UNITED KINGDOM 2019 part two

We arrived in the quaint village of Marbury, Cheshire on Friday the 5th July.

Our new homeowners weren’t quite ready for us so we took advantage and drove into Whitchurch for breakfast before returning to meet Tracey and Gary to go through everything before they left with three dogs in tow leaving us to care for 12 year old brother and sister cats George and Rosie. Oh did I mention their home is a four hundred year old black and white cottage!

It’s been superbly renovated and apart from James being a little too tall sometimes ( ouch) we swiftly settled in to our new home and pets.

You quickly start to pick up on each pets personality and Rosie is quite the talker, occasionally bossing her brother, who escapes for most of the day and evening into the incredible fields surrounding the church nearby.

St Michaels church was built in the 15th century on ground where the original was built in 1299. The bells chime the hour for the daylight hours but thankfully not through the night.it has an imposing vista over the large Mer and fields all around.

The vicarage next door to the church is large and beautiful and the has a lady vicar who of course I dub the vicar of Dibley.

There is a fabulous pub called The Swan and that’s all the amenities in the village. Everything else is a fairly shortish drive away through pretty countryside and a few narrow laneways.

We’ve spent our time here exploring the local towns around and a big walk around the Mer and paddocks which had James getting run at by the cows and me scrambling under a barbed wire fence to escape…. lol city folk in the countryside.

Our very first full day here saw us funnily returning to Manchester and literally a twenty minute walk from where we had housesat for Phil and Jo to watch Australia versus South Africa in the cricket World Cup. We sat surrounded by mostly South African supporters but we had some friendly chats and although they won we had had an enjoyable day at Old Trafford.

We’ve used our National trust membership to visit Chirk castle and Erddig hall both in Wales which again were fabulous days.

Erddig Hall was complete with the most outstanding gardens that were just a dream to walk around. The estate was offered to the National trust in very poor condition and they didn’t originally want to take it on. Well what an incredible job they have done.

As the last two estate owners had been childless bachelors there was no one left in the family to pass it onto.

Chirk Castle really looks like a traditional castle complete with dungeons and we happily wiled away a few hours walking their extensive grounds as well as the parts of the castle open to public.

We also took another day trip to the Walsh seaside town of Llandudno. Wow what a fantastic surprise was this place. Similar in some ways to Brighton and other coastal holiday towns but with the added bonus of the the Great Orme with its incredible views, flora and fauna, tramway and cable car it was a fabulous day.

We first took a boat ride around the headland and back which gave us that great from the water perspective.

Then we took the cable car, which started on June 30th 1969 the two miles up to the top of The Orme. The views all the way up were mesmerising and just stunning. There is a blue butterfly and a plant here that are to found nowhere else in the world.

A coffee in the beautiful Victorian town before we concluded our day saw us thinking how we would happily have spent a few days there walking the Orme and exploring the larger area around more.

Some days we’ve just spent at home maybe going over to the swan for a coffee or like one day when we went over for a coffee but ended up having a few alcoholic drinks instead, oh well not far to walk home ..

Sometimes we just go for a drive nowhere in particular and stop somewhere for a coffee.

We did book to go to the theatre in Crewe to see The Lady vanishes by Alfred Hitchcock. What should have been an easy drive in with plenty of time to spare for a drink at the bar beforehand turned into a ridiculous comedy of errors. Firstly the sat nav started us off on the long way there which we weren’t really aware of, which led us to a road closure due to an accident. An alternative trip led us back around to the Accident before we drove back home to see if we could change the ticket dates , receiving a rude NO had us back in the car to the theatre to at least see most of the play. Luckily we had by then worked out that there was a quicker way….. if only we had realised at the start. Never mind we enjoyed what we saw which was most of it.

We had a lovely visit from Tracey and Andy Burt whom I had had the honour of marrying back in 2014 when they came out to Australia to elope. We’ve kept in touch since then via Facebook and after us being here a few times we finally managed to make it work to catch up. Just lovely.

Our charges George and Rosie have been delightful, although George is a late home comer which means we seem to be calling out to him each evening to come home so I can text his mummy he’s in safe. Then strolls in like WHATEVER!

One day we were in Whitchurch for a few things and I went into a shop to buy some 3/4 trousers and started a lovely chat with the shop keeper who happened to have been bought up in Jamberoo Australia, moving to the UK in 1969.

We were delighted when she extended an invite to afternoon tea at hers the next day. We had a wonderful afternoon at Christines gorgeous character filled home and after scones and tea we opened a bottle of wine and had nibbles before we finally left her with the hopes of meeting again either before we go or on our next visit to the UK.

On our last Thursday here in Marbury we drove to the amazing Shrewsbury, an unexpectedly fabulous town with castle, abbey, medieval buildings, and a canal that we really must go back.

We went a little past the town to meet up with Pat and Derek whom we met on our cruise in 2018. We will be seeing them again in Spain yippee.

What a fun couple they are and our lunch at the pub was super delicious and just a wonderful catch up.

With a bit of rain the next day we only ventured to The Swan across the road for coffee, they have a brilliant library of books there and could easily have spent all afternoon reading. We did manage to use the time to look for flights homeward bound later in October/November so getting things in place.

Another day took us not too far away to Nantwich secret bomb shelter. Quite a crazy mix of war time memorabilia and very interesting couple of hours.

We’ve had a lovely message from our next housesit telling us they’ve booked us all in for pub dinner their shout on our arrival night. How wonderful is that.

As you can see house sitting is suiting our way of travelling very well and I’m sure we will be using it again to spend some quality time in places of interest and with the added bonus of warm welcomes home from our foster babies it’s a lovely way to feel right at home.

Our last Saturday at Marbury we hopped in the car and travelled to Little Moreton Hall a truly fantastic chance to see a real Tudor style home built in 1504 and added onto over the next hundred years but not since.

Complete with sagging floors and bulging outside walls, once again The National Trust have excelled in presenting a magnificent slice of history.

A little nap at home then we started off for a walk to our local canal to watch a few of the long barge boats tackle the Marbury lock.

It’s just beautiful scenery here and we’ve enjoyed our stay here immensely. And although we haven’t been over to The Swan that often they all know where we’re staying and say hi.

One of the things we’ve enjoyed at this home is the beautiful electric range that has cooked our food beautifully.

Our lovely home owners Tracey and Gary arrived home in amazing good form after a long 15 hour day of driving with three dogs in the car. Kudos to them.

We had a quick catch up then off to bed before we saw them to say goodbye the next morning.

What a lovely stay we had and I’m sure we’ll see them all again sometime in the future. Whether that will be in the UK or in France who knows!

We drove on into Birmingham but just couldn’t face the city palaver and headed to our stay at Castle Bromwich. We were early and they suggested a tour of the 17th century garden which no longer combined with the castle was just next door.

We paid our £4.50 each which is not a huge sum but was a massive disappointment they were. Another couple of ladies approached us and asked what we thought and concurred when we said rather disappointed. It was just weeds weeds weeds, overgrown lawn and lacking names of plants or actually anything visually interesting.

After all the beautiful gardens we’ve seen attached to National trust properties I guess we expected similar.

Back to our castle Bromwich and we had a lovely room. A misunderstanding or should I say miscommunication from the staff about menus,times and prices led us from eating there and we ended up having chicken tikamasala at Sainsburys, what a laugh, but actually it was pretty good.

NEXT STOP THE BEAUTIFUL VILLAGE OF BURGHCLERE.

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