Easter.

Ah, Easter.

Hot Cross Buns, Easter Eggs.

When I was a kid we rated Easter lower than Christmas but higher than Whitsun (what is Whitsun).

One of the treats was the Easter Farm at either Jones’s or Lewis’s in Broadmead, Bristol. Bear in mind, us inner city kids never saw a farm, ducks or animals except at Sunday Lunchtime or with feathers, at Christmas when the Chicken would be hung in the Pantry before plucking.

We would usually go down with my Grandparents, queue up, pay our money and wander through a menagerie of farm animals meant to symbolise rebirth and generation. There was always an incubator with eggs in it and if you were lucky or waited long enough, you’d see a chick hatch. Though with us it had to be the former as my Nan would be gagging for a fag half way round which sped up the trip.

The finale was always a Donkey too young to earn it’s living on Weston Beach, it would bring our Easter excitement to a climax. Next the Chocolate!

Jones’s and Lewis’s were the two biggest and best stores in Bristol at the time and my Dad actually worked on the construction site. I like to think he mixed the cement that held up ‘Men’s Wear’.

We watched them rise up out of the ground from my Grans top floor
flat on Marlborough Hill, just next to the Convent. At the back were the Convent Gardens where the Nuns used to grow vegetables dressed in full nun uniform.

Looking out of her window across the ‘Bomb Site’ of which there were many in Bristol, past Bristol Wire Rope, Verichias ice cream parlour (if not Verichias one of the other Italian families making Ice Cream) and if memory serves right George’s Brewery where the dray Horses used to pull the carts loaded with beer, we could see these two Icons of Glamour.though for a while they were outdone by Fairfax House, a Coop store that had a very exciting non stop lift that was a magnet for kids from across Bristol. Rumour had it that the lifts turned up side down when they reached the top floor but we were too scared to try it out.

The other thing they had was a roof garden, often with a Cafe, and we would go up there and see the City from on high (probably only 6/7 floors but at the time that was big).

At Christmas we used to get very excited when Lewis’s would put up their illuminations on the side of the building. We really knew it was Christmas then.

Now Easter is a break from School, it’s a holiday where you hope for a few dry days. Rejuvenated by the display of dwarf Daffodils on Rabbit roundabout, Bradley Stoke, we start believing Summer is on it’s way.

B&Q sell out of lawn mowers, garden furniture and Charcoal as we all plan those long hot summer days spent in the garden.

Think of us this Easter.

The Campsites will be full of Spanish families.

That means hundreds of noisy kids
Barking dogs.
No lane swimming in the pool.
No space in the restaurant.
No English Football on TV.
No quiet beaches.
No quiet evenings sat outside the van.
No hot water in the shower
No bread left
Toilet seats with wet patches

Yep, Easter will be tough for us travellers.

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