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Showing posts from 2018
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. Miss Lynch, who other than my mother, was my very first heroine, and also my teacher at St Mary on the Quay, taught me that these words were first used by Robert 1 of Scotland (Robert the Bruce), a 14th century king who, according to legend, having suffered a major defeat at the hands of the English, went into hiding in a cave near Gretna. It was whilst here, that he watched a spider trying to spin a web. Each time the spider failed, it simply started again. According to Miss Lynch, Robert was so inspired by the tiny spider that he left the cave and returned to lead his troops to a number of victories against the English.

Be that as it may, it was an adage that was drummed into me from my early years by my mother and my father; by my teacher, Miss Lynch, and by Jasper Barnidge, my formidable Headmaster. By the age of 10, I was already a fierce and determined competitor, particularly in all things sporting. The long, bitterly…
Castle Green as it was 1930.

You can see this image ( in huge detail ) and over 600 others by registering for free on britainfromabove.org.uk yes, Its that dreadful day again 77 years on where we remember the first big air raid; SUNDAY 24th NOVEMBER 1940...........Now approaching the verge of living memory in its intact pre war state this aerial photo shows Bristol July 1930, a thriving medieval core shopping area ten years before WW2. The area in red is now Castle Park which contained 500 premises. this was the true heart of the old city until it was 80% destroyed in three huge air raids; 24th November 1940, 3rd January 1941 and Good Friday 1941. The 20% that survived and carried on trading were demolished between 1959 and 1969. So altogether we lost 18 acres of historic city streets.

Main sites of interest:.....1) The Dutch House on the corner of Wine St and High St. 2) Jones’s department store fronting Wine St and High St. 3) Baker & Baker Dept Store (retail section), wrapping …
Peacetime and football. Up the Gas.


To his credit, my father tried hard to develop a relationship; he tried hard to engage me in conversations, but I was having none of it. I always blurted out some lame excuse and made a rapid escape out of the front door. Undaunted, he persisted and finally found a weakness in my defences. He discovered my love of football. He was a good story teller after a few beers, and I had an insatiable thirst for football history and knowledge. It wasn’t long before I was curled up at his feet, in front of the fire, whilst he filled my head with stories about his beloved Bristol Rovers.
He told me about the very first game Rovers had played in the Football League. He told me about the great players of the past. He spoke with pride about the men he called the five ‘Macs’ who played for the club in the 1930s. He whispered their names in almost reverential awe; James McCambridge, Robert McKay, George McNestry, John McLean and Wally McArthur. His biggest hero was c…
Just a boy from Bristol

PART TWO


"We will have bluebells in the spring, and roses in the summer," said Mum when we moved into Halsbury Rd, and for the first time we had a garden of our very own. Sadly for Mum, whatever she planted, however hard she worked, the promised flowers refused to grow. When I wasn't playing football, Knock out Ginger or Releaster 1-2-3 in Eugene Street, i wandered off down town. I travelled far and wide, exploring all the many bombed buildin...g sites which were all over Bristol. I admired, in close up, the beauty of the blue, purple, white and yellow clusters of Buddleia, Campion, Rosebay Willow herb, and bramble bushes; I sat, like a young king, astride piles of bricks and rubble; I closed my eyes and listened to the birdsong and the buzzing of the bees, and then I picked clumps of the colourful weeds, and rushed home to present them to my mother. She always smiled sadly, and kissed the already droop…
Compliments, Cutlets and Candy. By Michael John Kelly

Chapter One The whole of the moon
He had long since abandoned his long and fruitless pursuit of perfection. The cruel vagaries of life had taught him that perfection was merely an illusion. It was like a rainbow, or a reflection in a still, clear stream. A thing of beauty, right there in front of his eyes, but remaining forever tantalisingly just out of reach. The reality was that there was always a flaw; always some tiny imperfection that would spoil even the most magical of moments. He had slowly and reluctantly accepted that near- perfect was as good as it ever got. That fateful Saturday morning in Bristol was a prime example. It was April 11th, 1992, and all the ingredients were there for the making of a perfect day. Saturday was, by some way, the highlight of his week, and not only was the weather set fair, but it was spring, and spring that fairest of all seasons, had always been his favourite time of the year. As usual, however, …
An audience with Gloria An extract from Just a boy from Bristol Part2

“Good riddance to bad rubbish,” said Dad quietly as he lit a cigarette and settled back into his rocking chair. Only a few minutes earlier we had been dancing around the living room, playing happy families, as we held hands and sang Auld Lang Sine together. Now, it was all over. The church bells had stopped chiming, the car horns had ceased beeping, and the dustbin lids were no longer clattering. The streets of Bristol fell silent again. It was 1st January 1950; another new year was upon us; it was time for yet another round of well-intentioned resolutions, but It was also time for a period of reflection. Time to look back on last year’s shattered illusions and broken dreams. “A new decade, which is rich with promise. Now, we will see and taste the fruits of victory.” Dad was waxing lyrical. He always waxed lyrical after a couple of pints.
I had been looking forward to 1950 with anticipation, because it was a particul…
The Good Friday Raid.


It was Good Friday, and Mum went shopping. She came back with some Easter biscuits. We could only afford two, so Mum and Mary had to share one. The biscuit was delicious, and it was my lucky day, because Mum wasn’t very hungry, and she gave me most of her half.
Father Doyle called in the afternoon. Mum told me to act as if I were still ill. She sat at the top of the bed with me, and told Father Doyle he should keep his distance, as what I had was very infectious. He stood by the door and told us a story about Easter.
He told us about the Last Supper and Judas Iscariot. He told us about Pontius Pilate and Barabbas, and then he told us about Jesus Christ. How he was forced to wear a crown of thorns, and how he carried the heavy cross up the hill of Mount Calvary. He told us how Jesus was crucified and died. It was a cracking story and I was right into it. I was waiting anxiously for the happy ending, and I was quite disappointed when Mum interrupted to tell Father Doy…