WordPress (or my internet connection) is acting up tonight, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to upload anything.
It’s acting up this morning too. So fingers crossed you at least get the text.
Except that it’s putting photo here.
12 October 2015
It’s 11:21 (pm) and I’m only just starting to type today’s blog. I think this’ll be a finish in the morning job – again.
Our first trip is a tour around Wem. Wem’s the town where Pen lives – population 5000 odd and some Wonky Tudor.
I’m sure you understand that “Wonky Tudor” isn’t a technical term. But it is descriptive. And it became our theme of the day.
Wem’s main street is so small, that a traffic jam is a car waiting for pedestrians to cross the crossing. It has been known for a bus and a tractor to meet each other head-to-head. What is unknown is what the result of that meeting was. It is the town where the sweet pea was first cultivated. It had a major fire in 1677, so most of its buildings, according to Pen, are “new”.
Tudor, and not necessary the Wonky variety, is the generic name we’re using for the style of building that is usual white with and his half-timbered with wooden supporting beams. Wooden nails were driven through the beams as they would both dry out and move with each other – holding fast.
Holding fast, but not necessarily holding straight. This is where what I call Wonky Tudor comes in.
But not all of Wem is built of Tudor, Wonky or otherwise.
Once we’d toured Wem, we set off for Long Mynd – a “Heath and moorland plateau” in Shropshire. We could have chosen one of three walks of different lengths and difficulty and settled on the shortest – at one to one and a half hours. – One that led to a waterfall. As this was a dog friendly area – so long as you didn’t allow your dog to upset the local sheep – Seth came with us.
Parts of the track were almost rocky steps that took a bit of effort to scramble over and we were glad that it hadn’t been, and wasn’t, raining. However we were a little concerned. The weather was another “blue dome day” when we left Wem, but by the time we’d reached the waterfall, the sky was becoming overcast.
The irony is that if it had been, or was, raining, then the waterfall would have been so much more impressive – and the walk back down would have been trickier.
Once we’d completed the Long Mynd walk we headed off to Ludlow. In some respects, Ludlow is like Wem – only bigger and with more cars trying to fit into the same narrow streets and getting in the way of photographers.
Lunch was a Scotch Egg for Pen and a delicious sandwich (Sandwich! That was a filled roll!) with local cheese, Ploughman’s pickle and I can’t remember what else – but it was very messy to eat. Especially as we were walking and eating and taking photos with a manual zooming DSLR camera.
But Ludlow has an excellent selection of Wonky Tudor. Especially The Feathers. This is a hotel that, when built, was showing off the owner’s wealth in the amount of wood used in its construction. Nowadays what’s awe inspiring is the fact that it hasn’t fallen down. We decided we were ready for a hot chocolate and decided to have it in there. In the reception area the floor’s just as wonky as the exterior. But they have relaid it so it’s flat in the bar/café area.
They’d run out of marshmallows, so the “barman” kindly gave us a pack of chocolate chip biscuits (that was the label on the packet!) to compensate. It was a very nice hot chocolate.
We worked off that hot chocolate and the two biscuits in the packet by climbing the 199 steps (a couple less than Leeds Town Hall at 209) in the St Laurence Parish Church tower…
Church seemed to be understating it a tad.
We clambered up the tight disorientating steps and enjoyed the views from on top – glad that we’d ascended before the 4.00pm bells pealed and then played a rather repetitive version of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
It was while we were inside St Laurence Parish Church that I ran out of “film”. Of course, because we were just wandering around town, I’d chosen to leave my bag in my car and didn’t have my spare SD cards with me. Pen was worried about Seth because we’d left him in the car, so she left me her camera and went to give him a walk.
I didn’t have to use her camera – just as well as she hasn’t set the date right on it. I find this bemusing (and when a copy is saved on my computer extremely annoying) as she has a strong interest in archives and history and yet isn’t recording her own history accurately. It means that every photo she’s taken was taken in December 2007, which is where the photos are stored in the computer. But as I managed to delete about ten less than ideal photos and reduce the settings on my camera, I managed to keep using it instead of hers for the next sixty odd shots.
I bought some souvenirs in the church as gifts when I bought our £3.00 tickets to climb to the top of the tower. I bought somethig as a gift, but when I got “home” I discovered that the gift’s not in the box. I’ll have to ring them up and tell them. Fortunately we hadn’t had anything planned for Wednesday and had considered going back there on the way home. It’s one of those places where you need over a day to explore.
Our plan was that I’d carry on looking around to my heart’s content, and then ring Pen when I’d finished. The problem was that when I got to that point my phone’s battery was that low I couldn’t even see the screen to send a text.
One of our suggestions when discussing this was that I meet them where we’d left the car before we went wandering around Ludow at 5.30. So I headed over there, with a detour to buy some chocolates and a tour around the exterior of the castle, since at that stage I didn’t think we’d be back to see it.
And then I waited.
I’m glad we weren’t up the tower when the clock stuck 5.00pm. Never mind “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” episode “Big Ben Strikes Thirteen”, this clock seemed to strike 113. I don’t know how many times it bonged, but it was a lot.
We’ve been lucky with the weather up till now. Saltaire has been the only time that I’ve had anything approaching rain and it’s been warm. But it’s definitely beginning to get colder. I spent yesterday wearing my merino top over my blouse and my warm jacket – and Shirley C’s hat. I wore that on the walk this morning (and glad I did) and I still had it with me.
I took to checking out the cars that were heading my way, to see if any of them was Pen’s.
Question one): Is it the right size and shape?
Question two): Does it have a passenger?
Question three): Is that passenger a dog?
Question four): Is the licence number something that could be read as “dog 60 yards”.
It was after, but not too much after, 5.30pm (according to the St Laurence bells) when they arrived.
As I hadn’t had the chance to see that castle, Pen called into the Moreton Corbet Castle on the way home. By now it was dusk and the mediaeval and Elizabethan ruins were quite atmospheric in the dark. It was so dark that we had bats flying around us.
After a stop off at the supermarket to buy a lasagne, we came home and watched “Thunderbirds Are Go! No Strings Attached,” a documentary about the new series, and then watched a couple of episodes.