12.05.2015 - 12.05.2015
Today our travels took us to the ' other side of Black Mountain' compared to 2013 when we were in Wales. We A'd and M'd and B'd our way from Stoke Orchard in Cheltenham to The Mecure in Shrewsbury.
Our first stop today was finding Hampton Court Castle in Hope Under Dinmore. Luckily we spotted this gem as it was not on our map. Beyond the walls of the castle were carefully tended hedges, splayed plants, rhubarb leaves 1m wide ...no joke! Metal art work scattered the lawned areas, water falls surrounded gazebos amid meticulous garden beds lined with archways supporting scented wisteria. Once again food for thought for our own garden.
Hereford cows and calves grazed in the next paddock.
The castle itself is a 15th Century castle on the River Lugg. Originally it was granted by Henry IV to Sir Rowland Lenthall. It passed to the Coningsby family until bought by Richard Arkwright in the 1800s.
The Mecure was to be our splurge hotel with spa and treatments, rolling greens etc for two nights. From this point of R&R we were planning on discovering the gardens of Shrewsbury and other points of interest. There has been a booking glitch so we are down to one night which meant I headed for a massage to dispose of 9 days of backpack/walking knots straight away as we will move on tomorrow to alternative accomodation in Shrewsbury.
The highlight however, has been being served and entertained by Angelo, the Venician waiter who is a blend of Basil and Manuel. Instantly I was elevated to Madame and Rob to 1.5 glasses of beer instead of a pint because of pouring technicalities. He shared his scolding by a very stern ma'am with us. She told him to leave the orchids alone...as he had kindly filled them with water because he noticed they were dry! He referred to our currency as funny money and at the end of his shift he cycled off home to his 7 children.
We are presently resting up in a four poster bed in a room you'd expect to find in Downton Abbey. Weve picnic-ed on cheeses bought from Cheltenham and Stow on the Wold accompanying olives and crackers.
First lazy spell since we arrived.