Help In Ages Past (fine words), but I didn't know and can't remember the hymn I sang yesterday. I heard readings from Isiah, about the Beautiful Feet of them that preach the Gospel of Peace, and the passage about scapegoats and the Man of Sorrows, who is acquainted with grief. There was a tremendous pillar-shaking organ voluntary, which I haven't been able to identify, at the end of yesterday's service.
Tomorrow, once the conference is over, Chris and I return to Cardiff for the night.