Bin, Bath. Stephen Riley, 2016
I don’t know why it took so long to get to Bath. I’ve been living in Somerset over a year now, and you’d think it’d be a priority, but we only made it this last weekend.
Getting there was an issue and, I think, subconsciously, that was partly responsible for the slowness in responding to the city’s many charms. It is well known to be a traffic and parking nightmare, whilst trains from Bruton seemed preposterously expensive for the distance, and that was if you were able to time your trip for the odd occasion there was a Bath train. So, anyway, we decided to go for the ‘park and ride’ option, planning to drop the car off at Odd Down car park and bus into town.
En route, we necessarily passed through Radstock. I don’t know what it is with that place, but we had three aggressive driver incidents in as many miles, before, whilst doing 60mph on a 60mph road with double white lines down the middle, being overtaken by some nutter doing perhaps 90 or 100mph in a red Focus ST.
We were very pleased with the park-and-ride scheme – it worked remarkably well. Buses were every 15 minutes, and the trip down the hill into Bath was quick and enjoyable, as was the trip back, later.
There were two main reasons for the visit: to take some architectural photographs to put on my professional photography website (I won’t be showing any of those here – this is a site with an altogether different ethos), and just to enjoy pottering around all those wonderful buildings and be immersed in all that history. It’s quite something to suddenly spot that you’re poking a camera at Thomas Gainsborough’s house. We did the usual stuff - the Circus, the Royal Crescent, Pultney Weir and the rest - and we enjoyed peeking into the many grey- and teal-painted shops, selling bohemian this or artisan that… Of mild amusement was a tattoo parlour with a tattoo removal clinic on the floor above.
This is my last photograph of the day, after I’d finished doing the proper photography. It is one of those bins for the use, specifically, of smokers; a place to stub out your fag before boarding the bus. To me it looks like a face of abjection; the ash-blackened paint, the upturned Munch-esque ‘face’ and the bent-up dog-end seem to speak of grimness and degradation of addiction.