Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Visiting the UK: Part Five

The next lovely day in the UK dawned with a bit of rain. It was the only rain I saw during my trip (!) so I didn't mind hauling out my rain coat for the day. It was also my last full day in England and I was fast losing time to take pictures around A's property. So, I started by taking a picture of one of the resident squirrels (A told me not to photograph him!) kept in line by the cool bird feeder cones at the top of the picture.

Next a few pictures of her flowers that I took just before we headed off for our routine day trip with the dogs.

Hydrangeas in any form are still one of my favourites.

Our first port of call for the day was to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford. Having been married to an Air Force guy for twenty years, I've learned to appreciate an airplane or two. A is also a veteran of the RAF herself so this place certainly holds a special importance. It was really neat to walk around the different aircraft and for A to describe what particular airplanes were for like loading and unloading cargo and I got to hear some funny stories about working in cramped spaces and health and safety codes or lack thereof.

I tried to keep my pictures strictly to details of the museum that I hadn't seen before. I've seen a few air craft in my time and have attended a few air shows, one of which being the Paris Air Show, so I was fairly picky. My FIL (Father In Law) is likely reading this right now wishing I hadn't been as picky:)!

I loved the history of flight information as you enter the museum, especially the 'first women to do...' segments scattered throughout.

Very well done indeed.

This folding motorcycle was a surprise to me. They were actually dropped in parachute containers from aircrafts for use by the Allied invasion forces because they could be unfolded and made ready for use very quickly!

Isn't this aircraft amazing?

A picture from the Cold War section of the museum which was extensive and very well done.

I hope I didn't walk through the museum too quickly. It was first class and I would highly recommend any flight buff having a look but it was also very overwhelming. I think you could easily spend a day reading each placard and oh and ah-ing over the displays. However, A and I had some important business to attend to in another village she wanted to show me - lunch.

Off we pootled to Ironbridge so named for the fantastic iron bridge located there. Please click on the following picture to read about the bridge in detail. A fascinating history and it has been really well kept. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.

View while standing in the middle of the bridge looking upstream.
Click on this one to enlarge. I found it really funny.

The village of Ironbridge is charming as well. Quaint little houses and cottages built up the sides of the valley. Cobble stone streets and some construction on the buildings in keeping with the town looking gorgeous and well kept.

This is the best view of the bridge that I could get just after A, the dogs and I left a fish and chips shop with our take away. Sadly, I didn't get more photographs of the town as I had a camera and fish and chips in one hand and a dog on a leash in the other hand. Trust me when I say you want to visit Ironbridge though. Simply gorgeous though I think I've said that a lot throughout this whole trip, haven't I?

As I'd mentioned, time was running short so after our return home, I headed up in the back of A's property to take some pastoral pictures of her part of the world to keep my memory alive. Isn't she and her family lucky, lucky, lucky?

If you click on the picture above, you'll see a pheasant. Not the best picture of a pheasant but a pheasant none the less. The first time I saw one at A's place when I arrived was to exclaim "Oh look! Is that a peacock?" to which A laughingly replied, 'No, that's a pheasant.' I called them English Peacocks for the rest of the trip.

Isn't this gorgeous?

And those lambs (who, incidentally, were down in A's backyard with their mother's a day or two before I arrived)!

Nothing but wide open spaces at the top of the mountain she and her family lives on.

One of the rabbits that provide hours of entertainment for the resident canines. 

Speaking of canines, aren't these just the most beautiful specimens?

Look at me sitting in the passenger seat on
the wrong side of the car! Weeeeee (no, I don't get out much...)!
 And onto day six and that last day of my holidays tomorrow. Bored yet?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Visiting the UK: Part Four

It is lovely to be compiling these little stories about my trip. I love writing and these renditions will ensure I don't forget the little details as time goes on. On with the show...

This was another day of waking up at 8:30 AM which became my habit. This lovely, sunny day A, her two beautiful Hungarian Vizslas and I drove into Wales and into the village of Llangollen. A and her family are lucky to live quite close to the Welsh border. It turns out my ability to pronounce Welsh is abysmal so I stopped ruining the language after a couple of attempts. However, one lovely Welsh gentleman did stop to teach me how to say 'Good morning' in Welsh while we were walking along the canal.

Initially we walked the dogs along the river but went up just a little ways from where we'd parked so that I could see the River Dee and then we headed across the river to walk along the canal. I love canals and have been lucky to see them in several countries in person. This canal is no different in its beauty and gentleness.

I would love to go for a day trip along a canal in one of these barges. To be honest, what I'd really like would be to get inside one and look around. One that's lived in or used for overnight tours would be best. Any takers?

I've never been lucky enough to see a horse drawn barge before. This one was filled to the brim with school children. What a lucky bunch to have this type of outing during the school year!

We also saw a group learning how to canoe and a solo kayaker in his river kayak making the journey - commute? - via canal.

From the Dee Bridge 
As you can see, Llangollen is simply gorgeous and, I'm afraid, yet another place I'd love to go back to and explore. As it was fairly far from home and we had the end of the school day approaching, we headed back into town for a just a quick lunch at a cafe. You can see the one we went to, the one to the right of the white building a little further up river - grey stone. You can't see it from here but there's a water wheel just behind that lovely wooden railing.

Looking back at the bridge from the cafe.
I didn't note that name of the cafe we visited but the fish and chips I had was delicious. The doggies weren't content there but one of the cafe staff came out to ensure we felt perfectly at home, dogs and all. I love places that not only cater to humans but to dogs too - water bowls provided and everything.

A poor quality picture of the water wheel.
Just up the road, is a remarkable feat of engineering by Thomas Telford. Through the Vale of Llangollen can be found Britain's largest aqueduct at 126 feet above ground.

You can walk right alongside the canal boats as they traverse the aqueduct. 

 Neither of my photographs do justice to the shear height and length of this massive structure.

I will tell you that this is still the River Dee if you want to reference the above pictures which I took from just above the river. I am way up in the air here.

Across the Vale.
The best side view I could get.
The end of our adventure was spent winding and wending down one lane roads back to A's in time for the school run. A went off to pick up her youngest, I,  and I got to be entertained by her eldest, O, and, of course, the dogs one of which is only six months old so eternally entertaining!

By this time, our evenings had morphed into a bit of a routine. A made tea while O and his younger brother (I) worked on homework or played. Both children were/are a delight and it was wonderful to see them two years older than when they'd left NL. O is growing up into such a lovely young man; I quite enjoyed him. I is just a cutie and still very much a playful little boy and SO cute in his uniform! After tea and me washing up - the very least I could do for my room and board - A got the boys off to bed and I enjoyed knitting (or re-knitting I should qualify. That darn heel flap almost did me in!). 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five on Friday 26 May 2016 Edition

We went camping over the Victoria Day long weekend at my brothers' cabin with one of my brothers and his family making it a short work/school week. Our first night of tenting in 2016 and it was lovely. The black flies were definitely biting but not all the time so we managed quite well. I will write more about the weekend once my UK trip diary is exhausted but I will tell you that the boys had fishing on the brain!

This one was too small and went back into the pond.
I continue on with my sock. Have I whined enough about it yet? There is an end in sight. I think I'll enjoy knitting sock number two. I hope I'll enjoy knitting sock number two.

Middlest brought a ladybug in for a photograph this week. I love those little hands that are growing too fast. I like to capture these little moments especially for DH who, naturally, left for work travel almost as soon as I got back from the UK.

Youngest is into dinkies this week. I love the colours!

And on Thursday, myself and three boys went for a walk down the East Coast trail across from our house. It was grey and overcast but still a lovely, albeit cold 6 degree hike (after 23 degrees the day before!!!). Here is a glimpse into the scenery. Gorgeous, eh? The walk was followed up by Middlest accidentally breaking our house key off in the lock, me swearing a lot, going to a neighbours to use their phone and call my SIL to see if she was home and driving into St. John's to get our extra house key. An hour wasted and one which threw me off my schedule quite a bit. That's life though I guess.

I am sharing this post with Amy over at Love Made My Home again. What a lovely link party! Do check out the other bloggers posts when you have the chance. It's nice to read something new!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Visiting the UK: Part Three

The next day, after A's boys were safely off at their schools and I had a lie in (8:30 UK time, 5:30 according to my body), A and I headed off to Shrewsbury and its gorgeous streets.

There were alleys and timber framed Tudor styled buildings bearing ancient names such as Grope Lane. There are a variety of theories as to the origin of the name 'Grope Lane' two of which are 1) the alley being narrow and dark in medieval times so you would have to 'grope'  your way along it and 2) that it was a street where prostitutes would advertise their wares. 

As you can see, Shrewsbury is certainly worth visiting if you are in this area of Shropshire and not just because of the fancy street names.

I love the types of details that only seem to be found in old buildings nowadays. The scrollwork on these windows is striking.

Too bad the owners weren't hosting an open house so we could have seen these windows from the inside with the light glowing through them.

While I was taking a picture of this house, a lovely and knowledgeable lady stopped to comment on the building's striking architecture and how it used to be used by the City Council. Sadly, the Council has moved onto more 'modern' buildings. Can you imagine going to work in this building every morning?

More pictures looking from the main road into wee alleys and gardens as well as along the main streets...

We also managed to visit Shrewsbury Abbey which was a bit of a highlight for me as the Brother Cadfael mysteries are based from this Abbey. As you can see below, the Abbey is a beautiful structure and place of worship. The Lady Chapel, which I neglected to photograph, is equally stunning. I often find that I prefer Lady Chapels in large places of worship probably because they are smaller and more intimate.

I took this photograph to inspire myself with the quality of the embroidery. It's a pipe dream of mine to eventually take an embroidery course(s) from the Royal School of Needlework during a UK visit. Isn't it striking?

This is just one of the stunning windows surrounding the Abbey. This one caught my eye as it is about a female saint, Saint Winifred. The legend under the window said that she was becoming a nun but was almost raped by a man named Caradoc. She fought back and was decapitated by him. Her head rolled to her Uncle, Saint Beuno, who placed her head back on her body and she was healed, forever marked by a circular scar around her neck. After his attack, Caradoc's body was absorbed into the ground and he was never seen again. Shivers.

Another details from outside a shop window.

Happily, A and I found The Lion Hotel and treated ourselves to an Afternoon Tea for a very reasonable price. Sadly, my pictures of the tea itself came out too blurry to use here but I think you can get a sense from these pictures that we had fun! Cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, to name a few, cakes and, my favourite, clotted cream with scones and jam. Can you say 'Yum'???

Isn't she gorgeous?
After our tea and a brief walk along the river, A brought me through The Quarry, a gorgeous garden in a former - ahem - quarry. Why doesn't my back yard look like this? Inspirational for sure.

I love this wagon feature!

I have many, many more pictures of this gorgeous city but decided that you might want to do something else today;)! Before I go, here is the progress I was then making my sock, ready to start the heel then turn it. Too bad I had to do that four times over the course of my holiday before I got it right!