Thursday, 23 May 2019

Telford Travels

We had a brilliant time at the Baptist Assembly - but as is so often the case at Conferences, there is far more to do than there is time to do it all. So often there is a choice of seminars - and the two you would most like to do are running at the same time [Bob and I were at least able to split up then report back to each other]
The Telford International Centre was "a well appointed venue" as they say. Free Car Parking, accessible to those with mobility issues, and plenty of comfortable seating. Clean loos and a couple of food outlets on site added to the good experience.
But in the late afternoon, all delegates were asked to leave the TIC so that things could be cleared up and re-arranged - so we all went off to find food.
Having had an excellent breakfast with Pauline and James[thank you P&J], and generously sized hot meals at lunchtime we weren't particularly hungry. We bought some sandwiches, fruit and drinks in the shopping centre, then drove south towards Ironbridge.
We knew we couldn't see all the sights of the area [if I'd had a whole day I would have gone to Blist's Hill Museum, which I have always longed to visit...] But Ironbridge was a wise choice for our relatively limited time allocation.
We parked just beside the old Tollhouse, now a Museum, and went inside to check it out. I learned a lot.
Abraham Darby, the builder, was a Quaker. He believed in equality, so decreed the Toll was the same for everyone - Royalty or peasant, rich or poor. The bridge was on private land - and he charged all - whether they were soldiers were on or off duty, drivers of Mail Coaches - or the King of England!
It was a lovely afternoon, and we walked over the bridge in the sunshine towards 'Ironbridge' - the town which got its name from the location.
James had explained that the bridge was recently restored and repainted.
The old paint was removed, layer by layer, and the last layer was red. So they repainted in red "Just like it was when it was new". However, some folk maintain that the red is red lead, painted on each piece of iron after it was cast, to protect it from the elements before the whole bridge was assembled. The jury is out on this- but the bridge remains red [for the time being, anyway]
The other side of the bridge is the War Memorial, on the side of the gorge- and there is a fabulous bank of poppies and wildflowers. We sat on the bench, admiring the bridge and eating our food.
Halfway through our meal, things started to happen on the bridge.
A man came and started unrolling a huge banner which dangled over the edge and flapped in the breeze.
It was in support of Carl Ikeme, the Wolverhampton Wanderer's player currently in remission from leukemia. Carl has done an incredible amount of work, raising awareness, and raising money for research. The fans [Team Keme] are right behind him! Read the full story here 
The banner was there for just under twenty minutes, so people could take pictures, then it was whisked away again. It was fun to be there 'as it happened'! 
We walked back over the bridge and taking a few more pictures on the way. The bridge is an amazing feat of engineering, especially when you consider how long ago it was built - 240 years ago. The photo below is the one from the local paper- I watched the guy taking it!
We saw loads of cyclists - this is part of the Mercian Way - a brilliant cycle route running form Salisbury to Chester- part of it going right through Shropshire.
But it was 6.30, and we had to return for our evening session at TIC.
The Baptist Assembly was very good [2020's meetings are in Bournemouth - so no long journeys for us next year]
I definitely want to go back to this beautiful county sometime. Unfortunately we will need to find another good B&B as Pauline and James move to Dorset very soon!


  1. Beautiful photos.

  2. Ooh, the bridge is very attractive! I am amazed at the strength and stability of such old structures- much more durable than our things today!


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