I couldn’t afford to go away for a holiday this year, but I took a week off work and went out and about as a local tourist. Have bus ticket, will travel…
I started on Thursday 10th September with a trip to Whittington on the number 70 bus. A beautiful morning. I wandered around Whittington Castle and sat in the sun with a coffee, enjoying the sunshine and watching the ducks and swans.
Then I went on to Oswestry. I didn’t stay there long: wandered around the town centre, bought some food and picnicked at the bus station while waiting for the bus back home. Another lovely ride.
The next day I was back on the number 70 again, this time just as far as the Three Pigeons at Nesscliffe. A pleasant early-morning ramble up and around the hill. I saw Kynaston’s Cave — once the haunt of a notorious local highwayman. It is not open to the public because it is home to a large colony of bats.
The colours of the sandstone on Nesscliffe were wonderful. I was a little disappointed that the morning mist did not lift enough to give me much of a view from the top of the hill, but it was lovely to walk through the peaceful woods.
Saturday was a Heritage Open Day. I caught the 96 bus to Atcham to meet up with Natasha another member of the Shropshire Community group on Flickr, and to visit the National Trust property Attingham Park which was one of the places offering free entry for the day. We were given a short tour of the interior by one of the conservators, who was most interesting and amusing. As well as giving us the history of the house and its furnishings, she looked at things with the eye of one who has to clean them and protect them from deterioration. (The large, new, wine-red carpet in the picture gallery came in for particular criticism. I can imagine how much work it is to keep it immaculate – that colour will show every mark.) After our tour, we took a walk through the shrubbery and woodland around the central paddock, and then went into the kitchen garden and the walled garden. Cameras came out, butterflies and other insects got chased and flowers and vegetables photographed.
A sweet song coming from deep inside a sculpture made of razor-wire turned out to be this little robin. It was not trapped, just using the wire as a place to sit and sing.
Sunday was a stay-at-home day, catching up on chores. I’ve already recounted Monday’s adventure in my last post.
Tuesday looked like it would be another grey, cool day, but by the time I had taken a bus to Shawbury and walked past the RAF station to Moreton Corbet Castle, the air was warm and there was a long fine interval, ideal weather for photographing the ruins. I visited the old church next to the castle and also had fun trying to photograph the pigs and piglets belonging to the Castle Farm. By the time I’d walked back to Shawbury, I’d had the best of the day.
Wednesday was another stay-at-home day, but Thursday was the major outing of the week, a day trip to Lichfield in Staffordshire, by coach, organised by the Friends of Shrewsbury Borough Museums.
We started at Dr Samuel Johnson’s birthplace, on the eve of his 300th anniversary. The birthplace was full of ladies arranging flowers for the celebrations. After a quick look around there (I’m not very interested in Johnson), I went to Lichfield Cathedral. A wonderful place. Dedicated to St Chad, an early bishop of Mercia, it has three fine tall spires and an amazing wealth of high-Victorian sculpture decorating the medieval building. The West Front is packed with figures. Inside it is equally fine, with a cast-iron rood screen, all painted and gilded and decorated with musical angels. The Victorian restoration of the cathedral was done by Giles Gilbert Scott. It’s a sight worth seeing and for all the ornamentation and decoration, it excudes calm and peace and rest.
The East Window has been removed for restoration, and stonemasons are busy repairing the structure. This made the inside a little too dark for hand-held photography, but the outside was a treat! I must go back sometime when the tarpaulins are off and the window has been replaced in the repaired tracery.
After an pleasant lunch in a little restaurant adjacent to the cathedral, it was time to visit Erasmus Darwin’s house. The house is nicely restored, and gives a good idea of the character and interests of Charles Darwin’s grandfather. This interested me very much. A fascinating man, and obviously a great influence on Charles. In the close in front of the house there is a beautiful garden, a mixture of herbs and flowers and medicinal plants, full of colour and interest. More food for the camera! A fine day out and a fine end to my holiday.