#GromitUnleashed or how to split the journey home

Well, return home day arrives and like the journey down we decide to split the journey, as some fellow tweeters are meeting for the #Bristoltweetup and a Gromit hunt. Now if your response to that is what is a Gromit? In this case it is the plasticine dog sidekick of Wallace from Aardman animations led by Nick Park. A popular duo in our house and my Wallace and Gromit tie always gets a positive response in class. The #Gromitunleashed trail is a fund raiser for children’s hospitals in Bristol and conveniently on route from Devon to Essex.

We left Bideford just before 9 and after Barnstaple the A361 and M5 were both very busy with holiday traffic in both directions. We were aiming for a 12 noon meet up at the Anolfini Art Centre in the docks area of Bristol. We were in Bristol earlier but then had fun with the city centre which included extra driving, but we got to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge to.

By 12 we were parked, had seen 3 Gromits already and met the others outside the centre. The intention was to use the Gromit app I had purchased to use on my phone (android) and iPad (apple) as both cost 69p which went to the charity fund.

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The most amusing bit had been when I set off the app in various shops, streets and cafes in Devon and triggered the Wallace and Gromit theme tune. I had looked at several of the Gromit designs beforehand but had rejected planning a route prior to the day and decided not to find the gromits in Cheddar Gorge and other locations on route.

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The Find a Gromit option uses GPS to plot the Gromits on maps and as you approached the location the distance was given and when you saw it you could click on “Found you” and a tally of your finds was revealed. Great help but it used battery time up and was one of the factors stopping our hunt when we did.

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I was impressed that the Gromits were close to each other in the case of the ones we found, although some were outside and others in buildings. I am going to present each that we found with some information about its location or finding. If you want to know more about the individual Gromits buy your own copy of the app. After all this is for charity.

Our first was The King – easy to spot as there was a crowd with several holding paper copies of the map and people taking pictures of Gromit and/or members of their group or family. It became an issue sometimes to get a picture when other people’s children were not in the picture.

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Just behind and to the left of The King was Carosello, a much more colourful design.

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One regret was not spending enough time reading about each design in situ before rushing off to find another.

Across the water/ canal was another – some observation here to find the nearest bridge. What a Wind Up! with a design by Trevor Baylis CBE, he of wind up radio fame.

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Back to meet the others, we crossed the canal and made our way to Anolfini via Bark at Ee apparently including aspects of Bristol slang.

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Onwards, on the quay outside the centre was Zodiac, the name and picture say it all.

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Inside the centre was Hound Dog a second reference to Mr Presley.

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Cookies and coffee and a bit of tweeter chat then off out into impending rain as forecast? No, it drizzled but no more than that. We crossed the footbridge into the developed area of the docks- retail, attractions, public square with big screen and water features and new flats. A cluster of Gromits but some thought needed as several were inside buildings.

We started with Fish Tales at the Bristol Aquarium.

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Around the corner to the road to discover the patriotic Jack.

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Back into another building this time @Bristol for Steam Dog. Another place to explore on a future trip.

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Out into the public space to find Wallace and Gromit playing on the big screen and a reflective globe.

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Almost missed out Astro – apologies Astro.

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Then we are off to Gromit-O-Matic based on the idea of blueprints and the local industrial heritage which is all about you.

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A paws for Knilly lunch and then off again heading for the library. No sign of Gromit outside so we went in and a poster directed us to the children’s library and The Gromalo.

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A range of public buildings of different ages now, there should be two Gromits here – the first Poetry in Motion (note wheels) was not where the app mapped him but found anyway.

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There should be another here – at first we took the wrong turning then we saw lots of maps clutched by families emerging from the Marriott Hotel. In we went to find Where’s Wallace?

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We were now faced with a walk uphill and a choice of directions we took a side road to find cars, bikes and pedestrians converging on St. George’s where a child was posing in a dress up knight outfit next to Sir Gromit of Bristol – a noble idea.

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More hill and we head for the museum that contains two Gromits. In the entrance is Tutangromit I a clear link to the Egyptian galleries inside.

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In the main entrance hall under a fabulous aeroplane and another promise to return to Bristol,

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stands Newshound by Nick Park CBE himself, not only do we get Gromit but Wallace to.

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Young Knill is tiring but agrees to three that are nearby before we head backdown to the car park. Around the corner and a clear group in front of a wooden surround. It’s Vincent Van Gromit with mirrors to help you see the decoration on his blue jacket.

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Inside the Arts Academy we find Bushed (topiary inspiration!) and explain the two bemused ladies waiting to go in why we are all rushing around Bristol.

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Last one (up here I neglect to add) is Golden Gromit – in the app Julie Vernon cites a number of inspirations.

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OK back to the car and journey home…

We descend back towards the harbour, for regular readers who know about my interest in Solo Taxonomy, Mrs K spots a road marking- failing battery, phone back on another pic.

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Further on another Bristol draw – a Banksy, phone on again…

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Ooh look just a couple of extras …I seem to have got away with it. Salty Sea Dog not escorted by the Pirate Tours we had seen earlier with their hearse.

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Then Hero who is in front of a great painting of the dynamic duo to.

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One more I promise … Butterfly in the foyer of the Old Vic, but to get there we have to circle the hoarding for the Al Fresco theatre outside where a performance is in full flow.

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and that’s it … Back to the car, quick map perusal and we’re off. The rain arrived as we drove but a good 2.5 hour stint back to Essex. Unpack the car and ressssssttttttttttt.

Yes I would love to go back – a great activity for families and all ages. Friends from the Tweetup posted their pics my favourite has to be one who will remain nameless doing. Their Gromit impression.

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All feedback welcomed.

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