So, other than scrolling through my photos of our last two days and halfheartedly making a few collages, this post wasn't getting anywhere near ready, as the words, which usually keep flowing once I start typing, seemed to remain stuck in my keyboard.
But there is nothing for it: it has to be done, so I'd better get my act together and get on with things!
Thursday saw us driving down to the lovely town of Ludlow, give or take half an hour from our cottage.
This wasn't our first visit by any means: we'd been there at least twice before when we were holidaying in the neighbouring county of Herefordshire between 2008 and 2010.
It was another gorgeous Summer day, but while the temperature was just bearable in the sun, we mostly sought shelter on the shady side of the town's picturesque streets.
A vibrant market town today, Ludlow's roots reach back to medieval times. Made rich by manufacturing and trading of wool and cloth, by the 16th Century it had become a major administrative centre, governing Wales and the border counties.
Today, it has a thriving high street, packed with independent shops including butchers, bakeries, delicatessens, as well as all manner of clothes and arts and craft shops.
There are quite a few charity shops too, which obviously were well browsed: I managed to find another maxi frock, which I will be showing you later, and some jewellery.
Ludlow also has a lively market, which has been a cornerstone of the community for over 900 years. Today, a general market is trading in and around Castle Square six days a week.
On the second and fourth Thursday of every month, the hugely popular Ludlow Local Produce Market is being held here, showcasing the fresh local food and drink which Ludlow is rightly, and proudly, famous for.
Built by the Normans in the 11th Century to repel a Welsh invasion, Ludlow Castle is one of the town's finest attractions.
Having visited the castle before, however, we limited ourselves with a walk on the delightful footpath skirting its walls.
After walking around the castle's perimeters, we arrived back in Castle Square and made our way back through the town for a visit to St. Laurence's Church.
Tucked away down a small alley, the church is a haven of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the town.
St. Laurence's, which was first started in 1199, was largely rebuilt in the 15th Century.
Its nickname, The Cathedral of the Marches, reflects the importance of Ludlow in the turbulent Welsh Marches region, but also its impressive size (it is said to be one of the largest parish churches in England) and its rich furnishings.
There's magnificent medieval stained glass, as well as a wonderful array of memorials, the majority dating from the 16-17th Centuries.
The chancel is a treasure of medieval stalls, many with misericords. These 'mercy-seats', made to help support priests while standing during long services, have wonderfully carved undersides.
These are carved in a range of subjects including mermaids, a witch, and a dishonest ale-wife: indeed, most of the misericords depict women unfavourably! Here are just six of the total of 28 intricately carved designs.
After a restorative cup of coffee and some huge brownies, it was back to our cottage, where for the purpose of this blog, I changed into my new-to-me, charity shopped maxi frock!
Friday was our last day and we were feeling a bit morose. It was quite hot so, thinking of the long journey ahead of us on Saturday, we ditched our original plan of going for a proper hike on the Long Mynd.
Instead, we went to Wales! Welshpool is only half an hour's drive from our cottage and known as the gateway to Mid Wales, a busy market town situated in the Severn valley and surrounded by glorious Welsh countryside, yet only a few miles from the English border.
We sauntered along its High Street, diving in and out of its many charity shops, when suddenly we came across Park Lane House, which had a display of vintage clothes in its entrance.
Stepping inside was equal to entering vintage heaven and, my heart beating faster and feeling quite lightheaded at the sight of it all, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
Vintage and period clothes and accessories were jostling for space and shouting for attention. I could have easily spent our entire two week holiday in there and still not have seen it all.
This is Ashmans Antiques and Old Lace (for some reason my brain automatically inserts the word arsenic before old lace), which was established in 1975.
Presiding over this shop full of drool-worthy vintage is its owner Diane Ashman. This formidable lady, who is in her seventies, made us feel quite at home and encouraged us to take as many photographs as we liked.
Surely the pictures speak for themselves!
I was quite overwhelmed but obviously I couldn't leave without making a purchase, which I will show you at the end of this post.
After signing Diane's guest book full of raving commentaries, we bade our goodbyes, vowing to return next year.
After lunch, we briefly walked along a stretch of the Montgomery Canal, and visited Powysland Museum, housed in a restored warehouse on the canal wharf.
Apart from displays on the archaeology and social history of the old county of Montgomeryshire, there are displays on a wide variety of topics, including some covetable vintage memorabilia.
I'm sure you'll agree that the Bakelite television on the bottom right actually belongs in Dove Cottage!
Before returning to our car, we lingered over cappuccinos in the Royal Oak hotel, where we had another encounter with Diane, who'd walked in for a drink with a friend. I promised her I would send her an email after publishing my post, so that's what I will do in a minute.
So, that was our holiday! I can't believe it's all over ...
But before I go, here's the dress I bought at Ashmans! Rather lovely isn't it?
(*) relating to or characteristic of the English county of Salop, now known as Shropshire, or its inhabitants.