Sunday 5th to Sunday 12th February 2012.

Highlights this week are snow, ice and Shrewsbury.

Most of us have had ice so I’ll not exaggerate, we only had a couple of inches. The ice wasn’t too thick for a Beta 43 engine but we decided not to upset the permies on the off-side because we’ll see them again when we come back this way.
mkt drayton

The few boats that exist on the 48s are all staying put, but we’re watching each other like hawks to see who will give up first and make a break for it. We’ve got to know most of the locals, patted hundreds of dogs, heard about the best fishing spots (the marina has 28 lb-ers) and sampled Asda, Morrisons and the fudge boat (Heather and Tony).

Our highlight of the week (mostly to stop ourselves going stir-crazy) was a bus trip to Shrewsbury. With the exception of the bus station we found it to be a charming place, full of timbered buildings all claiming to have provided a bed for King Charles 1st.
If he really stayed overnight everywhere it is claimed then he must have spent the best part of his life in Shrewsbury.
But the Gateway House takes the biscuit by claiming two kings – Charles and James, though not on the same night.
gateway house

Having watched Portillo’s railway programmes where he stopped at Shrewsbury and asked the locals how the name was pronounced, I decided to find out for myself. Where better to ask than at the town’s museum. We got the same answer as did Mr P, “depends where you come from”, a great help I must say.

We saw a few interesting museum exhibits but signage is so bad that you finish up skipping things.
V thought it was a bit dis-jointed, one didn’t learn enough about Shrewsbury, there were huge gaps in the town’s history and little to tie loose ends together. The only thing that stuck in my mind was that Darwin, with too much cash and an overactive imagination, died in 1882.

The town is well worth a visit for the architecture alone. Every corner prompts questions, like who made this and why?
wood carving

Some of the builders are suspect, this one’s plumb line must have had flat batteries the day he put this house up.
lean to

They knew what they were doing back in the stone days, the Abbey is as straight as the day it was constructed. Bits missing, thanks to another King, have left the main building a tad on the short side but someone has added an extension which gives the interior a curious mix (dare I say clash) of designs.

Mr. Telford has also been here adding his six pennyworth and the abbey grounds got carved up to accommodate his new road.

English Bridge over the River Severn was a picture in the sunshine.
English bridge

The regimental museum was closed but the best bit was outside the wall of the castle guarding the gate.

Plenty of stalls at the indoor market pushing meat, veg, cards and wool but apart from book stalls I found nothing for blokes.
indoor market

On reflection it was a good day out. Terribly cold and lots of up and down hills but well worth a re-visit.

We spent the return journey at the back of the bus listening to a discussion on the merits of Sims 3 and Sims for DS. We were entertained by two young students comparing their successes (and failures) at keeping people alive in these programs and I was fascinated, though not tempted, by the detail of virtual family life. And homework wasn’t mentioned once.

If forecasts are to be believed then we shall be on our way tomorrow (Monday).
Ice on the canal, by then, should be manageable and it only remains to see how we cope with ice at the locks.
I’m a stickler for safety particularly as I dipped a leg in the canal the other day and have a few bruises to remind me that worn shoes and towpath ice don’t go together.