Goodbye Portland Square

"Telephone box" by shrinkin'violet via Flickr Creative Commons

“Telephone box” by shrinkin’violet via Flickr Creative Commons

We’re moving offices at work this week, which is why it’s been a bit quiet here on the blog. It’s going to be a weird experience.

‘Why?’ you may ask, ‘people move around all the time.’

Normally, yes. But I’ve worked in this building for 13 years… that’s longer than I’ve lived in my house, longer than I’ve been married, in fact I started working at this place only a few months after I met my husband and graduated from university! I’ve grown from an uncertain girl, barely out of her teens, trying to get her post-college life into some sort of order into an almost mid-thirties adult with the house, husband, kids and a few promotions under my belt. And I’ve always had the same workday surroundings. It’s been a kind of anchor for me when everything else has been changing.

But today is my last day here, before we move to a new, identikit office block in the business district, where everything is chrome and glass. Despite the quirks of this old place, I’m really going to miss it. Here are a few reasons why.

1) Commuter convenience

First 42964

I know it’s not the most glamorous reason, but being able to hop on the bus barely 5 minutes walk from the office door and be home in less than an hour makes a big impact over time.

2) Beautiful vintage architecture

On the walk to the office, I pass through two squares of Georgian townhouses, a couple of temple type buildings and a church nicknamed “The Wedding Cake Church” because it’ tiered design resembles a wedding cake.St Paul's Church Beyond the visual beauty each day seeing these buildings – they even make cold rainy days a bit more cheerful – I sometimes like to imagine what the squares would have been like in their heyday. Who lived in the converted office buildings back when they were houses? What was it like when horses and carriages used to drive round the squares instead of cars? I wonder if they ever wondered about who would be using the square 200 years on?

3) Vicarious fame and celebrity

P1090725 Being in an area with lots of period buildings and close to some of the main BBC filming units (previously Bristol, now Cardiff) means I’ve been lucky enough to spot lots of TV shows being filmed in the area over the years. From Holby City to Dr Who. It was pretty surreal but cool to settle down to the 2012 Dr Who Christmas Special and see not just my building but the window I used to spend inordinate amounts of time staring out of when I was trying to find inspiration to write an article for one of our magazines!

4) The best chocolate brownies in Bristol

The Pear Cafe on the corner of Brunswick Square is probably the closest place to get food from my desk, and one of the best! Pear Cafe

They got me out of so many scrapes during my thankfully brief but ill fated 6 weeks as a PA, where people would come in for meetings and then decide they wanted lunch, leaving me to rush out and sort catering, for any number of special diets, at a moment’s notice. And Pear were the one place I knew would have something to suit them all! Not to mention the amazing brownies. Seriously, if you haven’t tried them, they are worth a special side trip if you visit Bristol.

5) The memories

As you’d expect, there are a few fantastic memories associated with the old office. Like getting my first break out of admin into publishing. Or Publications: The Musical – an imaginary production invented by our team, which would, we assured ourselves have an amended version of David Bowie’s Heroes as the main theme tune.

Luckily, everyone is moving to the new office with me. But with nearly all the staff in one open plan floor, I’m not sure whether we’ll get away with crazy moments like that again!

But, as they say, everything ch-ch-ch ch changes (oops another Bowie alert there!) So goodbye Portland Square, I’ll miss you!

I wonder if I’ll be writing a similar post about the new office in 13 years time?



I love all things fantasy, from fiction to films to games. Mostly books though. I also love cooking and plus size fashion. Find recommendations for great fantasy reads and general fangirling here! If you want to get in touch with me, the quickest way is by Twitter @dorristheloris

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