Even a country bumpkin needs the occasional breath of mildly polluted air, the noise of many footsteps, the glare of traffic lights, and, above all, a shop or two above the level of hardware store, animal feed store and basic village grocery shop; occasionally, a girl needs to shop and that is why I kicked off my rubber boots, combed the straw from my hair, changed my muddy dog-walking jeans for a clean pair of trousers and attached earrings to my ear lobes and with me thus prepared, we took ourselves to the delights of lovely Shrewsbury, Shropshire's county town, where centuries of history jostle for attention with a slowish pace of modern life.
My pictures here are just of two sides of one ordinary Shrewsbury square.
The Prince Rupert Hotel
Some of Shrewsbury's history is pretty bloody, as this tablet records;
but that's history.
When was it ever not bloody.
It's not just the shopping though; I also enjoy good food in pleasant surroundings. The Draper's Hall, a prestigious Restaurant with Rooms has it all: six centuries of history as well as delicious food and a civilized ambience.
By the 1440 the drapers of Shrewsbury had formed their own guild and had become prominent in the town. They had their own chapel in St. Mary's Church. The present Hall was built in 1576 to provide a meeting hall for the Drapers' Company. The Hall, although much altered over the centuries, retains original features of the Shrewsbury School of Carpentry, especially the frontage. The majority of the original Elizabethan fittings and purpose-made Jacobean furniture is still in place.
Shrewsbury still has many individual shops, spending money is easy and could be a great pleasure. Keeping your purse closed is the hard part here. Some of the items I bought are none of your business, after all, a girl needs to replenish certain items of her wardrobe even before they are worn out.
But I can tell you that I bought a bag, larger than the one I usually use, mainly because nowadays I need to carry a camera or two and maybe a notepad too, for the purposes of blogging. (see how seriously I take keeping you entertained and glued to my blog? And hopefully incite one or two more of you to become followers? I'm shameless, I know.)
It's a pretty ordinary bag, made of a kind of woven straw,
(I'm sure there's a name for it) with leather trim.
It really was not expensive, when you consider that handbags have become status items.
I also splashed out on three fat volumes of poetry; they come highly recommended by a number of reviewers in various newspapers and, as it's my birthday this month, I felt like giving myself a special treat. For once they are not second-hand, I had some money left over on gift vouchers I hadn't fully cashed in on a previous occasion, so the total outlay was less frightening than it might have been.
Soon I will believe that I wasn't extravagant at all and that these books were an essential purchase.