So today was my first full day in Bridport.
I've only ever been to Bridport once before.
And that was to go see a show a couple of months ago.
So that was and in and out sort of jobby.
But today I had a full day in Bridport.
In daylight and everything!
So I went for a walk.
I like Bridport. It's nice. It's quirky. It's interesting.
It’s quite like everywhere else in it’s quirkiness.
If you know what I mean.
There’s old buildings and new buildings neighbouring each other.
There’s old walls propped up against new walls.
There's independent shops.
And there always seems to be a cat watching you. No matter what town you visit. There's always a cat watching you.
I find it really satisfying to visit a place and to be able to see both the old and the new living together in the same space. I like to be able to see what once stood before and what now stands. I like to look at a place and see it's history. And to me that's what makes a place a place. That's what makes the place quirky. Individual. And today whilst walking around Bridport I could see adjustments, add ons and things in transformation. And I find that really interesting.
Bridport also has a Waterstones! As well as a whole handful of other bookshops - which is a massive plus! Weymouth doesn't have any (as far as I'm aware).
In every residential area there are certain trends.
And the two trends that I've noticed most from place to place are door / house colours and door knockers! Do neighbours have meetings and plot what colour doors they each are going to have?
Do they all agree “Yes, let’s all have odd knockers”?
Do they all decide to work together for a certain aesthetic?
In both Chichester and Bridport.
In Chichester there was a fox, a bird, I think maybe even a lion?
And today I’ve seen a lizard knocker next to a rather extravagant knocker.
They compliment each other.
Did they do this on purpose? Is it a competition?
I’ve heard a lot about the Quakers during my time on Portland and today I found their meeting spot in Bridport. Is this their central hub?
I saw a rather interesting sign that read “Friends meeting house” something something something.
And I remember thinking "that’s a rather odd sign. I wonder what the hell that is for?”
And then I found the Quakers meeting spot opposite St Mary's Church. And then it all made sense.
Soon after that I came across the medieval priests house.
The oldest building in Bridport.
For some reason people are unnerved when you stop to look at things.
They always think something is awry.
"Nope, just looking at a building, that happens to be for sale, and is the oldest building in Bridport. Why wouldn't I look at this building?".
Perhaps it's the fact I was carrying a camera.
It puts people on edge.
As if I'm walking around the streets of Bridport armed.
After wandering through some residential areas and a park I found myself at The Alleyways.
The original destination I was aiming for as Niki said it was worth checking out.
(I started off my day at The Lyric with a meeting with Niki - Niki owns The Lyric and is the Artistic Director for Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company)
I didn't get lost. I was just curious as to what was at the end of the road... And then another road... And then another road... There was a road called Castle Square - It didn't live up to my expectations...
So The Alleyways are a bunch of storage / studio / work units which also are a range of shops and there's also a café called Redbrick Café. Unfortunately the café was closed when I was there. Some people are busy at work making some sort of furniture, some people had already gone home for the day so their unit was closed and some were waiting for people to drop by. I stopped in the big antique unit in the centre of The Alleyways and had a good long browse. It's a massive unit and they have it sectioned off into little viewing rooms. It was like I was shopping for a new house. Each room seemed to have an era or a theme. Like the 70s or a room filled with clocks. I wondered what the Antiques Roadshow might find in amongst all this stuff.
I then began to walk back to the centre of Bridport. I passed Dominos. I chuckled. Of course there's a bloody Dominos. It looked very Americanised. Like a diner. They had a seating area in there. You don't see that much in Southampton. There are usually like a few chairs - but that's just for waiting... There were only 2 people in there and it was almost 4pm.
At 5pm there was a talk at Bridport Arts Centre by Chloe Alice Hayes - a graduate of BA Photography at Arts University Bournemouth who is currently on The Mothership residency hosted by Anna Best. Anna Best is also the co-founder of Force8 (Force8 is a collective of contemporary artists around the Bridport area who work together, host artists, events, artist talks etc).
Chloe's talk was about her current work at Anna's residency. Her ideas and her next project plans. Only two days into her residency Chloe has produced two project ideas that she has begun to work on immediately. Influenced by her rural surroundings and her rural upbringing Chloe has fine picked two different subject areas that she'd like to talk about.
1) Rural Mothers
2) Rural buses
Chloe is starting up an Instagram page for her 1st project called Rural Mothers Unseen - feel free to check it out if you want to get involved / know more. She's looking for mothers in a rural setting to participate in her project. She's still in the early stages of her project development but would love to hear from any mother in a rural setting.
Her second project is about the pure lack of buses. The poor service of buses. The infrequent service on buses and how this may or may not have an affect on people's everyday lives. For example going to doctors appointments, getting to work, going out to the theatre, cinema, a social gathering...etc. It's an issue. Especially for people who can't afford to drive. Chloe spoke of one person she spoke to on the bus who could only get a doctors appointment within a two hour window due to her bus times.... Imagine how difficult it was for her to get an appointment!
I don't think too negatively of buses because I can get almost anywhere on public transport.
And although I do live on Portland, in a rural setting, I can get from A to B quite easily. My bus runs really regularly and all throughout the day. It's probably a bit worse in Bridport because the X53 / X51 only runs every 2 hours. That's the bus I got. The X53 / X51 to Bridport from Weymouth. But I managed to get to Bridport with no hassle. It did take 2 hours to get there from Portland and by car it only takes around 50 minutes (according to google maps).
But even though it takes longer to get to places and I have to leave social situations earlier I still can't warrant getting driving lessons or even a car because in the end it is a lot cheaper to get the bus.
I worked out that I probably only spend £660 on the bus a year.
Petrol would cost me about the same (worked that out from Ben's driving budget).
How can I warrant taking out time for driving lessons, paying for driving lessons, paying for my test, then buying a car, insurance, mot and pay for the upkeep of a car when it's cheaper to get the bus than to pay for petrol?
Simply. I'm not rich. I can't afford it.
#buswanker for life.
With that said, Chloe's project is really relevant and the buses in Dorset and other rural locations do need to be a hell of a lot more frequent. I'm just lucky they are frequent in my area. I can't wait to see what her project churns up.
Here are some pictures from my day:
That's all for now.
Thanks for reading.