Bath’s Viking history.

Bath’s Viking history.

Today l came face to face with a small – but important – part of Bath’s history.

It lies encased in shaped polystyrene – and stored in the vaults of the Roman Baths Museum – but this is not a relic from the city’s imperial past – nor an object from its Georgian period.


The black patina finish still has a sheen.

It’s a well-preserved tenth-century Scandinavian-styled sword and was found after excavations in front of what’s left of the town wall in Upper Borough Walls back in 1981.

This high-status Viking weapon was expensively made from crucible steel but ended up dumped in a ditch outside Bath’s Saxon wall.


The handle is believed to have been wound with silver thread.

Had it been kept as an heirloom, stolen and hidden or lost in a skirmish between Danish raiders and Anglo Saxons.

Once upon a time a replica was displayed near what remains on the city wall but now both lie hidden. We have a glorious museum to set off our wonderful Roman Baths and are surrounded by splendid Georgian architecture but there is not a Museum of Bath to display treasures that don’t fit into tourist-driven visible history.

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The inscription reads ‘Ulfbehrt made me’ n Latin. Did it come from one of the finest workshops of early medieval Germany or was it made in England?

Maybe one day the Viking sword will have a more visible resting place but do click on the link below to hear Roman Baths Collections Assitant Zofia Matyjaszkiewicz tell us why the sword is dated to the Viking period. She is holding a replica of the real sword which rests beside her on the table.




Well, that was fun. Happened to be in while one of B&NES new recycling lorries made its slow way down the street.

Not sure the guys have completely got the hang of the new system yet  – or maybe there is a fault with the mechanicals – but when they opened the flap to tip in my plastic and tin – what was already on board started to fall out.


One of the new lorries. I deliberately didn’t take pictures of the guys picking up the spillage.

They closed the flap and pressed a button which is supposed to conveyor belt the contents up and over the collection bins to some storage place elsewhere on board.


Flap down here. When the silo for plastic and tin is full they close it and press a button which moves the contents by conveyor belt. I was told!!

By this time l break away to rage against a driver using my drive to turn around in – not  wanting to wait while the recycling men moved slowly down the hill.

By this time the blockage on board seems to have cleared and the receiving bin was ready for more. Judging by what the guys said – l think they prefer the old waggons.


Wedged in Westgate Street.

Wedged in Westgate Street.

The Council does little to help traders in the city’s Westgate Street.

I make no excuses for regarding it as one of the dirtiest, run down and traffic-choked thoroughfares in our World Heritage city.

A few years ago – l was told – they were thinking about pedestrianising it. It didn’t happen. It’s now a one-way street accommodating a two-way cycle run. Not a good idea.


You couldn’t push a beer mat between these two lorries

It has so many broken kerb stones from HGV’s parking on the pavement they have had to fill the gaps with resin-infused tarmac!


Cab to cab.

Last night l witnessed a massive Dutch lorry trying to get through. I am assuming the driver – who would not have known the city – was using Sat-Nav?


The two lorries appear jammed together.

Remarkable pictures of two lorries wedged side by side.

The truck was forced onto the pavement – blocking pedestrians. No police or traffic wardens anywhere near – while l was there anyway.


Words fail me!

This city appears to have no rules about deliveries. There always seems to be a van or lorry parked somewhere.


Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Bath’s newly revamped refuse and recycling collections have maybe made us stop and think about rubbish.

Certainly David Attenborough’s BBC production Blue Planet 2 has made some of us aware of the amount of plastic rubbish that makes its way into our oceans to pollute them and destroy the creatures that live on and under it.


Top marks to artist Alison Harper for make a point about our throwaway society in a highly visual way.


Part of Alison Harper’s display at the BRSLI in Queen Square.

She’s  holding an exhibition at the BRSLI in Queen Square which is free to visit daily from 10 am to 4pm through to Monday, November 27th.


Two paper cups are deconstructed and remade into​ 71 butterflies!

Alison is an artist currently completing her PhD with practice at Bath School of Art and Design, Bath Spa University, where her thesis includes a study of waste, of the disposable, new materialism and the micropolitical.


Paper lace. Each piece of​ lace has been made from one cup – deconstructed and rematerialised!

In a statement she says of her ‘Lost and Found’ exhibition:

“My work continues to interrogate and question the relationships with the material world we so often take for granted. In order to make I first have to ‘unmake’, revealing the qualities and the quantity of materials implicit in single use objects.


Cut paper cups – cut and wound around the base of the cups.

This is a reparative and transformational process, concerned with the ‘disposable’ detritus of everyday life in post-industrial ‘wealthy’ nations.


Knitted vessels from paper carrier bags and unpicked builders’ bags.

As artists we hold the world in our hands, a position of privilege which is easily abused, coerced by the allure of a commercialism which is difficult to avoid.


By using the material from these single use objects, which otherwise have no obvious destination; their end of life not having been considered by their producers, I am examining and emphasising the seemingly forgotten connections with our material world, and how this has a bearing on our responsibility towards others, the wider biosphere, and ourselves.”


What Cleveland Pools Trust want for Christmas.

What Cleveland Pools Trust want for Christmas.

Don’t know what you’re hoping Santa brings you for Christmas but l do know supporters of the Cleveland Pools Trust are hoping it might be a big fat cheque from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Actually, we’ll have to wait to the New Year to find out whether they have been successful in their Stage 2 bid to secure their final £4.1m grant request to help restore this historic open-air lido.

The Trust has released a picture showing a recent visit from representatives of the HLF who spent the day going through plans on site and scrutinising the venture’s business case.

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HLF visitors at the Cleveland Pools with some of the Trust’s supporting team.

In a Christmas message to supporters the Trust said: ” We felt it went well, although we still have to find £141,000 from a revised fundraising target of £869,000. We do have some promising pledges to help bring it down, and the result of the bid in the New Year could make all the difference.”

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The charity chalet is next to the taxi rank in Orange Grove.

In the meantime, the Trust has been given the charity chalet at the Bath Christmas Market on this coming Sunday, November 26th from 10 am to 6pm to sell a range of merchandise including the brand new Christmas card “Snowman at the Pools’ which has been designed by graphic artist, Catherine Phelps.

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The new ‘Snowman at the Pools’ card.

Here we go again.

Here we go again.

Ten o’clock today – Thursday, November 23rd – and this year’s Bath Christmas Market is open for business.


More chalets and a bigger spread around town – at over 200 it’s up at least 30 on last year  – it’s extended into Southgate Street, Union Street and Hot Bath Street.


Now in its 17th year it will run through to Sunday, December 10th.


Last night many of the stall holders opened to let Bathonians have a special preview. The hard sell starts on Thursday.


Some of the images of tonight – Wednesday, November 22nd – are included here.

Check out

And check out the Covered Market via


Visitor Info Centre opens at new site.

Visitor Info Centre opens at new site.

Well the relocated Visitor Information Centre is finally up and running in Bridgwater House on Terrace Walk. At least its close to a set-down point for coaches bringing tourists into the city centre.

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The re-located Visitor Information centre. Replacing the hairdressing sign – advertising a previous business – over the bay window was a last-minute thing!

I have to say it’s a lot smaller than the unit that used to be in Abbey Court Yard but l am sure the service is just as efficient and friendly.

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The interior is a little bijou – but all you need to know about Bath is still on offer!

Glad to see they finally removed the old hairdressers sign over the bay window. It could have been confusing.

Just across the way l noticed the Abbey Hotel nearing the end of installing its Christmas Apres-Ski chalet and – the good news is – the Snow Globe is back too.

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Setting up the Apres-Ski Chalet at the Abbey Hotel

The only real bit of fun for children during the Christmas Market. Oh ok – the adults like having their picture taken there too!

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Setting up the Snow Globe.

Finally, love the touch of ‘China Town’ added to Abbey Gate where a string of lanterns have been hung over the Christmas Market chalets.


A touch of ‘China Town’ comes to Abbey Gate with a find display of lanterns arranged above the Market ‘chalets’.