It was more than ten years since I had been to Bristol and on a return weekend visit I was amazed to find how much the city has changed. The harbour (relatively empty last time I saw it, except for the Watershed and Arnolfini) is now a fully regenerated tourist attraction with museums, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and expensive-looking apartment buildings. The city centre is a maze of shopping malls (or 'quarters') and I got lost in a throng of recession-proof Saturday shoppers while trying to navigate my way across town to the fabric stall at St. Nicholas Market.
My phone's GPS map happily led me away from the crowds and through silent back streets. I whiled away an hour exploring lanes lined with empty factory buildings and stumbled upon this magnificent soviet-style building at the site of the old Telephone Exchange round the corner from St. Nicholas Market. Unfortunately Avon Textiles fabric stall was closed – a sign told me the owners were on holiday in New York.