‘Stubs Corner’

‘Stubs Corner’

Noticed this little ‘stubs corner’ outside Waitrose in Bath the other day. I don’t know whether it’s staff coming out for a cigarette or shoppers going in pausing – to get one last drag on their disgusting fag.


Stubs Corner – outside Waitrose in Bath

It amazes me how many businesses let staff pop out to the shop front for a ciggie break. Not what l would call a good advertisement for the store around whose entrance they are hanging.


Not quite as bad as chewing gum l suppose – at least it’s easier to clear up.

Wetherspoons – on James Street West – made me laugh too. A little gaggle of blokes puffing away in a special sheltered enclosure outside. They looked like sheep in a pen.

I did wonder  at first –  if this was some contemporary art tableaux representing the smoking stacks skyline of industrial Manchester during the heyday of King Coal.

The biggest irony has to be a trip to Weston super Mare General Hospital to see my poorly sister and noting the number of people ignoring the No Smoking signs right outside the front entrance.

It’s fair to say this hospital is not alone. I have seen the same thing happening at Southmead and the RUH.

Hospitals often have bairly enough staff inside to care for the sick without having to go outside and remind people that these are a places of healing – and caring – not public spaces for indulging in nicotine suicide.

Left to me l would ban the weed in any public space. Yes – l am an ex-smoker of 27 years. There was as much smoke as stress in our newsroom. Both – l am sure – have been killers in our industry.

Oh how l wish l had known then what we know about smoking now.




What the Dickens!

What the Dickens!

One of the prettiest – and often overlooked – parts of Bath gets down to celebrating the festive season later today by celebrating another famous historical city visitor. And a man who certainly left his mark on Christmas!


The Corridor

Look out for the first of three Dickensian Evenings in The Corridor and Northumberland Place – over the next two Thursdays.

The event – organised with the help of Bath BID – will see Victorian-styled, costumed characters, musical entertainment and traditional festive treats – maybe even snowfall!


Northumberland Place

It’s all happening between 5 and 7.30 – on the 14th and 2ls -t in two of Bath’s famous narrow streets that make up part of the city’s Lanes Quarter. An echo of its medieval past.

Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor to Bath. He came first as a young reporter and later in life to give readings from his amazing novels. No doubt – at this time of the year – everyopne wanted to hear about Scrooge and A Christmas Carol!

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.

Here are some more recent images illustrating public transport having to cope with streets clogged with delivery lorries during the day.


This bus driver managed eventually to get the bus through in Broad Street.


It shouldnt have to be like this – should it?

Plus a tight squeeze for pedestrians in Westgate Street.


Not much between lorries and pedestrians in Westgate Street. Not what l think of as ‘shared space!’

Wouldn’t it be better – and safer – to deliver before 10 am and after 6pm?



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’.

Keeping our visitors safe.

Keeping our visitors safe.


With thousands flocking to Bath for the city’s annual Christmas Market, the Council has introduced additional security in line with similar initiatives all around the country.


White plastic-covered concrete blocks at the High Street end of West Gate Street. They have now been covered in festive bands of paper. To make them appear more friendly and less threatening?


This includes additional barriers being installed alongside new and replacement bollards, installed over the last month. This is designed to restrict access for vehicles, and make it safer for pedestrians to get around the city centre.


More blocks on the north side of the Abbey.

Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative Mendip), Council Leader, said: “These improvements are part of business as normal for the city. We are simply taking the prudent step of installing additional measures which are in common with those seen elsewhere in the country. There is currently no known threat to the city.

We want people to feel reassured and to enjoy visiting our city this Christmas and throughout the coming year.


Blocks by the taxi rank so mind your step at night.

“We have successfully operated CCTV for 25 years and we have more than 200 cameras. During that time they have detected crimes and ensured that visitors and residents continue to feel safe as they go about their daily business. We also have officers in town throughout the day, and taxi marshals in the evening so there is generally help on hand.

“All of this adds up to a co-ordinated approach to the city. I am grateful for the support of Visit Bath, Bath BID and Southgate Bath, who are integral to providing a joined-up approach to managing the city.”

David James, Chief Executive of Visit Bath added: ‘’As organisers of the Bath Christmas Market, Visit Bath works closely with partners to take all reasonable precautions to protect the safety and welfare of visitors attending the event.”

Guy Henderson, Centre Manager for SouthGate Bath, said: “Our top priority is the safety of all visitors to the centre all the time. We are pleased to be working closely with partners to continue to do this.”


Blocks at Terrace Walk.

Allison Herbert BID manager said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners at Visit Bath and B&NES Council to bring to the city a schedule of events and activities throughout the festive period that residents and visitors can enjoy.”

This year’s Bath Christmas Market is open from Thursday 23 November to Sunday 10 December, with an exclusive preview evening for residents Wednesday 22 November, 5-7pm.


Looks like they’re ‘gift-wrapping’ the concrete blocks.

Today – Tuesday, November 21st – Christmas Market organisers have been out giving the plastic covered concrete blocks a more festive look.


Has Santa dropped some parcels? Don’t try lifting these up!

Hopefully, it will make them more obvious too to anyone about to trip over them?


More of a festive look?

Also, don’t forget Bath’s Covered Market – beside the Guildhall – is also preparing itself to join in on the festivities!

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The way into the Covered Market from the High Street.


Inside the Covered Market


Festive boost or major blockage?

Festive boost or major blockage?

I am all for the business the annual Christmas Market brings into Bath but not too sure about this ‘chalet’ extension into pedestrianised Union Street.


New Christmas Market ‘chalets’ erected in the middle of Union Street.

After making such a fuss about traders using A boards – and seeing them as obstructions – B&NES has allowed a major blockage of a main shopping avenue.

Not only is the additional footfall going to obstruct business for established traders – but people stopping to look or trade at the street stalls are going to cause hold ups for everyone else.


Another view of the new pitch for Christmas Market ‘chalets’ in Union Street.

With so many empty shops alongside – it’s a shame Christmas Market traders could not have been offered some sort of ‘pop-up’ facility to use them.


‘Chalets’ erected alongside empty shops in Union Street.

I can see problems for emergency services, the disabled and even – God forbid it – any safe and quick  evacuation of people if suddenly required.

This is NOT a good idea.


The Big Issue seller is going to have to find a new pitch.

PS The Big Issue seller – with his famous dog – is also having to move his pitch up towards The Min.

Bath Christmas Market told Bath Newseum:

“The new location of chalets should help aid congestion and improve visitor flow.

We are committed to public safety and work closely with the relevant authorities to ensure safety measures, plans and procedures are in place.”

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Sunshine and blue skies over Bath this morning as l chanced upon a few signs that – despite the warm weather – the mid-winter festival of Christmas will soon be upon us.


The sun shines upon Bath this Thursday morning in mid-November.

The tree has gone up in Abbey Church Yard, and our annual Christmas Market continues in its construction.


The tree is up in Abbey Church Yard.

They have spread down Bath Street and around the corner for the first time so there is a circle to one side of the Cross Bath.


The Christmas Market has spread into Hot Bath Street. Age UK BANES hope they will still have access.

Bumped into some concerned volunteers from Age UK BANES who bring the old and disabled into their St Michael’s Place Centre for coffee and a chat.

They want to know they will have clear access for people in wheelchairs and certainly won’t want to push their elderly through market crowds.


Arriving flat pack! The drinks and food chalet going up in Stall Street. It will be followed – later in December – by the carousel.

Outside the Roman Bath’s the food and drink bar – which qualifies as a chalet as it’s big enough – was setting up shop. It replaced the Victorian carousel a few years ago – much to many a Bathonian’s displeasure.


It’s good to hear the carousel is coming back – albeit a bit later than many would have liked.

A bit of a compromise this year as the ‘gallopers’ will be on this site straight after the market ends.


The Apres Ski chalet under construction outside the Abbey Hotel.

At least the Abbey Hotel – busy putting up its Apres Ski Chalet – says the Snow Globe will be alongside – as usual. One bit of fun for all the family.


It’s fun having your picture taken behind the Abbey Hotel’s snow globe.

Away from Christmas preparations and into the Saw Close where the first occupant of the newmulti-million-poundd development is getting ready to open.


Furniture has arrived for the new Zizzi Restaurant in the Saw Close.

My understanding is that restaurant chain Zizzi will be having an in-house service try-out this weekend for family and friends. So an official opening cannot be many days away.

More info on the Christmas Market via http://bathchristmasmarket.co.uk