BeenThere-DoneThat Blog

A blog about life and travel in Great Britain

Sun, Signals and Sabrina


We have been to Shrewsbury twice before and I have blogged both trips as you may remember. On each of those occasions it was cloudy but today was forecast to be sunny intervals. We have experienced forecasts like that before where we have two minutes of sun followed by two hours of cloud so we weren't hopeful but decided to risk it. So we started off on our third trip to Shrewsbury on the train and it turned out to be third time lucky.

I have shown you pictures of our little one carriage train before, but from the outside, so here's a picture of the inside.

You may notice that it is very popular, especially at this time of year as between 1st October and 31st March old people like us who have bus passes may travel free. This covers the whole line from Swansea in the south to Shrewsbury in the north; a total trip of around four hours. Our part of the trip from Knighton to Shrewsbury is only 50 minutes.

This is a picture of the signal box outside Shrewsbury Station. I took it from the train as we flashed past inasmuch as our little train can flash past anything. "But wait", I hear you cry, "why are you showing us pictures of a signal box.? We don't want to see pictures of signal boxes." Well, you do, but you just don't realise it yet.

This signal box was built in 1903 and is the largest mechanical signal box in the world which is still working. There, you can't fail to be impressed by that can you? When I first saw it I thought it was big but I didn't think it was THAT big.

We emerged from the station into a sunny Shrewsbury and headed south east along Castle Gates. We hadn't gone far when we realised that we had just passed some some steps and we thought 'I wonder where they go?'. Well we had to find out didn't we? The steps led us up to a higher level walkway and I spotted this view.

What do you think that building is? A stately home, a museum perhaps or even a prison. Nope! None of those. It is, in fact, Shrewsbury Railway Station. Quite impressive for a railway station eh? Built in 1848 it is now designated a grade II listed building.

We went back down the steps and after a short walk entered Shrewsbury Castle grounds. Bearing right along a path which was sloping upward we eventually arrived here at the top of a knoll. This is Laura's Tower built by Thomas Telford, in 1790, for Laura, the daughter of Sir William Pulteney, as a summer house.

There are some impressive views to be had from the top of this knoll although some of them are obscured by trees. Luckily for us it was March and there were no leaves on the trees so we had some lovely clear views such as this one along the River Severn. Incidentally the steps and walkway we decided to follow earlier would have taken us across that footbridge but we didn't want to spend time going that far today.

After a surfeit of views over the town we went back down to ground level and continued our walk through the town along Castle Street then Pride Hill where we turned into Butcher Row and saw this fine timber-framed building.

The timber-framed building shown below is at the south-east end of Butcher Row and on the corner of Fish Street which runs across the top of Grope Lane which I have mentioned in previous posts. This particular building still has its original frontage with the deep window sills on which the merchants would have displayed their wares.

We went back along Butcher Row and turned left along Pride Hill heading south-west. We eventually reached St. Chad's Terrace where we found (you've guesssed it) St. Chad's Church. Built in the 1700s, so not that old, but quite an impressive and unusual church. It created a stir at the time because it had a circular nave. 

I was hoping to get a photograph of Ebeneezer Scrooge's gravestone in the churchyard but we couldn't find it. Yes we know that Scrooge was a fictional character but the churchyard was used in the making of the film and the gravestone was left when filming was finished. It is still there somewhere.

The circular nave is unique, with pews arranged like a maze and Charles Darwin was baptised in St Chad’s Church.

Just across the road is the Quarry park which incorporates the Dingle. Dingle, apparently, is another name for a Dell. Either way it's a very attractive garden and there were plenty of blooms in spite of it being the middle of March.

This view shows St. Chad's Church, with its very tall tower, in the background.

This statue of Sabrina was created in 1846 by Peter Hollins of Birmingham for the Earl of Bradford. A folk etymology developed, deriving the name from a mythical story of a nymph, Sabrina, who drowned in the River Severn nearby and Sabrina is also the goddess of the River Severn in Celtic mythology.

That, however, is not the only Sabrina, as there is a boat called Sabrina which takes visitors for a cruise around Shrewsbury on the river. It was very convenient that it happened to come along as I was photographing the river.

After our last two visits Amanda wasn't particularly enamoured of Shrewsbury but she says now that she is really beginning to like it. We are, of course, planning to come again in the warmer weather when the leaves are on the trees.

We caught the train back home where we arrived without incident.

I suppose that that was our first 'proper' trip of the year. More trips to come I hope.

Ludlow and Leintwardine

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We went to Ludlow recently to do some shopping. We had visited Ludlow twice before we moved to Wales and, as we were staying at a hotel both times, we had free parking provided by the hotel. When we were walking around the town we noted that there was some free roadside parking although limited to around 2 hours at a time. This time we noted that if there was a space big enough to park a car then Ludlow will make you pay for it.

We didn't have to pay for parking as the supermarket had their own parking and so did the other shop we went to. Did you know that my middle name is 'Scrooge'? cheeky

On ther way to Ludlow we noticed many places where there were Snowdrops flowering on the road verges so on the way back, near Leintwardine, we stopped to take photographs.

The hill in the centre of the horizon partly masked by the small tree is Titterstone Clee Hill which we climbed when we first visited Ludlow. Amanda tells me that these Snowdrops will have gone by the end of the month.

A little further towards home we stopped in Leintwardine to photograph the bridge.

It's a lovely old bridge so I took a view of each side. I shall take some more photographs when the sun is shining.

Incidentally Leintwardine is pronounced Lent-war-deen.

To England and back


It's now early March and we haven't done any 'walking' this year yet. That doesn't include any usual walking like going to the shops and the walking about one does during normal activites. It was sunny this morning but it is forecast to rain heavily this afternoon so the time for a walk is now!

This is mainly for exercise and follows a 2 mile route we have already used for exercise and takes about 30 – 40 minutes. We leave home, head for the railway station where we cross both the river and the Welsh/English border, walk along below Panpunton Hill, turn left when we reach the Offa'sDyke path, cross the railway and the river arriving at this spot.

You should be able to see three things. The town in the distance, the rather mucky foreground and the cloud building up already. Continuing onward we soon arrive at a point just below the Offa's Dyke Centre.

The English/Welsh border is halfway across the footbridge and is shown by a yellow stripe with a yellow footprint either side (which you can see more easily in the larger picture)  for those people who may want to stand with one foot in England and one foot in Wales. I think that about half this walk is in England with the other half being in Wales. An international walk. cheeky

Back into Wales we go up from river level to the Offa's Dyke Centre, down into the town centre and then off to home. I think that's enough walking for this year so see you next year. devil

Tickets by the yard


We went to Birmingham on Tuesday by train, via Shrewsbury, although not for our own amusement. We have been to Shrewsbury by train before and on that occasion we also bought our tickets on the train. At that time the tickets were issued from a small portable machine which the ticket man carried with him and were about credit card size.

They have obviously changed their ticket machines because on this journey this is what we were given:

Just below the ticket is a transparent foot rule for comparison.

The left-hand half is for the outward journey and the right-hand half for the return journey. But doesn't it strike you as a little excessive? Perhaps the train operating company has shares in a paper mill. cheekysurprise


A well decorated footpath


In 5 days we will have been living here for 1 year. Near our house there is a footpath running from one road up to a higher road and this year there have appeared a lot of Crocuses along the edge which we either hadn't seen last year or hadn't noticed although I don't think we could have missed them if they'd been there.

They aren't wild but still very pretty. There is a garden at the top of the wall which cannot be seen in the picture and that has lots of similar Crocuses so I expect that they have seeded onto the footpath. It's very nice to have some bright colour showing after winter.

Spring is on its way. Whoo Hoo!


Time to catch a tram

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We are just back from a short shopping trip.

We drove the short distance to Kington in Shropshire where Amanda wanted to visit a small garden centre as did I. As they were 'Hozelock, agents I was hoping that they would have a hose reel on a small trolley (which can be trundled around the garden with little effort), where the hose is completely enclosed, and they did. Whoopee. We need a hose! Amanda bought one plant and a few odds and ends.

We then drove a little further to Eardisley, one of the villages on the Black & White Trail, not to look at the village but to visit a bookshop/pub. It is an odd combination. They provide food, as well as books, and have many good reviews so we were hoping to have lunch there and Amanda wanted to look round their books. Typically they are closed until the end of the month for redecoration. Bummer!

So, where to get lunch now? sad

Opposite, on the other side of the road was another pub, The Tram Inn, so we decided to try that. Apparently in 1816 there was a horse drawn tramway constructed running from Hay-on-Wye to Eardisley bringing coal from Brecon. It was for industrial use only and not for moving people. The 17th century inn was already in existence but was renamed to celebrate the arrival of the tramway.

Our lunch turned out to be excellent and beautifully presented such that we would be more than happy to go there again.

No photographs this time. The weather was dry but the cloud was rather low such that when we climbed onto higher ground we went into the cloud. We will probably be back in better weather. cool


Another New Year – 2017

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Well it's the first day of the new year and it's pouring with rain. I hope that's not an indication of how it's going to carry on as we have numerous plans for various trips this year.

Last thursday Amanda had the first of two planned cataract operations and that is, so far, progressing well. When we go travelling she'll be able to see her surroundings properly again. yes

Happy New Year to all .smilies

Happy Christmas


A Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our visitors and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.


A frosty reception


That's what we had this morning.

I mentioned previously that we had had a very cold night (for Britain) on Tuesday and that continued last night with temperatures forecast to go down to about the same as the night before i.e. around 27F. Amanda put the thermometer out first thing this morning and after leaving it for 15 minutes it read 19F. sad

It should be above freezing tonight! smiley

I'll leave you with some pictures in our garden.

It will be December tomorrow!


Houses, Water and Fungi

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We have lived in Knighton for eight months now and I have walked past this house on the main road through the town centre many times without noticing it at all. That may seem unbelievable but it is set back from the road in a narrow little courtyard so perhaps I might be excused. Even so it is the oldest house in Knighton dating back to the fourteenth century and I managed to miss it until now. sad

The facade was actually replaced in the 17th century but the house behind it is a Cruck-framed construction from the 14th century. I have no idea how large, or small, it is inside. I have now also added this to the the Knighton web pages.


About a week ago we had some heavy rain. I mean HEAVY! It went on for a day or two and the stream which runs alongside our garden changed a little in that time. This it what it looks like under normal conditions.

After the rain stopped it was like this.

We are not in any danger of being flooded but it was moderately impressive all the same. It seems worse when you can hear the rushing water as well. The weather is a bit different now. Clear sky and sun this morning but one pays a penalty for that. Last nigh was the coldest that we have experienced since we've been here at, according to the weather forecast, 27F. Amanda looked at the Min/Max thermometer in her greenhouse and that read 20F. We don't want too much of that.


This is an 'Inkcap' fungus soon after it appeared above ground. So why 'Inkcap'?

After a few days it starts to open up from the bottom when you may see why it has that particular name.

A few days later it has progressed a bit more.

And then a bit more.

Until the final stage. Not a pretty sight.