Friday, September 04, 2009

Rule Britannia 2

We made it into Bristol for supper. Another tense, drama-filled half-hour of driving on German-proof roads. At dusk. In rush hour. With SH's written instructions as opposed to a map, which is what I need. Even if someone gives me "turn right, turn left" instructions, I draw myself a map. I am a visualizer. SH just wants the facts, but I want the facts in context.

In return for the stress, we were awarded one of the few parking spaces in Clifton, a swanky Bristol neighborhood.

SH did a great job of parking, even though he was doing everything backward, and we walked to the seafood restaurant his colleague had recommended. It was full. So we walked over to the Isambard Kingdom Brunel suspension bridge, which is a marvel of engineering and thoroughly impressive. This bridge will not fall down, unlike some bridges built in the past century whose names I will not mention but let this to be a lesson to us all that overengineering is not a bad thing. IK Brunel was an amazing engineer and a credit to the Empire. And the bridge is PRETTY.

Then we tried another restaurant that had things like Devon ham and reindeer sausage and all kinds of English food that we would never see at home and our mouths started to water and there were empty tables, but they too turned us away.

We ended up at a pub that served fabulous food: we had the seafood appetizer plate (below) that was probably enough food but we also had to try a local specialty, Pieminister pie, which was fabulous. The only drawback to the place was the sweet old man above who insisted on talking to us. And talking to us. And talking to us. When SH went to the Gents', the old guy told me he had had a stroke five years ago, so I cut him some slack, but when he came back to the table for the 5th time, I started to cut him off with an immediate, "Thank you so much! Yes, we'll try that. Do you need some help getting down the stairs?" I think he took the hint, bless his heart.

We have some leftovers of the fish for tomorrow, which meant we had to ask for more ice this evening. It was dreadful: I asked the bartender for two big glasses of ice and he said, "Of course!" SH was mortified.

A protocol question for any English readers: What side of the sidewalk does one walk on here? We do not know whether to veer to the right or to the left when we meet oncoming traffic.


Anonymous said...

I've found that a small portable GPS with European maps is an invaluable traveling companion. And I've noticed that professional drivers of limos and private hire cars use them all the time around London. Takes a lot of the stress out of driving...

The sidewalk thing. I've tried many techniques in Japan, who also drive on the "wrong" side of the road. Turns out most people in Tokyo don't drive, so its pretty much random which side you walk on and veer. I'd follow the rules of the road, but most pedestrians don't follow rules, they just veer and verve with a lot of nerve to their hearts content.


MrScribbler said...

Oh, I say...keep to the left on roads and sidewalks, don't y'know....

Too bad Mr Brunel's ship, the Great Eastern, is no longer around. It was as imposing as the bridge. He was ahead of his time. And, unfortunately, ahead of the construction materials available to him.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I love English pubs!
Hey, I never thought about the sidewalk question; let me know if someone knows an answer to this.

HRD said...'s not a's a pavement. A sidewalk is what a crab does! :)

Ok the etiquette is that a man should always walk closest to the road when accompanying a lady. If he is passing by a lady he should therefore step towards the road and stop to allow her to pass. Where there are two ladies they should pass left shoulders.

In the tube, on escalators etc. you stand on the right and overtake on the left. On the roads you drive on the left and overtake on the right.

Simple really. Got it?

PS. Every good traditional pub has its local madman.....its part of the charm....