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August: Shropshire

August 25, 2012

The month began with another visit to Bishop’s Castle and the surrounding beautiful Welsh border country, beginning with a walk on the Stiperstones, a ridge of massive rock outcrops and shattered quartzite scree. We had a late lunch at the excellent Stiperstones Inn.

We camped again at the Foxholes Castle camp-site just outside Bishop’s Castle.

on this uphill path
in a field of ripening barley

the band
a bass heartbeat
half a mile away
in the Saturday-night valley

the last glow
flares and fades
from the western sky
all the colours leave the land

turn to go
place a coin
and a buttercup
in the stone Buddha’s hand

The lovely market town of Ludlow, with its ruined medieval castle, is not far away.

As a long-since-retired Bluegrass musician, I was thrilled to hear the sound of a five-string banjo in the market.

As a fairly-recently-retired textile artist, I was drawn to this rail of vintage clothes in a Ludlow second-hand shop.

These border towns are very well-endowed with independent and second-hand bookshops. Back in Bishop’s Castle, I indulged in an orgy of book-buying.

The second-hand bookshop yielded two treasures: a heavily-annotated slim volume of poems by one of the finest 20th century poets, and a history of Lewis – in preparation for next year’s holiday.

And from the highly-recommended Art & Artisan specialist bookshop, a very great treat.

I bought some old maps in poor condition from a stall at someone’s front door. These are very special because they show no motorways, and the old branch-lines that have disappeared since the Beeching days.

I love re-using maps. I made these little link-stitch notebooks at Bressay Lighthouse, using out-of-date nautical charts.

We came home via Church Stretton and the airy ruins of Tintern Abbey.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Beau Beausoleil permalink
    August 25, 2012 3:47 pm

    Dear Ama,

    Thanks for taking us along on this journey. There is a nice thread of red rust color that moves through some of these images. From stone to rooftop to book, to bookshop. I’d be quite pleased if most of western civilization oxidized in that way! And that poem should be in the, “Poets Guide to Shropshire” .

    All best,

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