Hanging out with Sabrina

Trip Start May 22, 2010
Trip End Oct 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Alan and Alison's home

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We had an enjoyable breakfast in the conservatory, eating, chatting and spotting the occasional pigeon in the back garden. Then the five of us went into the town for a drive around and then a walk.

Our drive first took us past 'the ice house' which has a cellar in which a summer’s supply of ice would have been stored. A corner property is the one where the WW1 poet. Wilfred Owen was born. We drove over both the English and the Welsh bridges and past the independent schools (fees of about 5000 pound per term). We stopped at Charles Darwin's house long enough to take a photo. He is Shrewbury's most notable former resident. It did give us a chance to get orientated.

We then parked and walked around the centre. We liked the range of old buildings, some black and white timbered, some with brick facades and others with plasterwork. These were often side by side so there was a lot of variety on the streets. The new shopping centre has been built in keeping and is named after Charles Darwin. We saw the school he attended which is now the town library. In the main square there was a statue of Clive of India, who also came from here.

They pointed out a building that looked old but had been built in 1990. It had the old brown and white timber finish but the main beam had been carved with scenes from the day. It included Margaret Thatcher, bikes and cars with the river winding in the background.

A number of the narrow streets were called Shuts. In the past these were where the bog was drained.  We had coffee at the old Bear baiting site which was near the abbey. We had stopped at an art gallery just before this and John was taken with 2 pieces that showed a village cricket match. Other pictures were of local sights and she had also done a series which looked very summery on a rather showery day.

Further on we had a view of the railway station which is modeled on St Pancreas in London. It had been 2 stories high but a new floor was added by lifting the original 2 in the air and building a new level underneath. You could not tell from where we were that this had been done.

We walked past the castle, which has been on the site since 1083 but has been rebuilt over the centuries. It is now a museum for the local regiment.  We then went up to Laura’s Tower, a folly built by a previous owner of the castle. This gave us a great view of the city as it is the highest point. Audrey had lived here for 3 years while her husband was the Prison Governor and had also visited Alan and Alison over the years but said she had never been to this spot before.

We found the site of the Information Centre but didn’t go in. There are walking tours of the town and also a river boat trip which we will probably do on our return. The walking tours evidently include a historic walk as well as a ghost walk.

Alan then took us to the Dingle, which is at the bottom of an old quarry. It was the site of the Flower show and, although other marquees had been dismantled, we saw the one where Alison had shown her hydrangea. The gardens in the middle were at their best with the flower show having just been on.

We also saw the statue of Sabrina, the symbol of the river. Amongst the flowers were rabbits made of succulents which were very cute. The bandstand looked very fresh with a light blue and white stripes and had been well used during the show.

We again had a leisurely meal and chatted on about all sorts then Alan took John and I for a trip up one of the local hills.
It was lovely rolling countryside with lots of purple heather very soon after leaving their home. The hill was the site of a gliding club and also the launch spot for paragliders and hang gliders. The wind was just in the wrong direction for the latter but we saw a number of gliders get catapulted into the air then do leisurely circuits of the area. There were also a number of kestrels in the air, looking for food. We returned via a popular dog exercise spot which was previously the site for rope making. There was a diagram of the process at the site

We had another lovely evening. We again chatted over a delicious home cooked meal then carried on talking into the evening. We also did a few practical things like swap phone numbers and collect keys for our stay while they are away. We will leave Shrewsbury on a Monday and they will return on the Wednesday so the timing has worked out very well.
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