Turner Tour

Note: I’ve tried to insert all the photos I’d planned to in this blog, but the Internet’s not behaving, so you’ve only got some. I’ll try and update them later.

I’ve had EOS on charging for most of last evening and all of last night (it’s now 7.00am) and the keyboard battery has only been charged to 42% and the main battery 81%. If it had been charged of the main power adapter it would have been charged about ten times over. I need to find a power adapter.

Now I’ve got to try and remember everything that happened yesterday.

My day started with me trying to have a shower. I would have had one earlier, but I didn’t want to risk waking Pen. When I did finally have it, it wasn’t that successful.

Firstly I don’t know what happened to the water, as when I first got in it was a lovely temperature. Then it went cold. Too cold to stand underneath. (I’m not a masochist.) I turned it off and considered asking Pen for advice, but thought I’d try again first.

Warm water. *Ah. Nice.*

The water went cold again. (A bit like the WiFi. It doesn’t seem to always want to talk to my computer and cuts out too.)

I decided to brave it.

I had bought some body wash in New Zealand and put it into a pump action squirty bottle. I couldn’t get the pump to charge, so I ended up by opening the bottle and pour some of the contents onto my hand.

My shampoo and conditioner had been kindly given to me by my hairdresser. They were samples of a line that had been discontinued. Great, because I didn’t have to pay money for them. Not so good because they were in sachets and have you ever tried to open a sachet with wet hands? I ended up by managing to squeeze a little bit of the shampoo out, enough to wash my hair, and didn’t even attempt to try to open the conditioner.

Breakfast was three Weetabix (they’re smaller than Weetbix) and two slices of toast and butter. First stop in Wem was to a shop that sold local produce for a bottle of whole strawberry jam. £4.50 I think it was. Pen bought some Tiffen for us to eat. Tiffen is roughly digestive biscuits with chocolate. I don’t worry about asking people what stuff is as they just hear my accent and assume that I am an h-ignorant Kiwi. (Or an ignorant Aussie! One sure way of getting a dirty look.)

Actually that was the second stop. First stop was to the Barclay’s bank ATM to get some money out. Yay! It worked! I managed to withdraw £50.

The internet’s slow. I wonder if that’s because I’m trying to upload 148 pictures from yesterday. They aren’t huge, I’ve made their resolution smaller. How many photos did I take over the last three days? 1110. Divide that by two because there are two copies of each and we’ve got 550. A lot of those are bracketed in lots of three for different exposures and that means I’ve taken roughly 200 odd.

Not bad going for over 24 hours in the aisle seat of an aeroplane and one day’s sightseeing. And I’ve got the time wrong in my camera, so I must change that this morning.

Back to yesterday’s Tiki, sorry, Turner touring.

We went to Clive. That’s not a “he” Clive but a “blink and you’ll miss it” Clive. A little village that’s notable for a not too steep climb that leads out to magnificent views over Shropshire. (I hope I can insert some photos there.) I’ll have to ask Pen for the name of the hill.

Nope, I found a photo. “Grinshill Hill”




It did have wonderful views and we were very lucky that the weather was so clear. We even saw a buzzard family of three flying and I was lucky enough that I was able to get some reasonable photos of them. I was less lucky with the photos of a kestrel being pestered by a mob of jackdaws.

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On the way back down we passed a couple blackberrying and helped them eat what they’d found.

We checked out their little church. I’ve got to say that while I don’t have a lot of time for the religion, I do like old church architecture. I’m not sure how old All Saints Church was, but it was old school. No one was on duty, but you were trusted to turn on (and off) the church light yourself (once you found the switch), the things for a cup of tea were laid out in the expectation that you would be honest and give a reasonable donation for it (we didn’t have a cuppa), and I couldn’t get the door open to leave so they’d locked us in.

Not really. It was an old lock.

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The graveyard completely surrounds the church and one grave was marked out because of the error in the inscription. Can you spot it?


For the older bikie.

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Spot the mistake.

Our next stop was the Longden-Upon-Tern aquaduct. I’ll let Wikipedia explain about it. It’s quicker.
The village is particularly notable as the location of the world’s first large-scale cast iron navigable aqueduct (52°44′13″N 2°34′04″W, grid reference SJ617156). Designed by Thomas Telford, the aqueduct opened in 1797 as part of the Shrewsbury Canal.[9] Telford built the 57 m (187 ft)[9] cast iron aqueduct in replacement of a stone aqueduct that was originally built by Josiah Clowes, this was swept away by floods in 1795.[9] Although the canal was abandoned in 1944 due to the increase in rail networks,[9] the aqueduct remains and is Grade I listed and a scheduled ancient monument, situated in fields astride the River Tern. The monument is signposted and visible from the road. Clearly marked footpaths lead directly to the monument, from a small roadside car park. Telford went on to build the very much larger Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, now a World Heritage Site.

So now you know.

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We had a wander around, having negotiated the gate and an electric fence. Seth had to endure the indignity of being lifted over the fence, but he was very good about it. There were a lot of stinging nettles about and between them and the cow pats it made stepping out a dangerous exercise.


It’s a little odd seeing this object that’s supposed to carry water in the middle of a field, but it will give a good idea of how tomorrow’s adventure was made… If not how to pronounce it.

After a stop off to see the archery field where Pen practises, it was on to Attingham. Pen volunteers here on Sundays as a visitor welcome volunteer, “Basically I tell people where the toilets are,” so she knew all the ins and outs. We started off with a hot chocolate which had a great dollop of whipped cream on top of plenty of little marshmallows.

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Once we’d refuelled Pen took Seth for a walk and I went through Attingham house, which is a mansion – an 18th century Palladian mansion to be exact. Some of the rooms were huge! (It must have been murder to keep warm. And pity the poor servants at the back of the house.)


I had to ask why there was a lathe in the servants’ dining room. Apparently the third Lord or something was a bit of an inventor.


Servants’ dining room


I walked in and was met by one of the many, knowledgeable volunteers who suggested that I leave my bag in one of the lockers. “You follow this map, go down those stairs, put your bag in a locker and take the key, and then come back up the stairs to see the upstairs of the house.”

Not a problem.

I went down, offloaded my bag and started having a look around “downstairs”, having been given another map by another helpful volunteer. The rows of shiny copper was very impressive! Apparently the footmen had to polish them (or was it the tons of silver?) using ammonia and jewellers something-or-other that didn’t sound like a polish. This caused their hands to come out in blisters which broke and then hardened, which is why they always wore gloves upstairs, so that the gentry didn’t have to see their horrible skin.

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There was a school party on site and they were learning about what it was like to be a servant, which would have been a shock to them. No dishwashers or microwaves in those days! The Attingham staff had put a mouse in each room for the kids to find and I found two of them… But no children/servants.

Once I’d had a look around downstairs I wanted to head upstairs, but the stairs that I’d descended had a sign at the bottom saying no exit. So I went through to the downstairs exit and was told by the man on duty that the way upstairs was the way I’d come. He was a very nice man and gave me a “I’ve found all the mice” stickers. Even though at that point I’d only found the two.


So I went back through the servant’s area, spoke to yet another volunteer, and she confirmed that I did have to take the stairs. “Ignore the no exit sign.”

So I did.

But I didn’t find any more mice.

Upstairs was a whole different world to downstairs. Huge, lavish rooms. The first of which had a Collard and Collard piano and big mirrors on every wall. The volunteer proudly told me that only one of the mirrors, which were all original from a couple of centuries ago (I can’t remember which one) were still complete. Only one was showing signs of desilvering.


See! I was there!

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Over its life Attingham was the home of the various Lord and Lady Berwicks, (Forget the W when saying the name) and was also used as on adult education college. The last Lord Berwick gave it to the National Trust and it’s one of the most popular properties on their books. Largely because the locals actually come to see it.


Subtle way of ensuring no one sits on fragile furniture.


The top left corner is a different colour to show how dingy it was before restoration.

The main dining room was very dark and was only lit by LED “candles” which were very effective as they flickered. The reason why it was dark was twofold. Firstly the conservators had been very concerned that the carpet was fading in the sunlight through the windows. Secondly, when the Berwick family had their meals, it would have been dark anyway. Therefore the room had been decorated so that the details were highly contrasted and stood out.

Thanks to the volunteer who gave me that info.

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Note the highly contrasted ceiling so it can be seen in the dark.

The most amazing room was the one that was in the process of restoration. The picture gallery has a glass ceiling. When it was installed in 1806 by John Nash (who went on to design Buckingham Palace) the cast iron and glass technique was in its infancy and it started leaking almost immediately. After over two hundred years it was decided to do something about it, so another glass roof was installed over the top of that one, so the old one retained its integrity and so did the room.

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I was looking around for about two hours and then I had to find Pen and Seth. I asked a couple of people where the Oval Lawn was, including the man with the mice stickers. “Ah. Would you be the New Zealand woman with the big camera?” says his companion.

“I would have thought you were Australian,” says mouse man.

Time for a dirty look.


Looks more like a seat from the 1960s, doesn’t it? It’s an earlier century.


The last Lady Berwick…


… wearing this dress.


Lord of all you survey – at least that’s the illusion the landscaper left you.

But Pen and Seth were just outside and it was time for lunch. Which ended up as an early afternoon tea.

We went to “Lady Berwick’s” for lunch. Which made me feel very underdressed. We both had:
“The Orangery Cream Tea £7.25
Four dainty plain scones, St Clement’s curd, and clotted cream.
Served with any pot of loose leaf tea from our selection.”

I had Jasmine tea.


Kally found it delicious, but a little bit much for a small bear


Pen had hoped to take me for the full walk through the grounds, but had to go to a shop in town, so we were running out of time. (Seth was getting tired anyway), so we only had a quick look around outside.



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Pen had designed herself a T-Shirt and she wanted to pick that up before the weekend so I sat  in the car with a stressed-out-because-mum-had-gone Seth and noticed a pear tree that was all pears and no tree.


We returned to Pen’s before heading out again in her Morris Minor Tourer “Philip”. This time it to the local branch of the Morris Minors Club. They were meeting for a meal at Ironbridge. Pen wasn’t 100% sure where the carpark was that we were supposed to meet was, but we spotted a row of “Moggies” as they’re called over here. I was warmly greeted as Pen’s New Zealand visitor and one of the guys said that his son actually lives in Whakatane. One of the others had been to Coromandel, so I had to check if it was the Peninsula or the town. Tourism Coromandel have a lot to answer for.

The original plan was to walk over Ironbridge’s iron bridge, but there wasn’t time. I did a quick dash onto it to get some photos but for real pictures you’ll have to check out my 2010 blog.

Dinner was Pea, Pie and Pud – the pie being broccoli, leek and cauliflower cheese. It was all very nice.

We then drove home in Philip in the dark to attempt to finish my blog and upload photos.

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