Royal Oak

Thurs. 25 May: a visit to Boscobel House. It’s where King Charles I hid in the oak tree in 1651. The oak’s no longer with us, but a descendent is there for visiting. It’s looking decidedly tired, though beside it stands its successor, grown from one of its acorns and planted there 350 years later by the chap who may one day be King Charles III. We have to bide our time outdoors, until a guided tour has finished, and then we can explore this interesting old house.

Boscobel House (English Heritage)

Last of the Early Purple

Weds. 24 May: the month seems to have passed by rather quickly. We’ve usually been up to the Wenlock Edge by now, to see how the orchids are doing. But we’ve left it late – they’re not doing, they’re done, more-or-less. There are usually lots on the hillside amongst the bluebells, which are history now, though there are still one or two orchid stragglers – late early purple, perhaps. Orchids or not, it’s a perfect May afternoon.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=361490&Y=300371&A=Y&Z=120

Morville Dower House

Sun 21 May: a splendid garden, and memorable cream teas!

The Dower House Garden at Morville

Attingham indoors

Fri. 19 May: can’t remember when we last looked around the house at Attingham. Have we ever?

Attingham Park NT

Flying Scotsman

Fri. 19 May: 60103 “Flying Scotsman” is due to haul “The Cathedrals Express” south from Shrewsbury. I’d better go and see that. It’s a day of sunny intervals – there’s plenty of blue sky, but quite a lot of cloud too. These trains can sometime run a little late – but not on this occasion. It was one or two minutes early through All Stretton, which was a great pity – if it had been on time, the sun would have been shining…

Damp Docklands

Weds. 17 May: A long-planned trip to London, to explore the Docklands Light Railway. The weather could have been kinder… For more on the trip, visit “Docklands” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries

Staffordshire Centenarians

100 years old: Stanhope

Sun. 14 May – a birthday celebration in Staffordshire. Stanhope and Diana are both 100 this year; their friends Joffre and no 9, also actively attending, are 101 years old. Roger will be 100 next year – and his little friend Jennie is just 12 years old… Yes, it’s the Apedale “Stanhope” gala weekend. For more pictures, and (a little) more on the day’s events, visit “More Birthdays at Apedale” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.

Steam in the streets

Sat. 13 May: as part of the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, around 30 steam road vehicles – traction engines, steam rollers, steam lorries – have assembled at Blists Hill – and at 10am, they’re off to explore the local roads. They’ll be coming up Bridge Road into Broseley, down the High Street, then down the Ironbridge Road and off to the Half Moon for lunch. At 2pm, they’re off again, past Craven Dunnill’s, over the level crossing (it’s an awfully long time since so many steam engines crossed here!), past the Black Swan and back across the river. I’d better get out with the camera – record this wonderful one-off event, and perhaps incorporate some of the local landmarks to complete the picture.

Horseshoe Falls

Fri. 12 May: Llangollen: a pleasant walk beside the canal to the recently-restored chain bridge at Berwyn, and the Horseshoe Falls on the Dee. On my first visit here, over 40 years ago, the falls came as a disappointment. After seeing down through the trees to the rushing waters of the Dee, tumbling over the rocky river bed, we came to the curving weir. “Is that it?”. It’s there to provide a feed for the canal, which flows like a clear stream down to Llangollen, and it’s well worth a visit, whatever its origin.

Why did we do it? See previous post “Future Steam

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=320446&Y=342859&A=Y&Z=120

Future steam

6880 “Betton Grange”

On 12 May, I joined a group visiting the locomotive works at Llangollen – where no fewer than four new-build steam locomotives are under construction – a GWR “Grange” 4-6-0, a GWR 47xx 2-8-0, an LMS unrebuilt “Patriot” 4-6-0, and an LNER B17 4-6-0. Fascinating stuff! For more on this trip, go to “New Build” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries

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