We'd decided to go charity shopping in Shrewsbury, but the rain was quite torrential, so that there was nothing for it but to wait it out. When by 10.30 there was a brief lull in the downpour, we grabbed our coats and made a dash for the car.
The quiet country lanes had become quite treacherous to negotiate, especially where at one point the road climbs up to a plateau, which normally offers fabulous views of the rocky outcrops of the Stiperstones ridge. Now, low hanging clouds had wiped out any visibility and, after descending from these lofty heights, we even had to contend with a partially flooded road.
This is one of a pair (the other one's red) which I bought from an outlet shop a couple of years back.
They are my travelling trousers to be worn on bad weather days, just like this one. In order to keep them "me", I wore them with a vintage long-sleeved flower print shirt and my dotty Phase Eight raincoat charity shopped in Shropshire last year.
We always try and make use of the Park & Ride system when visiting larger towns, in order to avoid having to negotiate the often complicated one-way systems in search of a suitable place to park. In this case, we were especially glad that we did, as there seemed to be major roadworks in progress.
It was lunchtime by now, so we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the M&S café, as Jos wanted to buy some essentials at the shop.
Afterwards, we trawled the charity shops, most of which seemed to be concentrated in and around a street called Mardol. We also spent some time browsing a treasure trove of a shop called Memory Lane Antiques and Vintage.
As for the weather, I'm glad to report that it remained dry for the rest of the afternoon. We were even treated to some watery sunshine!
In order to make up for the weather, the charity shop and vintage gods treated us to kindly, as I found a pair of pristine navy Hotter shoes, a Welsh wool purse, a butterfly sleeve top and an Indian made maxi skirt. Jos was in luck too, as he found a boxed Kodak Bantam camera, complete with its instruction leaflet.
No sunshine, not even of the watery kind, on Wednesday, but we counted our blessings as at least the rain seemed to have packed up and left us. Admittedly, it was a bit chilly, with highs of only about 16° Celsius.
But wait, I can hear you thinking, what about that iron bridge you kissed under? Some of you might have recognized the title as a snippet of the lyrics of a certain Smiths song, but what's the link to this post, you might wonder.
Well, our destination of the day was a place called Ironbridge, and the song just inadvertently keeps popping into my head whenever I hear or see the name.
Ironbridge is a small town on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge. The town developed beside and took its name from the Iron Bridge, a 30-meter cast iron bridge which spans the gorge and was opened in 1781.
As early as 1934 it was designated a Scheduled Ancient Momument and closed to vehicular traffic. Tolls for pedestrians were collected until 1950, and it was at the old tollhouse that our journey across the bridge started.
Now is as good a time as any to show you what I was wearing. In order to combat the greyness of the weather, one of my Diolen delights, in a dusky pink sprinkled with an orange, yellow and green flower print, came out to play. On top, my orange leather jacket, an adequate and welcome protection against the chilliness of the wind.
The bridge, the first major bridge in the world to be made of cast iron, is a Grade I listed building and together with the Ironbridge Gorge it forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area around Ironbridge is often described as the "birthplace of the industrial revolution", owing to the fact that in the nearby village of Coalbrookdale, a certain Abraham Darby perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke, allowing for a much cheaper production of iron.
To this day, the Bridge remains an important symbol of the dawn of the industrial age.
In 2017 and 2018, English Heritage undertook a £ 3.6 million conservation project on the bridge, restoring it to its formal glory.
The Ironbridge Gorge is home to several interesting museums, which we have yet to visit. On a rainy day perhaps?
We'd brought a picnic which we ate in our car, before undertaking the 10-minute drive to our next destination.
There's a scenic but streneous walk from here to Ironbridge and back, descending into the gorge and then climbing out of it again by way of a series of wooden steps, but we decided to give it a miss, and just visit the delightful National Trust property called Benthall Hall.
Entrance is through a lychgate, and past the quaint little church of St Bartholomew’s, which has recently been acquired by the National Trust.
I found the approach to the church, by way of a path leading through what looked like a miniature wildflower meadow, particularly charming.
The current house was built in 1535 but there have been Benthalls living on this site since the medieval period. The house is still tenanted by the Benthall family today.
The family sold the house in 1844, but then bought it back several generations later, before passing it to the National Trust on condition that the family continue to live here.
The interior is stunning, with a carved oak staircase, decorated plaster ceilings and oak panelling, but photography was only partially allowed.
The cabinet on the top left is a so-called Antwerp cabinet. The room's volunteer proudly told us its story, especially after hearing that we lived near Antwerp. The cabinet dates from the 17th century and is quite rare. It was converted in the Victorian period, when drawers were put in to display a collection of butterflies and moths.
We were astonished to learn that the figurine under its glass dome on the bottom left was made from beeswax!
The gardens accomodate a kitchen garden and a carefully restored and terraced plantsman's garden, including a rockery and rose garden.
The formal garden's exhuberantly overgrown appearance was due to filming which would take place during Summer, but we actually rather liked it that way!
There's a wild garden too, which was a delight to stroll through, with a working beehive set amongs the grasses and wildflowers, which included the most exquisite Turk's Cap Lilies, and glimpses of an enchanting but unreachable thatched summer house.
We concluded our visit by having the first cream teas - the full works, consisting of scones with jam and clotted cream - of our holiday which, being us, we had with coffee instead of tea.
Sitting outside in the secluded tea room garden on this gloomy and chilly afternoon, we were sending up prayers to the weather gods for slightly warmer temperatures.
Do join me again in the next episode to find out whether our prayers were answered.