Day 5.4: Bridgnorth Hotspots

You left me down on my knees, in a church in Bridgnorth, asking Jesus for blessings for all and sundry – and you thought that was it?

Think again!

Granted, it takes me some time to detangle my varicose veins (must fork out for a leg tattoo sometime) from the intricate tapestry I am kneeling on. But get up, I do!

And, having given up on my request, to the powers that be, for a library dedicated to Jay Cool, I need to show you the real Bridgnorth. This is Bridgnorth seen through the strange and wonderful lenses of my Boots’ brand bifocals.

Creative Commons Licensed image (modified by Jay Cool)

Why spend close to £400 on varifocals that make one dizzy, when one can get the same hallucinatory (and in my case, visionary) effects from a £200 pair of bifocals? Seriously, Boots, does it really cost £200 to produce a lump of plastic of a standardised fit that does nothing for those of us with tiny ears? I have to hook the arms of my tortoise-shell delights about an inch higher than the top of my ears, in order for my eyes to be looking through the lenses, rather than underneath the lower rim of the frames. Get with it – Boots! Sort it out! No, I’m not going to go to Specsavers instead; the sales ladies in that place are as aggressive as if-you-leave-minus-a-purchase-it-will-be-with-your-head-on-a-platter ladies who sell sofas in DFS! But, Asda’s Opticians may well be worth a visit!

So, here goes. Bridgnorth, through my bifocals:

First stop, a sign indicating that the powers on high are working on finding me a quick and private route to my new library.

Second stop, my ancestral home of Bridgnorth Castle, founded in 1101 by my very-late cousin Robert de Baulleme (4th cousin, 29 X removed), the stuff of nightmares; the one when the walls are getting closer and about to encase you within a stone coffin for eternity.
Third stop (in no particular order!), Sprog 2 saving my life by holding up one of the walls (and putting right the wrongs done in 1646 by my late fourth-cousin-nineteen-times-removed, Sir Robert Howard (1):

Fourth stop, my dream loo! Have always wanted to live in a cave house. And what better way to while away the time underground?

Fifth stop, a cave house that was surely the dwelling please of one or more of my ancestors. Great-Something-Grandfather-and-Uncle, Humphrey Kynaston, made himself and the folk of Nesscliffe very wealthy by hiding out in a cave overlooking a highway; so, it stands to reason, that there must be many others of similar genetic ilk in my family tree:

To be fair, then the fifth stop was only my en suite and accompanying fire extinguisher; one can’t be too careful when living in the devil’s underground lair. The sixth stop is the actual cave house:

It might not look like a palace at this stage, so I’m zooming in for a closer inspection:

And another:

What I really want is to get inside there, especially as I’ve heard there’s a secret tunnel leading from a cave home to a castle. Guided by my late cousins, I could be the one to find the long-sought after passage. I could go, where no middle-aged eccentric has ever been before. I could …

But, that will all have to wait:

Because, first (or is the tenth) stop, is a return visit to my newfound favourite hideaway:

It has to be said, however, that bog roll situated in a cave does have a tendency to feel somewhat damp. In the hope that it isn’t of the pre-used variety, I take my chances with it.

Turns out that Bridgnorth is like a cheap wedding cake – two-tiered, with a steep drop between each layer.
I never did like the fruity layer at the top, preferring the large vanilla-sponge lower layer that’s made big enough for all the scrounging kids to dip into, to keep their mouth stuffed full of sweet icing, jam and sponge during the very, very long ‘thank you to all and sundry’ speeches.
With that in mind, I make plans to drop down into the vanilla pool, and then to fly back up to fruit orchards via the very-conveniently-placed cliff railway.
But, as usual, the pretending-to-still-be-young Hubby has other ideas. He coaxes us all into the station entrance, on the pretext of checking out the train times for the upward journey.
Next thing I know, we’re all on the train doing the downward descent on a one-way ticket!
Wary of looking out the window, I put my head down and read the accompanying leaflet: ‘Since 1892 this remarkable railway has transported the people of Bridgnorth up and down the III ft standstone cliff that seperates the 2 parts o the town.’ The idea is to point out to Hubby the key phrase ‘up and down’ and to remind him that it can be turned around into ‘down and up’, but I end up being sent off track by the lack of a comma and the appalling spelling. It’s pretty clear that none of my key genetic material has been passed on to scholars of Bridgnorth (No, you may not message me with all the grammatical errors in this blog post!).
I busy myself with not looking down by taking pics of the sprogs, and am mightily relieved when we land on the lower layer’s icing with a thud. Seeing as the icing seems to be holding its own, I emerge from the funicular, and allow my Motorola to soak up the lowland spectacular.
On this occasion, in the absence of any interesting public conveniences, I will allow you a sneaky peek into my collection.
Why Hubby is wearing humungous sunglasses on a bleak day in mid April, I have no idea. He is extremely short-sighted, but he is taking things a bit far. Personally, I would never embarrass my sprogs by wearing such an outlandish accessory, whilst out and about in Salopian territory. It is, of course, totally acceptable to do so whilst in one’s town of permanent residence, when one might just happen to be spotted by a multitude of Sprog 1’s, 2’s and 3’s friends!
Also, it’s a bit out of season for so many bright and dazzling colours, so I’m sticking to my winter warmers:
Anyway, that’s quite enough of me (not nearly enough), so it’s perhaps best to start on the slog back up.
Where is my sedan chair?
In spite of my arthritic toes having now detached themselves from my foot (not a pain-free blessed relief, as I’m now suffering from phantom-limb syndrome), my arrival at the plateau of Bridgnorth is worth it, simply because I’m rather enamoured with this corner shop:
The roundness of it makes me recall Moonface’s tree house in Enid Blytons ‘The Enchanted Wood’ (my favourite book of all time). If I go in, I fully expect to be offered pop biscuits by Silky the Fairy, and to be invited to take a seat on a rounded sofa. Even better, there is more than likely a trapdoor in the centre of the floor – the entrance to the slippery-slope slide. If Moonface lends me a cushion, I can whizz back down for a second helping of sponge cake, in super-fast time.
I hobble my way over to the shop door, only to find a ‘Closed’ sign barring my entry. Hardly surprising that it’s now gone way past 5 o’clock tea-time, when I think back to all of the things Hubby, the sprogs, and I, have experienced today.
Much Wenlock, complete with priory (okay, so that was just me) and cousins Saint Milburga, Mary Webb and Dr William Penny Brooke (adopted until, does the job for which I pay it, and reveals more!).
Bridgnorth, complete with wedding cake and faraway tree (okay, so maybe the latter two additions were just me also).
What more could want?
And, even if I had managed to force entry to the shop and fling myself down the slippery slope, how would I have managed to climb back up again?
Ultimately, it was a perfect day (for me)!

Copyright owned by Jay Cool, April 2018

(1) Hours and hours of companionship with my lover, has revealed to met that  Bridgnorth Castle was founded in 1101 by Robert de Bellame (de Montgomery) (my 4th cousin, 29 X removed), son of Roger de Montgomery (my 3rd cousin, 30 X removed). Little did he know that in 1646, Cromwell’s Parliamentarian troops, led by Sir Robert Howard (my 4th cousin, 19 X removed; and Hubby of Margaret Mowbray, my 4th cousin, 20 X removed), was to arrive with orders to destroy the structure. Today, it looks much like it did in 1647. The ‘Three Little Pigs’ would be horrified to see that not even a stone-built castle, can withstand destruction from a wolf. As for putting a claim in for the repossession of this particular ancestral home, then, for once (as I suspect that these individuals are responsible for the tiffs between my own sprogs), I’m giving it a miss!



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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