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/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property NOVEMBER 2019 / ISSUE 272 / £3


Proud finalist in the 2019 BSME Awards!








Editor’s letter

32 H

ere’s the thing; the inevitable, November-issue thing. If you’re picking up this magazine on the day it comes out, you’re unlikely to be feeling especially Christmassy. On the other hand, the issue covers the period up until 29 November, at which point the festive season is most definitely on. So while we can’t ignore Christmas completely in this issue, we’ve refrained from over-egg(nog)ing it. We’ve cautiously draped a few bits of tinsel around the place, but otherwise we’ve made like Santa with an overeager Prancer, and reined it in a bit. For now. But some things couldn’t wait until the next issue: our annual round-up of the big Christmas shows, for example (page 22). They’re now open for booking, so if you don’t want to be stuck behind a pillar for your secondfavourite show on a date that’s convenient for absolutely nobody, you know what to do. We’ve also compiled a couple of gift guides (look, if you really don’t want any truck with festive gifting yet, just think ‘atypically big shopping feature’). The first is devoted to jewellery, making it equally ideal for sourcing a bit of bling for the Christmas* party. And if that’s still far too Yule-heavy for your liking, put the Christmas blinkers on and head to Martin Parr Foundation to marvel at the seminal, era-defining photography of Tony Ray-Jones; a nice bit of stark mid-century blackand-white could be just the antidote you need. Back at you in three weeks, with unapologetic jingle bells on. (*Other late-winter shindigs also available).

deri robins Excerpt from Isle of Wight Festival, c.1968 © Tony Ray-Jones/National Science & Media Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Follow us on Twitter @BristolLifeMag Instagram @BristolLifeMag I BRISTOL LIFE I 3

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Issue 272/November 2019 Cover Beachy Head Boat Trip, c 1967, © Tony Ray-Jones/ National Science & Media Museum/Science & Society Picture Library; at Martin Parr Foundation

the arts

13 art page Wild things 14 WHAT’S ON Let the festive jingling commence 22 bristmas The Christmas shows you need to book

right now

photography of Tony Ray-Jones

32 arts Sadness, humour and gentle madness: the



37 books Slip a fable under the tree 40 bristol heroes Is it art?

food & DRINK

46 RESTAURANT Ciao, Bianchis! 48 Food and drink news What the header says 53 stan Hungary heart


58 gift gude: 1 Give them that old razzle dazzle 66 gift guide: 2 Wall flowers


71 Health & beauty Super spas


79 bristolworks Inside info on The Wave, Marsh

Commercial and Urban Creation


93 showcase People in Glashauses


9 spotlight 11 brizzogram 55 on the radio Kam Kelly 72 society 98 bristol lives Jane Duffus

Double girl-power: Jody’s Greta print is now available to buy; and it takes more than a dodgy apple to fell Snow White

Editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors Mal Rogers, Meg Coast, Christian Annesley, Colin Moody, Stan Cullimore, Kam Kelly Advertising manager Neil Snow New business manager Craig Wallberg Key accounts manager Dan Nichols Advertising & sales executive Hayley Allwood hayley.allwood@ Production/distribution manager Sarah Kingston Deputy production manager/production designer Kirstie Howe Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham Bristol Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs (, @CrumbsMag. Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact: I BRISTOL LIFE I 5

spotlight Wildlife

reasons to be cheerful


a perfect wave

…every time, guaranteed: that’s the alluring promise from the world’s first inland surfing lake that’s just launched in Bristol, near Cribbs Causeway. The 180m lake is powered by Wavegarden Cove technology, and offers waves for everyone, from a child stepping on a board for the first time to élite surfers training for the Olympics. The site was shrouded in secrecy before the big reveal on 25 October, while the engineering team tested and fine-tuned the technology; now it’s open to all. “It’s incredible to see sets of five, 10 and even 15 waves breaking and maintaining their quality,” said Wavegarden’s CEO Josema Odriozola. “We’ve been able to create an immense variety of waves; for instance, there is kind of a point break, with long and easy Malibu-style waves. It’s a new phase of man-made waves; a true surfing paradise that will bring enjoyment to newcomers as well as lifelong surfers”. The Wavegarden Cove technology provides up to 1,000 waves of varying sizes and shapes an hour – that’s a wave every 10 seconds. Heights start at 50cm and peak at 1.8m; every aspect of the surfing experience, from supportive coaching to tried-and-tested wetsuits and boards, has been designed to suit all levels. A one-hour surf session costs £40-45 for an adult and £30-35 for a child, including all gear. Book your session at

“The movement has started, and it’s unstoppable now”. In an epic speech to a Bristol audience, at the preview of the BBC’s latest documentary series Seven Worlds, One Planet at Showcase Cinema De Lux, Sir David Attenborough declared the movement against single-use plastic and protecting the planet has started. “Something quite extraordinary has happened, and this series will build on it,” said Sir David. “We all know about plastic, how appalling it is and what damage it does. We’ve been saying it for years. Yet suddenly the bell rang, and everybody is aware of it. That does give one hope. It’s spreading all around the world. Of course there are exceptions [but] the movement has started and it’s unstoppable now.” Sir David explained how Bristol’s BBC Natural History Unit team has played a crucial role in highlighting issues. “That’s what the Natural History Unit have done over the last 50 years. It has enabled people to see how it works.” Seven Worlds One Planet broadcasts BBC One on Sundays.


four legs good

From sniffer dogs to sheepdogs, guide dogs to gundogs, canines earn their kibble in all manner of ways – and on 14 November, Dogs for Good – a national charity making a life-changing difference to people with disabilities through the company of specially trained dogs – is hosting a unique event to celebrate the positive impact they can have. Power of Dogs takes place on the ss Great Britain, and everyone from dog lovers to professionals working in the animal sector is invited for an evening of debate, awareness-raising and entertainment focused on the benefits and delights that dogs bring to people. The charity supports people with a range of needs, including both physical and mental disabilities; demand for its services is at an all-time high, with the charity receiving over 5,000 enquiries in 2018. The Power of Dogs event will celebrate the huge impact that dogs have on health and wellbeing, as well as how they can improve quality of life and actually reduce the need for care. Tickets £10 from I BRISTOL LIFE I 9


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now open Telephone: 0117 329 5525 15 Kenn Court, Roman Farm Road, Bristol BS4 1UL. Open Monday to Saturday.


Sleeping like a Weddell by Ralf Schneider

SLEEPING BEAUTY No, not a Christmas show that we’ve unaccountably omitted from our festive round-up; Seal here is just one of the many incredible animal photos you’ll be able to marvel at in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition when it lands at M Shed at the end of the month. Every year, the underlying message about the fragility of the Earth’s wildlife becomes more urgent; every year it’s more important to pay attention to the stories behind the images. And yes, OK, when you’ve done all that, you can get your photogeek on by peering at all the f-stops and ISO deets, and wondering wistfully if Santa might bring you a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II for Christmas… The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London; showing at M Shed 23 November 2019-4 May 2020; I BRISTOL LIFE I 13

What’s on

In which we ease you ever so gently into Bristmas '19…

8 November-8 December

The best wildlife exhibition of them all is back at M Shed: Lucky Break by Jason Bantle; Wildlife Photographer of the Year, developed by the Natural History Museum


Until 1 December

167 ANNUAL OPEN EXHIBITION The 167th outing for the Royal West of England Academy’s renowned Open, featuring work in all art forms you can think of;

Until 8 December

Meriç Algün: day craving night In a series of new and recent works, Stockholm-based artist Meriç explores the precarious nature of love in a world obsessed with individualism, consumption and borders; Spike Island;

Until 15 December

STILL I RISE: FEMINISMS, GENDER, RESISTANCE – ACT 3 Part of an insightful series looking at Bristol’s history in radical feminist

and queer resistance. Act 3 focuses on stories of international resistance movements and alternative forms of living from a gendered perspective;

Until 21 December


Until 31 December

INTERVENTIONS/2: FILMS BY YOKO ONO Legendary artist and activist’s solo intervention at The Georgian House Museum, including rarely seen short films;

Until 19 April

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? From ancient uses of witchcraft to the role superstition plays in the modern mind, this new exhibition explores how magic has been used to


heal, hunt and harm across the world and down the age;

14-20 November

a gathering of unasked possibility Artists, researchers and activists interrogate issues relating to our precarious world, proposing alternative ways of thinking, expressing, and being; at Centrespace.

23-24 November

north bristol art trail It’s the turn of our arty friends in the north to host a trail weekend, from Cotham up to Bishopston; visit artists in their own homes and studios, bump into friends and soak up the atmosphere of streets a-bustle with art lovers;

23 November-4 May

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The world-renowned photography exhibition from the Natural History Museum returns to M Shed with 100 new images; expect more on that subject in these pages very soon.

30 November

Fair saturday bristol Bristol is the first city in England to join Fair Saturday, a global movement which aims to boost arts, culture and social causes. Artists, performers and communities unite to talk, sing and shout about what it means to be a free society; vintage photography fair Meet specialist photograph dealers from the UK and Europe at the Bristol's first vintage photography fair, with rare vintage photographs from all around the world available for perusal and purchase; at The Royal Photographic Society;

what’s on shows

Until 9 November

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING “Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me”: Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory celebrates its 20th anniversary with the Bard's very best rom-com. little mermaid Love, sisterhood, mystery and a dancing seahorse: New Works Ballet Theatre’s premiere of its familyfriendly adaptation of the classic Andersen tail, sorry, tale comes to the stage for Christmas; The Kelvin Players Theatre

Until 16 November

above: Croeso yn ôl i’r Bristol, Rhod Gilbert! left:

Santa’s real, and Douglas Walker has proof below:

The pen is mightier than the nose; a final chance to catch Cyrano

earthquakes in london “The enemy is on its way, but it doesn't have guns and gas; this time, it has wind and rain, storms and earthquakes.” Bristol Old Vic Theatre School grads present Mike Bartlett’s ambitious play centred around climate change, at BOV; CYRANO Tristan Sturrock takes on the role of the eponymous soldier, blessed with the wit of a poet but cursed with a risibly large nose, in a new verse adaptation directed by Tom Morris. Prepare to laugh, but bring the Kleenex;

19-23 November

elf jr: the musical A seasonal romp that’ll have you embracing your inner elf, based on the 2003 film featuring Will Ferrell;

20-28 November

burgerz After someone threw a burger at them and shouted a transphobic slur, performance artist Travis Alabanza became obsessed with burgers, leading to a performance that's timely, unsettling and powerful; at BOV,

21 November 19 January

drac & jill Hang out with with Count Drac this Christmas at The Wardrobe for the latest in an adult festive offering; see page 22.

22 November

cirque du soul The 21st century’s Moulin Rouge, where burlesque meets bass, Cirque Du Soul brings a night of Bohemian revelry to Motion;

27-29 November

DISNEY’S THE LION KING Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba! Follow Simba as he evolves from wide-eyed cub to King of the Pridelands;

of christmas past The only thing more devastating than finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist? Finding out that he does. Storyteller Douglas Walker unwraps the myth at Tobacco Factory Theatres;

11-16 November

28 November-12 January

12-16 November

28 November-19 January

Until 23 November

Living Spit‘s ODYSSEY It’s Homer, but not as you know it, as Kate Dimbleby joins Bristol’s comedy theatre troupe Living Spit to reimagine the classic work; at TFT;

© Ger aint Lew

help each other out through Britain's darkest hour. Expect tales of rationing, home guards and ARPs, set to music of the era; at Alma Tavern;

It’s true, it’s true, it’s true Merging myth, history and contemporary commentary, Breach Theatre ask the question: ‘How much has really changed in the last four centuries?’ in their restaging of the Artemisia Gentileschi rape trial that gripped 1612 Italy;

18-23 November

keep smiling through Rewind to WWII, as two neighbours

A christmas carol After a record-breaking run last year, this spectacular adaptation of a timeless classic is back with a new cast at Bristol Old Vic; see page 22. Snow white TFT present an original take on the fairytale of friendship, love and why an apple a day isn’t always conducive to health; see page 22.

29 November-12 December

the snow queen BOVTS present their adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson classic fairytale; see Christmas show round-up, page 22; I BRISTOL LIFE I 15

WHAT’S ON 29 November-5 January

BOING! Travelling Light’s award-winning show for littler ‘uns returns to Bristol Old Vic; see page 22; bristololdvic. DICK WHITTINGTON London chancer makes good – who else to play the role but cockney treasure Shane Richie? It’s the Hippodrome panto – oh yes it is; see page 22.

23 November

TERRY THE ODDJOB MAN Tel's back, with a new live show at the Anson Rooms;

28 November

FRANK SKINNER A rare chance to see Brum’s finest, in a sparkling new stand-up show at the Hippodrome;

29 November

SHIRLEY VALENTINE “Gone to Greece; back in two weeks”. You know the rest, right? Alma Tavern Theatre,

RHOD GILBERT: THE BOOK OF JOHN In a six-year break from stand-up, a lot has happened to our favourite Welshman. Predictably, most of it has been sh*t. At Bristol Hippodrome;

8, 9, 20, 22 December

6 December

3-7 December

STEAMED: A DICKENSIAN IMPROVISED CHRISTMAS TALE Board the ss Great Britain for an entirely improvised evening of Dickensian festivities; see page 22.

COMEDY 9 November

THE SHADE PULLERS & LASH STACKERS SOCIAL CLUB The drag-cabaret night like no other makes its quarterly reappearance;

11, 25 November

CLOSER EACH DAY The true definition of thinking on your feet, this improvised soap-opera has been running at The Wardrobe on a fortnightly basis for over eight years and over 160 episodes, making it the world's longest improvised narrative;

15 November

JOE SUTHERLAND: SOUR In 2019, the world is on fire and a certain 90s pop group reformed – but did they bring the demons of our past with them or save us from our fate? A new show of punchy jokes and shrewd sarcasm about how we’re looking back instead of forwards; TFT;

16 November

ELF LYON’S LOVE SONGS TO GUINEA PIGS Following last year’s sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a show all about love and loneliness, with Elf ’s signature clowning expertise making it her silliest and most amazing show yet; at Tobacco Factory Theatres;

ARDAL O’HANLON: THE SHOWING OFF MUST GO ON The Death in Paradise, Father Ted and My Hero star is on tour with his worldwide stand-up show. Because he loves it. And it’s a compulsion. And the world is a funny place; At Bristol Hippodrome;

ABOVE: The enemy's on its way, but this time it has storms, not guns: Earthquakes in London


14 November

BARB JUNGR: BOB, BREL AND ME Barb’s reputation as one of the world’s great cabaret singers may have gone to her head, as she will now only sing songs by writers whose names start with the letter B;

LEFT: Boy from the Black Country: Frank's at the Hippodrome

15 November

MAKING TRACKS Bringing together emerging artists from around the world, aiming to make the music world a socially and environmentally engaged community;

16 November

THE LISTENING ROOM A new series of live sessions in St George’s new Glass Studio space. Artists of all kinds will perform fresh material and discuss the ideas that shape their work; NEVILLE STAPLE The Original Rude Boy’s at the Fleece, and he’s bringing Troy Ellis with him;

18 November

CASS MCCOMBS As one of the great songwriters of his time, Cass has become renowned for his soulful, contemporary


Americana. Don’t miss his latest album at St G’s;

19 November

HAWKWIND The legendary pioneers of space rock are touring to celebrate half a century in the biz, and they’re coming to Anson Rooms; YUNGBLUD Think a kind of cross between a young Alex Turner and Jamie T, with a dash of ska and soupçon of hip-hop spirit thrown into the mix, and you’re pretty close;

JOHN WILLIAMS, JOHN ETHERIDGE AND GARY RYAN Three acclaimed guitarists, in a colourful and varied programme of solos, duos and trios at St G’s;

24 November

THE FANTASY ORCHESTRA Bristol’s own psychedelic 60-piece orchestra and choir present their rendering of Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool;

28 November

ELECTRIC SIX The six-piece disco-punk band have no intention of fading into the

What’s on musician’s abyss, and will be hitting the O2 with their new album, Bride of the Devil;

29 November

Ezra collective The Collective’s sound nods respectfully to a classic jazz footprint, celebrating the originators while carving a path solely their own; at Trinity Centre;

30 November

fontaines dc The Irish punks land at SWX with their’poetically-minded, anxious take on rock’;

bristol christmas market Following the 8 November switch-on, the Shopping Quarter will undergo its annual transformation into a winter wonderland of wooden chalets; perhaps more interesting is the Local’s Market, which runs 29 Nov-23 Dec.

14 November

wapping wharf christmas lights switch- on Join the cast of Tobacco Factory Theatre’s Snow White on Harbourside for music, magic and festive fun; wapping

23 November-8 December (weekends) made in

bristol gift fair Meet and buy from Bristol’s talented local makers, for truly individual, handmade gifts; in the Colston Hall foyer, as usual;

23 November-22 December (weekends)

harbourside market Five festive-fuelled weekends, as the covered walkway transforms into a magical Makers’ Market, showcasing 50 of Bristol’s brightest indies;

23 November-5 January

© Silvia Gr av

A Very Victorian Christmas at Tyntesfield Tyntesfield’s taking the season’s best loved traditions and bringing them to life with an immersive Victorian experience;

28 November-21 December

Christmas at the Spiegeltent The magical wooden mirrored tent

Victorian christmas weekend Jump aboard the ss Great Britain and be transported back to a wintry Dickensian scene complete with a beautifully decorated dockyard, Victorian characters and guaranteed snow;

Until 10 November

8 November-23 November

Poet Tjawangwa Dema at Afrikan Eye below: Songwriter extraordinaire Cass McCombs at St George's

7- 8 December




returns to Waterfront Square with its legendary Christmas parties, live music, DJs, performance, theatre, masked balls, fine food and family events;

afrika eye film festival The South West’s biggest celebration of African arts, cinema and culture returns to Bristol with a programme featuring music, food, spoken word, dance and other events at venues including the ss Great Britain and Arnolfini;

9-10 November

hamilton house open studios They’ve worked so hard to protect their space; why not pop along to find out what it’s all about?

17 November

TEDxBristol 2019: Reflect. Rethink. Reboot How do we unpick things that don't work, steady our focus and create positive change in a world of constant flux? Join TedxBristol a day of live inspirational talks and activities focused on not just surviving, but thriving in uncertain times;

20 November

nosferatu The 1922 vampire thriller, with live, organ accompaniment, at Bristol Cathedral;

23-24 November

bristol fashion show The best in local, indie fashion; at Ashton Court;


tobacco factory makers market Look out next February for a new venture showcasing and selling the work of local artisan makers and producers,; for an early taster head to the pop-up stalls during TuesSunday during December; n I BRISTOL LIFE I 19

22 I bristol LIFE I

photo © Ben Robins

He’s checking his list, he’s checking it twice: we’re watching Scrooge morph from nasty to nice at Bristol Old Vic


Dashing through the Shows Like the very best kind of Christmas stocking, there’s a little bit of everything in Bristol’s festive line-up this year – and if you want to make sure of getting your favourite seats for your favourite show, you really need to jump on the box office booking sites toute suite… Words by Megan Coast


e say this every year, but only because it’s true: the variety of Christmas shows in this city is off the scale. While most UK towns have to make do with a single panto (maybe with some kind of fringy alternative, if they’re lucky) we have some of the most diverse, original and creative festive theatre in the country to choose from. Whatever floats your festive boat, the 2019 season’s shaping up to be a cracker, so grab a glass of something mulled, stick on the Nat King Cole, and join us as we dash through the line-up.

Bristol Old Vic

The BOV Christmas shows are unmissable, thanks to their killer combo of solid family entertainment with enough wit and innovation to keep the grown-ups just as engaged as the kids. Last year’s A Christmas Carol was a sell-out success, so they’re bringing it back; last year’s Scrooge has regenerated, Doctor Who-style, into the rather handsome John Hopkins; John’s no stranger to playing the mean guy – most recently he was nasty Sir Francis Bassett in Poldark – and we’re very much looking forward to seeing what he does with the role. For smaller children, Sally Cookson’s magical dance-theatre show Boing! is returning home to the theatre where it all began, after nine years touring the world. The story centres on two boys waiting for Father Christmas to arrive, with awe-inspiring breakdance and contemporary choreography sprinkled among the fairy dust. I bristol LIFE I 23

christmas shows

Finally, you won’t find a more celebratory piece of theatre in the city than Anansi and the Grand Prize; a vibrant retelling of the classic African folktale about the eponymous trickster hero. “Expect reggae, soul music, colourful costumes and a shedload of dance,” they say. Oh, and they also say: “Keep an eye out for our Pyjama Nights on selected Friday evenings – come in your jammies and cosy up with a steaming hot chocolate from 1766 Bar & Kitchen before the show.” You had us at hot chocolate, BOV, baby. Dates and booking details at

The Redgrave

The talented Bristol Old Vic Theatre School crew are bringing a thrilling adaptation of festive favourite The Snow Queen; the classic fairytale was the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen, but don’t hold that against it, because BOVTS are promising a delightful show “packed with music, dance and tobogganing”. There’s also While Shepherds Watched , the School’s annual nativity tour for primary school children, with two public performances at the theatre. Think wise (and not so wise) men, talking sheep, a horrible Herod and carols old and new in a magical retelling of the story of the first Christmas. They say: “Our Christmas shows are incredibly important to the School, and we try to offer a programme that’s as diverse and accessible as possible. Whether it’s a musical number or a traditional tale, we hope this provides an intimate alternative to the Christmas shows at larger theatres.” Dates and booking details at

Tobacco Factory Theatres top: Don’t expect Let it Go; BOVTS is taking The Snow Queen back to basics; bottom: Boing! bounces back to BOV

24 I bristol LIFE I

Christmas is always busy at the TFT, and this year there are a total of four – count ’em! – Christmas shows to choose from. “From three-year-olds bewitched by their first theatre visit in the Spielman Theatre to older children laughing at familiar stories told



Cl aire Haigh & Joe Roberts

“An apple a day doesn’t always keep the doctor away; just ask Snow White” I bristol LIFE I 25

© Chris Collier



Colston Hall The absence of an auditorium during building works hasn’t stopped Bristol’s home of music from putting on a show or four this Christmas, and the programme reaches into some of Bristol’s most beautiful venues this December. “Only one person will visit more of the city, and that’s Father Christmas himself,” they say. The Victoria Rooms hosts Bristol Youth Orchestra’s Christmas concert; the Bristol Schools Christmas Concert takes centre stage at St George’s, and Bristol Youth Choir fills St James Priory – all highlighting the incredible musical talent of Bristol’s young people. And if in your book carols mean brass – and is there anything more spine-tinglingly, Dickensingly festive than a brass band? – The Salvation Army: Bristol Easton Corps is playing Christmas music at St Michael’s Church in Stoke Gifford. St George’s bristol Our premier classical hall starts to get properly festive from 19 December onwards, with two nights of the Christmas Spectacular followed by the Children’s Christmas Carnival and Baroque Christmas. The final offering for the season is a unique collab between five of the English folk scene’s most inventive artists for Awake Arise – A Christmas Show For These Times, celebrating the riches of our varied winter traditions, and reflecting upon the hope and resilience in music that can bring joy to all during the darkest season.

It’s a Christmas show Jim, but not as you know it: Kirk takes on Ming at the TFT

with a bit of a twist in the Factory Theatre, to adults finding naughty things to chuckle at late into the evening, it’s a really happy time to be in the building,” they say. An apple a day doesn’t always keep the doctor away: just ask Snow White – the heroine of this year’s Factory Theatre blockbuster, ideal for five and upwards. Meanwhile, over in the Spielman studio space, Bristol’s Kid Carpet brings his Noisy Nativity for ages three-plus, while Bad Vs Evil are up with Kirk Vs Ming in the evenings for grown-ups who like their Christmas festivities served with a healthy streak of subversive. Finally, in the run-up, Douglas Walker tells a funny and festive story for adults about Santa Claus in Of Christmas Past. They say: “In no particular order, we’re looking forward to being spellbound by the wondrous storytelling of Douglas Walker; hearing audiences lap up the bucketfuls of charm, joy and wit in Snow White; getting together with friends for so many ‘I can’t believe they actually went there’ moments in Kirk Vs Ming; and, possibly most of all, having Jesus is a Hedgehog from Noisy Nativity stuck in our heads for two months.” Dates and booking details at

The Wardrobe

At the back of Old Market Assembly, the door of the Wardrobe doesn’t lead to Narnia – it’s a lot more fun than that. What lies beyond is a laid-back in-the-round theatre space that annually hosts the most imaginative and funny adult Christmas shows in Bristol, with a talented troupe honed on improv comedy, and a cheeky predilection for mixing up a few classic story lines – think Muppets Die Hard, Oedipuss in Boots, I bristol LIFE I 27


“Think huge bloody fangs, swarms of bats, badass nuns, pails of water and tumbling down hills”

Tumbling down that hill is the least of Jack and Jill’s problems at The Wardrobe

Reservoir Mogs, Rocky Shock Horror, Goldilock Stock and Three Smoking Bears – that’s reverent to absolutely none of its sources. This year’s headline show is fast and funny new comedy Drac & Jill – “Think huge bloody fangs, swarms of bats, badass nuns, pails of water and tumbling down hills,” they say. Don’t bring the kids, but do take them to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, created by two of Bristol’s best family theatre companies, Soap Soup Theatre and Open Attic Company. Fun fact: you’re probably familiar with Disney’s Mickey Mouse version of the tale in Fantasia, but did you know it was based on an original poem by Goethe? Oh, you would, wouldn’t you… Finally, they say, “for something a bit extra, during late nights in December, we’re giving over the theatre to the fantastic Riddlestick Theatre for a raucous night of live musical theatre and comedy storytelling in Undercover Christmas Club. It’s all going to be very, very excellent. “The Christmas 2019 offering is our biggest and boldest yet. We’re bursting at the seams with memorable nights out and shows to raise a merry sherry to all, created and performed by brilliant Bristol theatre companies.” Dates and booking details at

SS Great Britain

If you’re into Dickens and fancy a bit of theatre on-its-toes with a boozy twist, hop aboard Brunel’s atmospheric beaut of a ship for a night of revelry to ring in the festive season, with the return of the brilliant Steamed: A Dickensian Improvised Christmas Tale. Steamed puddings, steam boats, steam trains, steam baths, and getting steamed in a dingy Dickensian tavern are all in the mix, created on the spot by the creators of Bristol’s cult hit show Closer Each Day. It’s performed in the fabulous saloon, and tickets include a chance to take a shufti around the ship. Dates and booking details at

The Hippodrome

Panto diehards will already have block-booked half the stalls for their festive family beano, but even those who don’t normally go wild for this kind of show may be strangely tempted by this year’s Dick Whittington. Two words: Shane Richie. What we really want to know is this: is it pure coincidence that the magical Fairy Bow Bells, who guides Alfie, sorry, Dick, is dressed exactly like Kat Slater in the promo pic? Dates and booking details at n I bristol LIFE I 29

The master’s master Thousands of photojournalists around the world now look to the work of Martin Parr for inspiration, but which photographer influenced the young Martin Parr? The answer can be found at the Foundation’s latest exhibition, and it answers to the name of Tony Ray-Jones… Words by Mal Rogers I BRISTOL LIFE I 33

pages 32-33 Beachy Head Boat Trip, above Beauty Pageant, Newquay, both c. 1967


artin Parr is telling me about three formative experiences in his career. “I first became interested in photography when I was a teenager, and went to visit my grandfather near Bradford,” he says. “He was a keen amateur photographer, and lent me a camera. We would go out together shooting; from that point onwards, I wanted to be a photographer.” His second inspiration was seeing copies of Creative Camera when his art teacher at Surbiton Grammar subscribed to the British photography magazine in the late 1960s; but the most influential force of all was the work of Tony Ray-Jones. “He was one of my initial inspirations; his imagery showed me what was possible in shooting my own country. In 2012 I went through his contact sheets, and found previously unseen images. These all contributed to a show at the Media Space in 2013, where his early images were shown alongside these new discoveries.” Now, a new exhibition at the Martin Parr Foundation, and an accompanying book with an introduction by Martin, will mark the important contribution that Tony RayJones and his legacy have made to British


documentary photography. The exhibition and book will focus on photographs taken between 1966-1969, as Ray-Jones travelled across the country to document English social customs and what he saw as a disappearing way of life. This small but distinctive body of work was part of an evolutionary shift in British photography. Ray-Jones is on record as saying, “My aim is to communicate something of the spirit and the mentality of the English, their habits and their way of life, the ironies that exist in the way they do things, partly through their traditions and partly through the nature of their environment and their mentality. For me, there is something very special about the English ‘way of life’, and I wish to record it from my particular point of view before it becomes Americanised and disappears.” Paradoxically, it was Tony’s time in the US that helped to shape his photographic style. “Tony went to America in the mid-’60s, when photography was developing at a rapid pace,” says Martin. “He met the key players.” This included the likes of street photographer Garry Winogrand from the Bronx, who along with Joel Meyerowitz showed the excesses of American life as well as its underbelly. Their pictures defined the era as they used the street as a framework. “Tony took the language they created, and applied it to the British scenes. It was a new way of dealing with photography – concentrating on spatial awareness and not

Tony Ray-JoneS

(1941 – 1972) “I have tried to show the sadness and humour in a gentle madness that prevails in people. The situations are sometimes ambiguous and unreal, and the juxtaposition of elements seemingly unrelated, and yet the people are real. This, I hope, helps to create a feeling of fantasy. Photography can be a mirror and reflect life as it is, but I also think that perhaps it is possible to walk, like Alice, through a looking glass, and find another kind of world with the camera.” “When I got back to England [from the US] I found everything so grey that I didn’t see the point of shooting colour... To me, Britain is a very black and white country.” The book Tony Ray-Jones is available from Martin Parr Foundation, £48

top: Brighton Beach, c. 1967 bottom: Ramsgate, c. 1968

all photos © Tony Ray-Jones/National Science & Media Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

being too bogged down by the narrative.” He applied this new method of perception to his native England and photographed British scenes as they had never been recorded before. He was drawn to the vibrancy of the beach, understanding how it typifies Britishness – probably more quintessentially than any other scene. “The British beach is always a metaphor for life here,” says Martin; “It’s slightly run down, but you get a busy day in summer and it’s packed out. So it feels vibrant but slightly seedy at the same time. That apparent contradiction lends itself very well to photography.” Today, as Ray Jones predicted, soft imperialism from America has standardised everything from clothing to the food we eat. But Martin Parr believes that differences still pertain, and the British beach is one place to still see that at close range. The new discoveries made by Martin and curator Greg Hobson will be exhibited and published, alongside other iconic early images, at the Martin Parr Foundation this month. Go along, and be inspired by the master who inspired the master. n

“The British beach feels vibrant but slightly seedy at the same time; a contradiction that lends itself very well to photography”

The English Seen by Tony Ray-Jones runs at the Martin Parr Foundation until 21 December Open Wednesday-Saturday from 11am-6pm Admission free I BRISTOL LIFE I 35

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Stick a fable under the tree, for me… British historian, with stunning photos. The perfect gift for any historian. THE ILLUSTRATED DUST JACKET: 19201970, £24.95 BY MARTIN SALISBURY The middle decades of the 20th century saw an extraordinary flourishing of the illustrated, pictorial dust jacket. From the 1920s, as the potential for the book’s protective wrapping to be used for promotion and enticement became clear, artists and illustrators on both sides of the Atlantic applied their talents to this particular art form. Rising to the wide-ranging challenges posed by format and subject matter, leading artists and illustrators, including John Piper, Edward Bawden and John Minton in the UK and Ben Shahn, Edward Gorey and George Salter in the USA, brought their unique personal vision to bear on the world of books. A stunning collection that will delight artists and designers.


ift-giving in turbulent times means that we often try to find affordable options that can still be meaningful to the receiver. What’s more perfect than a book: low-cost, and yet arguably more valuable than most other options? Here are some of our favourite books for this Christmas season. THE COLOUR OF TIME: A NEW HISTORY OF THE WORLD 1850-1960, £9.99 BY DAN JONES Coming in at under £10, this new edition of The Colour of Time is pocket-sized, yet spans more than 100 years of world history from the reign of Queen Victoria and the US Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the beginning of the Space Age. It charts the rise and fall of empires, the achievements of science, industry and the arts, the tragedies of war and the politics of peace, and the lives of men and women who made history. The book is a collaboration between a gifted Brazilian artist and a leading

YEAR OF THE MONKEY, £12.99 BY PATTI SMITH Taking us from Southern California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places – this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery. The unexpected happens; there’s grief and disillusionment. But as Patti heads toward a new decade in her own life, she offers this balm to the reader: her wisdom, wit, gimlet eye, and above all, a rugged hope of a better world. Riveting, elegant, often humorous, illustrated by Smith’s signature Polaroids, Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work; a touchstone for our turbulent times. DINNER WITH EDWARD, £12.99, BY ISABEL VINCENT With its delicious food, warm jazz, and stunning views of Manhattan, Edward’s home was a muchneeded refuge for reporter Isabel Vincent. Her recently widowed 90-something neighbour would prepare weekly meals for her – fresh oysters, juicy steak, sugar-dusted apple galette. But over long, dark evenings where they both grieved for their very different lost marriages, Isabel realised

she was being offered a gift greater than good wine and perfect lamb chops. A book about life’s simple pleasures, and the power of human connections. FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN BOXED SET, £24 BY KATE PANKHURST Celebrate some of the most extraordinary women and their remarkable lives with this gorgeous gift set of the wildly successful Fantastically Great Women picture books, written and illustrated by bestselling author and illustrator, Kate Pankhurst. This will make the perfect Christmas gift or birthday present for curious little minds. Set of three books in gift box. CLASSIC NURSERY RHYMES, £14.99, BY CHRIS RIDDELL AND DOROTHY M WHEELER The perfect gift for any time of year (from Christmas to christenings), this enchanting collection of nursery rhymes is illustrated with beautiful artwork by Dorothy M Wheeler from 1916, and features a foreword by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. It’s a musthave for any child’s bookcase, with nostalgic vintage images from Enid Blyton’s original illustrator to accompany nursery favourites including Little Jack Horner, Jack and Jill and Humpty Dumpty. ONE CHRISTMAS WISH, £8.99 BY KATHERINE RUNDELL It’s Christmas Eve and Theo, left at home with a babysitter, sees an odd-looking star out of his window and decides to make a wish: that he had some friends to keep him company. Moments later the Christmas decorations begin to disentangle themselves from the tree behind him, ready to wreak a little havoc … Katherine Rundell is one of our favourite children’s authors for good reason. This is a rollicking, adventurous read full of Christmas spirit and cheer, perfect for middle grade (and grown up) readers. Max Minerva’s is at 39 North View, Westbury Park 07498 538858; I BRISTOL LIFE I 37



Is it art? Well, is it? In a typical sideways look at the city, Colin considers some recent offerings from creatives and accidental artists Words and pictures by Colin Moody 40 I BRISTOL LIFE I

Bristol heroes


ere’s what the dictionary has to say. Art, noun: an expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. OK, we’re going in...

1 2 3

Is it art? What do you think you are looking at here? A new big piece going in the Bristol Museum? To replace the space where the Banksy ‘parliament’ artwork used to be, perhaps? An abstract that represents the chaos, carnage and life force of Bristol life? In fact, this is a door and frame close-up in Stokes Croft, where the owner so fed up of having it tagged and fly-postered that he got out the stripper and dug down, biting with his Bosch*, deep into the past. All those front doors from the past are in there. (* We’re not talking Hieronymus)


Is it Art? When people dress up and come out to support Pride every year, when they decorate their bodies to express themselves, it’s obviously about being proud. I’m just pointing out that when everyone is in one space, a safe place to express themselves, it attracts me as a photographer; not just so I can show support for my friends and fellow Bristolian,s but because it’s great art.


Is it Art? Selena Godden’s poem on the walls of Arnolfini. Doesn’t seem to mean much to our four-legged friends here, but it’s clearly real for their humans. Thank goodness for art in unusual places. Windows. Doorways. Side alleys. You got something to say? Why not write it down and stick it in your window. Let’s fill this town with poets and artists. I recently attended some art gatherings, looking at how we develop this city without displacing the art, the culture and subculture. Thank goodness we are having these conversations. Can they be citywide, or will they be centre-centric? Time will tell as new developments greenlight all over the city in a constellation of new flats and apartments. Hope there is place for the artists and the art. Because as with Berlin, so many tourists choose our city for its culture. And we have so much to offer.

“You got something to say? Why not write it down and stick it in your window. Let’s fill this town with poets and artists” I BRISTOL LIFE I 41


Is it art? When Extinction Rebellion took over the city centre this year they got a lot of our attention. People were enthused, upset, for it, desperate, angry, hopeful, energised and against it. But among all the speeches and events and ‘holding the bridge’ were a pocketful of thought-provoking, sometimes but not always well-rehearsed, art performances. A standout for me was this little ensemble of XR supporters who wanted to give a stark wake-up call to us all about the effect of sea-level rises on our planet, and our fashion.


Is it art? Ah, Ursa. Benoit from the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft is sat next to me at an arts conference, so let me ask him if this is art. “It was intended as a symbol of alternative culture, but has transmuted into a symbol of the council’s refusal of to entertain alternative, bottom-up change.” The bear may be gone but I’ve seen how people are still talking about it. And it seems to have become a supernatural force. Children are still drawing it. That’s powerful art. And it’s still here.

4 5


Is it art? This shot is from my first book, Stokes Croft and Montpelier, and what I love about this is how whoever owns the wall has, rather than just paint out the offending tag on the left, added a bit of social commentary. That’s rather special, isn’t it.


“It gives me great pleasure to watch people watching art. For me, it’s a bit like completing a circle. An art gallery is a machine for delivering art, and we need to be there to add the final cogs and wheels”

Bristol heroes


Is it art? In an art gallery, you put all the objects out in an order, don’t you? Carefully consider the spacing between objects. Well, as a street photographer at art openings I love to do the same, but I’m adding people to the mix. It gives me great pleasure to watch people watching art. For me, it’s a bit like completing a circle. An art gallery is a machine for delivering art, and we need to be there to add the final cogs and wheels.


Is it art? Not so ‘poplar’ is the advertising on this wall. I don’t know who did this in Avonmouth area but they have made art. Six pieces about walls. Walls, they are building them now more than ever. Don’t know about you but I find it quite a profound piece. And like any Banksy, hard to hang on any other wall, I imagine.

Colin is available as a ‘mini-mobile PR/marketing/ social media unit’, to shoot striking street-style photographs at live events: parties, launches, promos and performances, for impactful immediate social media. Fees start at £100 for a two-hour package. email: Twitter: @moodycolin; Instagram @moodycolin319




The Wave The wait is over for the long anticipated inland-surfing destination, THE WAVE in Bristol – now open for business


iscover the joy of surfing, at the first destination of its kind in the UK. The Wavegarden Cove technology that provides up to 1,000 waves of varying sizes and shapes an hour mean a wave approximately every 10 seconds. Every aspect of the surfing experience, from perfect waves and supportive lessons, to tried and tested wetsuits and boards, has been designed to ensure that surfing really is fun for all. The Wave is an inland-surfing destination where anyone and everyone can surf on safe waves, all year round. It brings surfing, nature and a fresh way of thinking to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities – The Wave is ideal for everyone, from absolute beginners to seasoned pros. The 180m surfing lake is at its heart, but The Wave is not just about surfing. It’s about sharing incredible experiences with anyone who wants to enjoy them, in a naturally healthy space. The Wave is about getting back to nature, improving health and wellbeing, helping people feel like the best version of themselves and having


a shedload of fun in the process. As the site develops it will also offer beautiful gardens, meadowland, woodland and family-friendly camping, opening in spring 2020. Surfing is a rapidly growing sport and will be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But there is a supply and demand mismatch, with demand increasing but nature only offering surfable waves 30% of the time. The accessibility of surfing has been held back by geographical limitations, weather, swell conditions and tides. The Wave will be able to overcome all these issues to bring perfect surfing conditions for beginners, intermediates and advanced surfers. The Wave is the vision of Founder, Nick Hounsfield, who wanted to bring the joy of surfing and its many physical and mental health benefits to more people especially those who don’t have easy access to the coast and sea. The first destination to be built is in Bristol, and land has been secured for The Wave London, with an estimated opening date of 2023. The team behind The Wave has a roll-out plan to deliver several other sites over the next five to 10 years. The Wave has a clear ethos regarding

sustainability. It takes a ‘3-Wave’ approach, which means it always considers the effect its decisions has on its profit, the people around it and the planet it shares. What are you waiting for? It won’t be your next wave! Book your surf slots now. ■

To find out more and to book your surf experience visit


No fancy concepts. No fancy prices. Just one of the best new openings of the year, from a team at the top of their game‌ Words by Deri Robins




e’re sipping our proseccos in the packed front A pair of fat, silky rock oysters slip down a treat, carrying a spicy room of Bianchis, congratulating ourselves for piquillo pepper thwack, but Pegs really starts to show us what he can do booking a table way back in August. They do have with the mackerel tartare – sliced thin enough to read your love letters a limited provision for walk-ins, but you know – through, and perkily spiked with chilli and marjoram. Just when we better safe than hungry. think we’ve peaked early and had our dish of the night, along comes a We’re watching the waiters dart between the peppered onglet tagliata – sliced steak, rare, slightly smoky and tender tables with laden plates that make our eyes widen to the size of saucers. as the night, dressed in beautiful olive oil under a pile of nutty parmesan It’s a wild and windy night out there on York Road, but the steamed-up shavings offset by slightly bitter slivers of punterelle. windows enclose the room in a cosy fug; a classic disco/funk/reggae Having clocked the size of the dishes being devoured all around us, soundtrack tootles away beneath the chatter of contented diners and we rein it in a bit, sharing one antipasti and one primi, which we divvy the clatter of enthusiastically wielded cutlery. up with the narrow-eyed precision of schoolkids sharing a Mars bar. In short, it’s the stuff of which all restaurateurs’ dreams are made. I never again want to eat buffalo mozzarella in any other way than We spot legendary chef Chris Wicks perched at the bar. Chris was in Pegs’ autumnal combo of delicate, milky cheese with sweet, roast chef-proprietor here for decades, when it was Bell’s Diner – a proper pumpkin, oregano and honey, the juices seeping into a slice of farinata – a institution, glorious even back in those bad old, dark old days before kind of crispy chick pea pancake. Bristol’s food revolution. Bell’s closed earlier this year, causing much And it’s time to dig out your Bristol foodie bucket list, because we have wailing and gnashing of teeth, but then came a brand new entry: it goes by the name of cacio the good news: Chris had leased the site to e pepe, and it’s as if the culinary gods had tasted those Bristol-Italian wunderkinds, Dom Borel mac’n’cheese, said ‘yeah, not bad –but try this…’ Dining details and Ben and Joe Harvey, of Pasta Loco and Using some kind of alchemy that turns dry Bianchis, 1-3, York Road, Bristol BS6 5QB Ripiena fame. The cousins would open a classic cheese and water into a creamy sauce, Pegs 0117 329 4100; www. trattoria that honoured their family’s Lake coats al dente tubes of wriggly casarecce with an Opening hours Mon-Tues – 6pm to 10pm; Wed-Sat Como roots; on the Bianchis website you can outrageously indulgent slick of butter, parmesan midday to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm read the beautifully written family history that and pepper; I know without a flicker of a doubt We visited Tuesday evening led up to this moment. that if I lived five minutes away from Bianchis They’ve changed the layout a bit, but a lot I would never stop eating this dish, possibly five Prices Antipasti £3-9; primi £8-11; secondi £14-20 of the original décor still remains. If you were times a week, and pretty soon someone would Wine Wide choice of old and new world, affordable hanging around the skip during building work have to carry me about in a sedan chair. to high-end in the vague hope that the new owners would And they just keep knocking the courses out Atmosphere Enthused and buzzy rip out the dark wooden dresser, you’d have of the park. Not a dud; not even a meh. I’d order Service The pinnacle of hospitality perfection been disappointed; this beauty still dominates every single one again in a heartbeat. Veggie Some great options the main room, teaming classily with the Daughter’s secondi is a dish of crisply snowy-white linen tablecloths and napkins. battered polenta fingers tangled with cavolo With the rapid expansion of the Borelnero and whole almonds in a taleggio fondue. I Harvey empire, new blood has been brought in for Bianchis – notably trade forkfuls for my smoky, succulent monster of a chargrilled pork chop, head chef Pegs Quinn, of River Café fame. The GM is Magda which comes with juicy winter toms and – another bucket list contender – Pietrykowska, who’s previously worked at Loco; even charisma-bomb spuds poached in muscatel before being roasted in the oven. Dom can’t be everywhere at the same time, but at least he’s ensured that We decided we could just about manage a gelato between us, so every single member of staff is a charmer who knows how to sprinkle shared a globe of stracciatella – basically to choc-chip ice-cream what the fairy dust. Our menu, for example, comes with our name typed cacio e pepe is to mac’n’cheese, because Italians do everything better. at the top; if they know you (and it’s worth being a regular just for this If your ideal restaurant is one that combines old-school Italian charm exciting kudos) there may well be a bespoke joke, too. with Bristol innovation and fun, where some of the best cooking in this The menu offers a list of around 20 dishes, broken down trat-style town is served by people who really want to feed you, but don’t present into antipasti, primi and secondi, with additional raw and cured you with a bill that makes you choke on your limoncello – and whose sections. Choose one from each section; pick and mix; share nicely, or isn’t? – then book Bianchis pronto, because it appears that the cookin’ horse down the lot; it’s up to you, nobody’s judging. cousins have another success on their hands – abbastanza prevedibilmente. n I BRISTOL LIFE I 47

food & drink s n a p s h o t s o f B R I STO L’ S f o o d s c e n e

All you want for Christmas is booze …but looking for something a bit different? Two suggestions: swap the champers for champagne beer (you heard) and the alcoholic cocktails for the non-alco variety

rock on the block Can’t decide between Indian or Chinese? We hear that! Maybe give new restaurant Rock Salt a whirl, then; you’ll find it on the former Bellita site on Cotham Hill, serving traditional dishes from both cuisines with a list of bespoke cocktails such as rose negroni, cinnamon bramble and the signature Rock Salt margarita. Rock Salt is a joint venture between Harris Massey, previously of Dishoom in London, and former Dhamaka chef Kedar Subedi. The revamped restaurant has a colourful and fresh new feel featuring a short marble bar,

exposed brickwork, tiled floors and a mural by illustrator David Blatch. “Bristol is a city full of food-lovers who appreciate independent businesses that are doing something a bit different,” observes Harris, correctly. “Rock Salt is our dream project where we can curate our own menus and use local, respected suppliers. We can’t think of a better place to launch the restaurant than Cotham Hill, a place known for the quality of its food and drink establishments – we’ll be in great company on this street.” @rocksaltbristol on social media

Nuts in winter Try not to confuse your Aecorns from your Acorns, because the it’s the latter – Bath’s highly rated sustainable vegan restaurant – that’s coming to Bristol during November and December. Acorn will be in residence at Dela in Easton on Friday and Saturday nights from 15 of November until 21 December, offering a seasonal small plates menu, natural wines, and beers.


Brewed at Wiper & True, Duettee, the brainchild of House of Après, describes itself as ‘a sparkling Brut beer delivering the bubbles and characteristics you would expect from any good champagne, the flavours and aroma from any quality German Weiss beer with a crisp and refreshing finish’. Drink it, they advise, as you would prosecco (swig from a pint glass and you’ll be under the table before the turkey even arrives). Order online at £16, in its natty recyclable card packaging, or sample it in a range of Bristol bars; look out for a more in-depth look on these pages soon. Too many Christmas family rucks fuelled by over-consumption of booze? How about serving nonalcoholic aperitifs? Aecorn is the new non-alcoholic range from Seedlip; the range is informed by 17th-century English herbal remedies and inspired by the European aperitif tradition. They’re made from 100% English-grown Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay grapes, pressed early and blended with appetite-stimulating herbs, roots and bitter botanicals, and you can choose from Dry, Bitter or Aromatic.

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cafÉ society Stan Cullimore

Hungary heart It’s still a bit too early to deck the halls; but it is the ideal time of year for lunch at the Deck Café


ver picked up a winter jacket you haven’t worn for a while, put it on, slid your hand into the pocket and then, joy of joys, found a crisp, crumpled, tenner there, just waiting for you? I have. It’s a pretty fine feeling. Expecting merely to warm your hands, instead you find the universe handing you a one-way ticket to treatsville. Not going to lie; being pleasantly surprised

“Expecting merely to warm your hands, instead you find the universe handing you a one-way ticket to treatsville”

is a mighty fine way to start the morning. Which takes me seamlessly to the Gloucester Road. The other day, a mate and I were out in search of a café for coffee and cake. We were wandering along the Horfield end of town, wrestling with a thorny problem. Long story short, the café we wanted to visit, the one my friend wanted to show me, the one he had visited previously and raved about, was nowhere to be found. It had disappeared. Vanished in a puff of café crème smoke. Apparently.  Which meant we had to find a replacement. At which point, we approached the Deck Café, on the right hand side of the road as you head out of town, opposite the Tinto Lounge. I had seen this café on the corner before, and thought it looked intriguing. The sort of place I would very much like to visit one day. As we walked past the open door, a tantalising tang of fresh coffee wafted out to meet us. Obviously, it was a sign. There was only one thing to do; we went in. Good decision. Sitting in the window, watching the world go by, idly wondering what cake to go for, I felt pretty pleased with life. But then, just like my hand finding that unexpected tenner in the jacket pocket, my eye picked out a small menu card

propped against the salt cellar. Picking it up, I discovered it was a short list of Hungarian dishes. Hmm. Now that’s what I call an excellent kind of surprise. Suddenly all thought of cake and coffee disappeared. It was time for lunch. Hungarian style. The charming waitress came over and talked us through the options. My companion went for the stew with roast potatoes and gherkins, while I summoned up a dish of rice, sour cabbage and pork. Have to say, they were both completely fab. Inspirational, even. Full of pizzazz, paprika and garlicky goodness. We swapped dishes a couple of times, to see who had got the best deal, and decided, in truth, they were both absolute dinner winners.  To celebrate the fact we had gone out in search of elevenses and found ourselves a superb lunch instead, we got a couple of coffees to finish up with and sat there, relishing life in a town where fantastic foodie surprises await you at almost every corner.  If you are ever in the mood for a taste of Hungarian happiness, get yourself to the Deck Café. It’s full of pleasant surprises. n Former Housemartins guitarist Stan is now a journalist and travel writer I BRISTOL LIFE I 53

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on the rADIO kam kelly

O Lucky Man! If you wake up every day and look forward to going into work, you’re winning at life. If you get to do this in Bristol, then you’ve won…


very so often, we all have one of those days. Can’t put your finger on it, but something doesn’t feel quite right. There’s something gnawing away at you in the back of your mind; it could be something as simple as not sleeping right, or a change in the weather, or knowing there’s something you have to do, but not being able to recall exactly what it is. I had one of those days recently, but I was knocked out of it by an unexpected source. I am the first person to slate social media; if you give me half an hour of your time I will

explain why I believe it’s slowly destroying society as a whole. That said, it was a simple truism on Facebook that made sure that ‘one of those days’ barely made it past ‘one of those hours’. It read: ‘If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life’. I found myself with an smug little smile plastered across my smug little face. I now try to remind myself of that sentence at least once a day. I am steeped in good fortune; I just think I need to make more time to acknowledge that and not take it for granted. If you wake up in the morning and your heart doesn’t sink at the prospect of dragging yourself into

“As a people, as an area and as a collective, Bristol tends to be more fun than most places”

work, consider yourself lucky. You cannot put a price on not hating Sundays simply because they inevitably deliver you a happy Monday on a silver platter. Every day, not only do I get to play one incredible song after one incredible song after another, but I get to speak to the best people in Bristol. It’s not really heard of to have a one-person breakfast show in this day and age, but after discussions with the upper echelons of our management structure, we decided the only co-presenter who’s actually got anything of value to offer is the population of Bristol. I think that as a people, as an area and arguably, as a collective, Bristol tends to be more fun than most places. Quicker to have a giggle at itself and with others. The lush folk who check out Sam FM on the regular are always quick to question my manliness (or lack thereof), dress sense, IQ and bachelor status (at my age!); but what I really really loved, and what really compelled me to write this, was an off-air call with a lady who regularly calls in on-air. We’ll call her B. I was sent an email by one of the guys in the office who had received a call from ‘B’ requesting that I call her back. I did. Initially I though that maybe she was trying to backdoor her way in to a competition we were running. Shame on me. No, she wanted

to chat because she’d just had a stressful morning which consisted of falling out with her 21-year-old daughter and she just wanted to blow off steam to someone. It was only after the talk, which lasted about ten minutes, that it dawned on me how fortunate I am to be a part of this people/ area/collective/family. That we get to share everything. Not just the banter and the good times, but the ups and downs and nitty gritties of everyday life. I don’t know if I’ve successfully articulated my point, which is simply that if you get to wake up everyday and look forward to whatever the day holds then you’re winning; if you get to do it in Bristol then you’ve won. And on a side note. A quick word to B’s 21-year-old daughter: Pick up your own clothes, for goodness sake. Don’t complain about what’s for tea; count yourself lucky yer mum’s feeding you at all, missy. And also, if your mum wants a cheeky smoke in the utility room, then she can ruddy well have one. When you start contributing to the rent then, and only then can you start offering opinions, young lady! Hurumph.

Catch Kam Kelly’s breakfast show, every weekday from 6am, Sam FM Bristol, 106.5fm I BRISTOL LIFE I 55

advertising feature

Meet the heating expert ‘Tis the season to ensure that your home is cosy and energy-efficient…

Peter Brady

Guy Collins

Bristol Boiler Company 0117 9396202

Kindle Stoves 0117 9243898;

How long has your business been established? Bristol Boiler Company has been established for 17 years, focusing on plumbing and heating work in residential and commercial properties. We undertake servicing and repair of boilers, through to boiler changes and installation of complete heating systems. In this time we have created a significant, and loyal, customer base of home owners, landlords and letting agents. How can you make your home more energy-efficient? We believe that by using modern technology and with the introduction of smart controls, this all helps to increase the efficiency of your heating system. Give us a call today and we can talk you through the options available. Do you offer any guarantees on the boilers you install? Yes, we obtain 10-year manufacturer guarantees on selected Worcester Bosch boilers so, should the boiler break down, you will have peace of mind knowing that the manufacturer will attend and repair.

Peter Brady

Guy Collins

Alexis jochman embers bristol 0117 925 1115


How long has your business been established? Kindle Stoves is 11 years old. We have grown a lot since 2008 and our new showroom now has over 60 display fires. What sort of heating do you specialise in? We specialise in eco-design-ready woodburning stoves, as well as gas fires What are the benefits of a woodburning stove? Burning locally sourced wood is carbon-neutral and using a woodburner compared to an open fire is around 80% efficient, compared to around 15%. A woodburner can also reduce your gas bills, as well as draughts in open chimneys – so improving the overall energy efficiency of your home. How’s modern technology impacted your industry? Air quality is very important to all of us, especially in cities like Bristol, so our stove brands are committed to producing only the cleanest burning stoves, that meet all the clean air standards – both now and those being introduced in 2020. What makes you and your company unique? We take an ‘all in’ approach, so not only do we supply and fit wood and gas fires, we also offer our customers fireplace alterations, plastering, oak beams and slate hearths – as well as seven days a week after sales care, including servicing.

How long has your business been established? Embers Bristol Ltd is coming into its 10th year of trading in November 2019! What is the secret to your success and longevity? We have put together a fantastic selection of the best stoves our industry has to offer and are really proud that most of them are British-made as well. Our showroom is centrally located and well-presented while displaying that unique character that Bristol is famous for. We’re a small team but we feel this allows us to focus on each project with the professionalism that is required to offer a great- quality service. What sort of heating do you specialise in? We mainly specialise in the installation of wood- burning stoves. This includes the modification of existing fireplaces and all associated building work and the installation of modular stainless-steel (twin wall) flue systems to facilitate the installation of wood burning stoves where there isn’t

currently a chimney. How has recent bad press effected your business? It may surprise you to hear that recent media coverage has actually positively impacted our business. We fit the newest and cleanest burning eco-design ready stoves that are already compliant to EU directive 2022 for air quality. We have specialised in these appliances 4 years prior to the roll out of this legislation! and only stock the best quality brands that carry this accreditation. We only stock and deliver Wood Sure Certified firewood which insures the moisture content of logs is incredibly low and therefore less damaging to the environment. What makes you and your company unique? Service, service, service. We go out of our way to make sure our customers are happy. We aren’t happy unless our customers are. We will provide you with the best brands and the best information; if you choose us then the journey is a smooth one.



The festive season loometh; and while it’s fair to say that the pressure isn’t exactly on, by the time our next issue comes out you’ll be in full gifting mode. At the same time, it’s party season, which naturally carries an obligation to dazzle. Two excellent reasons, we concluded, for compiling a special winter’s gift guide devoted to sparkly delights, for you to keep or give away: it’s entirely up to you and your conscience… ➔ 58 I BRISTOL LIFE I

‘HEAVY HEART’ NECKLACE, £145 Big and bold, (23mm across), the heart feels positive and weighty in the hand, while the solid gold jump ring lifts it above the ordinary From Jeremy Heber

AQUA GOLD-PLATED EARRINGS, £28 Celebs love the Middle Eastern-inspired designs made by Ottoman Hands (as, if our nearest and dearest happen to be reading this, do we) From Pod Company 24 The Mall


ver the next few pages you’ll find jewellery to suit every pocket, from inexpensive stocking buys to top-of-the-range pieces to last a lifetime ANDROMEDA CUFF, £34 Gorgeously eyecatching neon coral, orange and metallic leather cuff From Rock that Biscuit

GOLD HOOP RING, £70 Matt silver ring with a 9ct gold hoop; also available in oxidised silver From Jane Kenny BIRTHSTONE EARRINGS, £25 Obviously you don’t have to be slavishly guided by your birth month if you prefer another gem; but these are peridot, for August From Parsons 18 High Street, Thornbury

RESIN CURVE EARRINGS, £22 From A Weathered Penny – great price, and very effective when on From Pod Company 24 The Mall

CHUNKY CHAIN BRACELET, £27.99 Because accessorising like Tupac has suddenly become a mainstream thing From Mon Pote, 177 North Street

FOIL LEAF EARRINGS, £5.99 Pretty, affordable filigree earrings etched in copper and tin plate From Make, 59 Gloucester Road


DIAMOND AND PEARL EARRINGS, £1,000 These mistletoe beauties with gems set into white gold are definitely not just for Christmas From Nicholas Wylde 6 The Mall;

GIFT GUIDE INITIAL NECKLACES, £30 Art Deco-style initials with sparkling cubic zirconia stones set into silver From Parsons 18 High Street, Thornbury

WHITE GOLD AND DIAMOND RING, £1,700 9ct Fairtrade gold set with a trillion rose-cut diamond; do we hear a proposal..? From Diana Porter 33 Park Street

RUBY AND DIAMOND BRACELET, £13,985 Been an awful good girl? The lucky recipient of this incredible bracelet will outsparkle all the Christmas lights in Bristol From Mallory, 1-5 Bridge Street, Bath

CHARM BRACELET, FROM £130 A pair of fine silver bangles with a Lacey Dot charm From Jane Kenny

WHITE GOLD AND DIAMOND PENDANT, £1000 From the Wylde ‘dazzle’’ collection; and dazzle you most surely will From Nicholas Wylde 6 The Mall; LABRADORITE & AQUA GOLD PLATED EARRINGS, £46 Stocking filler prices; maximum glamour From Pod Company, 24 The Mall

PRE-OWNED DIAMOND AND AQUAMARINE EARRINGS, £1,995 A touch of Deco, and more glamour than the average pair of ears can handle From Mallory, 1-5 Bridge Street, Bath

BRASS FACE EARRINGS, SMALL £27, LARGE £34 Randomly, having Matisse-inspired studs has become a thing; this pair is lovingly handmade in Bristol From Mon Pote, 177 North Street

TURQUOISE BRACELET, £115 From Bristol’s Native American Indian gallery Rainmaker; this lovely piece is by Jonathan Garcia of the Kewa Pueblo tribe From Rainmaker 123 Coldharbour Road I BRISTOL LIFE I 61

GIFT GUIDE LONG LEAVES SILVER PENDANT, £95 Lovely hammered silver pendant by Samantha England, on a 24cm chain From Clifton Rocks 31 The Mall

LARGE SILVER HAMMERED HOOPS, £72.50 Both contemporary and gently rustic; we’d love to find these under our tree From Amulet 39A Cotham Hill

JARED DISC COIL ARK EARRINGS, £16 Big, bold, in coral and gold with a 7cm, drop; also available in blue From Fox + Feather 43 Gloucester Road

LACEY DROP STUD EARRINGS, FROM £70 Long silver earrings with a matt finish; also in oxidised silver and gold plate From Jane Kenny BOHO DROP EARRINGS, £8 Because sometimes you just want to give the impression that you’ve just strolled off an Ibiza beach From That Thing 45-47 Stokes Croft;

ARNE JOHANSEN SILVER CHAIN, £395 One of our favourites from this selection – an original 1970s piece from Denmark; mid-century chic in a necklace From John Kelly, Unit 4, Cargo 2

BRASS FLORA EARRINGS, £34 Unmistakably Lima Lima, these come with a twist – literally! From


GLASS DROP EARRINGS, £29 Who doesn’t want emerald earrings? For a slightly more budget buy, consider these elegant beauties handmade by Bristol’s premier glassblowers From Bristol Blue Glass 357-359 Bath Road

BITS OF WISDOM BRACELET, £530 Silver links, etched with the words ‘bits of wisdom’, strung on a stainless-steel cable From Diana Porter 33 Park Street

Beautiful Christmas Gifts, Stocking Fillers, Jewellery, Candles, Scarves, Hand Finished Cards & Baby Clothes

Open Mon-Sat, 10-6pm & Sun 10-4pm. 44a-46 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 6LA. Visit us online

advertising feature

Life in the fast vein Prof Mark Whiteley – revolutionising the treatment of varicose veins.


rof Mark Whiteley, whose Bristol clinic is at Litfield Place, Clifton Down, is one of the world’s most respected vein experts. He is the first doctor in the world using new ultrasound technology to treat patients with varicose veins from outside the body. This technique avoids any invasive procedure or hospitalisation. It is called Sonovein echotherapy and it uses ultrasound to treat the damaged veins. This first ever Sonovein system has been installed in Prof Whiteley’s London clinic. Patients who attend his Bristol clinic, and who are suitable for this new treatment, are invited to London to receive it.

Bristol based vein expert Mark Whiteley is the first in the world offering a non-invasive cure for varicose veins

As it is totally non-invasive, patients travel up in the morning and are back by teatime. Patients from the South West are some of the very first to receive this treatment. Rachel Walker from Bath was one of those patients. “I work with ultrasound at The Whiteley Clinic and when I heard about Sonovein it sounded totally revolutionary.” Sonovein works by focusing a high-intensity ultrasound beam on the troublesome vein. A separate low-intensity ultrasound lets the clinician see the vein being treated in real time, ensuring optimal treatment accuracy. As the treatment beam is delivered, the affected vein shrinks and is sealed closed. The system is so accurate it can treat veins which are notoriously hard to access, such as perforator veins, even if they’re close to an open ulcer.

day. I’m proud to have been one of the first patients to have undergone this amazing and pioneering new technique.” Varicose veins can lead to serious health problems including leg ulcers. Patient with leg ulcers are consigned to a life of discomfort, disability, and pain. They become a huge burden to their families, and leg ulcers cost the NHS approx. £2-3 billion a year in dressings alone. However, as almost all these conditions can now be cured with the new vein treatment techniques pioneered at The Whiteley Clinic, Prof Whiteley believes there is now no reason why they should not be. n

“I’ve had varicose veins since the birth of my children and when I learnt I was suitable for Sonovein I decided to have the treatment.” Unlike traditional varicose vein treatments, no catheters, chemical injections or incisions are used with Sonovein, meaning patients are left with no scars or risk of infection, and can return immediately to their normal daily activities

Sonovein echotherapy, visit:

“It was strange for me to attend our clinic as a patient but during the treatment, I recovered quickly enough to take my colleagues out for a celebratory drink at the pub when we’d finished! “I was back to normal activities the following

For further information go to I BRISTOL LIFE I 65

INSANE IN THE CRANE BY ALEX LUCAS, £50 Fancy a bit of Briz on your wall? Signed limited edition print by Alex, in her charming Pop Art style; you’ll find all her cheeky, cute-yet-cool animal prints on her website, too, and also at her little Picton Street ‘Shopdio’. From


n the second part of our early Christmas gift guide (look – if the Christmas word offends you, just think ‘really big shopping feature’) we look at presents from the world of art, from affordable prints to high-end investments

LOVE BY COPYRIGHT, £375 The swoonworthy, idealised beauty of Copyright’s images effortlessly combines glamour with grunge; this limited edition print is hand-finished with gold and silver leaf From

NICE - TRAVAIL ET JOIE BY HENRI MATISSE; £12,250 While Hidden Gallery also stocks a wide range of affordable art, you’ll also find jaw-droppers such as this signed litho by Matisse, taken from an original painting From Hidden 6 - 10 The Clifton Arcade

WHITE HORSE BY STEPHANIE CUNNINGHAM, £POA Stephanie makes ceramic sculptures which reflect a life lived around animals; the clean lines of this horse combined with the tactile stoneware makes it an extremely covetable piece From Clifton Contemporary Art 25 Portland Street


GREY WOLF BY TOBIAS ILLUSTRATIONS, £15-£160 Toby Brunsdon combines his love of wildlife with his yen for Zentangle art; you can also find this delightful wolf adorning a range of t-shirts From Illustrate, 79 Park Street;

GIFT GUIDE PORTWAY BY TOM WHITE, £2250 (ORIGINAL), £295 (PRINT) Has any corner of the city not been painted by the excellent Tom? Most of his original works are also available as prints – see the wide range on the website From Clifton Fine Art 12 Perry Road

STOKES CROFT BY LOCAL OUTLINES, £45 Laser-cut map in a shadow frame – a really original way of viewing the city. Many other Bristol neighbourhoods available, too From Paper Plane 196 Gloucester Road

TEMPERLEY FASHION PRINT BY MISS MAGPIE FASHION SPY, FROM £140 Niki Groom, aka Miss Magpie Fashion Spy, sells her gorgeous live-capture fashion prints for £60-£250 – look out too for her Bristol and Cornish scenes From

BRISTOL HEART BY CHEO, £85 Spray paint on canvas; signed and numbered edition of six From Upfest Gallery 198 North Street

HARRISON FORD BY TERRY O’NEILL, £299 Two icons in one print: this photo by the inimitable Terry captures Harrison on the set of the wartime movie Hanover Street in 1979 From Harvey Nichols 27 Philadelphia Street INK NOUVEAU, BLUE PRINT BY INKIE, £50 (SALE PRICE) Signed A3 print by Inkie; an inexpensive way to get the master on your walls From I BRISTOL LIFE I 67

GIFT GUIDE MATTERS OF THE HEART BY GEMMA COMPTON, £90 Skulls and roses – it can only be the work of wonderful Gemma; this version uses metallic gold paper as part of a giclée fineart print From GRETA THUNBERG BY JODY, £250 Hot off the press! Jody has just released a run of 250 prints of his mega Greta piece; so even if the Tobacco Factory mural is painted over next Upfest, you can keep a copy forever From

UNDERFALL NO 1 BY SIMON TOZER, £265 Striking, graphic print of Underfall Yard, in a limited run of 30, at the RWA shop From Royal West of England Academy, Queens Road

NEW SNOW, NEW SPIRIT BY EUGENE TAPAHE, £300 Framed silver halide print of the Navajo photographer’s capture of this magnificent buffalo From Rainmaker 123 Coldharbour Road

CARY GRANT BY STEWY, £30 A familiar sight for Gloucester Road denizens – you can see the same stencil above the door of Room 212. Here’s a chance to get Cary into your own home – oops, sorry! Forgot this was meant to be a gift guide... From Room 212 212 Gloucester Road


SOMEWHERE OVER THE AVON II BY JASON LILLEY, £695 Screenprint in Jason’s unmistakeable style, combining gold leaf and ink From Smithson Gallery

Feel fully refreshed and invigorated. Sirona Spa at Finlake, nestled into the stunning Devon countryside on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, is just a 90 minute drive from Bristol. Set within 130-acres of beautiful woodland, the location offers a chance to unwind, indulge and recharge perfect for couples retreats, family getaways or weekends away with friends. After enjoying the first class spa facilities and treatments, The Retreat is a vibrant and welcoming bar and restaurant offering comfortable surroundings in which to refuel and relax. With delicious food served all day and a well-stocked bar, The Retreat is the perfect complement to the Sirona Spa. For more information about the Finlake Resort visit *T&C’S 1. Winner will be drawn on 2nd December 2019 2. Open to residents of the UK aged 18 years or older 3. Sirona Spa reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these T&C’S without notice 4. The winner will be announced the day competition closes and will be contacted via Facebook. 5. The winner agrees the use of his/hers name and image in any publicity material as well as their entry 6. Entry will be deemed as acceptance of these T&C’s

We are offering Bristol Life readers the chance to win a pair of Simply Sirona spa packages worth over £200. To be in with a chance of winning, simply head over to the Sirona Spa Facebook page and like and share the Bristol Life Competition Post. T&C’s apply*

 sironaspafinlake |  @sironaspafinlake

try five 2



spa trek

Clocks back. Nights drawn in. Christmas looming: is there a better time of year to grab some quality time at one of the region’s best spas?


LIDo bristol Where? Oakfield Place, Clifton The main attraction: The outdoor pool’s combination of cool air with the heat from the steam room, hot tub and new three-tier sauna will help rejuvenate both body and mind. Treatments: It’s a massage-only spa, so therapists specialise in delivering personalised treatments to every individual. Feed me: The award-winning all-day restaurant is based on Mediterranean cuisine with a strong tilt towards Spain. Any packages? The £80 autumn spa day: full use of the Lido, two-course lunch and on-hour massage.


AZTEC SPA Where? Aztec Way, Almondsbury The main attraction: As well as three treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, hot tub and pool there’s a fully equipped Technogym. Treatments: Using Caudalie products, treatments range from facials and massages to wraps and manicures. Feed me: Choose from the spa day menu, afternoon tea or dine at the two-AA rosette The Curious Kitchen.. Any packages? Yep; ranging from the Taste of Relaxation, from £90; Holistic Heaven, from £125); Twilight Spa, from£55, and many others.


sirona Where? In lush Devonshire countryside, part of the Finlake Resort in Newton Abbot.


The main attraction: It promises a ‘thermal

journey’, with a Caribbean storm shower, herbal steam room and sauna, thalasso steam room, lava sauna, pool and jacuzzi. Treatments: Wide range of Elemis treatments from skincare to massage to beauty. Feed me: The Retreat bar and restaurant serves home-cooked meals created from locally sourced ingredients. Any packages? The Simply Sirona, £110; Couples Retreat, £200; Nurturing Mother, £110, and a Twilight Package, £75.



Thermae bath spa Where? Hot Bath Street, Bath The main attraction: Banish winter blues by bathing in the thermal open-air rooftop pool, with steam billowing off naturally warm, mineral-rich waters on a crisp winter’s day. Treatments: The indoor Minerva Bath, the rooftop pool and Wellness Suite – two steam rooms, an infrared room and an ice chamber. Feed me: Springs Café Restaurant offers a choice of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Any packages? Favourites include a Thermae Treat at £79, which includes a threehour spa session, back massage and facial, and a Thermae Together, £199 for two, which enables a couple to enjoy a traditional full body massage and two-course meal.


Aquarius spa Where? In Whatley Manor, a gorgeous ‘grown-up getaway’ in a beautiful manor house set in lush Malmesbury countryside.

The main attraction: The hydrotherapy

pool, tepidarium, three different heated steam rooms, gym and fitness studio, and Bubble Suite containing 99.95% pure air. Treatments: Expert therapists tailor bespoke luxurious treatment using Gaia products. Feed me: The café has a wide range of delights, but if you really want to spoil yourself stay on for the two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Any packages? Autumn spa day, £150: a full spa day, including the Golden Caviar body treatment and afternoon tea. n I Bristol LIFE I 71


Jettro Rojas and Neil Arnold

Jess Carter and Andy Clarke

Stefan Edwards and Babs Greaves

June Carr, Steph Carr, Daniel Jimpson and Georgia Butt

WINNERS, WINNERS, LOCALLY SOURCED CHICKEN DINNER... The third Crumbs Awards took place at Bristol Old Vic last month, paying homage to the Bristol and Bath food scene. Mark Olver brought the LOLs, My Moral Compass brought the tunes and 6 O’Clock kindly brought the celebratory gin... Photos by Paolo Ferla and Ben Robins

Bryony May Mark Olver


Alan and George Bainbridge, Annie Faulkner, Hope, Alf and Fay Bainbridge


Duchess Media

Rowan Pulman Skater and Emm Lewington

Poco (with Ben Pryor and Jen Best)

Pete Cranston, Kate Dane and Jo Cranston

Team Castle Farm Penny Adair and Philip McTeer

My Moral Compass played the tunes

Rasa Tamousuine, Charlotte Joyner, Ryan Duffy and Chris Barry I BRISTOL LIFE I 73


The cast: Patrycja Kujawska, Giles King, Felix Hayes, Guy Hughes, Sara Powell and Tristan Sturrock

Poet Beth Calverley with audience members


Actor Tristan Sturrock (Cyrano) and family

Bristol Old Vic held aftershow drinks for cast, colleagues and friends in the 1766 Bar & Kitchen, following the the press night for Cyrano. Photos by Ben Robins

Deri Robins and Tom Morris

Sabet Choudhury, Sir David Attenborough, Jonny Keeling, Caroline Cox and Fredi Devas

Sir David Attenborough with daughter Susan, Julian Hector and panel Producer Fredi Devas with BBC Points West

NO PLANET B Sir David Attenborough spoke at an exclusive preview of the BBC’s latest documentary series Seven Worlds, One Planet at Showcase Cinema De Lux, Cabot Circus; see also page 9. Photos by BBC/ Olumide Osinoiki


Sir David Attenborough



The Hobbs Show – the UK’s largest fashion, music and dance event outside London, hosted by Bristol hair salon Hobbs Hairdressing – was held at Pennywell Studios; this year, funds were raised for Empire Fighting Chance, while the show provided a platform for the city’s up-and-coming designers and artists. Carmel and Yosh Coe

Paula Jeffries and Doug Hobbs

Photos by Jon Craig @JonCraig_Photos

Eleena Armstrong-Brookes, Christopher Penfold, Gary Dobbin and Sue Armstrong-Brookes

Who needs The Lion King when you have the Hobbs Show?

Ada Campe

Jane Duffus and Penny Gane

Richard Jones

Claire Cavanagh, Jane Duffus and Dawn Dyer

THE WOMAN WHO WROTE ABOUT BRISTOL Jane Duffus launched the second volume in her book series The Women Who Built Bristol at Cooper’s Hall, Bristol Old Vic, as part of the Bristol Festival of Literature. Photos by Jon Craig @JonCraig_Photos


Jane with Ben Mackay

It’s the city’s business


Stories & ideas to share?


Get in touch with our business editor, the experienced business writer and event host Christian Annesley at christian.annesley@

I Surf ’s up After nearly a decade of planning and false starts, Bristol has its long-awaited artificial surfing lagoon, The Wave. Christian Annesley caught up with Nick Hounsfield, the man behind the £25m project, to find out how we got here

t’s a grey morning in October, and I’m walking briskly down a winding strip of tarmac, still with a few diggers in view and busily moving earth on this not-quite-finished 70-acre site. I am hurrying as speedily as I can towards something distinctly out-of-the-ordinary – the city’s first inland surfing lagoon, framed by an expansive clubhouse offering food and drink, gear hire and more. The extra few metres on foot has been sold to me by the friendly staffer at the car park as a ‘good warm-up’ for my interview with The Wave’s Nick Hounsfield, and in a way she’s right. It gives me a moment to contemplate something

Wave Founder Nick Hounsfield shows us how it’s done

that until just a few years ago wouldn’t have been possible: a £25m , 200-metre by 200-metre artificial lake that can deliver regular waves of various shapes and sizes for all-comers. Now it is built and open, it is hoped by The Wave’s investors, and by its founder Nick Hounsfield, that 150,000 visitors will come by and get in the water each year and get paddling, lured by that promise of guaranteed surfable waves that arrive on cue. Just how did this ambitious project finally come together? Hounsfield is fresh out of the water when we meet, having just spent a solid hour supervising some surfers at the big-wave end of the


new lagoon, and the enthusiasm for what he’s created is palpable. “The vision was always to create somewhere inclusive, for all of the community, rather than somewhere just for champion surfers,” he begins. “Even in our first few days of operation, for me that has already been one of the joys: getting children and those with disabilities in the water and having fun. The dedicated surfers should love it, but it’s for everyone.” As we rewind back to the start of Hounsfield’s journey with The Wave, it is clear that this aspect of the vision is something he holds dear. “2010 was a turning point for me. My dad died that year aged just 67, and as the end of his life neared I was asking myself some big questions. What does life and work look like for me? Is there something I can pour myself into that supports my belief in health and wellbeing and being outdoors?” It was at his father’s deathbed

that Hounsfield promised his dad and himself that he would try to do something special that honoured that commitment. “I was trained and working as an osteopath, so I was already actively working in health and wellbeing, but doing something at scale was the vision – a venue of some sort that got people inspired and active and outside, socialising across the generations ideally, and feeling well.” THE START OF SOMETHING Hounsfield was already a keen surfer and beachgoer, and after his father’s passing he began to think about the possibilities. Time and again, he came back to the idea of beaches and the sea as happy places that all enjoy, where every generation intermingles and relishes the space. But taking that thought and finding a viable outlet for it for Bristol was a different matter. After a few weeks without quite getting the inspiration, he found the

The first surfers: literally testing the waters

beginnings of an answer when he stumbled on a video on YouTube of an artificial surfing lake being built in the mountains near San Sebastián in Spain. “I thought straight away that surfing could pull people in, and a space around it could provide for community,” he says. Shortly after that he flew out to see the site and to meet the pair of brothers behind the project, which had the name Wavegarden. “It was a great inspiration and I could see the potential to harness the technology, but equally I was inspired by other projects outside of surfing: by Eden Project in Cornwall, for example, which created a venue at scale that has been a commercial and community success story.” Between his osteopathy patients one lunchtime, Hounsfield even managed to get hold of Eden Project’s inspiring founder Tim Smit, and he was hugely supportive of the project. Hounsfield started to feel he was really onto something.

STEP BY STEP As he cheerfully admits, Hounsfield had only a modicum of business experience before embarking on The Wave. He and his wife established The Family Practice, a health and wellbeing centre, on the Gloucester Road in Bishopston in 2006. It has been successful on its own terms, but it is a small business by comparison. Its success, however, has progressively given Hounsfield the space and time to get serious about his project and to give up osteopathy along the way to focus on it full time. “There are lots of elements to making it happen, as you can imagine,” he says. “We had to find the land, to get the right planning permissions, for the technology to

HOW DOES WAVEGARDEN’S COVE TECH WORK? The Cove is a patented, modular wave-making technology developed by Wavegarden. Up to 1,000 waves an hour are expected at The Wave. Each module moves in sequence to produce perfect swells, while continually injecting energy into the waves as they move forward. The length of the ride depends on the number of modules. This technology replicates the water particle movement of ocean ground swells, but with little energy lost. Wave shape and size can be adjusted at the push of a button by changing the mode function on the controlunit software. During maintenance, modules can be repaired or replaced without stopping or interfering with the operation of the facility. The Cove was successful in testing at a full-scale demonstration centre. All machinery has been fatigue tested, with the cycles rolled out being equivalent to over a year of operation without any replacements.



himself to account on many aspects of the project, well beyond the legal requirements. “The technology has also been a real stumbling block,” he adds. “The original system by Wavegarden had too many single points of failure, and didn’t quite produce the wave we hoped for, so we decided in 2015, after a long look and a lot of soul-searching, that it was too much of a risk. “It was about three years later that Wavegarden came back to us with the new Cove system and that was a huge moment, in fact. We took out our potential investors with us to see the test facility in Spain, and everyone on the trip was extremely excited from the off. It was more versatile, produced a better wave, promised a system that supported beginners and experts at the same time, and was dramatically easier to maintain and run, with lots of redundancy built in.”

Nick Hounsfield, founder and Craig Stoddart, CEO

work and, at some point, to do the tech deal. To make it real, you also need serious funding from backers to get it built and open and running as a business, as it is today, even if there are still some things to finish off.” Most elements of that big-picture list of obligations have caused Hounsfield headaches at times, but he always knew it wouldn’t be easy. “It’s been hard-won, but I haven’t done it on my own. I have a brilliant board to lean on, including our CEO Craig Stoddart, who has great experience and is strong on the finances, and our chairwoman Gaynor Coley, who was MD at Eden Project for more than 15 years. Craig came on board in 2015 for an initial six months but helped so much to happen that he’s been

busy ever since.” The challenges Hounsfield and co have had to overcome have included, among others, finding a suitable site and securing a long-term lease. There was another smaller site that was in the running for a while, but this site, at Washingpool Farm in Easter Compton, just beyond Cribbs Causeway, is great for access and is clearly fit for purpose, even if the available parking leaves that short walk down to the facility. The council planners have generally been supportive of the project, but there are still restrictions to be overcome and commitments that have had to be made. Hounsfield’s own commitment to sustainability and community also means he has held

Capital question One of those getting excited in the water at the Wavegarden test facility was Francis Menassa, the CEO and founder of the outfit that is now funding The Wave, the wealth management and corporate finance outfit JAR Capital. If the step-change in the tech was a game-changer for The Wave, finding this committed backer with deep enough pockets and a belief in the project was even bigger, it’s safe to say. JAR Capital discovered The Wave after Hounsfield and his board had presented the proposition

at no fewer than 230 pitches over two years – and, for the most part, drawn a blank. “I feel like we saw everyone. A lot were in London, but in many other places too. Private wealth managers, venture capital outfits, private equity and even social investment funds, as our triple-bottom-line thinking – people, planet, profit – was a fit with many of them. “We got close with another investor earlier on, but it didn’t get the support of its final investment committee as we were a pre-revenue proposition. With JAR, on the other hand, there was a strong fit from the start. They were interested in a similar project in the Lea Valley, to the east of London, but the team they wanted to back didn’t quite have the experience to land it. With our project, they could see it through using our experience and then get our support on the London project – which will now be The Wave London.” Risk and reward With any investment, derisking is the aim of the game, and Hounsfield says shrinking risks were in the back story to JAR’s backing. The technology inspires more confidence that earlier iterations, a land deal with a 125year lease at Washingpool Farm is now bolted down, the operations and leadership team is first-class and even the engineering partner, Hydrock, which owns some of the land on the site has delivered project management, is a large operator

“we have always had the confidence that if we build it, people will come. our crowdfunder raised more than £200,000 in 28 days”


with a breadth of experience to call on. “With any major construction project there are technical and operational challenges, and you want seasoned operators on board. We have Andrew Scott as the main construction company and they have been first-class and successfully got us to this October launch,” says Hounsfield. “It is amazing to see how the project has taken shape in the past 12 months. There has been so much to do, and so many technical challenges to getting the lagoon millimetre perfect, but we have been in safe hands.” Finishing touches The core facility is now fully functional on site, with The Wave’s striking clubhouse all up and running, complete with a large outdoor terrace and lots of wood on show inside and out. It boasts a cafe, a kitchen, a retail space, some conferencing space as well as the hire space for surfboards, wetsuits and more. “There are still some things to finish, like the landscaping, which includes a tree-planting project of 16,000 trees,” says Hounsfield. There will also be camping and glamping facilities and a children’s play area, all helping to deliver the community atmosphere that was always fundamental to his vision. “By next spring things will feel that much more ‘finished’ – and in good time for the busier and longer days of summer,” he adds. Hot tubs

and other pool-side facilities are also planned. The market question With everything in place, here’s a question: what’s the market for surfing? Can the Wave realistically expect several hundred customers a day to spend £40 an hour on average for their time in the water? Is the demand there? “We have always had confidence that if we build it people will come. In 2014 our crowdfunder raised more than £200,000 from individuals in 28 days, giving a small taste of the enthusiasm that’s out there. We commissioned independent research, too, with Colliers International that helped to demonstrate the number of surfers in the UK and the growth in its popularity – it is growing 45% a year. There are 10 million individuals living within two hours’ drive of our site, and the active leisure market in general is on the up, with people more enthusiastic than ever about experiential activities,” says Hounsfield. One comparison he picks out is the growing popularity of wakeboarding, where a rider is towed behind a motorboat across its wake, while the growth of snowdomes is another indicator. In short, he is sure the demand and that people will happily pay what The Wave is charging. “I think what we didn’t necessarily promote that hard in attracting investment is all the opportunities for other revenues


from the site, from food to accommodation. Now, as we get underway, we reckon about 40% of our revenues will come from other sources, and 60% from the surfing itself.” Bring on the future It just remains, then, for The Wave to get established now and see if reality can match expectation. As for Hounsfield, he’s clearly excited to see what the next year brings in Bristol, and has one eye on what happens next, whether thinking about the London project or opportunities in other locations – perhaps near three capital cities in Europe, he suggests. Nine years is a long time in anyone’s life. With a great deal of tenacity, Hounsfield has got to this point. For his sake and ours, here’s hoping The Wave picks up the momentum it needs from here. As our interview finishes, Hounsfield is contemplating another session in the water. The Wave is a serious business, but there’s clearly some fun to be had by Hounsfield along the way.

For more

The first 20 surfers to take to the lake on the 25 October launch were selected from more than 350 nominations, from members of the public to pro surfers and environmental campaigners


2010 Nick Hounsfield starts developing the vision for The Wave 2011 He speaks to Wavegarden about their lagoon technology 2013 Planning permission is secured, based on the original Wavegarden technology 2015 Misgivings about this first-wave tech from Wavegarden stall the project 2016 The new Wavegarden Cove technology gets Hounsfield excited all over again 2017 Major investment secured from JAR Capital 2018 Building starts on The Wave 2019 The Wave Bristol opens in October


schemes by up to half. With most

people living in towns and cities, our project shows what’s possible in tight, urban sites with major implications for the future of house building.

Bristol is thriving, but the property market will always be cyclical. We have been exposed to

Jonathan Brecknell Director, Urban Creation

I started Urban Creation in 2004 with a colleague. We were both

working for a small national developer that shut up shop, and between us we thought there was enough opportunity in the South West to try developing ourselves. He was a property agent and I had more of a design and construction background, so we felt we had many things covered.

The first project was in Fishponds.

We developed a 22-apartment block on the site of a former tyre business. It took a lot of conversations, but eventually we got all the funding for it through Close Asset Management and we were away. We look for projects and sites where we can deliver value through the planning process.

There might be a site with planning consent for a particular project, and we will buy the site but also revisit what’s possible and look to use the site more creatively. We have done that time and again. When we started, the original idea was to pick up projects

across the region. But in reality we

haven’t had to look much beyond Bristol. That’s particularly been the case since we became more focused on student housing.

The move into student housing was an accident in some ways.

We had a project on the Clifton Triangle that was stalled by the lack of available funding with the financial crisis in 2009. We had consent for flats and offices, but once the funding pipeline stopped we got it moving again with a revised project that was all student housing. It was a big transition and it got us out of a looming crisis because student housing was the one element of the market that was still being supported. When we sold the freshly developed site in May 2011 it was a huge moment for the business. My original business partner left at this time, and I was able to set the business on a new course. Our funding model has changed from the early days. At the start,

we were transaction-driven and got funding from project to project. These days, we hold onto the properties

we develop so we have become a property management business too. That was cemented more than ever earlier this year, when we secured a £20m refinance of our property portfolio with Handelsbanken. It covers our entire property portfolio including student homes at Charlotte’s Rise on Charlotte Street, Manor House off St Michael’s Hill, Ashington House on Clifton Triangle, and Prince Rupert House on Tyndalls Park Road. There are a few others, as well. Recently we made waves with the redevelopment of 50 Park Street. It was a different kind of

project because the apartments were constructed off-site and craned into the shell of the existing historic building. Working with Go Modular, the off-site construction company, it has been hugely exciting to be breaking the boundaries of what was considered possible in modular construction and taking this method, already seen as a disruptor to the industry, to a new level. We expect off-site construction to cut the time it takes to deliver

that firsthand at times, but all the advances we have made, moving to a management model and turning around developments more quickly than ever with modular building, has put us in a good place. As well as the student accommodation, some of our properties are short-term let properties that we manage, and that’s also a secure model for the property market. When we moved into that space, we were surprised by the demand from the off, and never looked back.

We are still quite a small company.

For a long time, we had a staff of five, but now that we manage properties there are 13 employees. We have property managers, housekeepers and accountants working for the company. It is a different business to when we started out with two of us turning around development projects as effectively as possible. These days, I am more of a manager than ever. You have to learn to delegate and trust your excellent staff to push things forward.

We are at the end of a cycle with two Park Street projects coming to a close. Now we are thinking

about what to do next, and I am investing in other businesses as well.

Bristol is a great city to work in. I love it as a place, and I was first here as a student. We try to use local businesses as a partners wherever we can, and support startups that are beginning their journeys. For more:


nthony Gruppo thinks global – that much is clear. The boss of Marsh Commercial starts his on-stage interview with Greg Ingham with a long and personal address direct to the audience, touching on the internationalism of the Marsh operation – and on Bristol’s international story. After all, it’s a city where more than 90 languages are spoken, and more than 2,000 businesses were started in the past year. “We are all international now,” says Gruppo, who headed to the UK from New York to take over at Jelf and lead its rebrand into Marsh Commercial. “At Marsh, we are embedded in 143 countries with 35,000 people. In coming to the UK and heading up what was then Jelf, I was conscious that the brand we had bought into was strong, but really a business is its people and the trust they engender. “In becoming Marsh Commercial, we haven’t lost that. Insurance is about relationships and those relationships are strong and trusted whether we are Jelf or Marsh. And with Marsh we have that scale, too – that fantastic diversity of talents we have worked hard to foster and that we can tap into.”

NEW COUNTRY, NEW CHALLENGE What’s the challenge, then, of leading a new group of people in a different country? “It’s the same challenge as every other one I have faced. As a leader, I want to get out there and meet my people. I want to listen and put myself in the minority. I want to meet people on their terms and hear their stories. Leadership is not about being impressed with myself, but about working with everyone around me and acting decisively on what I find.” What’s different about the work culture in the UK compared with the US? “I find things quite measured here. There is great pride in the work, and it is all about the quality. Not that the culture is terribly slow but it is a question of priorities.” There is an openness, too, says Gruppo, despite all the talk you get of British reserve. “I have not felt like an outsider or foreigner at all. That’s a wonderful thing. There is a great generosity among the people and I’ve been put at my ease. And I love the fact that the country is so accessible. You can get so many places in just a couple of hours!” When it comes to regulation of the company’s work, Gruppo


STRAIGHT TALKER In October, the Bristol Life Business Club interview saw the chief executive of the insurance broker Marsh Commercial – it was formerly Jelf – talking about leadership, honesty, supporting people and what we mean by brand Photos Sam Norman 84 I BRISTOL LIFE I


says the scrutiny of the Financial Conduct Authority is essentially the same as the kind of oversight you find across the states of the US. “Regulation is about looking after the consumer, and that’s absolutely right. As a leader, you should not care who is asking the questions but stick to the rules and be open at every turn.” With 68 offices and 3,000 employees in the UK, Gruppo says the other challenge to hit the ground running is to immerse himself in everyday problem-solving. “As a leader, I make sure never to insulate myself from the practical work and the problems that need fixing. Just the other day I sat down with an experienced employee and asked for permission to watch her work and gave her a platform to tell me about problems or inefficiencies she faced that ideally needed fixing. “I got a long list back, and in fact gathered up 90-odd ideas in short order after engaging with staff. I love that potential to effect change. Not to consult and take two years but to get stuck in, share problems and fix them fast. Taking people seriously and making things better is treating them with the respect they deserve. When I get to the facts I like to act.” LONG AND WINDING ROAD Gruppo’s background in the industry goes back a long way. He says he has always scrapped, and got into the work after collecting debts as a repo man. The company he was working for also had an insurance operation and he made the move across very happily. He sounds, suggests Ingham in his questioning, quite an instinctive person, who acts on his gut. Is that fair and part of what has carried him to the top? “At times. I am happiest when I am taking action rather than overthinking what to do. I was brought up that way. I remember when my father died: he asked me to turn off his life support machine when we were in the hospital and I was hesitant, which made him angry. He said he had raised me for such a moment and I needed to act with courage. I’ve carried that philosophy of courage and action with me, I think.” Gruppo says living in the moment and acting now is what matters. “You don’t want to be one

of those people who is forever talking about their past. You don’t want to be a former someone. It is important to strive and press forward. I have never feared success or failure.” And what about the future? Gruppo has two granddaughters and a third is due in February next year. What kind of working world will it be for them? “It’s a more global place. The planet is more condensed than ever. When you add in the rise of artificial intelligence, it will definitely be different. But change has always been a constant, and we all need to continue to adapt. That’s the human condition.”

As for Gruppo, he has no intention, despite being in his 60s, of hanging up his boots just yet. “One thing I do know: being CEO of Marsh Commercial is the last role in my career. I won’t move over to another one. But I am very happy right now. As long as I have the energy and am keeping up so I can work with colleagues then I want be involved. The moment I find I cannot maintain that pace I will have to go, and I’ll be quick about it. But I hope and think I have a while yet. I’m enjoying the ride.” For more The next Bristol Life Business Club, with Nigel Scott of Bristol Airport, is on 27 November;


The Bristol Life Business Club is a unique lunchtime event with a high calibre speaker. Attendees come from all sectors of Bristol’s business life – from the coolest of the indies to the largest of the corporates. For information on the latest events, please go to: I BRISTOL LIFE I 85

bristolworks DEALS SPOTLIGHT

Bristol engineering consultancy buys Yorkshire operation Hydrock, a large, Bristol-based engineering design consultancy, has acquired a 20-strong counterpart in Yorkshire, MRB Consulting Engineers


RB is based in Wetherby and provides building services design and environmental engineering consultancy services on a wide range of property schemes in northern England and across the UK.

NEW TO BRISTOL Who are we talking to today? Studiovine. What does it do? It’s a web and branding agency. Been here long? About three months. It has set up home on Unity Street, near College Green. Who is in Bristol? The main contact for now is executive director Lee Nathan. You can reach him and the rest of the team at Who does Studiovine work with? It is probably best known for its branding work with the professional basketball team Plymouth Raiders. It has worked on the website and been at the forefront of the Raiders marketing for the past two seasons. Recently Studiovine signed a follow-on two-year partnership with the idea of re-marketing the club in a new direction. How big is the company? There are five in the current team, generating turnover of under £500,000.

The acquisition strengthens Hydrock’s energy and sustainability offering in the built environment and existing UK office network by adding a base in Yorkshire. Hydrock’s Bristol HQ is in Almondsbury, South Gloucestershire, by Cribbs Causeway.

What trends are there in your industry? “Every company is digital now to some extent, so what we do is essential and in the mainstream,” says Nathan. “That mean many companies have more capability in-house that in the past, and we are more likely to get more niche and targeted strategic work to deliver engagement against particular metrics. In a word, web and branding has grown up and the nature of what we do is more specific – there are fewer open briefs to ‘sort out the website’ than in days gone by.”

Led by John McElwee, MRB will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hydrock trading under the name of Hydrock MRB as a separate operating division for the foreseeable future. Hydrock chief executive Brian McConnell said: “This is a great strategic move for both Hydrock and MRB. It provides us with a base in a key geographic location giving access to the strong property development market in and around Leeds and across Yorkshire. “It also enables MRB to realise their growth plan which is fuelled by the strong relationships they have established over the past 12 years.” McConnell said MRB is wellaligned with Hydrock’s cultural values and the way it builds relationships with clients. “Having spent time with MRB’s leadership team I know we are aligned in these areas and this will make the transition for both clients and staff very easy.” MRB recently completed the building services design for the new HQ of Leeds-based law firm Walker Morris. MRB’s MD John McElwee said: “I am very proud of the business we

HYDROCK BUYS MRB Industry Engineering Deal type Acquisition of smaller operator Value of deal Not disclosed Management lead Dr Brian McConnell is Hydrock’s CEO

have developed at MRB. Joining Hydrock is the perfect next step for the ambitions of our team and the growth of our client offer.” “I’ve got to know several of the Hydrock senior team over the past few months, and the obvious synergies in our staff culture and client approach makes me very excited for the future.” Hydrock employs about 450 staff across the UK. Besides the Almondsbury HQ , it has offices in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Southampton. For more:

Lee Nathan of Studiovine

Why have you come to Bristol? “The city is well-connected and close enough to Plymouth for us to continue to work as a team on shared projects,” says Nathan. “The market in the city for the kind of work we do is crowded already, but everyone has a particular specialism and there is room for us without a doubt.” Are you feeling at home? “Very much so,” says Nathan. “We have done a lot of networking and been made very welcome. We actually picked up a client from networking at a Bristol Life event, so thank you for that! Bristol Media events have also been worthwhile, and we continue to spread our wings.” For more I BRISTOL LIFE I 87


Estate of aairs Brenda Smyth of AMD SOLICITORS considers the tax implications when dealing with the administration of an estate


hen applying for a grant of probate, the personal representatives of an estate must complete and submit an inheritance tax form giving details of all assets and liabilities of an estate. This may need to include details of lifetime gifts made by the deceased or any interests in trusts which the deceased may have had. Personal representatives have a duty to make full enquiries to obtain the necessary information to complete the form correctly and failure to do so may result in interest having to be paid on tax paid late or even in tax penalties. Delays

with both the tax office and the Probate Registry mean it is even more important to get things right the first time to avoid unnecessary interest or penalties relating to lack of disclosure. Even when the personal representatives correctly ascertain and disclose assets and liabilities in the estate, mistakes can still be made, such as not claiming all allowances and reliefs available to reduce the value of the estate for inheritance tax purposes. Consideration of the inheritance tax liability does not end once the grant of probate has been issued. If further assets or liabilities come to light or there is any other change in the value of the estate for inheritance tax purposes, these may need to be disclosed to HM Revenue and Customs. There may also be additional reliefs to consider. Inheritance tax is not the only tax to consider when administering an estate. If an asset is sold during the course of the administration of an estate, there may be a capital gains tax liability on the personal representatives. It may be that, with careful planning and depending on the circumstances, it is possible to mitigate or even eliminate this liability. Any income received by the personal representatives in the course of the administration is subject to income tax and

must be disclosed to HM Revenue and Customs by the personal representatives. Sometimes beneficiaries may decide to vary the terms of the distribution of the estate and the tax implications of this need to be considered. In some circumstances, this may result in a tax saving or may avoid adverse tax consequences for the person giving up his or her right to benefit from the estate. For further advice on the administration of estates, wills, lasting powers of attorney and other private client matters, contact Brenda Smyth or one of her colleagues at AMD Solicitors 100 Henleaze Road, Bristol BS9 4JZ Phone 0117 962 1205, email info@ or visit our website www. â–

Call into one of our four Bristol ofďŹ ces. 100 Henleaze Road, Henleaze, BS9 4JZ 15 The Mall, Clifton BS8 4DS 139 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, BS8 2PL 2 Station Road, Shirehampton BS11 9TT I BRISTOL LIFE I 89

advertising feature

New developments! Stephen McColgan now of neath raisbeck golding law discusses his decision to move from Michelmores and the opportunities his expertise will bring to a wider set of clients


his October I qualified as a solicitor 33 years ago. I’ve been a partner with national firms, Clarke Willmott, Davies & Partners and most recently Michelmores. Although I have been with NRG Law for only a few weeks it already feels like I have been here for a long time. The team is very friendly, warm and welcoming; it feels both calm and highly productive within the office. The firm has the infrastructure and technology that supports the agility we need in the modern workplace and empowers us to work remotely at times and places best suited to the lawyers and of course the clients’ requirements. Being a consultant, do you need to be working in the office every day? No. I have been a partner in large firms for many years and my new role as a consultant provides a lot more flexibility around how I work with clients. NRG Law’s location is delightful. The situation in the university quarter of Clifton, with easy access to car parking and only metres from Clifton Down train station, assists in making the office such a pleasant place to work and convenient for clients to attend. We believe that you act for big housebuilders? My passion, and I believe expertise, lies in advising landowners, developers, and investors in residential-led and mixed-use schemes. I do have experience working with several of the top 10 PLC housebuilders, including

on significant town extensions but I also work with small- and medium-sized design-led housebuilding entrepreneurs to realise their projects, and with landowners. You work with a wide range of clients – which do you most enjoy helping? It can be really satisfying working with landowners, particularly those who are unfamiliar with the development process. Assisting them with understanding the appropriate processes of transactions with developers and investors to protect their best interests in a complicated and potentially difficult transaction. So, you have experience of the whole development process? The promotion of land, disposal, acquisition, preparation for development through the planning process and arranging the infrastructure and utilities agreements are within my remit. Following from that are the site setups and preparations for disposal whether as a serviced site or individual plot sales. As well as having experience in secured acquisition and development finance from the UK and overseas banks and investors, I have successfully advised SME housebuilders in securing finance through Homes England, part of the UK Government’s Homes and Communities Agency. What is the best thing about your new role? The biggest hidden bonus for me personally is being only five minutes away from the University swimming pool in the Richmond Building on

“The team is very warm and welcoming; it feels both calm and highly productive within the office ” Queen’s Road where I spent inordinate amounts of my time as an undergraduate at Bristol nearly four decades ago! I am enjoying getting back into that pool… What are you most looking forward to achieving? Let’s help create the places for people to make their homes! n

Stephen McColgan Consultant Solicitor DDI: +44 (0) 117 325 1037 T: +44 (0) 117 317 9719 M: +44 (0) 779 8793787 I BRISTOL LIFE I 91

property a pl ace to c all home

house of Glas

You’ve heard of Bauhaus; prepare to enter the Glashaus... By Lisa Warren I BRISTOL LIFE I 93

A property place to call home


e’re not entirely sure why this striking home goes by such a Germanic name – perhaps ‘Glasshouse’ sounds too much like a place for cultivating tomatoes? – but we like it; it has cachet, and there’s certainly no sophistry in the moniker: this is indeed a house built largely from glass, with virtually the whole of one facade being made of the stuff. The owners must get through industrial amounts of Windolene, but we’re sure it’s worth it; come rain, snow or dark, sulky clouds, having a frontage that’s effectively one huge window ensures that The Glashaus is airy, bright and cheery from dawn to dusk, all year round. The imaginatively designed home was built in 1996, on an advantageous Leigh Woods site on the Clifton


side of Abbots Leigh Road. The two storeys, offering generous amount of living space on the ground floor, four bedrooms and three bathrooms on the first, have been angled to face the sunny south-west, and to enclose the established walled gardens at the back of the house in a protective gentle curve. They’ll have you at the huge, wedge-shaped entrance, that doubles as a dining hall; there, a floor-to-ceiling bay window soars to first-floor level; if you enjoy being in touch with the changing seasons, you’ll love the way this frames the back garden. A staircase rises to the gallery and bedrooms, while an exploratory wander to the left and right takes you from one family room to another in a well-thought-out flow. In one direction, a 20ft family room has doors that slide open to the sun deck, while a more sequestered study measures in at a very decent 14ft. The other side is given over to cooking and dining; a beautifully fitted kitchen-breakfast room is a sea of Siemens and Neff, and is complemented by a utility room and ‘a useful pantry’ (is there any other kind?). The room at the end is currently designated as a dining room, with more sliding doors to the terrace. If, however, you feel that a second dining space is a tad excessive, given the generous provision for entertaining in the entrance hall; and if you quite fancy the idea of at least one Fisher Price no-go zone in the home, there’s no reason why this can’t make a second living room – or indeed, switch it with the family room around so that the


grown-up living room is next to the study. This is your Glashaus now. The house is set back from lovely, leafy St Mary’s Road behind a secure gated entry that leads to a large parking area and double garage. Beyond is a kitchen garden and a greenhouse – yes, the Glashaus greenhouse! – with planter troughs and fruit trees. The back garden has been landscaped with a timber sun deck, which spans the the whole of the house, and a lawn with a play area, water feature and plenty of established shrubs and trees. Finally, there’s one more not-so-little bonus to discover – a discrete 15ft building, neatly concealed, ideal as an office, a gym or for hiding from the children. As for the location, need we elaborate? Clifton’s a brief trot across the Bridge; Ashton Court’s even closer. Anything else? Oh yes – take a look at that entrance hall above – can you imagine the size of the Christmas tree you’ll be able to fit in? n

House numbers Bedrooms 4


Bathrooms/ WCs 3

What else? Bold, exciting contemporary design with a lot of glass

Reception rooms 3 plus large kitchen/breakfast room Formal gardens, sun terrace and kitchen garden Guide price


Leigh Woods

Savills, Clifton, 20 The Mall, Bristol, BS8 4DR 0117 407 0111 I BRISTOL LIFE I 95

Bristol & Clifton's premier Commercial Property Agents Keep up-to-date with our latest news, deals, testimonials and market comment at our website:

(0117) 934 9977


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bristol LIVES

“It’s good to be free to explore some really underappreciated women” Winifred Parry – the rebel librarian who campaigned for votes for women and lobbied for better pay. What piece of advice would you give to a schoolgirl today?

© jon cr aig

There will always be someone who has your back. Once you’ve found your supporters, let them help you. And then, when you’re older and doing well, remember to pay it back and support the next generation. Where do you live in, and why?

JANE DUFFUS From rebel librarians to racer queens, Jane’s latest book chronicles some of Bristol’s most fascinating, forgotten women


e first came across Jane when she was running What the Frock!, the excellent comedy night for female comedians. These days, she’s a full-time author and public speaker, on a different but complementary mission: to write forgotten women back into the history books. Her second volume of The Women Who Built Bristol has just been published. Have you stopped What The Frock!, or just parked it?

What The Frock! is taking a rest. After six years and almost 70 shows in seven cities, I felt ready to do something different. But I wouldn’t rule out resurrecting it for the occasional show now and again. How and why did you write the first Women Who Built Bristol?

Just as What The Frock! grew out of my frustration at the lack of women being booked by other comedy clubs, The Women Who Built Bristol grew out of my frustration at the lack of women’s stories being

told in most other history books, in museums and so on. Why have you written the new follow-up volume?

Shortly after the first book came out, I read about a suffrage artist from Clifton called Emily Andrews, and started making notes on her. Before I knew it, I was writing her entry for volume two; and she was quickly joined by lots of other women. Volume two has a stronger emphasis on working-class women and, in a way, it’s nice to be free of the more obvious names and have space to explore some really underappreciated women. Can you tell us briefly about a few of the women in the book?

Mary Atlay – the workhouse matron who was admired for being kind and caring, unlike the typical workhouse matron of the time, who was cruel and boorish. Rosina Douglas – a daughter of the motorcycle dynasty, who beat the men in motorcycling championships.


I live in Windmill Hill. Victoria Park and the Northern Slopes are on my doorstep and, as a beagle owner and runner, I spend a lot of time outdoors. Favourite places to drink?

I prefer a traditional pub to a fancy bar, so The Ostrich is a favourite with me, especially in the summer as there is so much space to sit outside by the water. For more special occasions, the cocktail bar at Harvey Nichols is a great spot. Which Bristolian do you most admire?

I’m a big fan of Mary Griffiths. She was a barmaid from Hanham who, on the day the Suspension Bridge was opened, wanted to be the first civilian to cross it on foot. She snuck under the ribbon and ran across. But a man had had the same idea so she ended up in a race. I’m pleased to say she won. If you were hosting a first-time visitor to Bristol for a day, where would you take them to show off your city?

It would have to include a trip up Cabot Tower. When you are somewhere new, you need to go to the highest point and look out to get your bearings. The Bristol Central Library is a beautiful space, especially the reference rooms upstairs, and though it’s aimed at kids, the

Aardman activities at We The Curious are huge fun to play with. Do you have any secret skills?

I can walk on stilts. My brother made some when he was at school and taught me to walk on them. And what job would you be truly terrible at?

I’m hopeless with numbers so anything that involved accounting or finance would be a disaster. Who are your top three favourite authors?

Maggie O’Farrell – her books are always an absolute treat and publication day is marked in my diary well in advance. Heather Child – a wonderful, Bristolian author whose first books have been really well received. Marguerite Fedden – an extraordinary Bristolian writer who wrote everything from pamphlets promoting the suffrage campaign to romantic novels tackling racial hatred. Who is your celebrity crush?

I’m obsessed with Fearne Cotton. I met her at an event recently and she has this extraordinary quality about her in real life that is really attractive, so I’ve been stalking her Instagram ever since. What are you doing after answering these questions?

I’ve got a busy programme of talks coming up in the next few months to promote the new book, so had better crack on with making some notes for the next one. The Women Who Built Bristol: Volume Two is published by Tangent Books at £13 www.janeduffus. com/books

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Bristol Life - Issue 272  

Bristol Life - Issue 272