Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Go Forth & Explore!

Today was a transition day. We boarded a Virgin Train (no jokes please) and set off for Telford. The train ride was flawless. They've added new rolling stock since we were last there and though they've adopted the airlines idea of cramped seating, the environment was very pleasant. The continuous rail made the journey quiet and fast. By buying the tickets ahead a two and some odd hour journey cost us $25 each. Not bad.

Once in Telford we took a cab to our B&B in Ironbridge. We arrived a bit early, but our hosts were very gracious, showed us to our room and plied us with hot tea and cake. Yum. After a quick nap, we set off for Ironbridge. Now it's not that far of a walk, but it did involve some back roads (see above). Very rustic and relaxing after the hurly burly that is London. And abundant stinging nettles. Now if you don't know about nettles, let's just say you don't want to be an idiot and think it's mint and run a leaf between your thumb and index finger so you can smell the heavenly minty odor. With nettles, it hurts like hell. And continues to hurt for some time afterward. I pulled this stunt during my first trip to England in '87. I know better now. I glowered at the nettles and they glowered back. Best to leave it that way.

The town of Ironbridge is (obviously) named after the famous Ironbridge that spans the gorge. Build in 1779 it's an incredible work of engineering. Now I might not have been as impressed if the Victorians had built it, but conducting the work in the 1770's sincerely left me in awe of their effort. We were still getting our country in order and they were building massive iron bridges across huge gorges. Amazing.

It proved a great evening to trudge around. The weather was truly refreshing. The leaves are just getting a blush of color. A house (above) had a wreath of ivy that was trending from green to fire red. Very stunning. Hard on the brickwork, but pretty nonetheless.

Tomorrow we're off to Blists Hill, a Victorian village. It'll be a great day for me to take pictures and ask lots of questions. As for the husband, if he gets to see steam engines, draft horses and farm equipment, all will be well.


steve said...

John Major's last insult to the British people was to privatize the rail system. When Labour took over, it had to put in a huge amount of money to bail out the rail lines. I believe the track is now gorvernment-owned, but private companies operate the service under contract.

I'm not sure whether this is correct, but I think the term Victorian was not in use until 1918, when Lytton Strachey published "Eminent Victorians."

Jana Oliver said...

The etymology dictionary shows:
1839, "belonging to or typical of the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain" (1837-1901). The noun meaning "a person from or typical of Victorian times" is from 1876.

Now you got me going. I'll keep an eye out in my newspaper articles to see if I can spot the word.