Dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.

Well here it is, my new – if not my first ever – blog. I’ve pondered starting a new blog for some time but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to blog about. In the past I’ve just rambled on about whatever happens to be rattling around in my head at the time and I guess that’s where I’ll start now. 

As my moniker suggests, I’m a Bristolian so it makes sense to my to kick off with something local. Bristol’s favourite pooch.

For those that don’t know, for 10 weeks this summer 79 Gromit sculptures were scattered in and around Bristol, with an 80th at Paddington Station. The aim: to raise money for the expansion of Bristol Children’s Hospital. And Bristol went Gromit crazy!

What started off as a quick “what’s all the fuss about” nose at Roger as my daughter and I returned some books to Staple Hill library soon turned into a mission of epic proportions.  We planned, plotted on the map, clicked on the app and photographed for posterity from Cheddar to Westonbirt and all the bits in between. We Gromit hunted in soaring temperatures and torrential rain.  We signed Carosello’s get well soon card and wondered why anyone would want to spoil the fun.  My son went to visit Roger with his nursery pals. I’ve lived in Bristol all my life and visited parts I had never seen before.  We covered the Habourside sculptures on my daughter’s birthday and then detoured back to say hello to her favourite – Bunty – on the way home.  In fact as far as she is concerned, St Mary Redcliffe isn’t a pretty epic church, tallest building in Bristol, etc. It’s Bunty’s Place.  And then when we had run out of sculptures to find in Bristol and the surrounding areas, my children proudly took their beanie Gromits to London to meet the classic Gromit there. My daughter even quite literally wore the t-shirt: “I completed the Gromit Unleashed trail”. And because even that wasn’t enough, we queued for five hours to see the exhibition (and the extra Gromit). It didn’t feel a minute over an hour, so fantastic was the atmosphere in the crowd.  My five year old daughter can recall most of the sculptures’ names and locations without a moments hesitation. Last night we picked Daddy up from work at Lawrence Hill. “Lodeka was there!” she announced. She is devastated that they are no longer in the spots she has become accustomed to seeing them at. And when my 20 month old son cheerfully waves at the local news reports on the trail and shouts “Allo Git”, I am assuming this is a greeting to Wallace’s four legged chum.  We even apprehended that dastardly villain Feathers when he chose my place of work as his hideout. 

Tonight I was honoured to be a volunteer at the Gromit Unleashed auction, when the dogs were finally be sold to raise an estimated £1 million towards the expansion target of £3.5 million.  In the event they totally eclipsed that at nearly £2.4 million on the night!  Despite my daughter’s plea, sadly I didn’t bid on a Gromit for our garden (we’ll have to settle for a figurine if I can ever get my hands on one) but it was a fantastic opportunity to be a part of such a massive event.

Goodbye Gromit and thank you for a wonderful summer.