Last Friday I took my elder daughter Flora into Bristol to look at a selection of fibreglass sheep. Well, some of them, at least! We were on our own for the day, with my younger daughter at nursery, so we hopped onto the Park and Ride at Long Ashton (having seen a number of hot air balloons on the glorious morning rise from Ashton Court Balloon Fiesta on the drive in), and disembarked in the city centre, ready to begin our hunt.
Bristol is somewhere I don’t go often. It’s about a 40 minute drive from home, which is just that bit too far to nip in for couple of hours, but every time I do go, I always come out again thinking I need to do it more! A day hunting Shauns (the fibreglass sheep in question) seemed like a great way to discover some parts of the city I’d either not seen before or not visited for a long time. So, five year old in tow, we began our hunt.
And of the seventy Shauns that are dotted around the city, we managed a not unrespectable 22, which I was very pleased about. For those who are unfamiliar with the Shaun the Sheep phenomenon, these lovely statues are part of a fundraising drive for The Grand Appeal, which supports children’s charities across the South West. It’s the brainchild of Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, and a couple of years ago it was Gromits that adorned Bristol’s landmarks. As I’d just had Daughter #2 at the time, I wasn’t really up for a dog hunt across the city, but this time there was no stopping me!
We covered about 3.5 miles in total, and saw some bits of Bristol I hadn’t seen up close for a long time. I was mildly horrified by the gentrification of St Nicholas’ Market, which I remember as far more indie with far more proper junk stalls (including one lovely gentleman who sourced me a copy of the Labyrinth book of the film, about 20 years ago!), but pleased to see how nice the bus station and Park Street look these days. And at least ‘Beware of the Leopard’ bookshop on St Nicholas’ was still there! To top it all, we did see a Bonus!Gromit in the Wills Memorial Building, which was a lovely surprise.
Lunch was a bargain at The Berkeley on Park Street, my Big Girl and I had a paddle in the water feature on the Waterfront before we caught the PnR back to the car, and all in all it was a fab day, and reminded me how lucky I am to have such a beautiful and historic city on my doorstep (sort of). So here, have some Shauns…