A Travellerspoint blog

If you want it go to Shrewsbury...

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If you want to see a magically colourful garden head to Dingle in Shrewsbury. If you want a leisurely stroll or jog along a river, head to Shrewsbury, if you want to be relocated from one gorgeous room to recharge in to something out,of your imagination head to Shrewsbury and move from Mecure to Hussey Manor.
Crossing the river into Shrewsbury townsite we photographed the Welsh Bridge, then later the English Bridge. Shrewsbury is carefully positioned with a river as its perimeter. We walked through the Traitors Gate, photographing streets and alleys bordered with Regency homes, a redeveloped mill, Edwardian Architecture, Tudor buildings and shops. There are about 4 or 5 churches, one medieval in a city that takes only about 35 mins to walk around.
We enjoyed elevenses in St Mary's cathedral cafe. Their food comes directly from Battlefield 1403, local and delicious food. Later in the day we visited Battlefield 1403, made some purchases and then walked to the Battlefield itself, passing the St Mary Magdalene church. It is a pathway obviously used by walkers, joggers and sightseers. Birds, rabbits, goats and cows all add to the farming community.
Today is Alycia's birthday and she really was with us. We saw a commemorative bench in the grounds of the castle, placed there on May 13 1967. We strolled down an alleyway and saw a solicitors sign for probate and wills (her line of work with her boss the lovely Mrs B) and the door opposite was 13A, her favorite number. To top it off a steward in St Mary's Cathedral chatted to us to direct us to the best coffee then came up about 30 mins later in the Cathedral revealing through the course of an historical conversation that today is her birthday and she was known as Mrs B in her former workplace. As we left the bells tolled for 12 noon.
Rob and I skyped Ally this afternoon to see her and talk to her for her birthday. Her work colleagues had given her a special day...despite having to work. My thanks to them all.
Tonight we are dining in the Restaurant here which no doubt will be a culinary experience. This morning our breakfast was served in a room that oozed class; silver cutlery, linen napery, grand piano at the entrance and waiters dressed in finery fit for Downton Abbey. Our full English Breakfast lasted us all day.
After dinner we will recline in our spa situated in a bathroom the size of our family room. We will rest in our four poster bed, complete with drapes and pull back ties. Our room overlooks a flowered archway leading to a gazebo, with a fountain in the foreground. Shadows are creeping onto the rolling grass lands now but I imagine it will be a picture to wake up to tomorrow. I'm sure I was meant to be wealthy! It is so easy to bear!

Posted by DeniseUK15 10:57 Archived in England Comments (0)

Garden designs and First rest

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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.

Posted by DeniseUK15 19:28 Archived in England Comments (0)

Walking through a picture book

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Years ago Jenny sent me a picture book of The Cotswolds. To me it was a dream place. I always wondered if it was as perfect in reality as it looked in the pictures. Today Jenny and Kieron took Rob and I to Burton on Water and Stow on the Wold. I experienced walking through the pictures and it was not the same as the book.....it was better. Who could believe places exist that are so architecturally and naturally beautiful, peaceful and calming to stroll through. I cant say anything else. I have now lived my holiday dream. I feel so fortunate.

We finished our day eating dinner in The Plow pub in front of an open fire.

Posted by DeniseUK15 22:21 Archived in England Comments (0)

Perks family get together in Cheltenham

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The challenge is on, can we drive from point A to point B and avoid using anything called a lane or a road without a number! It has become a mission to save Rob's nerves! On route to Cheltenham, with careful observation, we managed to stay clear of anything that gave a hint of narrow, muddy or visibility impaired passages. I only misread the map enough for us to turn around, or back, two or three times as I juggled between the ipad, gps and road signs....Rob gave up, pulled over and put them all onto the correct screen, or facing the right direction and then felt safe we were heading in the right direction.
Leaving Winchester our first stop was the Uffington White Horse. We parked in a lay bye and took a steepish walk to the top of Dragon Hill. The view was even more breathtaking than the wind, that came close to transferring our back to our front and vice versa. A taste of things to come I suspect.
We took a short stroll around Cheltenham town and accidentally found ourselves at the top of an old staircase, in the most inviting tea rooms named The Terrace at 50. Wow! the decor was a well appointed collection of bookshelf image wallpaper, a grand piano, enormous flower arrangements with one situated below the central chandellier and beautiful lighting.
The remainder of the walk around town was fairly brief so we could arrive at Jenny and Kieron's for 2pm. We were welcomed with open arms to their new home. We sat at their dining table with a clear view of the sky through the glass ceiling and chatted over teas and coffees before heading off to The Langton Country Pub, with its high ceilings, ornate cornices and architraves and winding staircase. It looked anything but a pub. Tasty food and long chats were followed with a walk around Cheltenham before dark.
Falling into bed we recharged the batteries for Sunday.
I skyped with Mum, Ally, Dad and Gav this morning our time, for Mothers day. It was heartwarming to still be able to ' see ' them all from so far away and chat as if we were in the same room. Ally and I will skype again on the 13th for her birthday. Dad was reluctant to venture into the IT zone but gave in and joined in the conversation on screen.
At 10am we left Armstrong Rd in search of antique and second hand stores in Tewkesbury. Pathways through gardens, with peeling bells from The Abbey and narrow streets lined with Tudor style buildings, ended as we stood on a bridge overlooking a couple travelling by long boat down the Avon River / Severn River with a white lab/retriever on the bow.
Both rivers flooded in 2007 back as far as The Abbey causing major damage to buildings and lifestyles. Despite that, new homes are being build with river views, just meters from the edge.
Cream tea for four in the garden setting of the Abbey Tea Rooms preceded viewing the inside of the Abbey. The garden setting was a showcase of old tools, signs and garden features. The pitch fork being used as a stake for a cluster of freshly sprouting Sweatpeas was food for thought for our gardens.
The Abbey boasts glorious stained glass windows, decorated vaults and ornate pillars which set it apart from other cathedrals. Several patrons of The Abbey have their tombs in the ambulatory showing the intricate work of the masons.
There are 4 clock bells that strike every quarter hour. Thirteen bells are hung for ringing, with two sessions on Sundays. The Milton organ constructed in the reign of James, is considered a National Treasure. There is a second Victorian organ.
Smoke from the morning service incense filled the air and created a haze to walk through.
It really was a remarbable place to visit.
Having little luck with open Antique stores we returned ' home ' to prepare for the Perks family visit. I had not seen Richard or Sally for 41 years until today. It was a very warm happy get together where laughs were raised as Richard egged Archie to throw the soft toy bat at Aunty Jenny to give her a scare. Archie delegated the task to Sally who happily obliged causing Jenny to express great shock and horror...captured in pictures. True family cooperation and team effort to produce a desired screamless look of horror. Melody entertained some with a dance in the front sitting room, other moments of merriment were had by all over the dinner time family get together. We polished off 'fizz' as Jenny calls it (bubbles in perth terminology). Conversations flowed to catch up with Sally and Richard who were in Yr 1 and Yr 3 last time I saw them. What have you done, what's next in your life. It used to be playtime to hometime now its 30 yrs nursing, relocating to Cyprus for a job, children of our own, schools unis and aging parents who I still remember driving around Duncraig in a green mini.
Quite sit in the front room with a coffee and talk about English politics, following the UK election last week on tv and relaxing into bedtime sleepiness.

Posted by DeniseUK15 07:11 Archived in England Comments (0)

Magna Carta

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We left Winchester to the joys of lanes less than two cars across, children being dropped off to school by mothers in Range Rovers so cars going in both directions and the worry that Winchester was bin pick up day! We squeezed onto the M3 between two juganauts. It was the quickest trip to Salisbury, bypassing all the scenery we were hoping to see. BUT Salisbury is probably the nicest cathedral city in the south. The spire can be seen from kilometers / miles away and dominates the skyline. If you look out from the Old Salom the city is easy to pick. A walk down the Elizabeth gardens along the meandering river Avon, with the sheep on the marshland is like seeing a live Gainsborough or Constable painting. It's not often the smell of sheep manure is so relevant to a scene. The Cathedral Close buildings are quite unique and elegant and one includes the Wiltshire and Berkshire regimental museum, so it is possible to have a soldier in your Wardrobe. Little churches, medieval streets and the VE 70th birthday topped off a day in the city.
We then went to Old Salom and photographed the surrounding countryside, the Avon valley, fields of rapeseed and the odd parachutist descending whilst a light plane attempted to land at the local airstrip. You can tell the men of Wessex like their dogs. Almost all were types of gundogs; jack russells, spaniels, retrievers and labradors. Both dog and owners alike soaked up the green fields, open air and each others company.
We did eat lunch at The Slug and Lettuce where we really were slugged for the lettuce and the Shipyard American Pale Ale smelt like perfumed soap..as it tasted. Denise has yet to sample one of Rob's pints that is to her liking. Rob has made it a mission to find something she can suffer in the form of ale before we reach Scotland to avoid his embarrassment at asking for Bubbles in a Scottish pub!
Then it was off to Stonehenge.....merging traffic nightmares enabled much more appreciation of Stonehenge from afar, which was the whole point of Stonehenge, an isolated building in a large plain. Rob did notice we were being watched as we passed Porton Down. They may look like simple radar stations but they are actually mind control scanners.
Back in Winchester we are doing the washing on a Friday...not a Saturday as usual and there will be no ironing at 11 on Sunday. If the world stops revolving you will know we are to blame for altering our weekly routine.
Off to Jenny's tomorrow. We will pass Uffington White Horse on the journey.

Posted by DeniseUK15 16:37 Archived in England Comments (0)

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