Times article on DWJ/Conrad's Fate

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Mar 14 14:59:54 EST 2005

I waxed slightly indignant:

>>Fuzzy?  The Severn Estuary was four miles away from Bristol, last time I
>>bicycled out there.  It is also completely invisible from any road near
>>DWJ's house, because there is rather a lot of hill in the way.

Elise noted:

>I would never have noticed any of this but for everyone discussing it, but
>the author does note in the opening line that the taxi got lost and they
>were wandering around.  Getting lost trying to find DWJ seems very in
>keeping to me --  got to look for her house only out of the corner of your
>eye or you'll end up at the Severn estuary, apparently.

Good thought!

It says they were "on the slopes of Clifton in Bristol," which I bet they
weren't, I bet they were in Hotwells really, but that's a mere quibble.
There really is nowhere in Clifton from which one can see the Severn

Truth to tell, only very rarely can a taxi find DWJ's road, for the very
simple reason that there *isn't* a road; her house backs onto a mews at the
end of a road that has a different name from the row of houses she lives
in.  All there is in front of her house is a footpath, along which children
walk to school, and beyond that a steeply-sloping patch of grass and trees
called "the green" (not marked on maps as such) -- and no road above that
either, just the private communal gardens behind the terrace further up the

Bristol has bits like that, quite free of traffic.  One of the blocks I
know has houses on all four sides, but their back gardens don't meet in the
middle; instead there is a small farm, which can only be reached down what
I'd call a snicket, or a ten-foot, a little muddy unadopted road barely
wide enough for a car.  I only ever found out it was there because they
have dalmatians, and advertised pups for sale at a time I was looking for
one.  And right in the middle of thriving Clifton there's not only a small
reservoir hidden in the middle of a block, there's also a tudor house in
another block which when we very nearly bought it twenty-five years ago had
no access wider than a footpath, and no mains services except water!  About
a mile from the city centre, that one.  I still feel slightly wistful about
it, except when I think about taking out the dustbins or taking in such
items as a 56-lb bag of potatoes.  :-)


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