Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts 2018

Over the last twelve months I have published 89 posts.

The tenth most popular post on my personal blog was Cinematic Advent Calendar #07 – The Eagle has Landed.

Cinematic Advent Calendar #07 – The Eagle has Landed

In at number nine, is one of a few posts about the harbourside in Bristol, Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Five

Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Five

Eighth most popular post, was about how Trenchard Street in Bristol had changed from the 1970s to today.

Trenchard Street, Bristol, circa 1970s

At number seven, was a post about the Bryan Brothers’ Garage Demolition, Bristol, in 1999.

Bryan Brothers’ Garage Demolition, Bristol, 1999

The sixth most popular post was about A nice clean new shiny Millennium Falcon as would be seen in the Solo: Star Wars Story film.

A nice clean new shiny Millennium Falcon

The post at number five was a post containing photographs from the harbourside in Bristol. Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s

Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Two

Fourth most popular post was Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Three. This was another post containing photographs from the harbourside in Bristol.

Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Three

Post at number three, Changes at the railway station, was how things have changed at Weston-super-Mare railway station.

Changes at the railway station

Second most popular post was some photographs from the Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s

Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part One

The most popular blog post this year was Cinematic Advent Calendar #05 – Leon.

Cinematic Advent Calendar #05 – Leon

4. Giggles

One of the aspects of the Gromit hunts are those sculptures that are outside Bristol. This year there are two Gromits down in Weston-super-Mare, one at Puxton Park, the other at the Grand Pier.

4. Giggle is a clown themed Gromit  who you can find at the entrance to the Grand Pier.

4. Giggles

4. Giggles

In a nice touch, the people behind the Grand Pier have placed a Grand Pier background, so when you take photographs of the sculpture you have a ready made background.

4. Giggles

Back in 2015 I attempted to see and photograph all 70 Shaun the Sheeps I managed to get 62. This time I am aiming to get all 67 sculptures.

I have created this page to record all the sculptures we find.

Download the app to find the sculptures.

3. Merry-go-Gromit

One of the aspects of the Gromit hunts are those sculptures that are outside Bristol. This year there are two Gromits down in Weston-super-Mare, one at the Grand Pier and the other at Puxton Park.

3. Merry-go-Gromit

3. Merry-go-Gromit is a funfair themed Gromit who wouldn’t look out of place on a carousel.

3. Merry-go-Gromit

Gromit does look a little forlorn and sad, but I think that might be the way he is sculptured.

3. Merry-go-Gromit

He is just outside the main entrance to the park, so no need to go inside, but you might want to visit the farm shop if you like your food.

Snowing again

We’ve had some heavy snow again, combined with cold winds from Siberia, a storm from Portugal called Emma. This snow is different to the snow we’ve had before in Weston-super-Mare, this was colder, icier and blew around a lot. So in some places we had big drifts and in others the snow had been completely blown off the pavement.

I have over the years (when we had snow) taken a particular photograph so here is the 2018 version.

Snow in 2018

This with the wind and the cold was actually some of the worst weather I have seen down here, but as you can see it doesn’t look too bad…

This was how it looked in December 2010. Back then we had very heavy snow.

Snow December 2010

This was how it looked in eleven months earlier in January 2010,  again heavy snow.

Snow Jan 2010

And here it is in February 2009. At this time this was some of the worst weather we had seen in twenty years.

Snow in 2009

This time though we are seeing less of the slushy roads, people appear to be taking note of the advice and driving less. Also it is very cold so the snow isn’t melting as quickly. You can also see in the series of photographs how much the tree on the left had grown.

The multiplex has arrived…

So after many false starts, delays and other problems, this week will see then opening of the new Cineworld multiplex in Weston-super-Mare. Twenty two years after Cineworld opened their first multiplex, down here in North Somerset we finally get to see what other towns and cities have had for years.

It’s not as though we don’t have a cinema, as the wonderful Art Decor Odeon has served us well for many years.

Odeon

The Odeon are responding in the only way they know how, by reducing prices to compete with the new multiplex. Tickets are less than five pounds, which is significantly cheaper than the new place.

For me I really like the cinematic experience, I really enjoyed going to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the Odeon, though when the opening date for the cinema was originally planned for the summer 2017, we had planned to see Star Wars in the new place. However as it hadn’t opened we did go to the Odeon. It was a really great cinematic experience and we really enjoyed the film. Okay not as good as Rogue One, but that’s a different blog post.

For me there are some films which deserve to be seen on the best screen possible and then thee are some that, well to be honest I would be quite happy on a smaller screen. With any multiplex you get the really big screen, which something like the Last Jedi would look great on, but then there are the smaller screens, and in these circumstances the older Odeon experience would be just fine and dandy.

The one thing that I wish all cinemas I frequent would sort out are the food and snacks. Not only are they either too sweet or too salty, they are also stupidly expensive. I know from a business perspective that cinemas make more of their money from the food and drink than they do from the tickets, but sometimes I wish I could have some value for money decent snacks. However as they probably sell all they need to, that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

So what film will I go and watch at the new multiplex? Who knows.

Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts 2017

The ten most popular posts from 2017 in reverse order.

10. The tide is coming in…

9. Trenchard Street, Bristol, circa 1970s

8. Things never said in the office…

7. Cinematic Advent Calendar #05 – Leon

6. Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Five

5. Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Four

4. Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s

3. Bryan Brothers’ Garage Demolition, Bristol, 1999

2. Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Three

1. Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s

The tide is coming in…

When I mention where I live, the talk often comes round to people getting stuck in the mud or cars getting caught by the tide.

Those who live in Weston-super-Mare will know that every summer weekend, a visitor or three gets caught in the mud trying to cross between Uphill beach and Break Down. The river Axe gets in the way, but it’s usually the mud that gets in the way first.

After the mud, the other thing that comes up in conversation is the tidal range.

Usually referred to the as the second highest tidal range in the world, it is actually the third, only the bay of Fundy (North America) and Ungava bay (Hudson straits) are bigger. The tidal range on the Severn can be as much as 15m (49ft). What this means for Weston-super-Mare is that the low tide mark in Weston Bay is about one mile from the seafront. For most of the time you don’t see the sea, which is why when I get the chance to see the beach with the tide in I take a photograph!

Grand Pier in the sea at Weston-super-Mare

Although the beach itself is sandy, low tide uncovers areas of thick mud, hence the colloquial name, Weston-super-Mud.

The other aspect of this long ideal range is that sometimes people get caught out by the fast rising tide having parked their car on the beach and their car gets swamped by the incoming tide.

This was the first time seeing the tide in at Uphill beach (just along from the main beach at Weston-super-Mare) that I saw a bus right by the high tide.

Bus in the sea

This wasn’t any old bus though, this bus served coffee!

Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts 2016

Across this blog I wrote fifteen posts in 2016. As might not be expected most of the top ten posts that year were from 2016, and I was pleased to see how popular my 1990s photographs of the Bristol Harbourside were.

I visited Legoland in 2013 and felt that it was A bit tired and this was the tenth most popular post, dropping one place from last year.

Also about Legoland Miniland was the ninth post.

The eighth post was about Time travelling by train which was a post on the newly painted GWR High Speed Train in the classic 1970s blue and yellow.

Inter City 125

The seventh popular post was inspired by a newspaper article and talked about the many Changes at the railway station in Weston-super-Mare.

The sixth placed post was from my 2012 series of Cinematic Advent Calendar posts, this one was #07 – The Eagle has Landed. There were quite a few films in the advent calendar that have significant memories over and above the film itself. Queuing for Star Wars was significant for example. With The Eagle has Landed I went to see it at the Aldeburgh cinema with my grandparents.

When I used film, I didn’t take than many photographs, but I did take a fair few of the Bristol Harbourside, so the fifth post was of the Bryan Brothers’ Garage Demolition, Bristol, circa 1999.

Three of the next four posts were similar and all contain photographs from the Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

Construction in the Bristol Harbourside

Fourth was this post Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s and third was this one: Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s (second part).

The second most popular post was a comparison of Trenchard Street, Bristol, circa 1970s and the view today.

The most popular post of the year on the Stuff blog was a series of photographs of Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

So quite a few posts from 2016 in the 2016 top ten.

Changes at the railway station




Though I am more likely to spend time at Worle station, I have been known to catch trains from the main station in Weston-super-Mare. Despite being a smallish town, Weston has three railway stations. The main station which opened in 1884 replacing the original station which opened in 1841. Weston Milton opened in 1933, a small halt to serve the then expanding Milton area. Worle station was opened in 1990 and unlike the other two stations, which are on the Weston loop, Worle is on the main Bristol to Plymouth line.

Over the years the railway station at Weston-super-Mare, well in terms of tracks, has changed quite a bit, even if the buildings and platforms have remained as much as they have since the line was built. This photograph from the local paper reminded me of how much has changed.

Weston-super-Mare Railway Station

Back then there was an up and down line on the Weston loop. There was also multiple sidings for good and carriages. I suspect a lot of the coal wagons for the local gas works were stored there awaiting return to the Welsh collieries.

By the late 1970s (the BR HST is still in blue and grey), when this image was taken on 28th March 1978, most of the sidings have now been taken away and replaced with a coach park. Lots of visitors to Weston-super-Mare were now coming by coach. The light brown building on the right of the photograph in the background is the Odeon cinema which is still there today, but Weston is getting it’s own multiplex at Dolphin Square.

Weston-super-Mare Railway Station Copyright Roger Winnen

You can see a lot of the points had been removed too.

By the time of this Google Street View image, the sidings have all been removed and replaced with a Tesco store and car park (which was the focus of the story in the local paper). Hildesheim Bridge was built in 1991 and crosses the eastern end of the platforms.

Weston-super-Mare Railway Station

Hildesheim is the German town which Weston is twinned with.

Change happens and over the next few years I suspect we will see more change.

Ten amazing sand sculptures

Here are ten of my favourite sculptures from this year’s Sand Sculptures at Weston-super-Mare. This year’s theme was “when I grow up…” and there was a range of sculptures that were inspired by this theme. Click the image for larger versions.

So who wanted to be a firefighter when they grew up? So there are the fires, the hoses and the water.

sand-sculpture_29272173265_o

If I found these surgeons looking over me, just about to go under a general anaesthetic, I would be feeling rather scared. These are rather freaky.

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Now who wants to go to the moon? Astronauts are often a childhood dream. This sculpture was really tall and I was impressed with the height of the thing, and the nice details, like the chimpanzee looking out of the window of the rocket.

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A rather depressed farmer looks after his crops and a sullen cow. Maybe its’ the sand, but he does look sad. The sculpture was rather flat, and it was quite effective.

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No this wasn’t about someone growing up to be a Pharaoh or even an Egyptian god, no this was about growing up to be an archaeologist, you can see the little figures in the sand.

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I think this was a vet, or someone wanting to be a mad scientist growing over sized dogs.

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Lots of young people want to be professional footballers.

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Tut, tut, construction worker stereotype!

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This was just plain freaky! No idea what it was supposed to represent.

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Yes, we can all grow up to be superman! To infinity and beyond… oh wait!

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I am always impressed with the quality and the ideas of the sculptures.