One of our customers was in distress, and needed some help with PC’s (our products were fine, but without usable PC’s, couldn’t be configured. We don’t usually do external computer support, but these were special circumstances).
Thing is, were based in Warrington and the customer is in Bristol. 3-4 hrs on the train is a long way. A friend in need is a friend-indeed and I also had some idea’s about finding adventure, if the work went to plan.
On the train at 5:40am. Not the first class stuff I’m used to when I travel to London, but the train was pretty empty so quite comfortable.
First problem encountered. I have my laptop with loads of interesting stuff to watch, and I realise I’ve left my headphones at home. I’m not one of those people who just play stuff out loud, so I’m stuck. I haven’t brought a book either, so the next 4 hours are looking like hard work.
But wait, its a beautiful day, and I’m travelling through Welsh valleys, with a fantastic view outside. This is the kind of thing I do in my own time and pay good money for. Here, I’m actually getting paid to do it.
I relax and the pleasant journey passes relatively quickly.
I arrive in Bristol on time. I’ve been told to take a cab to the customer site. According to my IPhone, its 2 miles away, so I decide its a nice day and I’ll walk. As I arrive gasping outside the customers building, I decide that Google maps really should feature contour lines as I’ve walked up and down several large hills to get here.
The buildings are very picturesque, and I’m starting to like Bristol.
With my most profesional manner, I walk into the customer site. I’m briefed by the head of department and get to work. I need some hearing aid specific technical advise, so speak to Yatesh & Rick back at the office. From there, there’s no stopping me. I fix all 9 computers (lots of different problems, but all fairly routine) in about 2 and a half hours.
The customer is delighted and thanks me for my help. I’ve done this job for 22 years at various company’s, but there simply isn’t anything to compare with the satisfaction of hearing genuine praise for a job well done.
I call back to the office, and speak to the client manager. I’m congratulated again, and “told” to have a pint by the river. Well, it was a beautiful day, and an order’s an order 🙂
My train home isn’t for a couple of hours. I’ve heard great things about Bristol, and have drawn up a bit of a plan. I speak to the barman who served me, get some local “intel” and off I go.
First up is Nelson street, which has been painted up in the See No Evil project. OK, some people will call this ugly graffiti, but I have to ask, if there wasn’t any paint on those walls and buildings, would they actually look pleasing to the eye. Or (as I suspect) people just don’t like them painted, because there different and none conformist ?
Other big thing I wanted to see, was some of the famous “Banksy” artwork.
I’d read on the internet, that one of his best works – Grim Reaper was painted onto the social boat Thekla. I had no idea what a social boat was, but I found out, its used as a music venue and a sort of floating social/youth club.
I asked the guy on board, but he said he’d never heard of it, and I walked all the way around, but still couldn’t find it.
Ive since researched it on the internet, the picture above, is what it originally looked like. I want to go off in search of more Banksy, but time is against me, and although adventure is calling, I don’t want to end up lost in an unknown city and miss my train.
Coward that I am, I pursue my next project.
I continue along the harbour-side. I’d heard people talk about a certain kind of buzz around Bristol. I thought it was nonsense originally, but there’s certainly a vibe to the City, and definitely next to the water.
A former transport shed has been converted into a museum of Bristols history. As its original designation was Shed M, so the museum is called M-Shed. Its located to the left of these amazing cranes.
I had read some amazing reviews of the museum, but to my annoyance, I found out it is open every day but Monday (and it was Monday).
Final adventure project of the day, I decide to do an improvised tour of various Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s buildings.
Unfortunately, its a downloadable mp3 from Bristol tourist website, and as I’ve left my IPod at home, I cant listen to it.
I just wander around the old buildings, and try to soak up the atmosphere. Technically, the day has been a professional success, and an adventure failure. No matter though, I realised how much I like Bristol, and know I’ll be going back there soon.
Curled up on the train home, I drop off to sleep within minutes and wake 3 hours later in Chester.