Visiting the lido

We went for a picnic yesterday. We drove up the coast, not very far, to the nearby town of Portishead; you might have heard of it as the name of a band, but Portishead the town is as you might guess was a port. It’s on the Severn estuary, within sight of Bristol and people have lived in the area since earliest times, like places all along the coast round here. It became an important place in the nineteenth and twentieth century, nt just for shipping etc but also as the site of a power station and chemical works. All has long gone and it’s now a small town with a fabulous marina,and a pleasant place to visit… as we did yesterday. It also has a lido!

We parked down by the sea and wandered along the promenade and found a bench to sit on and eat our lunch. There were few people about, mostly strollers and ambles, and we sat looking across the Severn to Wales. Picnic eaten we walked along, and then down onto the beach and I managed to spot some fossils – my new interest in geology coming to the fore! We climbed the headland and looked at the Black Nore light, which had guided the might vessels along the channel for over a hundred year. Keeping in sight of the sea we wandered up through woodland and then looped back down towards the promenade and visited the lido.

Portishead Lido is wonderful; it was built in the 1960’s, fell into disrepair and then was magnificently brought back to life by local people and reopened with great success about ten years ago. We went into the cafe and sat outside so we could see the lido itself. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, but you can find out more about it here:

I guess the pool is about thirty or so metres long, has concrete diving baords at one end, is built from concrete – which sounds brutal but gaily painted so it looks sunny and inviting. There are curved terraces to sit or lie on, and from where you can gaze across the sea as you sun yourself. Even though we”re still in May and it was during the day there were lots of people swimming, and even more sun-bathing.

I was taken back to when I was a swimmer, and as a teenager spent all my summers at our local open air pool, Jesus Green which was a hundred yards long. We would lounge about, swim, gossip, mess about in the water, swim, make friends, chat each other up, enjoy the sun, wrap towels round us against the cold, swim… Yes, visiting Portishead lido brought back a lot of memories!

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