I’d set my alarm for 06:00 on Thursday which is a bit daft because a) I always wake up at 05:59 anyway and b) my train to Bristol wasn’t ’till 09:56. But I was excited at the prospect of half a dozen Brizzle ticks,

and the rail fare cost more than my Aygo is worth according to We Buy Any Car, so I cant afford to miss it.

But only 2:38 hours station to station,

a lot more convenient that my usual drive and park up across from St Mary Redcliffe, and with diesel touching £1.90 a litre in Bradford (Bradford !) yesterday the drive and stay v train calculation becomes more tricky by the day.

You get a seat reservation on Cross Country, but of course (as with the Etihad) no-one can work out the numbering system so we’ve reached Chesterfield before folk have sat down, in the wrong chairs.

The young assistant copes expertly with folk complaining about not wanting to sit in the window seat, but is powerless to assist a young lady a few rows back where a bloke is mansplaining the delights of Cheltenham. “Oxfordshire is very nice” he tells her; I want to scream.

Bristol is in Gloucestershire, of course, though it used to be in the short-lived county of Avon for GBG purposes (and perhaps others). The city is sponsored by Voi Electric Scooters, nowadays a more common site than micropubs or buskers singing “Combine Harvester” on street corners.

Google Maps now gives you estimated time for travel by scooter as well as foot. I think they’re Simon and Eddie’s best options for getting to those isolated Somerset pubs.

Much as I love Bristol, the area around Temple Meads remains a disgraceful mess and the walking routes from station to centre get more convoluted every year.

But despite the clouds ruining my photos I’m in a great mood as I head for Pub No.1, which you’ll be astonished to read is a Left Handed Giant flagship on the old Courage site near the river.

Key words here are “crowdfunded”, “brewpub”,industrial”, “craft”, “pizza” and “opens 4PM“.

I’m no purist, I like to see the Guide mix these places up with the Seven Stars and Bag o’ Nails.

But isn’t artisan pizza a bit 2012 ?

The handpump is turned round, so a nice hazy 4.5% keg pale to start a long day,

with lovely art,

and your 2020s chillwave soundtrack,

and the smell of brewing wafting over the river as I left. How I miss Courage Best.


  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had trouble working out the seat numbers. GWR must use the same state of the art/ c**p system as Cross Country.

    No assistants or ticket inspectors either was between Paddington and Bath though, and with fewer passengers on the return journey, I sat where I liked.


  2. “Cross Country …….. no-one can work out the numbering system”
    ‘Numbering’ the carriages A, B, C, and D might help.
    That, the high prices the claustrophobic Voyager carriages and a couple of London pubs are why I’ve gone via Euston and Paddington for Penzance, Bristol and Bath in recent years.

    Liked by 1 person

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