Day 4.1: Queen’s Head – Wig to Water!

Game’s up!
The Game being up in Shrewsbury, we spend a temporary retirement in our ancestral home – Great Auntie Louie’s late abode, The Red Lion Inn in Myddle, Shropshire. And with Auntie Louie’s spirit having worked wonders, we are up and ready to be off again. Auntie Louie, by all accounts, always did rejuvenate the locals, and the visitors, with a few good pints of local ale. And, in my case, an Aspall’s cider hangover has much the same effect.
Hubby’s got a plan. Apparently, we are heading off to Chirk, home to a castle built by Edward I, 700 years ago. Edward I, for those not in the know, is none other than my 23rd Great Grandfather!



One of Jay Cool’s handsome ginger-bearded ancestors,
a likely suspect in her investigation to identify
 the carrier of the gene responsible for the red-grey hair
 currently sprouting out of the mole on her chin!
Although my priority really ought to be to reclaim my inheritance, the thing that really gets me excited is the prospect of viewing the aqueduct (Does anyone know anything at all about aqueducts? It’s been a long time since I studied O’ Level Geography!).
Start, stutter, stall, stop. Start, stutter, stall, stop.
Okay, so I’m attempting to reach my destination in a Dacia Sandero, with a 900 cc engine, laden down by a cargo of walking boots and sprogs. But, anything’s possible!
Chirk – here we come!
I’m taking that last exclamatory back, withdrawing it so to speak, because the Dacia has taken a bit of detour, and is now parking up next to an enticing-looking pub called the ‘Queen’s Head’.
A cider lover’s pit stop!
I can see the attraction for my Dacia – the pub, judging by it’s name, is clearly anticipating my imminent arrival (Anne Boleyn being none other than my third-cousin-fourteen-times removed and Catherine Howard being my third-cousin-eighteen-times removed!). And my deluded Dacia (poor wee thing) clearly is under the impression it will be given the red-carpet treatment for its services in delivering me up to the block.
A Creative Commons image available from Bing
But, Hubby, unlike the Dacia, has ideas below his status as my consort. With the sprogs in tow, complaining about hunger pangs and discussing the probable cost of pork scratchings, crisps and lemonade, Hubby nips over the road, takes flight, and soars off down the Montgomery Canal’s towpath.
Out of respect for my aching neck with it’s inherited spondylitis, I give in to family-peer pressure, and say ‘farewell’ to the pub. And, thanks to a very inconveniently-placed-for-a-cranky-neck-tourist-information board, I discover that I am now on location at Acton Locks.
I’d like to tell you more about the writings on this board, but – it’s all little hazy!
And the dull-cloudy April morning brightens up at the sight of a brightly-painted Rosie & Jim style, house boat. Could it’s inhabitants be none other than my reincarnated boat-people ancestors?
A remember-us moment from my travelling ancestors!
My Motorola comes out and I snap away, making feeble attempts to appear like I am not really an irritating and extremely nosy tourist by taking a few token shots of the canals’ non-human travellers.
‘Mum, why are you taking a photo of a dead frog? That’s not a very nice thing to do is it?’
Fortunately, neither sprog has fallen victim to teachings about ethics – as yet – so I continue to act on my convictions. And, as you can see, the resulting pic is well worth the effort:
A dead frog taking it’s last float in a Shropshire Union Canal!
In the meantime, my human ancestors wave a ghostly goodbye as they disappear around a meander, as do my living ancestors who – fed up with waiting for me – jaunt on ahead up the towpath. My Motorola takes on its own separate identity, forcing me to make many, many stops to shoot away at my surroundings. And it really would be selfish not to share these moments with you, so here goes:
A gaggle of ladies, the one’s responsible for stealing Jay Cool’s
wig collection – begging for mercy!
Off with their heads! (Why should I suffer alone?)
The same gaggle of ladies, after giving up their fight for survival!
A pair of fascinating tree trunks!
Nanna Joan Cool’s hat pins making a last stand!
Jay Cool’s mole hairs comparing split
ends with each other!
A selection of peculiar protrusions!
Spot the dandelion!
Did I walk the length of this canal trail? No!
Stowaway Cool sprogs!

Anyone out there in need a boat-sitting family?

Now that I am totally in love with Acton Locks, with all its pins and protrusions, this seems an opportune moment to pull in a few favours. One of more of my ancestors must have given you a helping hand with the loading and lugging of your nineteenth-century limestone and coal cargoes, and I really fancy a canal boat holiday!

Anybody out there willing to lend the Cool family a houseboat?

In return, I will write a ‘viral’ blog about the experience, and you will be inundated with millionaires offering you huge sums of dosh for your accommodation!

Sounds like a good exchange?


See, the de-wigged Jay Cool does look quite ‘normal’ and trustworthy (ish)!


Tweet JayCool@JayBangCool, and we’ll do a deal!

But first, I realise that it’s essential to check out whether Aspall’s cider tastes as good at the Queen’s Head as it does at The Red Lion, and proceed to a logical conclusion for this particular pit stop. (It’s okay, Mum – they don’t have mango cider by the barrel here – that’s back in Suffolk, at The Brewery Tap! And, anyway, today’s budget will only stretch to a half-pint! And, yes, the sprogs are safe – why else do you think I have a Hubby, if not to make use of of his Chaffeuring skills? Also, as said previously, the Dacia drives itself! Okay, so perhaps I’m not saying much to reassure you!) Time to get the drinks in.

‘Half an Aspall’s please? And three Pepsi Cola’s!’


‘Hubby, you did say you wanted a Pepsi didn’t you? Hubby?’

Against all probability, Hubby hasn’t vanished. I find him tucked away in a snug, hiding from our squabbling sprogs, and scrutinising an Ordnance Survey map. Will the Dacia really make it another fourteen miles to Chirk? At this point, the reader will be wondering how we made it all the way from Suffolk to Shropshire, if we can’t get from Myddle to Chirk. But, us Cools are in touch with our ancestors. We can slip in and out of different time zones and alternative realities within a moment. And, this Dacia Sandero really is special. It might not be much of a road runner, but it can give Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000 a flight for its money! But, back to the here and now.


Dacia Sandero.


Start, stutter, stall ….. STOP!


Copyright of text and photographs owned by Jay Cool, June 2018

Other sources: 

The image of Edward I is labelled Creative Commons and available on Bing.

The ‘executioner’s block’ is Creative Commons

Find out more about the excellent Queen’s Head pub at

















Published by The Silly-Savvy Salopian

Freelance writer and descendant of the cave dweller and outlaw, Humphrey Kynaston. Banished from Shropshire for my eccentricity, I have made my home in Suffolk. I write poetry, short stories, travel journals, comedy gig reviews and non-fiction articles. My wish is to write my way back into the heart of my birth land. All writing commissions (and free holidays in Shropshire!) considered.

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