Last weekend I returned to Bristol to surprise my parents, who have been living it up and travelling in Australia / NZ for the last three months (baby boomers, what can you do?) I arrived LHR late Sat evening and stayed overnight at Reading Travelodge (oh the glamour!)
My parents now live in a lovely semi-detached house in Mangotsfield, about 3 miles from Frenchay. They sold "the Anchorage" and moved out May last year, but this was the first chance I had to visit them. Since my visit was a surprise, my sister (who as already in Bristol with her boys) had texted me instructions from leaving the motorway. But this invisible force led me. Left the M4 J19 on automatic pilot, M32 J1, and I just had to drive down in Frenchay. It was me going home.
I had had this irrational fear that the house would be torn down, or unrecognizable beyond belief, but I wanted to face me fear and see for myself how it was. I drove slowly past and it was all still there and recognizable. I parked down by the bridge and walked back up the hill and took some shots. There were 2 guys outside and one said (nicely) "There's a lady taking photos of our house!" So I introduced myself and they gave me the full guided tour of the works. I think they were proud of what they had done and wanted an appreciative audience, which I was.
They reckon it will be a few weeks before it is finished. The house felt the same, slightly bigger windows adn more light. They had most of the smaller rooms through, to create much larger, open rooms. The view from my bedroom window was the same as ever and just as relaxing. Seeing the house again closed the circle for me, gave me closure. I felt that I was able to say Goodbye to the house properly.
Sundy and Monday were great. Kate and her boys, my parents and I went out to a lovely old country pub for Sunday lunch. On Monday my parents and I went for a walk around Frenchay and Vassal's park. It was a beautiful, sunny Spring day and the village looked its best. It was lovely to walk down and around memory lane. I can't remember the last time I did that. All in all I felt refreshed and renewed after the weekend, with many fond memories of Frenchay and the Anchorage. I hope that I can provide my boys with the same sort of family home as my parents did.
Row 1, L-R: Built up wall behind house, my room and windows
Row 2, L-R: Downstairs room, outside of house, bridge at bottom of hill
Row 1, L-R: Common with church, telephone box, post box, Me!
Row 2, L-R: Vassal's Park
Row 3, L-R: View of house from park, my parents, entrance way, common
Row 4, L-R: Frenchay common, St John Baptist Church x 2, Common