Sunday was the finest day of the year thus far, almost coatless weather in the sunshine though with a lip-cracking wind out of shelter. Bristol’s Harbourside, regenerated impressively in the last decade, is a schizophrenic locale: hellish binge-drinking epicentre on Saturday night; on Sunday afternoons a laid-back hangout for middle-class moochers and buggy-pushers like me. We prefer the Dr Jekyll version these days. Met up with old friends for a pint and a really excellent lunch at Bordeaux Quay. The sprogs behaved, more or less. I haven’t been so chilled in months. Brit Jnr struggled tinily in one of these trendy wooden highchairs reminiscent of the thing they use to wheel Hannibal Lecter around; our friends’ toddler looked out the window and made insightful observations about the boats.
The Matthew – a reconstruction of the ship which John Cabot took to America in 1497 – was open gratis to the public so we clambered about in that for a bit and then walked across Millennium Square and around Canon’s Marsh amidst the clattering skateboarders. How old is too old for wheel-based toys? I would say fourteen, but obviously many disagree. Skateboarders are like pigeons in that they inevitably accumulate in any large flagstoned space but I think that both pests add acceptable colour so long as they don’t reach plague proportion.
On the sunlit cobbles outside the Arnolfini Gallery the venerable wit Barry Cryer was holding court. We noted his presence but didn’t join the little semi-circle of admirers. I like Barry Cryer but am instinctively disinclined to approach celebrities because I assume, often wrongly no doubt, that they want to be left alone; and anyway I find the status issues awkward. Cryer sported a colourful scarf and waved a cigar in a flamboyant manner; in fact he looked a bit like an old queen, which as far as I know he isn’t.
We headed back to the cars as the light began to fade. Come to the Harbourside on a sunny Sunday for Bristol at its relaxed best. From here to Friday night the place gradually declines into its puking, fighting Mr Hyde form but you've got to take the rough with the smooth, haven't you?