Monday, 22 July 2013

Gromit hunting

I don't know about you, but in the South West of England we have been sweltering for two weeks.  I've almost forgotten what green grass looks like and I'm beginning to worry about my little apple tree in the garden.  On Saturday the temperature dropped a little so we decided to do some more Gromit hunting around Bristol.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, there is an art trail of Gromit--of Wallace and Gromit fame--sculptures scattered around Bristol which is intended to raise funds for Bristol Children's Hospital.  The whole enterprise is called Gromit Unleashed.  Two years ago we had Wow! Gorillas! to help raise money for gorillas in the wild.  Perhaps Gromit is more personable than a gorilla, because I don't remember the city going absolutely crazy back then... We've actually had to queue up to take photographs of a Gromit!!  It's so nice to see everyone walking around, maps (or apps) in hand, looking for their next Gromit and helping each other, especially in this super-sunny weather.

Our first stop was Gromberry, the furthest flung Gromit on the Harbourside Trail.  (The official map handily marks out trails of varying length, so you can either devise your own route, stumble across one by happy accident, or stride purposefully around town crossing them all off in an efficient manner.)

Gromberry was pretty fun.  I think the Monster liked him a lot, judging from the huge cuddle he got.  After we'd all posed for pictures, we took a quick walk along the Floating Harbour and enjoyed the cool breeze and the yachts zooming around on the water.

We then quickly stopped in at the Riverside Garden Centre and met Creature Comforts Gromit.

Next up was the Gromit at Bristol Airport: British Bulldog.  I think this is one of the cleverest designs I've seen so far.  I love the clouds and blue sky on his legs!  My little plane-spotting Monster tells me that the plane is a Swordfish biplane, as used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during the war.  He wasn't quite sure which war, but Wikipedia tells me that it was WWII.

Since we were out by the airport, we stopped in at Lye Cross Farm to find the Gromit there (Secret Garden).  It turned out that they were having an Open Day with butter-making demonstrations, tractor rides for kids, and a gorgeous mechanical pipe organ.  I've never been to their farm shop before (and I probably wouldn't have heard of it without Gromit Unleashed) but it was really nice.  As Lye Cross is a working dairy farm, they sold their own milk, butter and cheese.  Naturally I had to sample some, so we picked up a wedge of Double Gloucester...and some bread. And plum chutney.  And cider.  And Welshcakes.  Sometimes healthy eating just has to go out the window! 

After that we zoomed through some back roads--I swear Dave is part pigeon. I have no idea how he navigates around so easily--and ended up at Tyntesfield.  We love Tyntesfield.  Not only is it one of the prettiest National Trust properties around, with amazing tulip displays, but it was also used to film the Eleventh Doctor Who episode 'Hide'.  (And if you're feeling extra-geeky, if also bears a striking resemblance to stately Wayne Manor.)

We didn't have time or energy to stroll around the gardens, so we stopped for a lovely cream tea in the Cow Shed Cafe and then went out into the courtyard to find their Gromit: Oops a Daisy.  This was my favourite Gromit of the day--covered in Astroturf, dotted with daisies and just downright cute and cuddly.  It was designed by Diarmiud Gavin. I used to love watching him on Home Front with Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen, he designed such beautiful gardens.

All in all, a lovely afternoon of Gromit hunting.  We've now got 35/80 and I'm pretty optimistic about finding them all before the auction in September!


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