A thought for Sydney Gardens.

A thought for Sydney Gardens.

People who regularly pass through Sydney Gardens will know there is evidence – on Brunel’s footbridge across the rail cutting – of a very tragic event which occurred just recently.

Meanwhile, I hear B&NES have got rid of the resident groundsman/park keeper/gardener who was a cheery face amongst such faded historical glory.

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Winter sunshine in Sydney Gardens

The incident l have referred to occurred about the time our ‘park keeper’ usually walks his dog before going home.

I am not saying things might have been different if he had been there – but l can’t help thinking about it. My sincere condolences to family and friends.

Sydney Gardens – all that is left of a Georgian Vauxhall or pleasure garden – is yet another historic Bath venue relying on HLF funding – if it’s granted – to restore something of its glorious past.


Oh what a Circus!

Oh what a Circus!

The things you see when out on your weekly Mayor’s guiding duties.

I am a member of the Mayor of  Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides. A group of nearly one hundred volunteers who show visitors around the city and don’t charge a penny! No tips either!!


Some of the Bath visitors l was showing around the city.

Tuesday is my morning and – with 28 people in my group – we set off to walk up to the Royal Crescent and The Circus and back.

Some hate it –  and some wait with great curiosity to see how the Saw Close will look after the completion of the Casino development and the re-fashioning of the open space in front.


The fencing is coming down in the Saw Close

Pedestrians have to keep watch with all the disruption of through traffic in this area.

Up in the Circus our Bath guests got a real taste of what its like to live in the Circus. We witnessed the delivery of a Bath – to a top floor bathroom – where a window has had to be taken out to allow a crane to lift the tub and push it through.


There’s only one way in and it isn’t cheap!

Have they ever done that with a grand piano l wonder.


A close up of the bath being delivered.

Shoppers today never talk about seasonal vegetables – produce can be flown in from around the world – so that we can eat everything at any time of year.


Christmas is a coming in.

Looks like that’s happening to our annual festivals too with Christmas beginning to appear on our streets even before the kids have had time to say boo to an October goose at Halloween.


Christmas in October.

For parents with young children the lengthening hype is going to make counting off the days even more excruciating.

Maybe they will start producing Advent Calendars that begin on October the First!

PS OK. l know – all part of the MacDonald’s Christmas commercial being filmed in Bath. Today – Wednesday – the trees have gone. Missing them already.

Bath Abbey appoints ‘Acting Rector’

Bath Abbey appoints ‘Acting Rector’

Parishioners have just been told that Bath Abbey Missioner, the Revd Stephen Girling will direct ‘ the mission and ministry’ of the church until the appointment of a new Rector to replace the Revd Edward Mason who will be retiring in November.

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Revd Stephen Girling

An email from the Abbey announces:

” You may wonder why a successor has not already been appointed. In the Church of England it is recognised practice, following the resignation of the incumbent, that there is a period during which the position will remain vacant. (This is sometimes referred to as an interregnum.)

The Vacancy allows for a time of careful consideration and reflection on the needs of the church and on the appointment of a suitable person as a successor. The Church Council will be meeting with the Archdeacon before the end of the year as part of this consultation.”


The Rector Bath Abbey, the Rev Preb Edward Mason.

The Rev Girling will be ‘Acting Rector’ from December the 1st – though the Revd Mason has agreed to stay on ‘ to support the Abbey team during the Christmas period.’

The Abbey will also be saying goodbye to another member of staff as the Revd Claire Robson has decided to leave at the end of this month.


Revd Claire Robson

The email says: “For some time, Claire has expressed a desire to devote significant time to writing and this is the direction on which she now proposes to embark.”


Tents and a new fence on the canal slopes.

Tents and a new fence on the canal slopes.

What’s happening along the side of the walking/cycling path up to the Kennet and Avon canal towpath by Grosvenor Bridge. It’s the point where you turn off the London Road to go across the River Avon and under the railway bridge before climbing up to the canal.


Two of the tents that have appeared beside the pathway in recent weeks.

I have noticed the number of tents erected has increased gradually in recent weeks. I am assuming these are homeless people making camp.



One of the new signs

Next comes a newly erected fence and hand-made signs saying this is private land “and being worked” and that “any property left on it will be removed respectfully.”


The new fence showing – on the left – where it has been torn down.

Part of the fence has now been torn down as someone has created a way through this new barrier.


Another of the new canal slope signs.

Can anyone tell me what is going on?

Pitching it differently.

Pitching it differently.

So what’s the gossip – this Friday, September 29th. Well for starters, l am hearing all those Christmas Market regulars who have grown accustomed to the same pitch each year have just had a bit of a shock.


Part of last year’s Christmas Market

They are being moved around bit. I think things got confused with work alongside the Abbey and the possibility of structural work in York Street. So its a slightly different street plan.

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Stalls around the Abbey this year.

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Stalls in Bath Street are extended and there seems to be a Zone 2 in Southgate Street.

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Here’s the whole planned layout.

Meanwhile with the Christmas Market in mind – the scaffolding company responsible for the work on the old Empire Hotel has been told the poles can’t come down until after the Christmas business is finished around the now luxury block of apartments.

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So the scaffolding stays into the New Year?

Seems there’s no room – with safety in mind – for the dismantling teams and their lorries.

A few years ago much money was raised  by auctioning the Bladud’s pigs that were dotted around the city. One was in place outside Bath Abbey until quite recently.


One of those pigs that raised so much for charity.

I am hearing there is a possibility of another set of colourful street creatures. This time owls.

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Bath’s springs were dedicated to the Celtic goddess Sulis which the Romans identified with their own goddess Minerva. Her greek counterpart is Athena who was often depicted with an owl – symbol of wisdom.

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The pediment of the temple to Sulis Minerva with its Gorgon head – also contains the head of a tiny owl. It’s in the bottom right hand corner of the piece of stone with the Gorgon’s head.. The rest is missing but it was almost certainly perched on top of another helmet.

Let it snow!

Let it snow!

Am hearing Northumberland Place – one of the narrow lane ‘echoes’ of Bath’s medieval past – is not going to be left out of the Christmas cheer this year.


There’s the promise of snow machines bringing a seasonal look to this quaint quarter every Thursday nearer Christmas. Will let you know more when l hear more details.


The Laura Place fountain in ‘sleep mode’ once again.

Elsewhere l noticed the poor old fountain in Laura Place  had stopped running again. At least the algae-full water looks good against the blue sky. Here’s hoping monies can be found to buy a new pump for the old girl.

Down at our end of town the  battle to get action on the rat run that is our road continues to land on deaf ears. They put up a modest sign which no doubt heavy lorries won’t spot.


Our new sign – it’s huge! I don’t think!!

We have a cross roads at the top of our street and you can see the weight and width warning sign on the other side is really effective!


How effective is this sign – warning of weight and width restrictions?

We are waiting for a nasty accident because at the top of our road – on the cross roads with the old Gloucester Road – vehicles park right up to the corner so we cannot see what is coming.


Here’s the crossroads. Vehicles coming up our street – on the right – do not have a clear view to the right because vehicles park up to the corner!

They promised us white lines around the bus stop there which might discourage parking at that spot – but nothing has happened!

Maybe l will get some paint and do it myself!!

I want ‘the good life’ for all Bathonians – says Wera.

I want ‘the good life’ for all Bathonians – says Wera.

Bath Newseum meets the city’s new MP Wera Hobhouse – still busy setting up shop on Charles Street in offices previously occupied by her Parliamentary predecessor Ben Howlett.

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Bath’s new MP – Wera Hobhouse

She’s slight, well-dressed and a young-looking mother of four – all now over the age of 20.

Born in Hanover – a German city twinned with Bristol –  she came to Britain in 1990 having met and married her English husband William Hobhouse.

We talked about her profile and the tasks she sees as being ahead of her.

She is pro-Europe and keen on environmental issues and social justice – especially when it comes to providing affordable homes for all of Bath’s citizens.

Wera is Lib-Dem Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

We hadn’t met before, but l was grateful for her giving me time to at least start to get to see what makes her tick.

I asked her how she felt about her election victory. How much was it a vote for Lib Dem policies and how much a protest vote to remove a sitting MP who supported a new park and ride on Bathampton Meadows.