Fa – the Green Dragon

A Place for the Odd Musings of an Expat Bristolian

A Riparian Life


A Riparian Life

Recently, I wrote about my quest to become a good blogger. The main problem for me as I stated was what might be relevant for my readers. So I gave this some thought. In doing so, it occurred to me that my life has be one of living in many different locations. Most of these locations were on or near a major river.

I come from the city of Bristol in Great Britain which is located on the River Avon, a tidal river connected to the open sea. Bristol has a long sea-faring history; it is even thought that cod fishermen sailed out of Bristol  and reached the  North American continent at Nova Scotia many years before Columbus arrived in Florida in 1492. The river is not the same Avon which runs through Stratford upon Avon,  famous as the  birthplace  of William Shakespeare. There are several rivers named Avon throughout the British Isles. In fact the very name Avon which comes from the Latin name Abona  given by the Romans and its  Celtic name of Afon, given to it  long before the Saxon invasion .

Bristol used to occupy parts of  two counties; that of   the  South of  Gloucestershire and the North of Somersetshire. The counties were separated by the river. At the center of the city is a body of water referred to as the Floating harbor. Ocean going ships that come up the river on a high tide, are able to enter the harbor through a set of lock gates. They can remain docked for loading and unloading until ready to set sail, at which time the lock gates are opened and the ship able to depart down river to the sea.

When I was about 12 years old, my father gave me a book. It had the curious title of : Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome. In short, it was a story about three men who decided to take a boating vacation on a river and the adventures that befell them in the process. It must have made a lasting impression on me because I have always loved the rivers on or near  which I found myself living over the years. I have also  included rivers which were significant insomuch that while I did not actually live on or near them, thy did play a large part of my life.

I’ll write about these rivers in chronological order. But, just to let you know up front, here is a list of rivers that have played a part in my life. I will be writing about:

  • The River Avon – U.K.
  • The River Severn –  U.K.
  • The River Thames – U.K
  • The Mersey River – U.K.
  • The River Hen – U.K.
  • Hazel Brook – U.K.
  • The River Trym – U.K.
  • The River Swale – U.K.
  • The River Seine – France.
  • The Dordogne River – France
  • The Gironde River – France
  • The River Elbe – Germany
  • The Weser River Germany
  • The Rhine River – Germany
  • The Mosel River – Germany
  • The Mississippi – USA
  • The Chicago River – USA
  • The Fox River – USA
  • The Platte River – USA
  • The Pearl River – China
  • The Yangtze Jiang – China
  • The Amazon river – South America
  • The Orinoco River – South America
  • The Danube – Hungary, Austria
  • The Amstel River – The Netherlands.
  • La Meuse River Belgium
  • The Nile River – Egypt

Before I relate events in my life and the part that  the rivers themselves played, I think I should mention that as a young boy I loved to explore. I loved my city of Bristol and the I was enthralled by the very oldness and historic  place that it was. It got its name from” Bricgstow” meaning “place of the bridge.”

A few famous people are associated with Bristol including Robert Louis Stephenson,  Isambard Kingdom Brunel, John Sebastian Cabot and a few others. I’ll get to these illustrious souls in due course.

During the Roman Occupation of Britain settlements were built around Bristol and several  country villas have been uncovered over the years.A port  called Portus Abonae was established at what today is known as Sea Mills a small suburb of Bristol along the river.


Author: Cethru Cellophane

I have reached the regrettable realization that I may have squandered my life. I did a quick count recently and figured that I have visited about 66 countries, and lived for more than 3 years in 3 of them. During this time I completed 14 corporate moves (relocations) and have changed my address more than 23 times. I should have settled on a profession that would have kept me in one place with no packing and unpacking. When I think of the time I have spent bundling my life into and out of boxes. Ah well, it's all water under the bridge. But I am grateful for the experience. At the end of the day I will be able to say with a certain authority, "been there, done that". A note about this site’s Header Image The Header image for this site is of the Smith Avenue High Bridge. The bridge was built in 1889 and carries Minnesota State Highway 149 across its span of 2770 feet, 160 feet above the mighty Mississippi River. The picture was taken from the river looking to the north-east and downtown Saint Paul. The bridge is about 1040 miles from New Orleans. One of the reasons I like this view is that I come from a city which has a spectacular bridge. It’s the Clifton Suspension Bridge http://www.ikbrunel.org.uk/clifton-suspension-bridge which spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon in Bristol, U.K. It’s about 1350 feet long and stands 245 feet above the river below. Sadly it has claimed the lives of more than 400 people who have committed suicide by jumping from the bridge. As a side note, not all attempts were successful. two small girls thrown off the bridge by their deranged father survived the fall when they were fished from the river by the crew of a passing pilot boat. The bridge was opened in 1864 and was designed by the 24 year old architect, Isambard Kingdom brunel. It took 35 years to complete.

2 thoughts on “A Riparian Life

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