Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Making the most of a week off work

We booked a week off work about a month ago, mainly as we were both exhausted and needed a break and had few plans other than relaxing. As it turns out, our choice of week off couldn't have been better, with glorious weather all week. We're only just over halfway through the week, but have been so busy that it seems like a perfect excuse for an update blog post.

We had this crazy idea to get our chores out of the way at the start of the week, so we could enjoy ourselves and relax at the end of the week before returning to work. What that did mean was that by the end of Saturday I'd painted all the external woodwork on the house. I loathe gloss paint at the best of times and had worn latex gloves to keep it off my skin. I quickly realised, as they stuck to my skin more and more, that latex gloves aren't suited to temperatures in the high 20s! I'd also painted the sides of an old cast iron bench which we acquired when my work moved from their old premises complete with patio, to one completely devoid of external space. Andrew's taken it apart over the last couple of years (including angle grinding rusted bolts out of it!), and sanded down the wood, so it was nice to be making it look better than it probably had for fifteen years!

By Sunday, we decided we needed a day off. This year Aardman Animations and The Grand Appeal have placed around 70 five foot high decorated sculptures of Gromit around Bristol, plus a few further afield. They're only in place for about ten weeks, and I'm keen to get around to see as many as possible. We made a start on Sunday, visiting a few to the north of Bristol. They have all been designed and decorated by different people and so are as diverse as 80 sculptures of a five foot dog can be. On Sunday we got around to see four of them, this is the first one that we found.

Gromit Unleashed

We also have dreams of living in the country and so drove around some villages in South Gloucestershire for inspiration. We passed a house with this incredible memorial tower in the garden, unfortunately it wasn't for sale!

Memorial tower

We had to get up early on Monday to drop my car in for a service. When we got back we felt sufficiently recovered to be able to face more painting. We emptied the room, then applied masking tape and put down dust sheets. We set about painting, with me doing the cutting in and patch filling and Andrew wielding the roller, and didn't finish until about 9pm. By that time we couldn't face cooking, so Andrew went to pick up a curry from our local restaurant, the Raj Mahal. No curry has ever tasted as good!

We got up on Tuesday and removed the masking tape, dust sheets and started putting everything back together. I can't believe we managed to cover dark red paint with a single coat of this!

Painted room
 Afterwards we headed into Bristol to visit the Museum, where they had a visiting Egyptian exhibition. I've lived in Bristol for about seven years and hadn't been there before, so it felt like a perfect excuse. It's mind-blowing that artifacts from 3,000 years ago are still in one piece when almost all of our dinner plates have chunks missing! Unfortunately photography wasn't allowed, so you'll have to make do with these mummified cats, complete with drawn on faces, from the main Egyptian display! We also managed to see a few more of the Gromit statues whilst we were in the area.

Mummified cats

When we got home we put the bench together, not only does it look great, but it's also incredibly comfortable, just what we needed!

Today, we both had orthodontic appointments. Afterwards we rushed off to the Primrose Cafe for lunch before our teeth started hurting. It's a lovely little spot in Clifton Village with good food, and everything looks especially good when the weather's as sunny as it is today. 

We finished with a walk to track down all the Gromits in Clifton, it's a beautiful area, but by the end of it, we'd covered about four miles and were very glad to get home to put our feet up!

We've now visited 23 of the 80 Gromits and I'm wondering what to do blog-wise. Should I do one large post when I've seen them all (hopefully!) or is that too unmanageable, would I be better posting every time I've seen 20 or so? Any thoughts would be much appreciated!


  1. Yay for the Gromits!

    I've only done 3 so far - but I haven't really got round to having a proper search yet. I've only found St Nicholas Market Gromit, Bristol Old Vic Gromit (he looks so sad!) and Cheddar Gorge Gromit.

    I don't think I'll manage them all as I'm not planning any trips to London over the summer so can't see the one at Paddington!

    I don't know what to do either (re: blog posts) - I think maybe a few short rounds ups instead of one large post? x

  2. I think you're right, 80 is just too many to plough through! I've just blogged about my first 20, hope you enjoy it. x