Monday, 10 August 2009

From Bristol hell to Pennsylvanian paradise!

Balloons taking off above Bristol -view from Pennsylvania.

After a relatively stressful working week I decided that a wonderful way to relax would be to go to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, where there would be the opportunity to photograph the Red Arrows and lots of hot air balloons -two things I have never tried to photograph before.

I was a little apprehensive about spending my prized day off looking at balloons and things, so in the interests of balance I told myself I had to visit my favourite nursery on the way there -just in case the rest of the day was pants (I always like to have a back up plan)! This made for and excellent start to the day. The sun was shining, the bees a buzzing and I had the nursery to myself -brilliant! Of course I was very restrained and didn't buy anything... ... well not much, honest! O.K! O.K! I confess I got a Melianthus major, Ipomea Sweet Heart Purple, Salvia muelleri, Salvia 'Dyson's Orange Pink' and an Agastache 'Painted Lady'. I don't know what it is, I tell myself so firmly that I am only going window shopping, but then I see the plants, and well I just can't help myself! You must know what I mean?!

So happy with my new purchases I pootled off to Bristol.

I HATE driving in Bristol. It's hideous! Even when you have to do a simple task such as following the ring road it becomes the most confusing and stressful task in the universe. When I finally arrived at my destination I joined the back of a long queue of traffic and sat patiently waiting to get in. Having parked on the top of a very steep hill I began the descent to the bottom and the "fiesta". It was at this point, watching the hordes of people walking down the hill that I started to have this kind of sinking feeling. It got worse when I spotted a young lady in a baby pink track suit walking this...

Chav dog extraordinaire!

So at long last I reached the bottom of the hill, and saw what I can only describe as Hell. Well my vision of hell anyway, I am sure there are many people that would have enjoyed it, unfortunately I was not one of them. As far as the eye could see there were people, thousands and thousands of people crammed into a very large field filled with vomit inducing fairground rides, blaring dance music and greasy burger vans. There were more girls dressed in neon orange t-shirts with matching plastic beads and men drinking beer from plastic cups than you could possibly ever imagine. This was certainly not my idea of a relaxing afternoon out. I am trying so hard not to describe what I saw as a Chav fest, but I really don't think I can call it anything else.

So after a 40 minute wait to use the portaloos I left the fiesta and scrambled back up the hill as fast as my legs could carry me!

By the time I reached the top, the red arrows display had started and I sat back and watched the display in peace and quiet away from the heaving mob below.

After the display, I got in the car and drove as far away from Bristol as I could get. It is a charming city in many ways but the Balloon Fiesta was not for me. I guess you never find these things out until you try them! I took my foot off the gas somewhere around Bath when I could see the hot air balloons rising into the evening sky above Bristol. I pulled off the road in a little place called Pennsylvania and decided to take some pictures from there.

Balloons over Bristol.

I liked Pennsylvania. There was no one except me, the cows and the rolling hills.

The cows.

You know where you are with cows. I guess what I realised is, I will always be a country girl at heart. I just don't enjoy crowds of people and loud music, never have (and never will). I am most at ease in the quiet of a field, listening to the birds and looking for wild flowers.

Skipper butterfly on wild scabious.

Beetle on wild scabious.

Snails on cow parsley.

Wild salsify seed head.

View towards Bristol from Pennsylvania.

So not surprisingly my favourite shots of the day were not of planes, balloons, neon t-shirts or chav dogs!


Juliet said...

The fiesta sounds horrible, RO - I'd have done what you did, I think, but without queueing for the portaloo (nasty smelly things) - I'd have just found the nearest GC with a loo instead!

R has to go to Bristol for a couple of conferences later this year - I think he will probably get the train and I will tell him I need to visit the nursery while we're there.

Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog said...

Love your blog and your lovely cats. We have two Tonks as well (if you look at my labels for "cats", you'll see some photos of them). Aren't Tonks the best?

Yes, that fiesta sounded like one of those places that in theory would be fun. But not in reality. I also can't take crowds like that. But please educate an American - what's a Chav fest?

Your photos of the balloons are great!

Rothschild Orchid said...

Jean your fur babies are gorgeous! Tonks most definitely are the best.

Definition of Chav

Ditto said...

Great post. I had to go look up the term Chav as well. Not a term I've heard used here across the pond, although now that I know the meaning, I fear that we may have unleashed them upon you in the first place, although around here, you rarely see them outside of their rice rockets.

I believe your moth is actually skipper butterfly (Thymelicus sylvestris?)

Rothschild Orchid said...

Thanks Ditto, I had been meaning to try and get it identified. Just had a look at a few pics and it does indeed look like a Skipper. Not one I have seen before so it's nice to add another one to the list I've now spotted.

I'm afraid it's you whose lost me now! I've never heard the term rice rockets before???

Ditto said...

They take cheap Japanese (thus the rice) sports cars, usually black, and cover them with chrome and subwoofers. You feel them coming before you see them, a sort of rhythmic vibration in the air from the bass. Their driving skills are about as good as their conversation skills, but more reckless (thus the rocket).

Rothschild Orchid said...

Ah, over here we call them 'Barry Boys'