Wednesday, 25 March 2015

So long, farewell, Bristol...

Photo © Rosie Pentreath
By now, most of you know that I'll soon be flying to Sydney, Australia, to spend a year living, working, travelling and photographing things on the other side of the world.

With such a move comes a strong inclination to look back. What a fantastic two-and-a-half years I have had living in the vibrant and artful city of Bristol, setting off on my path in magazine and online journalism, and discovering new places and new music. Before that I relished living and learning at the beautiful campus of Royal Holloway, University of London where my mind was opened up to new ways of thinking about music and new ways of thinking about friendship.

After nostalgia and excitement comes the flood of questions and the invasion of a bit of self-doubt: "am I doing the right thing?"; "will I find another job I enjoy as much as my last while making ends meet?"; "how will I know if I've done all I can to prepare to move to the other side of the world before it's too late?".

I am lucky, though, to have a close group of friends and a loving family that has been endlessly supportive of my move, more often than not saying things like: "you're doing absolutely the right thing and you'll love it!", before reeling off anecdotes of an aunt, older sister or distant cousin who did just the same thing and never looked back.

While we're on the topic, then – and probably more for me than for you – I'd like to take a moment to revisit some of the best things about living in Bristol for the past two-and-a-half years.

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Finding inspiration in unexpected places

Bristol is famous for its street art, liberal thinking and welcoming population. I have found inspiration in the most unexpected places, from photographs taken on walks (the wonderful colours in the picture below are from the entrance to The Canteen, one of my favourite places in Bristol) to conversations conducted in the smoking areas of busy bars. At the age of 23, I have only lived in four places, but none of them has felt as welcoming to return home to as Bristol.


Photo © Rosie Pentreath




Starting a career in journalism

The reason I moved to Bristol in the first place was to take the job of Office Assistant at BBC Music Magazine. The opportunity presented itself during a work experience placement there and was the right one for me to get my foot onto the bottom rung of the journalism ladder. From there, I was promoted to Editorial Assistant, before throwing my hat in for the Digital Editor & Staff Writer role at the end of 2013. The stories, training and contacts I have been exposed to throughout the journey have proved invaluable. This is the brilliant cover the team made for me as a leaving present...





Discovering the joys of summer

I'm not exaggerating when I say a festival takes place every weekend in Bristol during the summer. Whether it's a day at the International Balloon Fiesta, two at the free Harbour Festival or an effort to 'Make Sundays Special', you're never far from the next outdoor event. Highlights for me also included the chaos of St Paul's CarnivalLove Saves the Day at Castle Park and two days of dub, reggae and drum 'n' bass at Tokyo Dub.


Photo © Rosie Pentreath




Drinking cider

Being the largest city in the South West, Bristol is the home of proper cider. The drink of choice for many Bristolians, it is found in dedicated shops (Bristol Cider Shop), restaurants (The Stable) and every establishment serving alcohol. When I visit London nowadays I find myself taken aback if there isn't a good Thatcher's on tap before remembering it just isn't the 'done thing' outside our little South West city.


Seeing lots of lovely boats


As well as the SS Great Britain and The Matthew (below), Bristol Harbour is bustling with ferries, fishing boats and sailing students. During Harbour Festival you can enjoy a tour of the harbour with champaign in a narrow boat.


Photo © Rosie Pentreath




Dancing shoes? Try walking boots...

The great thing about Bristol is that you can walk from one side of the city to another in about half-an-hour. A night out in Clifton in the west, say, can go on for as long as you like even when you live on Gloucester Road in the east, because you don't have to rely on a tube, bus or taxi ride home – you can almost always walk. It would be a challenge to count on one hand the number of late nights out that transitioned seamlessly into early-morning walks...


Having a room with a view

While some friends of mine were fighting over tiny corners of crowded rooms in house shares in London, I was able to enjoy relatively reasonable rental prices in Bristol. My first flat was a damp little studio in Clifton, but a studio all the same, and one with access to a garden. My second was a gorgeous two-bedroom flat share with my best friend overlooking the whole city. And my third was another studio, this time with the same glorious views and no damp. I will always appreciate the freedom and happiness these spaces afforded me.


Photo © Rosie Pentreath




Finding the best friends anyone could ask for

Moving to a brand new city is always daunting and I went to Bristol believing I knew nobody. Very soon, though, friends began emerging out of the woodwork. First a former housemate from university, then my sister's former housemate, an old college friend... very soon a close group of supportive friends had grown around me. I will never forget the incredible memories we have all shared.


Enjoying all the green space

From Clifton Down and Ashton Court (below) to Queen Square and St Andrew's Park, Bristol has no shortage of lovely green spaces. My friends and I wiled away many a summer's day eating hefty picnics, drinking cider and lighting up disposable barbecues in the city's open areas.


Photo © Rosie Pentreath






It never rains

I'm being ironic. Bristol's location in the South West next to mountainous Wales and the Severn Estuary means it rains a lot, as you can see in the picture above.


Visiting a cat pub

That's right – I said CAT PUB. The Bag O' Nails in Hotwells was home to about 12 kittens and several grownup cats last time I visited. These critters spend their afternoons sprawled across the bar ready and waiting for a stroke. Yes, the cat smell is almost off-putting, but two pints down and you won't notice.


Photo © Rosie Pentreath








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Tomorrow I will pack my belongings into assorted boxes and leave the city I have proudly called home for two-and-a-half years. Something tells me I will be back here before I know it...





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Rosie Pentreath



Monday, 9 March 2015

Arrival in spring

Saturday was one of those out-of-the-blue glorious days that make you think you've seen the back of winter for good. The sun was out in full force, kept in check by a light breeze and hint of chill in air, so we walked along Bristol's well-kept harbour to find the sunniest pub garden. And, of course, I took my trusty Pentax.

A gentle amble took us over to The Cottage Inn on Baltic Wharf where we sipped cold ciders and stared across the gentle water at sailing boats, lone canoeists and multi-coloured rows of cottages. With the sound of children's laughter in the background and the occasional duck floating past, you can imagine the kind of idyll we were in.

Of course, the slate skies and itchy drizzle came back this morning, but I did have the memory of the beautiful spring day stored inside a roll of 35mm film. I would like to propose that this is a glimpse of what's to come...

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath
© Rosie Pentreath
© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath






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Rosie Pentreath


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Wells Cathedral

When you step inside Wells Cathedral for the first time, it is easy to see why architectural historian Alec Clifton-Taylor once described it as "the most poetic of all English cathedrals." You can wander as if lost under the rows of proud arches and find yourself staring at the intricate details of centuries-old stained glass windows, open mouthed, for minutes at a time.

Built between 1175 and 1490, the Medieval colossus houses the second-oldest clock face in the world along with the splendid 14th-century stained glass Jesse Window, mason William Joy's steadfast 'Scissor' Arches and heavy marble tombs, still holding their strong colours, built for a number of figures important to the church. 

For me, the stunning facade of the cathedral beats that of Bath Abbey and York Minster – it even comes close to the Notre Dame in Paris. Next to the cathedral is the visually arresting Vicar's Close, which was founded in 1348 for the 42 vicars of the Vicars Choral to live communally. When we visited, a slate sky made for a dramatic backdrop to the row of neat buildings. 

Elsewhere in Wells, fun can be had visiting the various independent cafés and pubs, and popping into 'Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe' to choose your favourite guilty pleasure from the rows of sweetie jars. There is no train station, but the bus ride is more than worth it for the breathtaking views of rural Somerset.

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath


© Rosie Pentreath


The cathedral cat warms herself by an iron radiator © Rosie Pentreath
© Rosie Pentreath
© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath
Wells Cathedral © Rosie Pentreath

© Rosie Pentreath


© Rosie Pentreath

Vicar's Close, Wells © Rosie Pentreath


Visit: www.wellscathedral.org.uk



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Friday, 13 February 2015

Porth-an-Alls, Prussia Cove




If you're lucky enough to have spent time at Porth-an-Alls in Prussia Cove, Cornwall, you'll know what I mean when I say it's not quite like any experience you'll have elsewhere. The location of Sándor Végh's International Musician's Seminar and several film sets (Ladies in Lavender and Summer in February were both shot here), Porth-an-Alls is a stunning historic house surrounded by traditional Cornish cottages hidden away in what feels like a forgotten part of Cornwall.

After squeezing through winding and increasingly narrow roads, the peace you find at Prussia is whole and uninterrupted. The lack of modernisation allows the stars to reign the night skies, the sea to remain clear and inviting, and the air to reach your lungs new and untainted.

Porth-an-Alls is surrounded by turquoise sea and generous beaches where you can clamber across rocks to survey pool life and delve in the sand for precious cowry shells. 

The houses – including Porth-an-Alls itself, The Lodge and Willy's Cottage – are gorgeously eccentric, all largely untouched by modern convenience, open fires still the primary source of heat, candles a legitimate source of light. Hammocks hang from stone arches; marble pillars support fireplaces; roll-top baths sit in the centres of rooms or beside frost-bitten windows; ornate friezes adorn bedroom walls. There's no wi-fi here.

Last weekend (6-8 February), my auntie and her partner got married in this Bloomsbury Group-esque setting. I stayed with my family in The Lodge, which is right next to the main house and enjoyed catching up with friends and relatives from around the country while sharing this most romantic – and beautiful – of occasions with my nearest and dearest.

Now, Prussia Cove is somewhere you want to spend your time outside as much as possible, so a February visit promised to be a very chilly one, but we were incredibly lucky to be graced with mild temperatures, warm sun and azure skies. An extra blanket or two was adequate protection against those old cottages. Even the ceremony itself took place in the fresh air!

Here is how it all looked through my little Pentax MV1...

Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath

Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath
Photo © Rosie Pentreath






Visit: prussiacove.co.uk



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