Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Doing the tourist sights in Shropshire -1

Occasionally we venture forth into the county of my birth which I left aged 18. During the 40 years in which I lived in Yorkshire, I used to come "home" to visit friends and relatives. Rarely did we have time to take days out to visit the sights of Shropshire.
Over the last two years it has been fun to re-discover the county and search out places I had heard of and wanted to visit. So during this weekend of sunshine we headed out into the beautiful south Shropshire countryside.

Firstly, we drove over the Stiperstones with the rocky outcrops including the "Devil's Chair" and then over to the "Long Mynd" and down the narrow road with perilous drops into Cardingmill Valley. Feeling energetic and in need of exercise, we walked up the valley past the waterfall listening to the stream as it cascaded over the rocks back down the valley. We followed the V-shaped valley up steep steps, over rugged rock slopes and then over the top and back down part of the Jack Mytton Way. The four mile walk left us hot and thirsty so we headed off to our next port of call for a cool drink in the gardens of the School House at Acton Scott farm museum near Church Stretton.

This is the venue used by the BBC for the filming of the programme about life on a Victorian farm which was televised a while ago.
We strolled in and out of the farm buildings moving from the warmth of a bright summer's day to the cool of the stone floored scullery or butter churning dairy. We watched the Tamworth sow suckling her piglets and the hand made bricks being "thrown" by the brick maker.

It was just a perfect way to relax and chill out and so typically English.

Our Sunday morning visit took us to Stokesay Castle. I think this must be one of the best English Heritage sites I have visited. The manor house, tower and gate-house have been restored and maintained superbly over the last century and now allow a very atmospheric peep into life in the past. Again, it was a perfect way to unwind just by meandering quietly around the buildings and enjoying the views from the cleverly sited castle with its views out into the Shropshire countryside. We sat in the castle courtyard surrounded by English cottage garden flowers, watching the swallows swoop in and out of the building as they fed their chicks up in the rafters.

I know it sounds like a tourist guide but it really was that good!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A perfect family wedding day

Last Friday we had a wonderfully happy, sunny day for my niece's wedding!

The church over the road had been filled with beautiful cream and blue flowers by one of Amy's other aunties - assisted by myself as "gofer". The house and garden with its summery gazebos looked splendid. Our little bride, bridesmaids, flower girls and baby Phoebe all looked stunning in their wedding outfits. The men in their matching suits, white shirts, waistcoats and cravats played their part to perfection and looked very handsome. All the lady guests turned up in a fabulous array of summer finery.

A simple but meaningful ceremony was followed by a very enjoyable afternoon and evening at the hotel chosen for the reception. The two families and many friends mixed and mingled happily. The bride and groom couldn't have wished for a better day.

A big thank you to my sister and brother in law for creating such a perfect day!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Powis Castle

We set off for Welshpool with the car packed with items for the tip and books for The Severn Hospice charity shop. Our errands completed, we decided to call into the National Trust property at Powis Castle for some lunch and a walk around the gardens.
We tucked into a hearty meal and then set out for our walk.
Although the car park was quite full, the occupants must have been well dispersed around the property. We ambled through the neatly maintained gardens with beautifully mown lawns and manicured box hedges, stopping to chat to one of our friends who works on the estate.

Next, we collected an ice-cream and wandered up through the woodland walk past the stunning colours of the rhododendrons and azaleas. Passing the old ice house we headed down to the pond where the mallards, coots and a pair of canada geese were tending to their young. Brilliant turquoise damsel flies were skittering across the pond and settling on nearby bracken. A woodpecker was tapping frantically on one of the giant oak trees.

As we strolled back to the car a red kite flew over the castle.
A perfect afternoon - just a little bit of heaven - I can recommend it!