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Late Doors

Shrewsbury

Third Time in Shrewsbury for me the first for MrsD but neither of us has had a good look around the place. I've seen enough to know it was always worth a weekend so we started our Welsh trip in Shropshire and my suspicions were confirmed. It is a terrific little town, quintessential England or at least an England etched in the memory of certain people of a certain age    . We had a nice little picnic type lunch canal side in a place called Tivverton on the way down before arriving at our trip advisor recommended digs on the edge of Shrewsbury town center on a smart road with elegant red brick detached houses about one ish. No Sat nav just a map and two pairs of eyes but we seem to manage

The Town itself is almost encircled by the River Severn save for a three hundred yard gap at the east end of town towards the midlands, keeping the Welsh out and drip feeding the Brummies in as it were maybe in an attempt to protect the local dialogue and accent. If it is it has failed because, to me anyway, the Shropshire accent is exactly that joining of perhaps the two most distinct accents in the country. With this watery perimeter lie an unremarkable but very pretty collection of architectural structures spanning many centuries. Black n White Tudor right through to Victorian- Edwardian – post war and modern constructions all co existing quite pleasantly alongside each other.

The train station is a superb grand colonial type grey castle like structure, there’s a beautiful church with monumentally intricate and colourful windows and a castle that testifies to the towns old strategic importance as a Norman Military base. Just outside the castle is a fine statue of one Charlie Darwin probably the most famous Salopian (Shrewsburyite). The place was bathed in sunshine all weekend so we saw it at its very best i would imagine including a garden in the large park created by another famous son of the Town, Percy Thrower the gentleman gardener. As you’d expect it was a riot of colour, some might say garish but I’d say homage to 70’s horticulture. As we walked around all i could think of was Space Hoppers, Garden Gnomes and double Diamond.

The pubs seemed to be mainly traditional with very little evidence of the vodka soaked staggering about town culture in minimalist cheap n nasty bars that plague so many town centers these days. Everyone seemed happy enough though and the yoof came across as pretty cool and decent. The first pub we visited was one i spotted from about a hundred yards away. There was a beer festival and outdoor live music in the sunshine. It was earlier than we’d normally start the days RnR but it was too good to miss. There is very little to beat alfresco quality ale supping to live music under the warm summer sun in my book. One thing i would comment on and despite me not exactly being at the cutting edge of Sartorial elegance myself is the dress sense of the crowd. Jeans tucked into massive boots and shortsleeved jackets seemed to be de riguer. It’s not often i can get looked at and called poncey but my Sainsburies Jeans and Chicago blues festival t shirt set me aside as some kind of Gucci advert. Anyway this pub, The Wheatsheaf, is reputably haunted. Maybe by some designer clad visitors who strayed too far and were burnt to death in some Wickerman type ritual.

The Next one we tried was The Salopian on the roadside along the river. This was a more contemporary interior showing the cricket on the TV and had a good range of beers including some from the Salopian Brewery itself. We sat outside roadside with a group of other people watching the world go by with the river across the other side of the road and the Welsh Bridge across to our left. By the time we were ready to eat we were still in our playing out clothes with no restaurant bookings. We were in no mood for anything fancy so it was pizza express time and back in our digs for half nine. A fine day out though

This holiday was ostensibly a walking holiday so on Sunday we set off on a stroll following the Rolling River Severn on its almost circular embrace of the town. I love rivers me, always have, always will and the Severn is English Riviera personified. A walk along its banks is like taking a stroll with Constable and Vaughn Williams alongside the weeping willows, swans and the occasional narrow boat gracefully propelled by a line of energetic young girls looking anxiously at me as i snapped away with my pocket camera whilst lurking bankside, or at last that’s what it must have seemed like to them.

Our stroll took us clockwise around the town and then North through some steep private gardens kindly opened up for public throughway and finally along flat open grassy banks. Sand Martins skimmed along the rivers slow gliding surface occasionally breaking it seemingly to pick out their own reflection under the mid afternoon sun. It was the epitome of idyllic. Grand houses with river view terraces lined the far bank way to our left across the fields including Darwin house where the great man himself was born and must have took inspiration for his embryonic ideas on this very same route to create his world changing and defining theories. It was quite a moment of eerie empathy to even consider he might have thought the same thoughts we were contemplating in the very same places.

By now the sun had reached maximum intensity and had begun its journey down and West casting slightly longer shadows along the field edges where the cattle were taking cooling refuge. We both love cities with their vibrancy, energy and architecture but it is in the country where we are happiest. I guess it is one of those pre wired aspects of life. We talked about nature being Gods Art and architecture which was strange given that we are both Science based people with no great disposition to all things Godly , hold the Great man Darwin in high esteem and were thrilled to be in his footsteps. One of those Jungian duality things again eh?

Two and a half hours passed by in wandering content before we started to consider how we were going to get back and wondered if there was a bridge across the river to walk back on the other side. We had no map and approached two young lasses lying in the grass. As we got nearer i could hear them chatting. They were posh, i mean beyond merely well off posh and the slightly snobbishly scared and still protected privilege of the nouveau riche off spring. These two were the latest deliveries that centuries of upper class almost aristocratic untouchable and fearless breeding produce. One languidly raised her knee, rolled towards us and swept her long immaculate hair out of her perfect features as we asked them if there was a bridge near up stream we could cross.

” Oh yahh, a bridge, sorry, really sorry, we only come this far, we don’t know, i guess there is one otherwise how would the people get to the other side?”

“Yahh”. Said her mate in compassionate agreement as if they were both desperate to offer us hope before assuming their previous carefree horizontal positions and carried on their discussion maybe about how daddy should be more careful about who he lets wander through the estate these days.

We established later by asking two lads that the nearest bridge was about six miles upstream so we crossed the fields towards the mansions and walked back into town along the other side of them down the main road. It was a pleasant wander along such wealth and prosperity only blighted by the fact that the pub we called in en route seemed to be the HQ of the local scum branch by the look of the memorabilia on the walls. I made the point of asking where the terrace was so i didn’t have to look at them in my finest exaggerated Yorkshire dialect.  

“The finest terrace in town” it proclaimed on the board outside  . It was alright, a decent view towards the river and certainly free of any George Best pictures but it seems the arrogance and self aggrandisement of the fucking theatre of fucking dreams is not confined to the Salford Area when it comes to their fans.

We got back into town for about tea time and had another alfresco pint in an old pub on the main road called the Nags Head. The beer garden at the back had a few people scattered around it including a chap who insisted on telling us that he ticked all the boxes of being an alcoholic but wasn’t actually one. This was at the same time a Rat casually wandered around the perimeter seating area “Eating the Nuts if you pleased” i yelled. Neither he nor MrsD appreciating my brilliant Faulty Towers homage but at least it got rid of him.

We had a table booked at the recommended Peach Tree restaurant later that night so we got washed changed and straight out again for another riverside aperitif in a pub called The Crown. A decent crowd in and two real ales unfortunately of no distinction but it was pleasant enough. The Peach Tree was a lovely place. Had the finest Thai style battered Cod Cheeks in sweet chilli sauce I've ever had, Its the only time ive had them but you get the picture, they were crisp yet succulent inside with those sticky intense sweet hot Thai flavours around it. We actually went back to the same place on Monday Night as well to take advantage if the two courses for a tenner deal that was also excellent, Highly recommended and the staff were fab as well.

So Monday we went to Ludlow for the day which is also a very charming and unique place. Other pubs we went into in Shreswbury were the very excellent and old style Loggerheads with its untouched interior since the 1920’s it seemed like, another Wheatsheaf in town and the Three Fishes which was quiet as it was Monday but seemed a great pub anyway. I could go on (and on) about it. We both rated it as a top town and would go back at the drop of a hat. Maybe if we ever get to play them again (hopefully in the Cup)

Pictures to follow if anyone is interested
sheeps

Nice one LD.

Some time ago I did some work in Ironbridge which was very nice itself, and whilst there we made a couple of visits to Shrewsbury.

As you say nice place, a lot of character and good vibe if I remember correctly.
Butts

You make me want to go there   Cod cheeks - quite a delicacy, but you can get them off the fishmonger in the market for pennies.

Look forward to the pics.
bearing

Butts wrote:
You make me want to go there   Cod cheeks - quite a delicacy, but you can get them off the fishmonger in the market for pennies.

Look forward to the pics.


Ludlow was made for you Butts, they have a cracking food festival there.

I love Shropshire me what with it being just down the road.  The Weatsheaf is a Banks's pub if I remember and yes there are some fine hostelries to be had there.

Were you aware that Charlie Darwin's Grandfather was Josiah Wedgwood?(you probably did, but it will enlighten sheeps anyway)
Butts

Ludlow, yes always mean to pay a visit.

I'm also determined to have a long nosh weekend in San Sebastian before Christmas if we can get our act together.
sheeps

bearing wrote:
Butts wrote:
You make me want to go there   Cod cheeks - quite a delicacy, but you can get them off the fishmonger in the market for pennies.

Look forward to the pics.


Ludlow was made for you Butts, they have a cracking food festival there.

I love Shropshire me what with it being just down the road.  The Weatsheaf is a Banks's pub if I remember and yes there are some fine hostelries to be had there.

Were you aware that Charlie Darwin's Grandfather was Josiah Wedgwood?(you probably did, but it will enlighten sheeps anyway)


I didn't know that.
bearing

sheeps wrote:
bearing wrote:
Butts wrote:
You make me want to go there   Cod cheeks - quite a delicacy, but you can get them off the fishmonger in the market for pennies.

Look forward to the pics.


Ludlow was made for you Butts, they have a cracking food festival there.

I love Shropshire me what with it being just down the road.  The Weatsheaf is a Banks's pub if I remember and yes there are some fine hostelries to be had there.

Were you aware that Charlie Darwin's Grandfather was Josiah Wedgwood?(you probably did, but it will enlighten sheeps anyway)



I didn't know that.


You do now my good mate

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