Tail slaps the water
Alarm sounded all dive deep
cautious calm returns
Tail slaps the water
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:
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.
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 view 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.