Shropshire isn't a county that you hear much about - if you live in London it seems a bit remote and isn't a famous rural destination like the Lake District, which is all to the good as it leaves the place pretty empty of trippers and twee touristy cafes and the stunning, hilly landscape peacefully quiet for those of us who like some country solitude now and again.
In fact, so much has Shropshire been left to its own devices that some of the little towns and villages are positively time-warped - in an extra good way! This shop, and the street below, is in Knighton, a very hilly little town where when we visited on Good Friday, the Vicar was leading hymn singing in the square and then a procession to the church - we were quite fascinated how old customs can hang on in out-of-the-way places.
Being Easter, someone at M.E.Price had gone to a lot of trouble to do a yellow and green window display which I absolutely loved (having a penchant for window displays myself - see my posts on the charity shop windows)
Unfortunately there's a fair number of empty shops in Knighton so some kind of revival in the town would be very good. The shape of this one is fantastic, all corners and angles.
It's great how they went through the stock and just got out everything green or yellow.
All the shops with blue fronts are various outposts of the Price family empire! It's very hard to find these wonderful old-style stores in most towns these days.
Absolutely love the green pouffe!
This display was in the window of a hairdresser's up the hill. I wished I needed a new sewing machine - so cheap - and so much more interesting to look at than cans of expensive hair products to my mind.
Knighton does have quite a Welsh look - it's only a few miles from the border.
Here's W.E.Price - another member of the family presumably, selling everything required for furnishing the modern home.
This turned out to be rather a surreal shot with the town clock reflected in the window.
Only in a little old town like this could you come across a window display with an entire model railway installation.
Another thing about these slightly time-warped places I noticed is that they still have the old painted signs in the windows. How long can it be since this tobacco sign was put in - and how well it was done as still in such perfect condition.
Towns in hilly landscape are always interesting because the streets are on different levels and the surrounding hills appear above the roof lines creating a brilliant juxtaposition of natural and built environments.
That's the 2.45 to Ludlow...................
Here's the Prices again - excellent display of model engines in forest of bird filled twigs.
This has got to be one of the best named villages in the country! But what WAS the new invention I wonder?????
Bishop's Castle is a beautiful ancient small town climbing up the side of a steep hill - this is the House on Crutches at the top of the high street...............
.....and here's the knitted version in the House on Crutches museum.
More rather outdated window signs .... film developing??
I'm not sure how they got these kind of signs onto the glass but they have a wonderful quality, a millions times better than that peel-off vinyl lettering.
We always stop in old churches if we pass one because there are often a plethora of quirky, beautiful and intersting things to look at. For example, old country churches are the best place to find sculpture, frequently back to medieval times. On this occasion it was a stunning 'installation' of hand stitched kneelers.
It always intrigues me what the ladies choose for their imagery - I like the figurative ones with landscapes and houses.
And the best kneelers are the ones where you can tell they just made up the design and didn't use a kit.
It's not only in art galleries you can find art!!! Love that people find creative outlets in all kinds of ways.
This shows the stunning and idyllic setting of the church.
This was the extremely cute and old cottage we stayed in - the style is typical of Shropshire.
Another thing you might sometimes be lucky enough to come across in these rural places are single petrol pumps on the village street - or in this case next to a stunning hardware shop (definitely my favourite kind of shop).
The pump and all these last photos were taken in Montgomery, Powys, which is one of the most beautiful small Georgian town I think I've visited to date. It truly is divine - go there!
Great how the fabulous barn is right in the middle of town.
Fantastic!! So glad no one bothered to take the sign down.
We had actually ventured into Wales to visit Montgomery but in this area the border between Shropshire, Herefordshire and Wales weaves and dodges around rivers and mountains and you're never quite sure which county or country you're in.
It's a truly stunning and unspoilt area and I'm glad there are still at least a few places left where you can escape from generic high streets and chain stores. Thank goodness!!!
On a previous visit we went to Powis Castle just up the road, which must have the best garden of hedge sculpture in Europe - check it out.
EXHIBITION COMING UP
AT BELAIR HOUSE, DULWICH
9th – 11th May
Plaster Bust Collection
as part of the exhibition:
Contemporary Art & Design Show at Belair House
(Part of the Dulwich Festival)
Curated by Cavaliero Finn
1 Gallery Rd,
London SE 21