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Published: June 26th 2009
We were exhausted, we had had a huge week: arrived back from Grenoble on Monday, out to dinner every night but come Friday off we went again. We picked up our hire car from Victoria, made a few wrong turns while we got the GPS up and running but eventually found our way to Church Stretton in Shropshire. We put our things in our amazingly quiet B&B (well, compared to Brixton anyway) and headed to Little Stretton to have dinner with Lara's Aunt Jill ahead of the wedding the following day.
Jill had come over from the US to attend Rhian and Alex's wedding, and it was the third time that we had managed to see her on our trip. Our first was a stay with Jill and Mary-Ann in Maryland, USA on our way to Guatemala and the second was a quick dinner with Jill at Heathrow when we first arrived in the UK just as she was leaving. Jill is our most avid blog reader - asking questions and confirming bird names when we didn't have the faintest idea! In fact there were times when apart from a few other loyal family members we felt we may
The Long Mynd
Shropshire, near Church Stretton
have been writing them just for her!
We had a lovely dinner in a quaint little pub but unfortunately the two of us had great difficulty in keeping our eyes open. We headed back to our B&B and slept solidly before getting up for the standard B&B bacon and eggs in the morning. We showered did our hair and make-up and then put our regular clothes back on again, as we had a rather large gap between having to check-out and the wedding itself. We'd decided to do a bit of exploring before meeting Jill at her B&B in Picklescott where we'd be able to change into our wedding attire.
We spent the next few hours driving the country lanes, visiting the Long Mynd and checking the location of the church. After checking the location of the church you'd think we had no excuse not to be there before the bride - and yet Rhian turned out to be the most punctual bride on the planet. We arrived just after 2pm (maybe 5 past) and she had already arrived and walked down the aisle! It was incredibly embarrassing and we felt terrible and although we tried
to put it down to a 'cultural misunderstanding' I think we've well and truly learnt our lesson and will always be at least half an hour early to all weddings in the future!
Although we only got a brief look at Rhian and Alex before they said their 'I dos' they looked lovely - Rhian in a strapless long white dress and Alex in top hat-and-tails. Rhian is Lara's father's cousin Elaine's daughter (if anyone knows the technical term for this please let us know) making Al the boyfriend of Rhian's mum's cousin's daughter which he did have to explain a few times!
From the church in Munslow we headed to Wilderhope Manor, a National Trust building that is now used primarily as a Youth Hostel. A beautiful old building with exposed wooden beams, rough spiral staircases and detailed stone work it was the ideal location for a wedding. We started with Pimms and lemonade on the terrace and despite a little rain (we are in England after all) the wedding went off without a hitch. We played some games, ate a lovely dinner of local produce and when all the festivities were over we went
The Long Mynd
to bed on the bunk beds upstairs.
We slept well considering there was apparently a drunken Scotsman on the loose and got up for another English breakfast with the rest of the clan who had stayed the night. After saying our goodbyes and thank yous and making promises to re-visit Elaine and Peter in the Lake District (we do have a hard life!) we headed to Ironbridge with Jill.
Ironbridge is famous for being 'the birthplace of industry' and for its....iron bridge. It was the first bridge ever made from iron and was built in 1779. It was known to us because Tom, who Lara sits across from at work was brought up in Ironbridge and likes to call it his 'spiritual home'. We loitered in the museum whilst it was raining outside and had some lunch before saying goodbye to Jill who we would see later on in London and started making the drive back to London.
We stopped for a quick look at the Malvern Hills and the town of Great Malvern, where Lara had been a laundry slave in one of the schools on her gap year, many years before. It
was a quick trip down memory lane but we had to get back to London to pick up a table that our friend Julia was lending us.
It was a brief trip and again reminded us of the importance of getting out of London. We so often get caught up in the hum drum of daily life; sitting on the tube, writing emails at work, cooking dinner, doing the dishes, all things that we do on a daily basis and that make us forget we have even travelled overseas. So you'll have to forgive us for our continued blogs and our continual travels as they are keeping us sane!
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