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Published: August 12th 2018
Thich Nhat Hanh the Vietnamese Buddhist monk penned the words "Once you are back in your true home, you will feel the peace and the joy you deserve." I read this way back last Christmas and put it one side thinking it summed up motorhome travelling. Since then we have not been out much in Gabby in what we consider our true home on wheels.
Tewkesbury was an interesting break. The bells rang out on the Sunday. They started early in the morning calling the faithful to prayer and matins. They continued through the day donging away up and down the musical scales. Donging to encourage visitors to morning prayers , to Holy Communion and to Evensong. All that was missing was the sound of leather on willow . The local cricket club were not playing today.
So where is Gabby? Well today she languishes at home whilst we hit the road and head for North Wales. Another of our true homes.
We are sitting in the bar of the Buck Inn at the village of Bangor on Dee or Bangor is y Coed - depending whether you write it in English or Welsh. The last time I
sat in the Buck was years ago when I went with friends for a meal. Its a friendly pub and we talk to the manager who tells us she has recently moved from Buxton. We talk about Wrexham Lager and order lunch. I was reminded that I had not drunk Wrexham Lager for years. It used to be made locally but once bought out by one of the major lager chains it was closed and was no more . That was until it was resurrected and brewed again locally in a micro brewery. Hunters Chicken for Glenn with chunky chips. I chose the Boddingtons Steak pie with a huge selection of vegetables. We thought about what it was like to live in this tiny village with the river Dee running through it and were warming to it. It seemed a nice place to live.
Across the road was the medieval bridge erected in 1660. The five arches gracefully cross over the river. Standing looking over at it we imagined what it would be like to go for walks along the fast flowing rivers edge. The river is home to Kingfishers. A single stone wall separated the road from the
meadow and in the sunshine we climbed over it to look at the wall memorial commemorating the dead from the village who lost their lives in the Great War. This one was not topped with a cross nor a soldier but the virgin with her cloak surrounding her. We were again to see this image in the church.
Having admired the river, checked out the second pub in the village we found we had time on our hands. Not a lot just fifteen minutes. We were househunting and had an appointment just up the road at 1pm. To pass the short time between leaving the pub and needing to knock on the door of the house we were viewing gave us the opportunity to visit the impressive church built in what I consider a Cheshire style. The nearby churches at Marchwiel, Worthenbury and Shropshires Whitchurch all have the same look about them which is unique to this part of old detached part of Flintshire.
The church was built on the site of a much older monastery established about 560 by St Dunawd, the first abbot of the monastery. The monastery was destroyed in about 616 by Aethelfrith of
Northumbria when 1,200 monks were killed and only 50 escaped. No trace of this monastery exists.
Around the year 1300 a sandstone church was built on the site of the monastery. The chancel is the only remaining part of the much older church. We had the grounds to ourselves on this warm and sunny day. It was a peaceful spot. The only noise coming from the groundsman cutting and strimming the grass between the gravestones. Even he stopped to sit on a bench, enjoying his lunch in the sun.
The church was restored between 1723 and 1726 by Richard Trubshaw, a restoration included the bell tower . The north aisle was much altered in 1832. Further restorations took place around 1860 and 1868. We walked in through the half timbered porch and entered a cool darkened interior. What a shock. I guess we hadn't given too much thought to what might be inside. What a lovely space with many interesting features some easily found others hiding away around nooks and crannies.
The main features included an interesting font starting the Christian journey through life, the walls were covered with many plaques and memorials erected in memory of
the great and good from the Bangor area. The windows were stunning. Sun streamed through the multi coloured glass. The colours played on the walls, on the pews and on the floor.
Walking quietly we photographed the brass lectern with its massive heavy Bible, we looked up at the ceiling and at the pulpit covered in sunflowers and foliage. A rood screen separated the chancel from the nave. A reminder of the way the church functioned in the past.
At the back of the church was a massive plaque - too high and too dark to read. How I wish I had a ladder to get up there and read what it said. Tiny traces of what I assumed was the Lords Prayer or the Ten Commandments showed through on the sandstone wall close by the altar. In a dark corner stood a wooden cart. Used in the past to transport the dead into and out of the church. It told a story about death and the way bodies were handled in this tiny welsh village. I wonder if anyone still used it.
We sadly had no more time. It was time to get back into the
car and drive to our next stop. A house we hoped would be our new home assuming we could sell our existing property. The bungalow we had chosen to look at was set back a couple of roads beyond the river which had in the past the habit of flooding. It had we hoped space out front for our one car and for Gabby. It was close to the local school which could be a negative. With the schools broken up for the summer it was impossible to tell how many children played in the huge playing fields and how noisy it would be during term time. First impressions from the photographs were good. Photos never lie do they? On paper there was a reasonable garden to the front and back. The double garage had been converted to a granny flat so this bungalow would need some serious attention to remove the second lounge or turn it into a snug, put an extra window in, remove the second kitchen and bathroom. At the right price we could do it and it would give Glenn a project. A motorhome was already parked on the front so plenty of space for Gabby.
We knocked on the door and heard the dog barking. When we were invited in we smelled them - three enormous dogs. You could smell them before you saw them. Their smell had permeated the furniture and the carpets. The ceilings were artexed and would need re-plastering. Mentally we were both thinking the same thing. What a shame - it had potential but we didn't feel comfortable. The passageways between the original bungalow and the garage were dark and gloomy, there were doors everywhere and the place had no structure. Each room gave us problems. No building regulations had been applied for when the garage had been altered so they had needed to apply retrospectively. This made us wonder what else was badly formed in the property. The garden was pillaged, all the plants taken and the lawn brown where the dogs had deposited their excrement. Time to go . A disappointing trip out. Potentially it all looked good but after viewing it wasn't for us.
Bangor ticked every box for a day out. Could we live here? Yes we could. Plenty of walks down the riverbank, two pubs, a dentist and a bus service to town. Quiz nights
in the pub. Sadly the house was not for us and it was back to the drawing board again.
Highlights of the day. An excellent lunch, a pretty church and two bottles of Wrexham Lager brought home .
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