Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Beyond the pale by 20 feet


Sitting above the river, having a beer as the sun began to sink on Sunday, I saw a Heron, a Peregrine Falcon, a Kingfisher and an Otter - all in the space of half an hour and all right in the centre of town. If you embiggen (I cannot remember which one of you first coined this word, but I love it) this photo, you will see the Otter in the river, pretty much in the middle of the picture.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, as the sun set in a rosy sky, a lone Bat flitted about over my head, picking up insects which had been brought out by the warm weather. The Otter swam about for most of the time I was there, occasionally coming up for air before looking up, lolling over and diving for fish again. They are bigger than you might imagine - like medium-sized dogs.

Moments like these refresh my appreciation of living in Bath, where the countryside is no more than a mile out of town, and often comes in to it to do a bit of shopping.

I live about 30 yards away from where the photo was taken, and every time I have to renew our contents insurance, I have to explain the situation after answering 'yes' to the question, 'do you live within 100 metres of a river?'

If it is a new broker, I have to qualify the answer by saying that I also live about 50 metres above a river, and if our contents were to be damaged by floodwater, the only thing visible above the deluge in Somerset would be the Mendip Transmission Arial - the highest point in the South of England. I wonder if those people in the row of apartments in the picture manage to get any insurance at all, and if they do, I wonder what the annual premium is.

One of the reasons that our Georgian 3-story house is so high is that it was built on the line of the medieval city wall. The North Gate was about 200 feet to one side of it and the East Gate - the only one remaining intact - goes right down to the river below. The North Gate had a building on top of it, and this was part of the first King Edward Grammar School.

We are overshadowed by the Guildhall - the heart of civic Bath - but for some inexplicable reason, our postcode begins, 'BA2' and not 'BA1' as befits a dwelling in the heart of the little town which calls itself a city.

I do not resent this for any reasons of snobbery, it is just that I am sure that the prefix 'BA2' and not the more prestigious '1' puts our insurance premium up by an appreciable amount, never mind the river.

35 comments:

  1. Absolutely stunning. I envy the history with which you are surrounded on a daily basis. -Jenn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like living in a city which is visited by people from all over the world, especially if I don't go on a holiday in the Summer.

      Delete
  2. I long admired the location of people who lived on bridges and in my imagination: I saw them fishing out of their windows whilst being in a comfortable chair in the warmth of a comfortable home. So does this ever happen Tom ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If anyone tried to fish from a window in Pulteney Bridge, they would end up hooking tourists on the pleasure boats, so I don't think so. Also you would need a 50-foot landing net.

      Delete
  3. You live in a beautiful part of England Tom ..... I admit that I am a little envious. Nature, beautiful surroundings, and a beer .... what could be nicer ? ...... and the Autumnal colour is magnificent this year, isn't it? XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. At times like these I feel lucky.

      Delete
  4. What are you insuring for? I never bother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contents. What with the Auerbachs, the Aitchison (now gone) and a few others, plus the wardrobe of designer gear, we are underinsured as it is.

      Delete
    2. Unless you meant fire or theft...

      Delete
  5. I lived in york, which , i suspect, has a similar footfall of visitors to bath....
    Loved it, but the crowds got a bit much occassionally

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have yet to visit York, but I will one day.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful and calming.
    Greetings Maria x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gorgeous views...and that's only 30 yards from your house?! Lucky you.

    I love the word "embiggen" too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The views from the house are better!

      Delete
    2. Again, lucky you. The only views around my house are crap suburban yards with low - maintenance landscaping! Boring!

      Delete
    3. Ah, but I bet your drug dealers are more reliable than ours.

      Delete
  8. Every so often I remind myself that Manhattan is an island by taking a short walk over to the Hudson River. There is something quite relaxing about watching the boats go by, and the open sky over the river, and just the motion of the water.
    A few years ago, I did a post about this riverside area. I might have to do another before it gets cold. Only thing to remember is to not look back at the mammoth apartment building on the edge of the island. They are emblazoned with T R U M P, although residents are petitioning to have the letters removed.

    Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The whole building appeared to be gold-plated when I saw it. I didn't know he had put TRUMP on it now. I could live in New York - it is a great place to be, so long as you have a bit of money. We stayed at The Chelsea, before they had improved it. Interesting...

      Delete
    2. Tom, the "gold" building is the one next door to Tiffany on Fifth Ave. Trump tore down the former Bonwit Teller shop to erect his tacky tower.

      I've known a few folks who lived in the Chelsea, back in the day. It's still in some sort of odd transformation these days. A friend lives down the street from it, so I get to keep tabs on the Chelsea facade.
      I cling to my rent-stabilized apartment, wondering when push will come to shove. Just wrote out the Nov rent check and my hand still shakes.

      Delete
    3. I remember Trump Tower to be just before you enter Central Park, the other side of Times Square?

      Delete
    4. Yes, on Fifth Avenue, just south of Tiffany's spot at the 57th St. corner. The Park starts its greenery at 59th Street, AKA Central Park South.

      Times Sq is to the west at 42nd Street. All the above within walking distance for folks who wear comfortable shoes.

      Delete
  9. That looks so calming... Calm being something I need with the U.S. election shenanigans! I have yet to visit Bath, but am hoping it won't be too long before I have that pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know when and I'll give you a personal tour.

      Delete
  10. Lucky you Tom - I have never seen an otter and i live in the depths of the country. Beautiful view in that shot by the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't remember seeing one before, either. I did once see a sea-lion in the same river - honest. It had escaped from Longleat! I took it for a walk for about 2 miles, like a doggie.

      Delete
  11. I could sit and watch the wildlife for hours. Much less the scenery in Bath. Hope I can visit one day. I never got out of London when visiting Britain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is so much to see in London. I've been going since I was a small child, and I haven't seen 1/50th of it. For instance, I have never been into the Tower of London - thanks to you foreign tourists! I almost worked there once, though.

      Delete
  12. What a splendid place to sit and have a drink...is it a restaurant or a pub?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A West Indian restaurant called Turtle Bay - it's a small chain.

      Delete
  13. I've just been looking at a photo of 6 dead Herons, all shot by some idiot French hunter who will no doubt end up in jail.

    Our Brighton home is BN1; I had never thought that it had any social significance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeovil - which is flipping miles away - has a postcode which is something like BA 28.

      The French are very casual with their shotguns.

      Delete