Being reasonably close to the town centre its often tempting to pop straight into town or my very favouritest place St Nicks Market for anything I need. Usually I do my shopping in Asda as its literally only a few minutes walk away. Recently and more so over Christmas I’ve found Asda to be a bit unbearable. Chaotic and overwhelming with bright lights, relentless sales pitches, screaming bored children , grown ups with ‘trolly rage’, rising prices and too much choice. During my last visit it took me ages to decide what kind of honey I wanted. I was there for around ten minutes trying to balance the environmental, moral, economic, social and ethical dilemmas that you face when presented with (I’m guessing ) around 20? different types of honey. Which is a more worthier cause? Bees from the UK or bees from Brazil? How many ‘food miles’ are involved – which is more sustainable – where does the money go and to what degree – who is benefiting the most from my purchase? – arguments in favour and against. In the end I couldn’t decide so I ended up buying two types and by the time I got home I realised that Asda had won the argument on all counts.
So today I ventured into Bedminster (south of the city – BS3) for the first time since I’ve lived in Bristol. I’ve popped up to the High Street maybe three times before (for the dentist and such like) but had never really had a full-on proper shopping experience. I had a lovely morning. Here is why:
Firstly its alive with discount shops – I get excited about these sort of shops mainly because I enjoy foraging a little bit for things that seem interesting. I found a lot of things which were very cheap and reasonable quality such as things for my room which are really expensive in town. Also there are lots of charity shops – I don’t always by clothes from these kind of shops but I am trying to do so more – one for cost reasons and two because we live in such a ‘disposable’ society I find it hard to justify continuous streams of consumption and buying stuff. Jessi Arrington’s mini TED talk sets out some of the reasons why it’s good to ‘wear nothing new’ (her presentation style is a little sugary but stick with it). Today I bought a brown corduroy jacket for £3.00 to wear with my jeans. Bargin.
It’s valentine’s day soon and quite frankly the massive annual societal push from all the shops/popular media for us to buy yet more shit for each other that we don’t really need, just makes me want to poke out both my eyes. Not only that – if you are not in a relationship, the pantomime that is valentines day is only designed to make you feel a whole heap worse about yourself but its okay – you can buy more shit for yourself to make it all better!!! (rant over). The onset of Valentines day has not escaped Bedminster but my cynicism was melted a little by the British Heart Foundations window display – where you can write messages of love to your favourite people: (mainly from kids but aww bless)
Next up: architecture I don’t know the history of Bristol that well but in Bedminster a lot of the buildings are old but quite beautiful. Some are no longer used unfortunately like the handsome looking London Inn below:
Closed now – but used to be a (horse) coach station apparently. Currently up for auction yours for £175,000. It can be seen in the background of a photo taken in 1919 I found via local historian BrizzleBuff – amazing pics on flkr – go check out the rest of them!
I also enjoyed shopping in local shops and meeting local shop and stall keepers– I can recommend Lee’s bakery (cakes look amazing) and the green grocers next door – (currently 3 x avocado for a £1, strawberries £1 a punnet) I also bought some curly kale as I read somewhere once that its really good for you, although I’m not sure exactly what I am going to do with it – Bedminster also sports a range of butchers shops and other fruit and veg stalls.
There is also a promising looking fish and chip restaurant that I discovered though I’ve not tried it out yet.
There are sadly a few amusement arcades and betting shops and a proportion of the shops, particularly in the shopping precinct by Iceland are empty (although I noticed recently that even some of the shop units in Park Street have not escaped this fate). Some of the pubs do look a bit dodgy but might be okay on the inside – you never know.
Finally I stopped for breakfast at the sunshine cafe. There are lots of little places to grab a cuppa in Bedminster. I picked this place initially as I used to work in a similar place for years back in Kent. Guess it felt familiar. It was packed, in fact most of the cafes were.
I think the best thing about Bedminster is its diversity of people – it was a different demographic to those you find in town, and my how sociable. Every shop I went into, people spoke to me. Conversations were happening in the street and in cafes and across tables. I ordered a vegi breakfast (diet progressing well you see) and ended up sharing my table with two older ladies and we had a good old chin wag. They were having bacon butties with the crusts cut off and seemed to be well acquainted with the waitress. I think they were regulars. A TV blared in the corner but not one person was watching it and going in there with a smartphone? Yeah might as well had a flag attached to your hat – had to put it away sharpish as I got some odd glances. Not in an intimidating way but mainly because people were all talking to each other. We all shared some laughs.
I walked home feeling in a very good mood, and very happy with my morning. I will be going back to Bedminster again soon. Lovely people.
Now all I have to do is work out what to do with the ‘curly kale’…
its a bit like a shrub really……