Up The Avon

Up The Avon

Our regular readers (all two dozen of you, and very much appreciated you are) will know that there is more than one River Avon, but this is the Stratford-Upon-Avon one rather than the Kennet and Avon one, or any of the others. This one runs into the Severn at Tewkesbury while the southern one into the Bristol Channel at Avonmouth, because some people have no imagination. The views of the countryside are much better from the Avon than the Severn,…

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Just When You Thought I Was Done With The Wars Of The Roses

Just When You Thought I Was Done With The Wars Of The Roses

Tewkesbury is notable for two things, Tewkesbury Abbey, and the Battle of Tewkesbury, which ended in the abbey when the Lancastrian nobles who had claimed sanctuary there were dragged out and executed. The Battle of Tewkesbury was when Edward IV.2 in the white corner stole the crown back from Henry VI (Part 3) in the red corner, who had stolen it from Edward IV.1. Henry VI (Part 3) was a prisoner in the Tower of London at the time, so…

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King John Was Not A Good Man

King John Was Not A Good Man

We took on a new crew member today, our friend Poppy, who we know from the Bahamas. We took a walk with her past Greyfriars, which unfortunately was not open today, and then into the Cathedral. This contains the tomb of King John, who you may remember was a monarch of limited moral compass. John is mostly famous for being evil and signing the Magna Carta, the foundation of constitutional government and human rights. Of course, he immediately renounced it…

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The Importance of Bowling Alleys

The Importance of Bowling Alleys

There’a a stall in the market with owls you can pet. They are just as insane as the swans, but more lethargic because they work the night shift. Worcester as a city has not done well at preserving its past. In fact the best preserved old buildings are there mostly because they were on the same street as the city jail for two hundred years, so nobody thought it was worth building something new there. Yesterday I suggested that a…

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Onto the Severn

Onto the Severn

After a week at my brother’s we are on the move again, heading down the River Severn. The Severn was named after the Goddess Sabrina, or perhaps it is the other way round, it’s hard to tell with deities. You may notice that they don’t actually have the same name any more. You can imagine the scene in the Sabrina household. River Sabrina: Mum? Goddess Sabrina: What is it darling? And will you please stop flooding all over my kitchen…

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Black Country

Black Country

In frustration at irregular verbs, I once asked my French teacher if there was any language in which the verb to be was regular. “Yes,” he replied, “Pleck.” Pleck is a working class neighborhood in Walsall. “I’m, you’m, he’m, we’m you’m, they’m.” I got to hear to old familiar conjugation again yesterday, when we visited the Black Country Living Museum. The museum is a collection of buildings from all over the Black Country, reassembled brick by brick, to preserve the…

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Berrington Hall

Berrington Hall

Today we visited Berrington Hall, a Georgian mansion with a garden designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown. It was Brown’s genius that he could take a piece of undistinguished farmland, and by moving hills, diverting streams, replanting trees, and applying a final layer of sheep, create something that looked exactly like undistinguished farmland, but was in fact much more expensive. Looking at this view you could almost imagine that you were looking at ordinary English countryside, and not a carefully landscaped…

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Puzzle Time

Puzzle Time

We finished the last stretch of the Staffs and Worcs today, winding through narrow sandstone cuttings down to Stourport. We’ll be staying with my brother and his wife for a few days. Meanwhile, here is a puzzle for you. Our boat makes a screeching sound when the engine is going at about 1200 RPM. It starts at 1000 RPM and dies out around 1400 RPM. It happens when the engine is in forward or reverse, but not neutral. It does…

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Stewpony

Stewpony

It was a beautiful sunny day today, and we went through some lovely countryside on the way south on the Staffs and Worcs. There were quite a few locks at irregular intervals, though, so I did not have much time for photography. I couldn’t resist this one, though. The old toll house at Stewpony Lock. Nobody is quite sure where the name Stewpony came from, or even how it is spelled. Apparently “Stewponey” is also acceptable, and there was a…

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New Levels of Pre-Raphaelite Boredom

New Levels of Pre-Raphaelite Boredom

Our regular readers may remember our visit last year to Wightwick (pronunced WIT-ik) Manor, which houses a large collection of terminally boring Pre-Raphaelite paintings. I’m not going to inflict that on you again, so here’s a picture of the great hall there, which had hardly any Pre-Raphaelites visible if you look at it from here. The gardens are nice too, and there is next to no chance of being bored to tears by Pre-Raphaelites there. But oh, dear, since we…

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