Saturday, August 26, 2006


Shrewsbury is the other end of the Heart of Wales line ( It's a gorgeous little town with more than its fair share of Tudor houses and lovely old architecture. I get a room near the old Abbey. Most of the Abbey was demolished by Henry VIII, cantankerous old bugger that he was - I am much amused to see that the pulpit is still standing, it is now out in the middle of the TIC carpark. Originally the pulpit would have been in the refectory and one of the Benedictines would have read Improving Literature while the others ate their meals. I have some excellent photos of the Abbey church, the road and the pulpit on the other side - I hope! It appeals to my sense of humour.

The Lonely Planet has an excellent walking tour for Shrewsbury - I start at the Castle (pass on the Regimental Museum, the views from the Castle walls are free and they are stunning), cross the road to the Library (big statue of Darwin, Shrewsbury's most famous son) then head down to Dogpole and Wyle Cop, two very narrow, windy Tudor streets. Lots of houses here have plaques commemorating the fact that royalty stayed there at some point in the last 1000 years or so, or that some famous person (usually Charles Darwin) visited or used the building in some way.

I get around most of the notable houses with detours up Fish Lane and Grope Alley (more narrow, winding Tudor architecture - if I reach out both hands, I can touch the house walls on either side), then head back to the Market Square which has an elaborate sandstone shelter over it - again, it's hundreds of years old and it makes me dizzy to think about how many generations of people have hung out here.

Footnote: at Shrewsbury, I see my second grey squirrel and realise that my judgment of them may have been a bit hasty. When I went past St Mary's Church, I noticed a residentially challenged gentleman watching something - it turned out to be a very quiet grey squirrel trotting around the churchyard. They really are quite cute, although I've noticed that every single ad over here that features squirrels uses a red squirrel not a grey one.

From Shrewsbury to Wells - I am too smart to get sucked in to paying long weekend prices to stay in Bath!! I will catch the bus over from Wells in the morning. More transport chaos - this time the train is cancelled altogether. Two trainloads of people end up squashed into a two carriage service to Taunton, if you can imagine Met rush hour conditions on a rural service, that's what my trip was like.

On the way up to the B&B, I meet the owner's brother in law - it's a small world! The B&B is lovely, the owners have two cats, so obviously they are nice people and deserve to get on in the world. Off to Bath tomorrow...


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