dear bristol

Dear Bristol,

Thanks for having me to stay; you certainly know how to treat a girl of my sensibilities.

I admit to being a bit unsure of you when we first met. It wasn’t your fault, really, but after London I’ve come to expect a train or bus at my doorstep every 3 minutes, even if it is Sunday. Of course I soon realised how little that mattered, since a lot of your best places are clustered around the city centre.

And really, you made up for that long walk from the station in spades. As soon as I hit the streets I knew we’d get along great. You’ve got a great mix of history, bohemia and hipsterism going on. On my first day with you I discovered a ruined church that dates from Saxon times, the St Nicholas Markets with second-hand books and food stalls, and scored a cheap ticket to a theatre show the following night. Incidentally, it was an incredibly creative re-telling of Orpheus. You’re doing good things at the Tobacco Factory so keep that up.

A little like that list some of us have of what we want in a partner, you tick a lot of the boxes for what I like in a city. Artisan bakeries – check. Vintage clothing boutiques – check. Fresh produce in cute little grocers – check. Great arts scene – check. Piles of historical sites – check. Countryside nearby – check. Friendly people – check. If it’s not too forward of me to say so, I think we really suit each other.

You’re a many-faceted city and I was charmed by each distinctive quarter. Window shopping on Park St. Georgian terraces and the impressive suspension bridge of Clifton. Street art in Stokes Croft. Candy-coloured houses in Totterdown. Food on St Mark’s Rd in Easton. Dinner and a show in Southville.

There are some things you’re consistent on, Bristol, and I like that too. You’ve welcomed a lot of immigrants over the years, and they’ve made you colourful and interesting. People cycle everywhere, and I got used to seeing bike shops between cafés and art shops. You’ve splashed a little colour across the whole city, whether it’s a pale peach façade or a bright green doorframe.

But, I’ll be honest, it was your Bristol burr that really won me over. I’ve always been a girl who likes an accent and yours is a corker. That rolling West Country lilt, full of rich ‘r’s and surprising ‘l’s. Hearing “chirrs drive” (“cheers driver”) as people got off the bus and being asked “orright me luvver” (“how are you?”) at the post office, got me very time. You didn’t have to do much to win me over after that.

So, laters, Bristol. You’re proper and I hope we meet again one day.

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