Friday, 10 June 2011

The Day The Country Mouse Went To Town

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.



  1. Every now and again a girl just has to make a bit of a splash and if a good meal, some unmentionables and 3 volumes of poetry are what it takes - well, then splash away!
    I loved the views of the square - the history may be bloody but the present day ambiance must be very pleasant.

  2. such a pretty town for beheadings. i love shopping days. even when i've no money or necessity to buy more things to stuff up the house or my [haha] wardrobe.

    a camera OR TWO?? you're definitely taking blogging VERY seriously. perhaps i should take a cue from you and upgrade from my mobile phone pics so i can move on to #57 :p

    have a great weekend!

  3. Well, it serves me right for being curious, but I looked up the execution of David III, and it was even bloodier than it says here.
    Therefore, I can't even think about the lovely restaurant, but I do agree with Pondside. Plenty of poetry and a handbag (I dare not mention the unmentionables) are a wonderful birthday gift to oneself.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  4. You've been working very very hard at your gardening, and you deserved a day like this!
    And books are always a necessity.

  5. Well isn't t good to take off those mud splattered clothes and go out and about.

    I'm sorry I haven't been out and about myself so much of late. I'm trying to finish my thesis but i'll be back soon. And in the meantime, I wish you more happy traveling.

  6. oh nice...have read the first of the three...need to find the other two...what a cool looking place...again i love the architecture...

  7. Friko, of course those poetry volumes were essential, and also perfect for a birthday treat.

    By the way, I also do like that handbag. Just enought details, just enough classic clean lines.

    And your shopping destination is a place I know I would love to visit. Must make note of the Drapers, and try to banish the notions of ancient beheadings. xo

  8. "Hanged, drawn, beheaded & quartered," crushed, "beheaded and quartered." Gee, it seems any ONE would do the job!

  9. What a fantastic historical town. In a place like Shrewsbury I would be entertained by the old architectural buildings. -- barbara

  10. It is lovely that you are getting out and going shopping. The handbag looks like it will do the job, and I look forward to hearing more about the books!

  11. well, happy birthday. I always buy myself a birthday present and it is rarely a necessary thing.

    what I notice about English towns and villages is that everyone lives on the street. I mean, there's the street and there's your front door. No front lawn to buffer you from the traffic.

  12. A day in town to do pretty much as you please sounds like a good thing to me. And I'm sure, after the dinner out, the book buying, the girl shopping and seeing the sights, you are glad to be back in your own peaceful surroundings.

  13. Hello:
    But caution, dear Friko. For Shrewsbury today will be London tomorrow, and after that the bright lights of Berlin and, before you know where you are, new bag in hand, you will be on every City Break available to man or woman!! And where will that leave your Followers?

    We recall trips to Shrewsbury with much pleasure and delight in anywhere where small, private shops remain.

  14. A day out in Shrewsbury has certainly changed since the Middle Ages . A change of shoes , a pair of earings and there you are .
    You didn't have to wait years for some monk to write all those poems on vellum and lunch was probably more amuse geule than pease pottage and bones .
    But in 1283 , street entertainment was at least taken much more seriously .I expect you only heard a busker murdering Dylan on his guitar .

  15. I want to live in such a pretty place and would be perfectly happy surrounded by such ample oppotunity to spend my money. Not that it would be a good thing, ultimately.

    This vision of you whizzing around the countryside with your camera and notepad is quite appealing - previously I had always pictured you either behind your screen or in the garden. Good to see you getting out more!

  16. friko shrewsbury - i've heard of it, read about it but i don't think i've ever been there and now when i look at these pictures i wish i had. good for you to treat yourself to the poetry books. you'll put those to the best use!! steven

  17. Poetry is part of the essential food groups, right? As to handbags, I am a collector extraordinaire: still on the hunt for the perfect one that can hold the cameras, the netbook, the poetry book and oh yeah the debit card. And still weigh 4 oz.

  18. What a nice glimpse into Shrewsbury and one exciting day of yours . With such beautiful black and white architectures, or brick ones, of medieval ages, Shrewsbury surely looks a fascinating town. Glad you had fun and got home satisfied with such a chic handbag and books. I, too, enjoyed accompanying you through fabulous photos and your narration. This would be early or belated..., Happy birthday, Furiko.

    Yoko alias stardust, Japan

  19. Shrewsbury would be a great town to visit, your photos give an enticing glimpse into this town. Any shopping trip should always include a book or two, that is a necessity not a luxury in my view. Your posts are always so enjoyable, varied and well written, no wonder you are getting many followers.

  20. When I think of Shrewsbury, I think of Brother Cadfael and the Wars of the Roses. I have been near there but not through it. Your blog shows me I missed some good things. I did stay glued to it too. Dianne

  21. I was in Shrewsbury last Thursday. What a shame if I missed you. I have a new blog address - - would love you to drop by!

  22. Gazing at your lovely Shrewsbury lanes, I'm struck by...where are the CROWDS?! The thundering hordes? The tour buses full of ugly Americans? How did you get a picture of an empty restaurant? Goodness, it all looks so restful and serene, it's almost more movie set than town. I love it. I'm sold. Sign me up.

  23. Friko, Thank you for a wonderful walk around Shrewsbury. Although I now live in the north of New Zealand I am from the U.K. and my mother was born in Oswestry.

    Shrewsbury is somewhere I have visited many times but not for over twenty years so I really enjoyed your post.

  24. The last time I was in Shrewsbury, I was great with the child who was born the next day in Chester. That child is on his way to being 23; clearly it is time that I visited again in person rather than only vicariously with you Friko.

    (Nice shopping, you don't need to apologise.)

    Best wishes, Isabel

  25. Wonderful, and I loved sharing your visit :o)

  26. This is just the thing for a personal and private birthday celebration, going exactly where you want, getting exactly what you want, reveling in being pampered in a charming restaurant, purchasing something useful and something for the mind and inspiration. Well done.

  27. Sounds like a great adventure. I think your purse is large enough for your three new books.

  28. In my own mind, books (and quilting fabric and flowers) are never an expense which needs to be justified.
    Your day in town looks to be the sort of thing that recharges one's batteries.
    And poor David III - hung, beheaded, drawn and quartered - they left nothing to chance did they?

    Have a delightful Birthday month - celebrate each day and have cake!

  29. The centuries of history in this town are amazing! I was wondering if while dining in Draper's Hall you felt any unusual energy in the room? Or in "Guillotine Square?"
    I like the bag! It seems to be appropriate for any season. And I hope you'll print some of the poetry you find!

  30. Thank you for inspiring the thought of a day out and a visit with a camera. The handbag looks great.

  31. I would love to live in a town with any kind of interesting history and beautiful buildings like that. I think it's time to start planning a trip.

  32. books are essentials and never an extravagance. How else do you survive long bus/train journeys without going mad?

  33. Thanks so much for the pictures. It is so cool to see places that I have never been to. I travel by blog for now.
    I need a new purse too. I have been looking and looking for the right one but it eludes me.

  34. Happy Birthday, Friko:-)
    Shrewsbury looks quintessentially English - or is it Welsh?? Bloody history is essential for such places.


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