An Art Gallery on a Boat? You must be Mad! Part five

 

Avonmouth to Bristol

 

06.30 Avonmouth Docks

06.30 Avonmouth Docks

For the trip up into Bristol City Docks, John and I had been joined by my eldest son, Rob, and friends, Martin, a Bristolian artist and Wil, from Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, who had arrived the previous evening to visit us. For this trip, we tied the barges abreast.

Peter at the wheel as we leave Avonmouth

Peter at the wheel as we leave Avonmouth

As we locked out of the Royal Edward Dock, I looked back at the shipping in the port and thought about the old days that Peter had talked of, when you could walk from one side of the dock to the other across the decks of the barges and lighters. So few were now left. Still, here was one that would be saved from the breakers torch.

John and Rob enjoying the view

John and Rob enjoying the view

As we passed the village of Pill, once the base for most of the Bristol Channel pilots, the day grew brighter. In Hung Road, the Bristol based, Naval Auxiliary minesweeper passed us, on her way to sea. Bob the engineer, who was on deck, pulled his greasy cap sideways and gave them a crooked salute, they loftily ignored us.

They loftily ignored us

They loftily ignored us

The faithful old sand dredger, Harry Brown, was next down, but the waves and greetings we got from the crew were much more encouraging. They, at least, seemed to really appreciate the sight of two working barges heading toward the City Docks after so many years, no matter how rusty and neglected they looked.

The Harry Brown

The Harry Brown

We rounded Horseshoe Bend and chugged past the old Roman harbour of Abona, at Sea Mills, then the magnificent sight of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, majestically spanning the Avon Gorge, greeted us, as it had greeted so many generations of seamen before us.Clifton Suspension Bridge

A magnificent sight

A magnificent sight

Arriving in Bristol by boat is an experience like no other. The Avon Gorge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge look imposing from a car on the Portway, but from a boat in the middle of the river, the grandeur is magnified by the central viewpoint.

Into the Cumberland Basin

Into the Cumberland Basin

 

In through the locks and we had arrived. We moored in the Cumberland Basin and were joined by Kate and Martin’s wife, Sue with their children. A bottle of champagne was popped to celebrate a successful conclusion to the first stage of our project.

Bubbly for Breakfast

Bubbly for Breakfast

All we had to do now was turn this one hundred and fifty tons of rusting steel into an art gallery – no problem!

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