We are traveling by train from Shrewsbury England to Edinburgh Scotland today. With all of our tourista activities, I’ve been a bit slack on posting some of our recent events; so I will use today’s post to catch up with some of the activities of the past few days. On Wednesday we were still in Oxfordshire and Miss Cyd had a free day from teaching, so we took a local bus out toward Woodstock to visit Blenheim Palace. The Winston Churchill exhibition was very nice and we toured the ground floor of the palace. Since the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family were in residence, tours were limited to that floor. The garden and the grounds are beautiful and quite extensive. Pheasants and geese wandered around posing for the tourists. The next time we come back, we plan to come earlier in the day and spend some time on the grounds sketching and painting.
Yesterday (Saturday) we took a very nice walk in Shrewsbury along the River Severn around and through the Quarry, which is a most excellent park right in the middle of town and bordered by the Severn. After our walk, we watched the final match of the Six Nations Rugby Championship between England and France at the Old Post Office Free House. It was very interesting to note the sectarian rooters in the pub. There was a distinct dividing line between the English fans and the Welsh fans on either side of the great room. The Welsh were not cheering so much for France as they were rooting against England since the final match started with Ireland, Wales, and England in the 1, 2, and 3 positions, respectively in the tournament. England had to win to take over second place, but could have moved up to 1st and won the tournament with a win and a point differential of 27 over France. Needless to say, the partisan cheering was immense for each point scored. Sadly for both the English and the Welsh fans, the English team won, but did not achieve the necessary point differential to unseat the Irish, so the final standings for the Six Nations was Ireland, England, Wales, France, Italy, and Scotland. Although we are not rugby fans, it was quite the entertaining afternoon when bolstered by some Old Hobgoblin Ale served up nicely in a Wychwood glass. It almost made my Dumbledore persona appear (but fortunately, not quite 😉 ).
It has been very pleasant to tour a part of the United Kingdom that we had never seen before. Wales, at least the eastern part that we saw, is very beautiful. On our way back to Shrewsbury from our Colinette Yarn tour, Sam took us by the Horseshoe Inn for some homemade apple sausages and mash. This venerable pub is very close to the Three Tuns brewery, which is the oldest brewery in England, so we had some very good Three Tuns XXX Ale. Being the old border rat that I am, I called it Tres Equis and it was every bit as good as my standard Arizona brew: Dos Equis. One of my daughter’s good friends lives on the north coast of Wales. Although we did not have time in our schedule to go visit with her on this trip, when we come back in August, it would be very nice to see more of Wales, particularly the coastal area along the Irish Sea where she and her family live.
Now we are heading north for the colder environs of Scotland. My mother’s family came from the southern part of Scotland and was known by the English for being persistent border raiders. One of my goals for the Edinburgh trip is to find some excellent examples of the family tartan and pick up a nice woolen scarf for me and some ties for my uncles John and Jimmy.
Joe and Cyd