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21 July 2019: Bristol Harbour FestivalA wooden sailing ship seen bow-on

It was a bonus for my wife and I to discover that the Bristol Harbour Festival is taking place this weekend. We strolled around the harbour area after our visit to Bristol Cathedral this morning.

We sat down for a while on the steps in front of the main stage to watch a performance by Storm Force 10, a locally-based male group that sings sea shanties. It might be more accurate to say they performed songs from the quays and estuaries. They were very good. We enjoy that sort of music. We were both in fits of laughter during the last verse of their song about smugglers, which describes the smugglers going to church on Sunday and the vicar, who had himself bought smuggled wine from them, intoning with a sly wink “Forgive these men, for they know not what they do.”

When they finished we made our way down to Spike Island and walked along the harbour wall there, admiring the old boats that had gathered. These include a working replica of the Matthew, the boat on which John Cabot allegedly discovered North America. (See the photograph.)

We walked as far as the SS Great Britain but baulked at the idea of paying £30 for the two of us to look round it. Instead we walked back to the M Shed and visited the exhibition on Bristol life. The exhibit that caught my eye was the Bristol Lodekka bus, which you can board.

After that we made our way to Brandon Hill Park and the Cabot Tower. My wife climbed the tower but I was content to sit at the bottom. She did complain about cramp in her legs when she came back down!

Then we made our way back to our hotel for the evening.