Day 7.2: Newport – She Who Never Grew Up!

Disclaimer: If you click through to Amazon and choose thereof to make a purchase of any recommended books, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to yourself (surely that’s an incentive?).

End up at a pub and start up at a pub. This policy is a favourite of mine and has always worked with me – it’s a real mood booster!

Hence, after joining Hubby and the sprogs in Wem’s finest tavern, we moved on. Moved on to the next pub and the next location. I mean, just what could we do when my dear beloved Dacia decided to park itself up in the car park of The Swan in Newport?

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I’m sure that what the experts say about not replacing fresh air and exercise with alcohol is all very well and good but, if you can do the three things together, why not? A half of Aspall’s cider, is not something to be missed, if either 1) you have a hubby-come-chauffeur to do the next stint of driving for you, or 2) you are going to follow-up the half with a few hours of exploration, and lots of food! Alternatively, like my good self, you could just order a pint of Coca Cola!

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Really love these distinctive red and well-worn bricks – rather like the colour of my ageing ginger hair. It’s amazing what one sees in the everyday and ordinary, especially when stumbling out of the pub after a pint of Coke!

Take that round window over the road, for example. Reminds of the window in one of my fave films.* Some kind of electric current shoots through the centre of the circular window and kills their parents – and the sprogs are taken away to live with their evil Uncle. Fortunately, Uncle Cool, who we will be visiting later in my birth village of Albrighton, is not that evil and, in any case, I’m too old now to be forcibly dragged away by anyone. Plus, I have no inheritance to speak of, so am not worth very much. Sorry, dad, but as a man of the cloth, you didn’t acquire much in the way of accumulated wealth; and I rather suspect that any surplus dosh was spent on theological books -shame on you! Fancy being a book addict!

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I nip over the road to investigate, abandoning my own sprogs to Hubby. What else are Hubby’s for? Turns out the window belongs to a Catholic church. There’s a man hanging there on a cross, bleeding! He looks to be in pain, but I indulge in a bit of bystander* behaviour, and snap away with my Motorola. I can’t help but note that the gentleman has very fine thighs – muscular – like a ballet dancer’s. I have similarly shapely thighs (no, they are not wrapped up in cellulite!). Could this man be another one of my ancestors?

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I’m wondering whether it’s sacrilegious to jest about such things in the grounds of a Catholic church, but realise that, as I’m deadly serious, then this is probably acceptable.

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Love the double doors. The stain of the wood would match my kitchen table and chairs perfectly. Might have to commandeer them to replace the front door of my drafty cave back in Suffolk. Would that be theft? Did my man-of-the-cloth father teach me anything? Am I completely immoral and past redemption? Yes, probably!

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Something hints at me that this superb frontage would make a very fine abode for a quirky residence. Time for a conversion? Where’s that guy from Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud?

A rare pang on conscience informs my good self that I really ought to get back to my family, so I hurtle back over the wall (was always good at that high jump thing), and stop to take one last look! Can’t help but think it would make a good setting for a ghost story. Must get to work on writing that Gothic novel …

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Before you say anything, then yes I do know that Gothic windows have pointed arches at the top – and are not round! That module I did on architecture, back in the day at Uni. in Lampeter, was not completely lost on me.

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I can’t locate the Hubby and sprogs. Guess they got fed up waiting for me! So, I drift on into the heart of Newport. Will undoubtedly find the sprogs in a shop somewhere. Not sure why all the traffic is heading on out of Newport, rather than into it, but that’s their loss.

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Being a big fan of houses (I fancy myself living in all of them) I snap away at these interesting specimens. I see a promising pair of concrete pillars; promising, in that I surmise they might just be signifiers of an after-life beyond, i.e.potential for a touch of gravestone research!

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Then I spot something even more interesting. A faded church notice board? Okay, whereas I acknowledge that it may not be interesting to you, one of the surnames on display is a dominant-recurring feature of my family tree.

I’m home!

I’m in Shropshire – my birthland!

What’s more, before I lived in Wem, the location of my last post, I was a resident of Newport. I don’t remember a great deal, as I was, after all, just a tiny toddler, but – live here I did! And, if (and even if you don’t) want to read all about my childhood encounters with Newport’s frogs and droppings, go to Dirty Monkey!

Then come back to read the rest of this epic post!

I’m enamoured by the Tudor black and white style of this property:

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But what I really love about it is the name in the woodwork!

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Further family tree research required! Where is my best lover, Ancestry.com, when I need him? Is William Gregari of 1615 one of my own? Am I the rightful heir of this property? Or might Father Spike Cool have something to say about that?

Seeing as it turns out that the property is a Guildhall and an ‘ancient site of justice’, I decide I’d better get going …

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It’s not long before I spot another design wonder, i.e. a bright-red wheelie bin.

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Why aren’t the wheelie bins of Suffolk this colour? As a royal-blooded descendant of William the Conqueror, I’m pretty sure I qualify for all things red and purple. (Hence, my connection with the man with fine thighs; aren’t all the royals descended from the family on high?)

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Next, I check out this pub. But I’m out of luck (or in luck), as I see no Hubby – and no sprogs in here – no need to touch base with them yet!

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And … then, I find it! No, not the hubby – a bookshop! Somewhere over the road there I have the good fortune of finding myself in the best secondhand bookshop in Shropshire, and possibly in the whole of the UK! Like the Tardis, and like Ron Weasley’s home, the rooms in this haven go on and on, and the books pile up likewise – mountains and mountains of them! I’m in paradise.

And amazingly enough, this is also where I finally catch up with Hubby and the sprogs. Guess they knew where they’d find me. And I catch Hubby, engrossed in a conversation with the shop owner about the imminent sale of his Tardis. He offers us the whole building, complete with four bedrooms upstairs, a humungous lounge, and all of the stock, for £300,000. It’s a bargain and I want to do the deal there and then. I want to return to Newport, to live once more in toddler world, but there’s a minor problem.

Hubby’s not having any of it, and neither are the sprogs. They drag me out of the bookshop, my bad a tad heavier than it was before I entered, i.e. don’t worry readers – I managed to purchase a few souvenirs before losing my dream forever …

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Goodbye Newport – the Dacia awaits …

Next stop? Uncle Cool’s house in Albrighton!

Copyright owned by Jay Cool

P.S. If you have been inspired to find out more about the serious history of Newport, rather than Jay Cool’s version of it, then I would highly recommend making friends with the following book.

Disclaimer: If you click through to Amazon and choose thereof to make a purchase, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to yourself (surely that’s an incentive?).

And, should you want to indulge in a little interior design to live up to the high standards of the Weasley family, try reading this collection (i.e. buy it, so I can have a commission!):

Even better, read all about the memorable round window in this book;

What’s that? You don’t want to read children’s books? Get a life! Consider these words of wisdom from Aldous Huxley: ‘ The Secret of the Genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age’, as quoted in another of my favourite reads:

And here’s another grand quote, courtesy of J A West,  from the same book: ‘Don’t act your age. Act like the inner young person you have always been.’

On that thought,  will leave you …

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Jay Cool (the littlest one!) and Simon Cool outside their childhood home in Newport, Shropshire

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