Wanders near Bristol: Rowberrow and Dolebury Warren (Part 2)

(For part 1, see here.)

When I read the word ‘fort’ on a map, despite knowing that this is never going to be the case, a little part of me always hopes for (and maybe still actually expects) an enormous, forbidding stone tower with turrets and ramparts- perhaps with Game of Thrones characters wearing furs, striding around, shading their eyes from the sun and looking majestic.

Of course, this is never the case, and it wasn’t at Dolebury Warren. The fort was constructed in the Iron Age. This is quite a long time ago; so, even though it’s what the archaeologists call ‘very well preserved’, to an untrained casual observer like me, all there is to actually see at Dolebury Warren is a large grass-covered lump- or rather, two large grass-covered lumps (with some piled stones in the surrounds-I assume the stone piles are a more recent addition, though I’m not sure why they’re there).

Continue reading


Reviewing Bristol #2: Maintaining standards (except Amy)

This is what I do when I can’t bear to think about serious things, IE when the BBC is insisting on broadcasting constant propaganda round the clock about how we have to go into Syria and save the poor defenseless women and children from ISIS (what are you worried about, people? Look at all the other Middle Eastern democracies we’ve successfully built!).

Behold, Bristol’s finest Google reviewers, making life seem trivial again.

I’m not angry, just disappointed

Jesus, Amy. Start thinking seriously about the way you treat people, or you’re riding for a fall, lady. A serious fall.

I’d love to think he was trying to be funny, but I’ve got the sinking feeling that he’s deadly serious.

Continue reading

Onion Skins and the Paranormal (or: A Short Stint as an Ethical Cleaner)

Note: I found this piece of writing in my folders and was quite excited because I never got around to writing Part 2 when I started it about four years ago. So now I’ll finish it at some point, but it might not turn out the way I originally intended.


I was secretly pretty happy about the fact that I was doing a cleaning job, and a Masters at the same time. Though I did neither particularly well, I liked the fact that telling people about it – if I got the tone right- made me sound serious and conscientious; the type of person who ended up quietly damaging their health permanently through overwork, but of whom people said, “She’s just so….inspirational. She just gets on with it and never whinges or complains.” Since this is not and has never been the case (I complain loudly at any given opportunity) I didn’t really tell too many people about the cleaning job at first, waiting instead to fine tune the aura of saintliness. Launching in with it too soon probably also would have spilled the truth; that it was actually a whole lot of fun. This would have reconfirmed the absolutely correct impression people have of me that I will avoid anything looking like genuinely hard work.

The cleaning firm was run by a bright, extremely tall and angular woman called Nettie, who dressed as if on route to a Cath Kidston catalogue shoot and whose pert, pretty range of multiple children (I never quite worked out how many, there were loads of them distributed throughout the house at different times) had names like Jemima and Albie. Jemima wore designer corduroy trousers at the age of two, and her bedroom was bigger than mine was at the time.

Continue reading

Reviewing Bristol: Not one plain scone. Anywhere.

My housemates and I were looking our local Tesco up on Google Maps the other day. 

Somehow we happened across the Google Reviews. It had never occurred to me that anyone in the world might use up the precious seconds of their life writing a review of a store that is essentially just a giant hangar full of brightly-lit corporate meh, but they do. 

Somehow (and I admit I was fully intending to be trawling through the listings looking for a place to live this evening) I ended up looking at reviews of all the supermarkets in Bristol, finding them weirdly compelling. 

So now I am probably going to live with my friends for another month and not in a nice flat near the waterfront with the ability to watch ‘Made in Chelsea’ in the nude.

However, on balance, I’m happy with my life because I’ve read these reviews.

Continue reading