Sighing is not just a sign of frustration or boredom. No matter your mood the human body, on average, sighs up to 12 times an hour. Some American scientists have decided that we and other mammals sigh to reset our breathing. To re-inflate any collapsed alveoli and keep our breathing pattern efficient. Which sounds like it’s pretty useful. But what they haven’t figured out is why we sigh more when we are depressed, anxious or exasperated.
I’ve been sighing a lot lately. I don’t think it’s because my breathing has needed resetting more frequently than is usual for a human. A sense of apathy seems to make me sigh. I’m pretty sure I feel a passionate hate toward people who tell me to think happy thoughts when I am looking sad. But there is some method to that madness. I’m going to look for a silver lining in my life.
I live in Bristol, which has just been crowned the best place to live in the UK by The Sunday Times. They even went so far as to boldly say
“The city is a worthy winner thanks to its ideal combination of extraordinary culture, impressive schools, buzzing culinary scene, exciting redevelopment and community spirit,”
and apparently it’s heralded as being as exciting as London whilst also providing a much higher quality of life. Which is all very nice but it’s pretty vague. So here’s a list of reasons I could think of for why I love Bristol and why I choose to live here.
- The wonderfully fantastic tv series that educates us and amazes us, Planet Earth, is made by a Bristol based production company. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this programme was one of those that appealed to all cross sections of British society. It was the hot topic in workplaces every week after airing. The amount of talk about the lizard escaping those snakes was insane. I felt like the whole country was talking about it. People who hate school, hate learning, don’t care about wildlife were tuning in weekly to watch Planet Earth 2. If you think you’ve seen all those animals and footage of them before, I can guarantee you haven’t seen it like this before. Even better news, they made Blue Planet too and are making Blue Planet 2.
2. Not only is Bristol the world’s largest producer of hot air balloons but the city hosts Europe’s largest hot air balloon festival annually. I watch hundreds of them float through the air from my kitchen window every year and like a child I still get excited every time I see them. I make a point of watching the nightglow event every year as well. It’s spectacular to watch those balloons light up in time to the music and follow it up with a fireworks display.
3. It’s the home of Aardman Animations and their charitable treasure hunts. Heard of Wallace & Gromit? What about Shaun The Sheep? Or Morph? Those lovely plasticine creations are made in Bristol. Even better than that, it means that Bristol is home to the charity fund raising city hunts in collaboration with Aardman Animations. To raise money for a local children’s hospital dozens of Gromit statues were made, painted by celebrities or local figures and dotted around the city for people to find. There was an explorers map and app to help you out and locals and tourists abound had a lot of fun. Afterwards the Gromits were auctioned off and proceeds donated to the hospital. It was based on a gorilla hunt that the zoo had done a few years prior and it was so successful they did it again with Shaun the Sheep. I’m hoping for a Morph hunt myself.
4. Do you like pirates? Me too! (If you just said no, stuffs about to get a bit bland for you) Know who Edward Teach is? (If you just said yes, congratulations on being a true pirate fanatic) Maybe you know him better by the name Blackbeard? Yep, that’s right Blackbeard is from Bristol. It’s clear I’m in the right city to follow my dreams of becoming a notorious and wealthy pirate captain.
4.5 (Honourable mention) Ribena was invented in Bristol.
5. When you’re feeling a little numb and depressed like me, you want to head right on over. Bristol is the home of the Clifton suspension bridge…. oooh exciting. Well it is actually. Because the Clifton suspension bridge was the location of the first ever bungee jump. The adrenaline sport (?) was started on a rather boring looking bridge. Sorry any bridge fanatics out there but although I’d recognise it anywhere it’s a pretty boring looking bridge.
6. Every city has a museum, lots of cities even have good museums. But how many cities have a museum with a human skin bound book? Yeah that’s pretty creepy but it’s part of what makes Bristol interesting. It’s got a weird and dark history, like it’s economy booming thanks to slave trade way back when. But instead of brushing it under the carpet and pretending it never happened (which would be pretty insulting to those wronged by the trade) Bristol acknowledges it and aims to be a diverse and inclusive city of the modern world. There are churches, synagogues, mosques and mandirs abound. Every kind of gay bar you can imagine with their flags proudly flying outside (I find the bear one funny, I like the paw print). I’m yet to go to the gay pride festival and check it out but I hear good things.
7. The art! Bristol’s accepting heart isn’t just for the people and their religions. It opens itself up to all kinds of art. It’s home to Banksy, the well known satirical graffiti artist and his Dismaland installation was genius but that’s not all. Every year Bristol holds a little festival called Upfest. It’s Europe’s largest street art festival. 35,000 people descend on Bristol to watch some of the best graffiti artists in the world redecorate parts of the city and get creative themselves. The result is a vibrant and uniquely decorated city
I feel a little bit like I’m trying to convince you to move here or take a holiday here. I don’t think I am. Though I’m sure the extra little boost in tourism could do the city no harm. But my goal has been to remember something good about my life. I think we can say I’ve achieved that.
Now that I’ve told you all about my home why don’t you tell me a bit about yours? There are about 4,416 cities in the world which leaves a lot of cities for me to learn about. And not all of us live in cities. Sometimes those quiet little villages are better than any city. Tell me about why you love your home, and if you don’t (why are you living there?) tell me about somewhere you do love.
<— I think my art project for tomorrow will be to create an Upfest inspired signature.