Houses and Doors


We spent this past weekend exploring the town of Bristol, a port town along the River Avon in western England.  I’ve read many books that mention Bristol, and while they all talk about the stink caused by the River Avon (and the lack of plumbing), none have mentioned how hilly the area is! It’s not quite as bad as San Francisco, but there were definitely a few sore legs after walking the town for two days. This street goes straight up the hillside!

I admit that I didn’t do a lot of research on Bristol before we hopped on the over-the-road coach, so I was caught by surprise over how modern a city it is. While there is one area with a small market (St Nicholas — I’ll post about that later! Promise!), most of the buildings in Bristol are quite modern. The harbour area in particular is full of flats from the past 20 year!  Eventually we stumbled on a memorial that explained: Bristol suffered heavy losses during the Bristol Blitz of WWII. Most of harbour area was destroyed, and since it wasn’t all that nice to begin with, the people decided to build anew. Luckily there are still a few places where you can glimpse what the old city must have looked like.

I know it’s a fairly common theme to fall in love beautiful doors — in fact I’ve seen several books on the doors of Dublin.  But I saw quite a few in Bristol that I’d love to walk through.

I’ll always be partial to a red door, of course, but I think a nice shiny black can be nice too. Particularly if it’s got a lovely Gothic arch at the top, and a shiny mail-drop slot in the middle!

I like the idea of entering through a great doorway. It’s really like the first sentence in a good book. It’s the opening …  the introduction …  and you can only hope that what lies beyond is just as good as the first bit. Is the doorway “Call me Ishmael. “, or is it “It was a dark and stormy night.” ?

I think the yellow is far too cheery for a door, because while yellow certainly works for a married couple coming into a new home, or a child returning from a first day at school, doors also exist to depart through.

Many doors are closed in sadness, whether it’s because the door itself cannot be opened, or because you lack the ability to open it. You have to find a color that balances the good with the bad. You also have to learn to leave a lot of stuff at the door, including negative opinions, problems at work, and the bane of any spring day… mud!

No door is complete without a boot-scraper!  We had one of these next to the door when I was growing up, and I love both the wrought iron and the physical sensation of scraping mud off your boots.  I can only imagine that the mud in Bristol must have been quite intense!

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Posted on 01/06/2010, in Exploring the UK and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Did you get to visit the university? My good friend went there. Some awesome “college pubs” we visited in the area.

  2. I have the boot scraper you mention in front of my front door now

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