Bristol institution Boston Tea Party have extended their upstairs space in their Park Street cafe. We popped in yesterday morning for a quick coffee and were pleasantly surprised by the sudden spaciousness.

It used to be a Tuesday morning ritual of mine to pop in for a West Country breakfast. Increased working hours has put paid to that in recent months but as a special birthday favour to myself I took the day off last week and rekindled the cooked breakfast flame. And boy was it good.


a few days in Copenhagen

Copenhagen sunset
At the end of May we spent a few days in the beautiful city of Copenhagen, my first visit to the Danish capital and our first trip using couchsurfing site Airbnb. We found a small, bright apartment in a block standing a stone's throw from the rectangular lakes between the city centre and the vibrant area of Nørrebro and the more cosy Østerbro.

Given the sun and heat we tried to take things a little easy, though that didn't always work out as we attempted to cram in as much as possible. Highlight of our stay for me was an hour-long boat trip along the river and harbours. We were treated to some beautiful architecture - the impressive Black Diamond library building and Opera House, Holmen's waterside housing schemes including one where you can drive your boat into the building, the world-famous Noma restaurant and the Little Mermaid statue.

The boat also took us through the canals of Christianshavn, busy with people enjoying a cool drink beside the river, and around Slotsholmen and the Christiansborg Palace, home to the Danish Parliament, Danish Prime Minister's Office and, of course, main location for the excellent TV drama Borgen.

Sortedams Sø
Well worth a visit was Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an impressive art museum which is home to a wealth of Mediterranean sculpture and French and Danish paintings. The afternoon we visited was baking and we pretty much had the entire building to ourselves.

Cyclists in Nørrebro

The wide streets with their separate cycle lanes have no doubt been written about in great depth elsewhere; suffice to say, yes, they make cycling pretty effortless. It was interesting to note that there was no Spandex on show amongst Copenhagen's cyclists - they're way too cool for that: check out the Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog.

Exploring the city was a real pleasure: I loved it's laid-back nature and relatively compact size. In the parks, it seemed as though the entire city had come out to enjoy the sunshine. There was no boisterousness; just folks having a lovely time.

Assistens Kirkegård cemetery

Sunbathers even lay among the gravestones of the beautiful Assistens Kirkegård cemetery in Nørrebro. To be fair, it felt like a cross between well-manicured garden, park and cemetery with cyclists gliding along the tree-lined avenues. Even we stopped to enjoy our packed lunch there.

Danish hot dogs

As with San Francisco, there was something about Copenhagen that got under my skin. I really hope return to spend a little longer there sometime in the future. In the meantime I have been reading the excellent Classic Copenhagen blog to calm my withdrawal symptoms.


This interesting airborne u-turn was visible in the sky above Wells, Somerset on Monday evening.


soda bread

I'd never baked my own soda bread until Tuesday. Never realised before how quick and simple it was.


my first kingfisher

At the weekend we joined M's mum and aunt on a walk through part of the Somerset Levels. It was a perfect end-of-summer countryside walk: beautiful late afternoon light; a slight chill in the air. I felt the promise of autumn with its darker evenings; a time to hunker down indoors with good books, a box set or projects to complete. My favourite time of year. Buzzards patrolled the sky ahead while swifts zipped and circled. We saw a sparrowhawk thwarted in an attack on a group of sparrows when we drew near. I even saw my first kingfisher - at least as far as I remember. I've been a casual birdwatcher since childhood; a renewed member of the RSPB for the past year or so. I don't recall seeing a kingfisher before. Unfortunately it was in flight - I watched as it passed us right to left, a dazzling blue on top, bright orange on its front. Beautiful. The walk took us along the edge of fields and a river, past cottages and tethered rowing boats, through land that less than a year ago was flooded way above our heads. It was a walk I'd enjoy making each season of the year, to witness how the landscape changes.


Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is the perfect city park to enjoy lunch and catch up on some reading on a sunny day. The squirrels are quite tame too. This one was running away but after I made a clicking sound (aka speaking squirrel language) she came running back toward me. Perhaps I inadvertently said I had some food. If so, I apologise to this particular squirrel. She didn't wait long to find out that I had nothing and was soon scurrying away after I'd taken a couple of photos.

I also wrote about Brandon Hill in a post published here back in 2007, before I moved to Bristol.


Brighton Wheel

Brighton Wheel from the corner of St James Street and Madeira Place during a brief stay in June this year.



The longer I'm on Facebook the more interested I am in the people I once knew who have never created a profile.


undoing time and memory

Supplying instant information on demand at lightning speed, digital archives threaten to undo time and memory the same way mass tourism transforms the faraway into the quickly forgotten thrill of an away-day trip.
Chris Bohn, The Wire, #355, September 2013
What are the implications for a generation that wil never have to rely on time and memory? When all the TV shows they ever watched as a child are archived and accessible instantly? When every milestone of their growing-up has been captured on an iPhone and uploaded to social media sites by their parents? When everybody they come into contact with throughout school, college, university, workplaces has a profile on social media? What will it be like to never forget a person or an event or media?


pasties (and ketchup) at Kynance Cove

One of this year's highlights for me was sitting on the cliffs at Kynance Cove with M and her sister eating fantastic hot Cornish pasties from Ann's. The weather was better than you could expect for March, perfect for a spot of outdoor pasty consumption. We had to buy a bottle of ketchup to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings - an act I was convinced would see M and I driven out of Cornwall. But M's sister (dyed-in-the-wool-Cornish) didn't seem to have any objections. Dare I say, she even joined us...