Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Farewell to the blue remembered hills

It was the Thursday of our second week and, as our holiday was nearing its sell-by date, we were starting to feel just a tiny bit morose. We could get used to this, we mused. To the peace and quiet, the sense of freedom, the not having to do anything we didn't feel like doing. Oh, I know very well that all good things must somehow come to an end, but it is getting harder and harder each time to leave the good life behind for the hamster wheel of daily life.

So far, we had been taking each day as it presented itself, often making spur of the moment decisions while having a leisurely breakfast washed down with copious cups of coffee.

This day was no exception, but we lingered a bit longer than usual, as it dawned on us that yet again we hadn't even scratched the surface of what Shropshire has to offer. Having finally come to a decision, it was past 10.30 when we were on the road. The destination we entered into our Satnav was one which might sound familiar. Indeed, we already visited the charming black-and-white and up- and-down town of Brigdnorth on our very first day.

After parking our car, we walked towards the bustling High Street, which features several fine 17th century buildings, including the Town hall (above, bottom right). There's also no shortage of charity shops, but by the time our stomachs told us it was time for lunch, we'd only found a shirt for Jos.

Lunch was had at the local Wetherspoon's - where else - which was packed to the rafters, so that we had a bit of a wait.

Then we ambled around the corner and uphill from the High Street towards the highest point of the town, where St. Leonard's Church is taking pride of place in a peaceful close of its own.

The current church, which is built in the rich red coloured local sandstone, dates from the second half of the 17th century and was extensively restored in the mid-19th century.

Inside, the church which is redundant and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building, has the airiness of a cathedral.

As Bridgnorth is a town with a split personality, and we'd arrived in High Town, our aim was to visit its other half, which rather unsurprisingly is called Low Town and nestles on the banks of the River Severn.

We decided against taking St. Leonard's Steps, leading down from the church close, and just one of a total of seven sets of steps connecting the town's two halves. 

Instead, we took the steep and winding Cartway which until 1786 was the only route between the two and which at one point had some 50 pubs along its length.

A number of caves, which were once used as dwellings, were dug out of the sandstone cliff, their boarded up remains commemorated by plaques. There were plaques on some of the houses too, although not all of them were of historical value!

At the bottom of Cartway is Bishop Percy's House, an ornate timer-framed house built in 1580 by wealthy barge owner Richard Forster. It opened as a tea room in 2018, after five years of extensive renovations. Obviously, we couldn't pass the opportunity to have our version of afternoon tea, which included a slice of delicious cheese cake.

The flower filled quayside in Lower Town was the perfect place to show you what I was wearing on this perfect Summer's day. You've seen it all before: my curtain couture maxi skirt and orange polka dot blouse accessorized with a chocolate brown leather belt and a yellow beaded necklace .

The fiery orange and yellow flowers on the bottom right are trying their best to compete with my outfit but failing miserably. The locomotive artwork in the same photo is called Train of Thought and is part of an Art Trail throughout the town.

What comes down must go up, but in this case up was quite a climb, so we took the Cliff Railway instead, which only takes a matter of mere minutes. Not for the faint-hearted, though, as it really is rather steep!

Back on Castle Walk in High Town, we were rewarded by this breath-taking view of Lower Town and the Severn Valley. We took our time to sit down on a bench and stare at the bird's eye view of the  Lilliput world at our feet.

Back at the cowshed, we enjoyed this silky smooth indigo and pink sunset, which was the perfect conclusion of our day.

How bittersweet is the last day of the holidays? There's a lump in your throat and your heart feels heavy at the thought that once again, those longed-for two weeks are over. 

The blue skies that greeted us that morning spurred us on to make the most of the time we had left, so we packed a picnic and hopped over the border to Wales.

Our destination that day was a small but perfectly formed historic market town called Montgomery, which is set into the rolling Mid Wales Marches countryside.

After posting a letter to a blogger friend at the small post office, we crossed the road to investigage the delightful St. Nicholas Church.

The Grade I listed church has its origins in the 13th century and harbours delights such as beautiful stained glass, a hammer-beam roof and the magnificent 16th-century canopied Herbert tomb. Richard Herbert (d. 1593) was the lord of Montgomery Castle, and father of the poet and cleric George Herbert.

And let's not forget the disco ball!

For our final holiday picnic, we were determined to have one with a spectacular view. So we climbed the steep lane leading from The Dragon Hotel towards the remains of the 13th century Montgomery Castle.

Slightly out of breath after our exersion in the blazing midday sun, we were delighted to find a shady gazebo waiting for us. How perfect! We didn't have it to ourselves for long though, as it proved to be a popular spot for spending one's lunch break.

Perched on a rocky ridge above the town, with all-seeing views across the Welsh border, the castle's ruins which are managed by CADW, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, are very atmospheric.

Montgomery’s stone castle, commenced in 1223, replaced a nearby wooden fort known as Hen Domen. 

Look at that stunning view behind me! I could have sat and gazed into the distance for hours, at the fields of green, and those hazy hills, and that long straight road leading who knows where, but sadly our time was up. 

So, we drove back - along that long and straight road - to the cowshed one last time to pack our bags and mentally prepare ourselves for the journey ahead.

Fast forward one day, and here I am, enjoying my last beverage on English soil at the Eurotunnel terminal. I can't wait to be back ...

And so this travelogue, like our holiday, has come to an end. But there's no reason for tears, as in less than two weeks, we'll be off on our annual trip to Belgium's west country.

Until then, there will be outfits and other things to catch up on!


  1. Ah, I love your travel posts, Ann! They are so fun! Things that caught my eye:
    - That beautiful sandstone in that lovely church.
    - Yum, cheesecake!
    - LOL at "curtain couture"!
    - You look divine in that hat!
    - Beautiful sunsets - we've been having them like that lately too.
    - The church's disco ball! Of course it has a disco ball!
    - Castle ruins. How magnificent.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful tales of adventure! I feel like an armchair traveler getting to see so many places I will never go! Looking forward to your next travel installment.

    Have a wonderful week, Ann!

    1. It give me great pleasure knowing that you love my travel post. I love writing them too! I didn't actually coin the phrase "curtain couture", but thought it was apt, as I'm sure the skirt started life as a curtain ;-) xxx

  2. I love your colourful outfit with that beuatiful maxi skirt and it looks like you really made the most of your time on holiday - you saw so many great things! :)

    I've never been to Wales but I hear all of it is just as beautiful as your photos at the end there - I'd love to see it in person one day!

    Hope that your week is going well :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Thank you Mica, and I actually think Wales is even more beautiful in real life! xxx

  3. I enjoy these travel posts so much! Thank you for taking the time to put them together.

    1. Thank you Goody, your comment means a lot to me! xxx

  4. After holiday is before holiday :) I feel melancholie too if the holiday ends.
    I love this trip with you. Stunning pictures and views. Imeould like to eat cheesecake immediately:))
    A very huge hug Tina

    1. Thank you Tina! Very excited about our upcoming trip ... and maybe we'll go to Zeeland again in November! xxx

  5. Yup, getting back on the hamster wheel is never much fun... Can't wait to get off it for a week myself. It's been lovely having a little break through your photos!

    1. It really is, and it's getting more difficult with age. Also, because Jos is retired. I'm sure you're looking forward to your week off! xxx

  6. Ah, the melancholy of the last day of vacation, always a downer.

    You guys did manage to squeeze every little bit of joy our of your vacation though and you've got the photos to prove it.

    I like that photo of the red door next to the blue door. It reminds me of the Matrix, do you want the red pill or the blue pill? LOL



    1. Thank you Suzanne! They surely can't take away our memories, photographic or otherwise. Love your Matrix reference ;-) xxx

  7. So lovely to read your travelogues Anne! I love your little photo vignettes. What a splendid view for your last days picnic! Looking forward to hearing about your trip in Belgium too.

  8. I enjoy so much these travel posts!!. And totally agree that last days of a holiday bring a bittersweet feeling!.
    Love your curtain couture skirt and polka dot shirt in those fab orange shades. You look gorgeous in them!.
    And I really love your pictures of those framed façades, the steps, the signs and details are amazing. The Cliff railway and the 13th century church are so fabulous!, and the castle and amazing views!

    1. Thank you Monica! I'm sure you'd love Bridgnorth! It's really got it all! xxx

  9. All good things come to an end sad to say Ann, but then there’s always next year when you get to do it all again. Y friend Tina was sorry to have missed you in her shop in Montgomery. I’m glad you got to see the town it’s so pretty.
    We are at the caravan now and the weather hasn’t been brilliant. If it doesn’t pick up we may go home early I think xxx

    1. I do hope your weather has improved and you didn't have to go home early! I was sorry to have missed Tina too! xxx

  10. One of the best things about going on a vacation is the liberty of planning our days as we would like and taking things slowly, taking one day at the time. No wonder that our vacation seems to always fly by so quickly.

    You look fabulous in all of your summer looks. That orange and red styling with a maxi skirt looks gorgeous. I also like that floral dress you wore. Lovely travel photographs as well. It is always s pleasure to read about your travels.

    1. Thank you Ivana, I'm so pleased you love reading my travelogues, especially as it is something you are doing so well yourself. xxx

  11. thank you for taking me with you around this picturesque town!
    and you really give the flowers a run for their money in your orange hued ensemble.....
    my last travel was in 2015.....so i make the effort to put interest, freedom and glamour in the daily life. sometimes succesful :-D
    hugest of hugs! xxxxxxx

    1. It's been my pleasure, Beate! I'm trying to put interest and especially glamour into my daily life too. It's just the freedom that's lacking! xxx

  12. It's been lovely to share your holiday and great to hear you enjoyed it so much. I hope your break in Belgium is fun too, look forward to hearing about it and seeing your wonderful photos.xxx

    1. Thank you Sally, and I loved sharing my holiday with you. These are my favourite posts to write as well. xxx

  13. Phew - I think I might have caught up!! What a fab holiday you both had.
    Lovely to see Bridgnorth again. I bumped into a lady who reads my blog at a festival and she told me that her Dad used to run the ticket office for the funacular railway when she was a little girl.
    Gorgeous bit of curtain couture.
    Same time next year? xxxx

    1. What are the chances, eh? Yes, definitely same time next year, if bloody Brexit doesn't put a spanner in the works! xxx