Back to Myddle: Day One
Back. Back to Myddle, the home of my ancestors. Having spent much of my life with the squawking of seagulls and the swishing of the sea, I’m not sure what to expect. Will I feel at home in a tiny village in the middle of Shropshire?
I pull in at the village pub, The Red Lion Inn. After a four-hour journey, with two screeching and cantankerous children, I’m more than pleased with the prospect of a cooling pint of Shropshire scrumpy cider. But, no, this is not to be my reward for my sufferance; my children insist on collecting the keys to the Red Lyon Lodge, where we are to spend four nights, and I am forbidden from ordering any scrumpy – our accommodation awaits!
Equipped with two TVs and numerous power sockets, the Lodge is an immediate hit. Never mind the luxury beds and a kitchenette with all the mod cons, never mind the feature wall with the sensational sandstone blocks, and never mind Myddle – there are laptops to be set up and Pokémon games to be continued. I think longingly of cider and try to imagine my Great Aunt, at one time the proprietor of The Red Lyon Inn, entering the lodge, which must then have been a store-room, to restock her bar supplies with a fresh barrel of cider. Where are you now Auntie?
Hunger. Always a winner. I tempt my children to accompany me ona walk around Myddle, with the promise of a meal at the Inn on our return. We locate the only shop, ‘In the Myddle’, and my son wants to find out whether sherbet lemons taste the same in Shropshire as they do in our usual holiday destination of Great Yarmouth. I give in – the shop’s proprietor is very friendly and I feel I ought to buy something! My son informs me that the sweets taste the same! Mission accomplished. Back to the Inn?
Not likely, I walked out to explore Myddle, and explore I will. Onwards, to St Peter’s church. And the graveyard is full of treats, the names of a number of my Great Uncles and a cousin (several times removed!) adorn the Great War memorial; and I’m pleased to see that they haven’t been forgotten – they are surrounded by poppies! My pleasure at seeing the names is dampened with sadness at the thought of the horrors these young men must have witnessed. I have already, in my middle age, lived more than double their years. With thoughts of Trump on my mind, I pray that my son won’t be a witness to a World War Three.
I banish such thoughts and proceed up some steps to the church door. It’s unlocked and my children are keen to take sanctuary from the ghostly graveyard (and, more to the point, to escape from the wasps!) Inside, is a longer list of names, complete with all the men of Myddle who were part of the war effort, survivors included! It’s a relief to see more familiar family names – and to find that the number of survivors exceeded the fatalities. I take some photographs, being particularly interested in the organ – my Grandad used to pump the bellows – and find more familiar names engraved on various memorial plaques. But …
Thump, thump, thump. A steady beat can be heard from somewhere within St Peter’s and my children are convinced that these are footsteps. Ghostly footsteps. Grandad returns. My children’s patience with my explorations depletes. They’re off and out. My son has progressed 200 yards along the pavement and is almost back at the Inn. I have no choice but to follow.
Sausage and chips for the children. Halloumi and falafel burger for me. Scrumpy? What about the Shropshire scrumpy? It can wait. Right at this moment, I’m more in the mood for a bottle of Beck’s Blue. And, yes, I know I could have bought a bottle of Beck’s from anywhere. But, somehow, unlike the sherbet lemons, a bottle of Beck’s does seem to taste better when drunk in the presence of my Great Auntie’s ghost at a bar in Myddle.
So why live life on the edge? It’s only Day One of my Four-Day trip. So, just for the moment, with a bottle of Beck’s in hand, and with the children fed and watered, I’m staying put! And the scrumpy can wait ….
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