Richard's Retirement Blog

Home Ground Again

March 2011

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Back in Telford for The Memory of Water

Monday 21st March

That strapline isn't an obscure joke or an abstruse proposition in physics, it's the name of the next production at The Little Theatre. This time, and until the pantomime next January, I'm responsible for lighting.

I established myself in Newport last Thursday, and have been busy with chores since. Not that I've been rushing about - what's retirement for? I'm training to be a cat - eat when I want, sleep when I want, chase about when anything takes my fancy - and curl up in a warm place and doze, without feeling guilty about it.

I chose Newport because the Kings Head site is open all year, and it's closest to the theatre; but I'd forgotten what a lovely town Newport is, and how good a shopping centre, not just for the obvious but for most things a caravanner might need: this is a good place to be, for instance, if minor running repairs and maintenance are in hand.

Spring has sprung, suddenly (Boing!), and I've had a walk through Newport and come back with a batch of photos. Note that the weeping willows have leaves!

The Shropshire Canal was once very important to the prosperity of Newport. The fine roving bridge which carries the Wolverhampton to Chester Road (once the A41, now bypassed) is a fine example of canal architecture. Over a mile of the canal was redeveloped as a park in 1971.The narrow channel is what remains of the canal; the brick-paved area was a lock. Through the bridge arch you can see the foot of another lock.

Looking west from the bridge towards Shrewsbury. You can see the canal itself, and to the right the channel of the overflow raceway.

Looking east towards Norbury Junction, the lock in the foreground. Perhaps you can make out another lock in the far distance?

The Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust are seeking to reopen the whole canal from Norbury Junction to Shrewsbury - a major project which deserves success. Some years ago I wrote accounts of the canal here (eastbound) and here (westbound), from which you can hopefully see both the magnitude of the task and the value of the work.

Upper Bar, looking south. There are many fine buildings in Newport, with the church dominating the centre of the town.

High Street, looking north. Shame about that horrible modern building in the middle. I thought I'd been told it replaced the original town hall that once stood by the church, but have now seen an early twentieth century photo of an open space there.

In this view, you can clearly see the old stonework of the tower contrasing with that of the 1880s restoration of the nave. It's a beautiful church - take a look.

There are many fine houses and other buildings, the Victoria Hotel amongst the most imposing.

In another style, the market hall. I'm not sure about the colour though.

Thursday 30th March

No entry for ten days! I've been busy enough - at the theatre getting ready for next week's show, taking out my last driving pupil (test tomorrow - wish her luck!), getting a new back tyre on the bike (the original having ceased to be circular - very uncomfortable) together with an inner tube less resembling a colander, arranging for the refurbishment of my tenants' bathroom (which has generated a knock-on job for an electrician - I wonder what he will generate?), sorting out the mess various companies have made of the little matter of recording my change of address and sending me accurate final bills for the flat - little odd jobs - I couldn't exactly say where the time has gone, but I haven't been lazing around; nothing has been of much interest to my readers (if any), however.

(I've been reading Trollope; I have a fancy that my grammar and syntax tends to take on colour from my reading matter: I wish I were naturally as fine a wordsmith as he!)

I did get one very pleasant walk, last Tuesday - down Longford Lane to the eponymous village, on to Edgmond, via a footpath across the fields to the end of the former canal, and back along the towpath. The day was cold, and sunny, but misty - so the photos I took are really not worth publishing.

(I originally wrote, most un-Trollopianly, eponymouse; which error nevertheless implies an accurate measure of the size of the village.)

I went looking for Talbot Chapel, being a redundant chapel at the back of St Mary's Church, Longford (which latter is now a private residence). I almost found it, too, but was turned back by a Private sign, not realising until later (Take the map with you, why don't you?) that there was a pupil footpath also - the same which I followed from Edgmond on my way back, but turning towards the town again before I reached the chapel. I'll get it right next time.

On Friday (April Fool's Day - I wonder if that's significant?) I move to Shrewsbury, where I hope to have a good enough internet connection to upload this lot...

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