Saturday, 14 July 2018

High and dry

We were now almost half way through our first holiday week and, although the weather forecast for the next days looked very promising, Wednesday's weather was looking rather dismal.

Maximum temperature would be 17°C, they said. There was a 40% chance of rain, they said. Oh dear, nothing for it but to dig out my first pair of floral trousers again.


To liven things up, I added a floaty, frilly blouse I grabbed from a reduced rail in H&M just days before our holiday, and which I'd chucked into my suitcase at the very last moment.

Talk about a floral punch! If I'd worn this to Powis Castle, I'm sure it would have confused the gardeners.


Expecting it to be cold, I put on a red cardigan and, for good measure, I wore my charity shopped raincoat for the first time.

Little did we know that in our valley below the Long Mynd, the temperature was always a few degrees lower than average.

We were off to Bridgnorth, about 30 miles away, which is a town of two halves, High Town and Low Town. But more about that later.

Claire from Diary of a penny pincher had kindly supplied me with the post code of a Long Stay car park in High Town, which saved us the trouble of looking around for a decent spot to park.




From there, we sauntered through the town, wandering in and out of the charity shops lining the High Street

There were quite a few picturesque timber-framed buildings, including the Town Hall set on high brick piers, which interrupts the traffic flow in the High Street.


Here I am trying to blend in with the black and white buildings and the flower shop at the same time


As the temperature had considerably exceeded 17°C by then, I was already regretting putting on all these layers and not wearing a dress.

We'd been running late that morning, so soon our rumbling stomachs reminded us it was time for a spot of lunch.

The basket was picked up in one of the charity shops we'd visited, and already came in handy for stashing away the unnecessary layers of clothing we'd been discarding. We didn't fancy carrying it for the rest of the day, though, so we briefly returned to our car and left it - and my coat - behind.


Bridgnorth, or to be more specific, High Town, sits high on a sandstone cliff, with spectacular views of Low Town and the valley. The town is divided by the River Severn, Britain's longest river, and the two parts are linked by seven steep sets of steps and a Victorian funicular, Bridgnorth Cliff Railway.

After the one linking Lynton and Lynmouth in Devon, which we took in 1997 and, more recently, the cliff railway up Constitution Hill in Aberystwyth, it goes without saying that we wanted to add this third funicular to our curriculum. Ha, doesn't that sound grand?


The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted the sign on the bottom, pointing to The Looking Glass, a shop selling vintage clothing, jewellery, handbags and hats!

Needless to say, I had to stop and browse and I may even have bought the cotton floral frock I'm holding up for inspection. I would have liked to browse some more, but the shop was somewhat in disarray as the owner was preparing for a vintage fair. Also, that Cliff Railway was calling us!


"If you approach the High Town by the cliff railway you feel you are being lifted up to heaven."  ~ John Betjeman

The oldest and steepest inland funicular railway in the country, it was opened in 1892, and is making the short, dizzying journey between High Town and Low Town at least 150 times a day.

The railway operates two cars on parallel tracks. Connected by steel ropes, the carriages serve to counterbalance each other - as one rises to the top station, the other runs to the bottom station. The cars are now powered by an electric winding engine, but were originally driven by a system of water balance, each carriage carrying water ballast in a tank beneath the passenger compartment.


Look at that view and, gulp, isn't that rather steep? But there was nothing for it, as Jos had already bought our tickets, so legs trembling just a little bit, we hopped in and minutes later, hopped out again in Low Town. There was nothing to it, really.


And what did we do once we were in Low Town? Look up at High Town, obviously, where the tower of St. Mary's church, built by Thomas Telford in 1792, is dominating the skyline.

Then we crossed the busy bridge over the River Severn and, looking backwards, had a splendid view of some old advertising on the right, taking in the entire side of the building. Apparently, Ridley's Seeds is still trading in Bridgnorth’s livestock market today.


Continuing our walk past some noisy roadworks, we turned a corner and what did we spy?

Old Mill Antiques Centre has antiques and collectibles spread over several floors and, if money was no objection, I wouldn't have minded taking home one or two of those Clarice Cliff items. In the end, we did find something much more affordable to add to our kitchenalia collection: a 1930s enameled Lucie Mabel Attwell wipe clean household wants thingy, complete with its original pencil.


After much needed refreshments at their café, we retraced our steps across the bridge and made the return journey on the cliff railway.

Back in High Town, we continued on Castle Walk, passing several sets of steps down the cliff.


The panorama which opens up here, of Low Town and the Severn Valley beyond, is quite breathtaking. It is said that Charles I once described it as 'The finest view in all my Kingdom.'

A little exaggerated, perhaps, but still a lovely view.


Our aim was to check out another of Bridgnorth's curiosities, the Castle Keep. This is all that remains of the once vast Norman castle and, as a result of a botched attempt to blow up the building by the Parliamentarians during the Civil War, It now leans at a 15-degree angle, three times greater than the Tower of Pisa!




We sat for a while in the landscaped Castle Grounds, before returning to our car, and driving back to our cottage.


Another day well spent, and quite a few treasures found as well!


Taking my floral combo over to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style!

42 comments:

  1. I can't believe that leaning castle!

    You always manage to find some interesting locations to visit.

    Your outfit was pattern mastery. Love the new dress and handbag!

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Suzanne! I was quite pleased with how this outfit turned out. xxx

      Delete
  2. Haha, every day here has started overcast and then we roast by the end of the day! You looked so vivid and fun though! Bridgnorth and its funicular sound a great place to visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kezzie! We could do with an overcast day, as it's been far too hot here. Too hot to think! xxx

      Delete
  3. I love your fabulous floral outfit, Ann! It's so pretty! The red cardi looks great with the florals, as does the addition of the gorgeous butterfly brooch. I love that new bag too! Such beautiful photos of such beautiful places! Thanks for taking me on a visual vacation, Ann! ;) XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sasha, and you're welcome! xxx

      Delete
  4. Those basket bags are very expensive in the US-great find! High town and low town look fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always looking out for baskets, lately. Couldn't believe this one, which I guess was donated as the zipper of the inside pocket was broken ... xxx

      Delete
  5. It warms my heart just to look at your pictures!!! Is there any other country quite like England? I doubt. Everything is so cozy!
    Your outfit is OMG amazing! Seriously, this is one of the finest I've seen ever! Love all the details! Wear it all the time!!!
    Lots of love, dear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Natalia. I was really quite pleased with how it turned out. And no, I don't think there is any other country quite like England! xxx

      Delete
  6. I'm still in shock you had any bad weather it feels like it's been baking hot for months now! That floral dress is so you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry, we only had one day of bad weather and two unsettled ones ... The rest was warm and sunny. It's been baking hot here in Belgium too. Not my kind of weather ... xxx

      Delete
  7. what a picturesque town! so pretty and that funicular is gorgeous!
    love the frilly flowered blouse with your flower power pants - it makes a fab suit!
    the basket is pristine for 2.hand and that dress has a sweet print....want to see it worn by you!
    hugs! xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Beate! That basket only has a broken zipper on its inside pocket, otherwise it's pristine. xxx

      Delete
  8. Oh yes I can imagine, that the gardeners are confused by a walking flowermeadow :))
    You look amazing for a trip to this very nice village. I would like to travel go england again. It's stunning.
    You have luck to find this wonderful flowered dress and nice basket.
    Huge hug Tina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tina! We keep going back to the UK, and there's still so much that we haven't seen ... xxx

      Delete
  9. Yes you are flower-powered, Ann, and looking lovely. The basket you found is a very nice piece! xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love your foppish, flowery outfit! I'm glad to see that by now the holiday weather was improving.
    I love a trip on a funicular railway!
    Can't wait to see what the new dress looks like on you, it's a lovely pattern. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have to admit I had to look up "foppish", but it's an apt description! Can't resist a funicular railway! xxx

      Delete
    2. Foppish referred to your ruffles! Not the description of a regency dandy, just the ruffles!! ☺ xxx

      Delete
    3. I didn't exactly think you were calling me a dandy, Sally. I do like the word, though, which has now been added to my vocabulary ;-) xxx

      Delete
  11. Oh, I love that first look, with the floral pants and top + cardi! It's fabulous! What a wonderful post full of beauty and scenery! It sounds like you had a blast! The funicular (such a good word) is amazing - I can't believe it ran on water ballast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sheila. I'm glad that funicular wasn't still running on water ballast, though ... xxx

      Delete
  12. Certainly you scored many amazing treasures. You know how I feel about that amazing straw bag. You look stunning in that mixed floral ensemble. I love the punchy colors and the ruffle detail also. That top coat adds
    a fabulous texture too.
    While on high Street you did indeed look like you might blend into the flowers behind you. So many beautiful places that you visited. This looks like such a fun day!
    ❤️❤️❤️
    Elle

    https://theellediaries.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Straw bag = Elle! I have to think of you every time I see one ;-) xxx

      Delete
  13. What a lovely post and a treat for me as my first visit to your blog Ann. The H&M blouse is rather fab and means I might have to dash off now to check if it's still available. However, before I go I just wanted to say thanks for the guided tour and well done on bagging that rather lovely dress! Well done.

    Anna x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for visiting Anna! I hope the blouse is still available, it's such a great piece. Here in Antwerp, it's still on the sales rail! xxx

      Delete
  14. I've never been to Bridgenorth but now I want to go, Ann. I love the funicular railway. What good things you found and isn't it a lovely way to remember good times had and lovely places remembered...
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Veronica. It's lovely to wear a dress or a piece of jewellery found on a holiday! xxx

      Delete
  15. I was unaware that Britain had it's own Leaning Tower!
    You've captured Bridgenorth wonderfully Ann, funicular railways are such an old fashioned joy, I love the livery on the side of this one. Great purchases...I especially love the basket. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The things you learn from tourists, eh? Will have to go back to Bridgnorth next year, as it seems we missed a few bits! xxx

      Delete
  16. So pleased you enjoyed your wander around Bridgnorth and the weather was kind as well. You look positively fabulous in all your floral prints! Thank you for the shout out and so pleased you found the vintage shop! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Claire, and your advice on parking was most helpful. I'd like to visit the vintage shop again, when order has been restored. xxx

      Delete
  17. Bridgnorth looks lovely - weren't you scared of getting squashed by the castle? The angle looks rather unnerving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been standing/leaning like that for centuries, so it didn't cross my mind. I admit, it does look a bit scary in that photo! xxx

      Delete
  18. I love your doubled floral outfit with the red cardi and cute brooch, you look adorable and pretty comfy even if all the layering was not good idea finally!
    Bridgnorth looks like a perfect place to visit and enjoy all the landscapes and buildings, and the cute funicular railway! I love all the details!
    besos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Monica! And what can be better than double florals,eh? xxx

      Delete
  19. You go to so many pretty and interesting places!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hazel! We try to make the most of our time when we're on holiday. After all, it only comes around once a year! xxx

      Delete
  20. I've traded in Bridgnoth loads over the years - I think I once wrote a blog post called Hit The (Bridg)North but only charity shopped there once and never ever travelled on the funicular, I must rectify that - it's only down the blooming road.
    I'm loving catching up on your trip - I devoured your posts when I got back on Monday night!
    Those floral trousers look so good on you - but I'm glad you didn't have to wear them for your entire trip! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Vix, there's more to come, as I'm only about half way now. And there's still our Attingham adventure to write up on. I didn't think the charity shops were very good in Bridgnorth, but it's worth going for a ride on the funicular. Especially as it's only up the road! xxx

      Delete