Monday, 11 October 2010

Powis Castle, Wroxeter and other Salopian Glories.

'Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.'
The Farmer & I have returned from our holiday in Shropshire which was both cultural & relaxing. As well as doing an enormous amount of reading, we had an excellent time visiting the wondrous gardens at Powis Castle, the extraordinary Roman ruins at Wroxeter and delicious bookshops, antique shops & galleries in Ludlow, Bishop's Castle & Much Wenlock.
Powis Castle was just beautiful and the gardens are to die for...we both now hanker after 400year old yew hedges that reach about 30ft in height. (We have the space so maybe we should plant them for our great, great, great grand-children.) The yews were magnificent and the other lovely thing there was the orchards of apple & pear trees set about beautifully clipped lawns and the woods with an amazing selection of shrubs growing in amongst the trees...hydrangeas look superb in such a setting. 
We stayed in a very comfortable cottage near Churchstoke and were  close to a hillfort that sat high above the village on a rocky outcrop. We climbed up there one late afternoon and it was worth the very steep scramble. The views across the Marches were stupendous.
The Roman ruins at Wroxeter, or Virconium, were fascinating and somewhat bizarre. The ruins are vast and are all that remains of a municipal bath-house that was in the centre of a small township. The Romans I find strange anyway, and their need to build these huge baths on the edge of the empire, in what was a very isolated outpost & settlement  is just weird.
We also visted the Acton Scott Farm Museum which was lovely. It is a breathtaking sight to walk into old stables and see each stall containing a magnificent Shire horse gleaming & brushed & ready for work. The stables here at Penyrallt must have been much the same a 100 years ago. Sadly, all that remains now are the cobbled floors and the backs of the stalls where the hay troughs had been.
The Farmer had a lovely nostalgic time at Acton Scott looking at all the old machinery and remembering his father talking about how they worked and quizzing the staff on various technicalities.

Having been home now for a couple of days life is back to normal, with the Sons both still working on silage carting for neighbours and selling some beef cattle. They had routine TB testing of the cattle last week while we were away, and everything is clear, hence being able to sell some stock today.
The weather is gorgeous so we got a lot of work done in the gardens yesterday (while dreaming of Powis).
A neighbour has given us a quantity of large shrubs that he has removed from his own garden, so we spent a long time deciding how to place them to best effect and planning the next stage of landscaping for next spring.

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