A sunshine tour.

A sunshine tour.

The hottest April day since 1949 and some good news amidst the sunshine.

 

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Welcome back!

 

The fountain in Laura Place is back in action after the installation of a new pump. It’s the only real fountain the city has and – just like what is left of Mr Pieroni’s architectural offering on Bog Island – is in need of some long-term tender love and care.

Both fountains need real money spent on them or – long term – they will be lost.

Back to the good news. I have been gently chiding Garfunkel’s Restaurant – on the ground floor of the Empire Hotel – about their exterior planting troughs full of plastic flowers.

Somehow it seemed ironic to me that they should be there when just across the road was a riverside park which has constantly won awards for its living blooms.

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Now you see them.

Bath seems to have more success in saying it with flowers – thanks to an overstretched and under-funded parks department – than it does with celebrating its waters.

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Now you don’t!

But back to the restaurant where – l am pleased to say – the artificial flowers are gone. The manager tells me he is looking to source some living plants to go outside his restaurant. At last! It will help make his business bloom!

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The area between the two eight-storey​ buildings is gradually​​y being transformed into a​ riverside park.

Good to see the new riverside park taking shape as part of the Crest development down by Victoria Bridge.

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Royal View with Sovereign Point – still under construction – beyond.

Whatever you think of the new eight-storey apartment blocks – taking shape on the riverbank – it’s fair to say Bath has not seen anything like them before.

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The photography exhibition by David Molina Gadea in the Holburne Museum Garden.

Back into town and the Holburne Museum cafe-goers are sharing their garden space with an exhibition of photographs called The Long Way Home which reflects on the long journey that refugees across the world undertake when they decide to leave their homes in pursuit of a new place to call “home”.

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These contemporary ‘monoliths’ are part of the photographic exhibition by David Molina Gadea who is a member of the Portuguese agency of photojournalism. They make a striking sight in the museum garden.

It’s a striking display with a strong message.

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Who has set up camp in Sydney Gardens? The tepees are part of a ‘corporate event’ being held here on Friday, April 20th. B&NES is looking to get more revenue from its parks but – somehow – it’s a bit of an affront to the people who use this public space that part of it is being ‘denied’ to them. Even on a temporary basis.

Into Sydney Gardens, where three large tepees have been erected for what l was told, was a ‘corporate event’ today – Friday, April 20th. The cash-strapped Council is obviously out to extract more commercial value from its parks – and cannot be blamed for that. l just feel its a temporary denial of public space for the benefit of a private enterprise. I am not aware of any notices going up to warn of the event.

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A bit of a tidy up

Onto the towpath and finally, the Canal and River Trust is removing the growing rubbish heap that had been created in and around a bag of grit that had been left on the grass verge by the path down to Grosvenor Bridge.

The Trust doesn’t provide proper rubbish bins and so – maybe – you can’t blame people for looking for somewhere to put litter. It’s one of the reasons we find so many discarded dog poo bags on the towpath too.

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I am always full of admiration for the one-man team B&NES employs to keep the city clear of graffiti. Caught him at work on Grosvenor Bridge. The horrid concrete replacement for what was a fine suspension bridge that disappeared many years ago.

Finally – across Grosvenor Bridge – where the one-man-band that is the city’s Graffiti Unit was hard at work removing more evidence of this urban blight. It’s a spot from where l have often stopped to photograph a half-submerged tree up-river of the bridge on the Avon.

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There’s life in that old river tree yet!

It’s bare branches look stark in the winter. I often wonder how long it will be before what is left of its roots gives way and the tree is carried off during the next rain-induced flood surge. Yet here – on this sunny morning – one of its branches was covered in new growth. Takes a lot to make Nature lose her grip.

 

 

 

Taking a look at Bath

Taking a look at Bath

Bath was buzzing today – despite the rain. Tuesday means Mayor’s guides duties and l was lucky enough to take a lovely group of young people on a two hour tour of some of the city’s most iconic spots. With me today were visitors from Malaysia, the UK and Brazil. Thanks for posing for the picture. Do say hello if you see thus.

Mayor’s guides do voluntary tours morning and afternoon from outside the Pump Room. No charge and no tipping.

Doing business on Bog Island

Doing business on Bog Island

Always nice to welcome a new trader into town and setting up a tented pitch on Bog Island – at Bath’s Terrace Walk – certainly gets you noticed.

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Setting up shop near Bath’s coach drop.

This, of course, is a  drop-off point for many visiting coach loads of tourists and Monya Hamdia’s Morrocan-styled range of products may well be of interest.

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Will it be pitch perfect for Monya?

I told her renting a couple of porta-loos might also earn her more than a fair penny.

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All the way from Trowbridge. Monya Hamdia who has just started trading on the Bog Island site.

The irony is not lost on those who – remembering that the spot gets its name from the now long-defunct underground loos – have to fend off requests from newly-arrived coach visitors asking where the nearest toilet is!

Good to hear B&NES are looking for more commercial ways of exploiting the showpiece riverside park that is Parade Gardens.

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The notice boards have been erected. Good spot too – as they hide the wheelie bins behind them!

Elsewhere on this site, you will see a story about holding the first-ever Spring Fayre at this location but – this morning – l saw notice boards being erected which will give information about regular sales of bedding plants.

You too can have a garden like B&NES!

While admiring the handiwork, l noticed the frame for book and quill pen are still in place in a central flower bed.

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The framework is still there. Will we be celebrating another writer with Bath connections this year?

After celebrating Jane Austen last year l wonder if they are considering Charles Dickens for the 2018 floral season.

There is one notice that has already gone up. Seems the Ermine Street Guard will be in the city staging a Roman military re-enactment as part of this year’s World Heritage Day.

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The Romans are coming!

Make a date in your diary for Sunday, April 22nd from 11 am until 3pm. The event takes place on the lower lawn in front of the Royal Crescent.

Was expecting to find Bathonians lining the streets of the city. Wasn’t today the day Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were due to visit Bath? Indeed, one city centre clothing store had staff blowing up balloons and hanging red, white and blue trimmings in the shop window.

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A red, white and blue welcome for Prince Harry and his bride to be. Shame they won’t see it.

Nice touch but it seems the couple were only dropping into the see the Invictus Games UK team trials at Bath University’s Sports Training Village.

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When are the Royals due?

Ah well, nice thought.

 

 

Turnstile turnaround.

Turnstile turnaround.

They may be small but many would agree – l am sure – that they are perfectly formed. I am talking about the two ornamental kiosks flanking the double-gated entrance to the Recreation Ground at the bottom of William Street.

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Bath Newseum follower, Dr Michael Pritchard spotted the fact they were being boarded up and thought we might like to see some photographic evidence.

Michael is a photographic historian, researcher and writer by profession and very kindly sent along some images for us to see.

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The hoarding starting to go up. Photo taken by Dr Michael Pritchard.

These two charming little wooden kiosks – with their ogee crested ornamental roofs – are Grade 11 listed. According to Pevsner, they date from around 1895 – although the British Listed Buildings website has them as circa 1930.

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Photo taken by Dr Michael Pritchard.

John Flinn who is CEO of Bath Recreation Limited told Bath Newseum:

‘The Turnstile Gates are undergoing much-needed refurbishment and restoration work.

The work is subject to Listed Building consent (17/03117/LBA) and Historic England were consulted during that process.

Once complete (expected to be about 7 weeks) the Gates will be the primary pedestrian access to the Rec.’

 

 

 

Tell Laura we love her!

Tell Laura we love her!

Came across the men B&NES had tasked with commissioning the Laura Place fountain in time for the Easter weekend and the start of the new season.

Was a bit of a slow fill – with what looked like a low water pressure – but things were helped no doubt by all yesterday’s rain.

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A slow fill in progress. Notice how chipped the surrounding edge of the basin is.

Shame to see today – March 29th – that although the basin is full of water the fountain has not been switched on. Is it the pump l wonder?

The basin dates from 1877 with a new top put on in 1977. Locals call it ‘the ashtray’  because it looks a bit like one. The masonry is again broken and chipped and the whole sad structure is in need of restoration.

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Looks like it’s been bashed with something​.

Maybe it’s time to do away with it altogether? Or fill in the basin and fill with bedding plants.

It is a shame that a city so full of natural springs – hot and cold – AND a majestic river – should not be celebrating its waters.

Can’t we have a marathon to raise funds for that? What about a Bath lottery?

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It’s full but​ not yet working.

And please. Those who delight in adding liquid soap to the ‘old girl’ and laughing at the foam produced. A. It’s boring and has been done many times before and B. it destroys the pump and it’s the city’s ratepayers who foot the bill.

 

New flags for the Guildhall.

New flags for the Guildhall.

Having whinged about the Union flag on Bath’s  Guildhall looking as if it too had suffered cuts l am pleased to see someone has been up on the roof to take look.

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It did look like it’s cut in half, doesn’t it?

Seems the flag had caught itself on the flagpole and had not been physically cut in half. It is flying free now.

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That’s more like it!

A patriotic ‘insider’ tells me two new flags are on order. So prepare yourself for a brand new red, white and blue and also a replacement B&NES flag. Not before time as the Council’s emblem had all put faded away!

 

New Cancer Centre target reached!

New Cancer Centre target reached!

Thanks to the help of dedicated supporters, major donors and the goodwill of the public, the minimum £8.5million fundraising target needed for the pioneering new RUH Cancer Centre has been reached.
The Cancer Care Campaign was launched five years ago in response to the hospital’s Fit for the Future redevelopment opportunity to transform Cancer care for its patients and their families.

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How the new RUH Cancer Centre will look when completed.

Though its good news,  fundraising efforts will continue. Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising said:
“Whilst we are taking time to celebrate this significant milestone, we are continuing the Cancer Care Campaign. Many of our donors are very much encouraging us to sustain the campaign into 2018 to maximise our fundraising efforts for the new Centre to ensure it is truly special in its design, facilities and equipment.
“I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank our supporters for their fundraising efforts and contributions towards the new RUH Cancer Centre. Fundraising in the fight against cancer never stops, therefore we will continuing to support this amazing project to achieve the very best care, treatment and quality of environment for our patients.”
The current RUH Oncology buildings were built in the 1940s to house injured service personnel. Nearly eighty years on, these buildings are still in use, obstructing rather than creating an environment that can actively support the healing process.
The new Cancer Centre will cost c£27m to build and construction is due to commence in 2019, once the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre is in place.
James Scott, Chief Executive, Royal United Hospitals, Bath said:
“Giving patients who are living with Cancer the best, most effective treatment and opportunities for surviving this disease is what this campaign is all about. Therefore, fundraising £8.5m is an incredible amount, and I would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution so far, your support is greatly valued.
“The new Cancer Centre will offer a highly beneficial healing environment, enabling our staff to provide clinically excellent care in an environment that is nurturing and therapeutic. With your help continuing to fundraise for the Cancer Care Campaign we can create an exceptional world-class Cancer Centre.”