We’re in London now but the penultimate stop on our trip was Oswestry, a tiny little town on the border with Wales. Apparently this area was the motivation for many of the original Little Britain characters! We stayed with another friend who crashed with us once in North Lambton, Ben Leonard. Ben lives with his dad who went to college with Sam’s dad. It was great catching up with him and fantastic to meet his dad.
On the way down from Huddersfield we stopped in at Liverpool (necessary for any Beatles fan visiting the UK). Had a nice lunch at Albert Docks and then had a look through the Beatles Experience, which is a museum that traces the story of the Beatles… we really enjoyed it.
We arrived at Oswestry late in the afternoon and chatted to Ben for a while before doing some long overdue laundry! He suggested Chinese for dinner and I’ll admit that I was a little dubious (we’re a long way from Beijing and I didn’t think there were many Chinese immigrants around these parts). I was proved wrong though, the duck pancakes were divine!
The next day we ventured into Wales. Oswestry is actually so close to the Border that we drove through part of Wales on the way from Liverpool without even realising until we were back in England. There was a lake not too far over the border that was created with a dam to supply fresh water for Liverpool back in the 19th century. They had a flood a village in the process and although no one was hurt (they bought them out and filling the dam took 7 years) it’s still kind of creepy to see the houses underneath the water. We couldn’t see much as the lake is very full at the moment, but during dry spells apparently there is a lot more visible.
In the afternoon we set off in the other direction to the town of Shrewsbury. This place his a family connection for me and we were keen to see if we could track down a few traces. My Granny (on my mum’s side) was great at telling stories about the family, I often wish I was a bit better at remembering them… But I do remember her telling me about a stained glass window in Shrewsbury Abbey that shows the family crest for her maiden name, Rocke. She had some furniture bearing the coat of arms and I’d ask her about it from time to time when I visited because I liked to hear about it. We got to the abbey at quarter to 4 in the afternoon as a service was finishing, I got to have a word to the vicar who wasn’t familiar with the family name but welcome us to have a look around and take as many photos as we liked.
The large window above the entry to the church put us off at first because it was made up of many family crests but eventually we found what we were looking for the on the right hand side of the abbey. It was an entire window, not just a small panel! Quite amazing! Elyse was the first to notice it as there was a tombstone on the abbey floor right in from the window with the coat of arms matching Granny’s furniture. I guess our ancestors were a big deal around here 🙂 We also found the house that the family lived in, although I wasn’t feeling bold enough to knock on the door and chat to the current owners.
We were really pleased to have seen something that Granny loved to talk about with us 🙂
On the way to London we stopped at Warwick Castle, one of my highlights when I was in England with my family in January 2000. It was easy to see what I liked about it, whilst its quite commercial now it’s a great visit. They out a lot of effort into the place with medieval actors and fantastic exhibits. The best part was a working, full sized trebuchet that they fire twice a day. Absolutely awesome!
Not long to go now but were making the most of our remaining time in London.