Sunday, April 29, 2007

Stokesay Castle and Ludlow

In the cottage across from us are an older couple who were sat outside the previous evening - went to the window in the bedroom this morning to find him standing outside the door gawping up at me while munching his cereal, which was a bit off putting. I may have to buy a gun.

Had a fry up to fortify ourselves for our first expedition - the bacon was from the Wenlock Edge Farm and was smashing, and the local eggs were lovely too.
We are placed just outside the edge of the forest, and the garden is full of birds.
Went outside to say hello to the small yapper-type dog who was seeing off someone walking past on the bridleway. This appears to be Hetty. Sweet little thing, despite the barking.

After having both managed to concuss ourselves on the low-hanging, extremely solid glass lightshade over the table, the first stop of the day was Stokesay Castle. A fortified 13th century manorhouse with great hall and stone tower, this was a terrific place. The rooms are full of swallows darting in and out of the open stone windows and you can wander about as you like.

We were equipped with audio guides, which I hate, it means you're surrounded by people with things clamped to their ear and the hiss of other peoples' commentaries like walkmans on the train (or is it iPods these days, I dunno). Fortunately I had the guide book which was quite enough. You can also walk round the moat which we did - it was full of lilacs and apple blossom.

We then had a cream tea (well I did, what do you mean it was only just gone lunchtime?). Which was nice, although they're not going to bankrupt themselves by being over-generous with the jam.

Next stop Ludlow, which seems to be predominently made up of shops selling posh antiquey things for doing up your house - like the contents of the average Edwardian scullery at five hunderd times the price. It's very pretty though, lots of black-and-white timber framing. We only had two hours so did a fast tour of the castle and still had time for a beer, an ice cream and a trip round Tescos. Oh yes. No slacking on this holiday.

Ludlow castle is officially the bestest castle I have ever been in, it is full of spiral staircases and creepy rooms down dark passages and a huge keep you can go all the way to the top of. I thoroughly approve. And nobody made me take an audioguide either.

Having eyed up the large collection of motorbikes parked outside the castle gate,
we went into the Chocolate Experience to have ice creams - I had blackcurrant and cream and Chris had cappuccino and moccha swirl. We sat on a bench round the corner and talked to what I like to think was the castle cat.

Quick detour into Ye Olde Bull Pen Tavern (yes, I'm a sucker for timber framing) for a swift half and then it was Tescos for a bag of assorted breakfast pig products and off in seach of petrol.

The hedgerows are lovely at this time of year, full of flowers, and occasionally you can see a pair of ears sticking up from amongst the dandelions and then see a little rabbit peeking out at you (or, judging by the frequent state of the roads, flinging itself under your wheels, but that's not quite the Beatrix Potter image I was going for).

Oh, and on the topic of roadsigns, which we weren't - they're not very complimentary about their saints round here - so far we've been told that St Owen's cross and St Mary's round (oh, please yourselves. It made me laugh).
Back home to consult the maps for tomorrow's venture. And to try the Tyrrell's sausage and mustard crisps. Take a tip, don't. They're minging.

Tonight's supper was also brought to the door, green Thai chicken curry, very nice.



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