Chirk Castle and Powis Castle in Wales. They both have huge gardens. At Chirk Castle I did a tour which described how they cleaned everything!

Up this morning about 8 and was instructed on the animals again and all other important stuff like where cock stops are and fuse boxes.

They finally left about 1:30 after introducing me to the next door neighbours who seemed very nice.

I decided that I should go for a walk as I had been sitting around most of the morning. There is an old limestone works close by which also has walks around it so I went there. At Llanymynech which is on the English/Welsh boarder.

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Kiln near where I am Staying

 

 

It was quite late so I didn’t go far but I did determine where the longer trail was which is about 1.5 hrs walk and I had a look at the old buildings and remains of the limestone kilns etc. I also had a look around the village which had a quaint small church with a huge clock so that the workers could see the time.

When I returned, I collected the eggs and decided that I would brave the cold and have a shower. I tried to shut the chooks in and put one through the small hatch into the chook house but before I could close the hatch she was out again! I’ll do it after my shower I thought.. it’s not far from the shower to the chook house, just a small detour from the house. She was roosting by then so I let down the hatch as all 8 were in bed.

I got peas and beans from the freezer which had come from A’s garden, I pulled up a leek and had some eggs. There were 5 today. I don’t think anyone told the chooks that they don’t lay very many in winter.

Once I got inside I lit the fire. Their daughter got in loads of wood for me but it is very light so burns quote quickly, not like the iron bark we generally use at home. Gave off a nice heat though and the room is small so it’s very cosy.

Both cats came to say hallo but soon left again. I took one out to give her wet food and she chose the dry. The other one, Silky, wasn’t here long enough to give her any. I’m sure they won’t starve though. They are very spoilt, there are cat doors on nearly all the doors in the house!

Next morning was sooooo  cold morning, thick layer of ice on the animal’s water. I smashed it with a stick for them and added hot water. The wild birds water was solid as it’s quite shallow. Took hot water but I’m not sure how long it will be water.

Finally ventured across to the shower and got ready to go out.

I decided to go to Oswestry Market. I parked in a short term car park and put a pound in which gave me 2 hrs, I then put in a 50p piece but the time didn’t go up!  Anyway, I didn’t get a parking ticket which is all that really matters.

The market wasn’t very good but it did say on signs that it was Wed and Sat and I went on Friday. It was there but there didn’t seem to be very many stalls. I had purchase a pork pie but when I saw them on the market I realised I didn’t have it so I bought one. It was good, a bit more spicy than I am used to but I managed to eat it. I think TP must have got the one I bought before I left.

I had a walk around town and found the church. They had a guide which was very helpful. I was amazed at the size when I got inside.

Wandered back through town and went to the indoor market where I found a hairdresser who could cut my hair within 20 mins so I hung around until she was ready. She did a good job. I do like my hair when I don’t have to do anything with it.

I walked up Castle hill which was adjacent to where I parked. It wasn’t very high and there wasn’t much castle left but if it had been a clear day there would have been a good view.

Next I went to the Bristish Ironworks centre which was really a shopping place although they did have a blacksmith. Wrong day for him to show me anything but he was there if I wanted to watch him.  dsc03961-2There were a lot of animals made from steel. Didn’t stay there long.

More interesting was Whittington Castle. It was only stones really but there were some walls and footings. The moats were there too and the whole area was interesting. The duck pond was full of duck as the café sold seeds for the ducks.

Called in at the shop before I went home. It was a “corner store” which sold most things including lots of Aussie wine!

Saturday was much warmer. Did my animal jobs and finally went exploring around 12. Chirk Castle today, a National Trust property. I got there in time to get a 1pm tour of the state rooms but not an historical tour, a tour of how they are cleaned.

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Chirk Castle

 

 

I’m not a cleaner but what they have to do to clean the old pieces in this historic home is amazing!

Everything is done with the greatest care and minimum movement. Vacuums are specialized and are able to be set to very low suction. They cover the nozzles with muslin so they can measure how much dust they collect and to ensure no fibers are being extracted at the same time as the dust.

They sweep tables and other furniture with a brush, very slowly so the dust does not go back into the air, they collect the dust in a microfiber cloth and deposit it into and enclosed container.

They use varying textured artists’ brushes to clean porcelain and the like. If there is a buildup of dust then homemade cotton buds are used to remove it and sterile water. It takes hours to clean anything as they are so careful.

National Trust is asking for properties to be opened longer so the cleaning process is becoming more difficult. They used to have 3 months to check everything but their time is decreasing.

It was a interesting tour, it had not occurred to me how difficult it was to “clean” old things. All I knew was that I should was older china and porcelain regularly so that they didn’t dry out or put water in the cabinet. These old places must have a computer system to constantly monitor humidity etc and adjust heating/cooling to maintain the optimum temperature and humidity.

Lights are winched down annually and cleaned and their bulbs replaced.

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Large Light Fitting

Chirk castle has trouble with water. It appears in the least likely places as well as obvious places such as through windows. There were towels across all windows to absorb any water which managed to get in during storms.

A large piece fell out of the ceiling as water had traversed the ceiling and weakened to Velcro, yes, Velcro, that is how these panels have been held up for the last 25 years. Fortunately, nothing and no one was hurts and it has been put back.

Went for a look around a tower which was original, where we had been inspecting cleaning had been modified for “modern” living a couple of hundred years previously!

Then a cuppa and a Devonshire tea. The chocolate cake looked better but so far I hadn’t had a Devonshire tea so thought I had better.

Chirk Castle has a huge estate, I think I was 430 acres and they have a few walks. The first I did was through the gardens which had lots of topiary. It was magnificent. It also went into the woods where there were heaps of snowdrops which I love.

The Ha Ha Wall is a wall built in a trench so as not to block the view.

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Ha Ha Wall

It also went into the woods where there were heaps of snowdrops which I love. I suspect that galanthophile is a word not commonly known. It means a collector of snowdrops! I also found out that snowdrops contain galantamine which is sold as Reminyl and is used for Alzheimer’s disease.

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Snowdrops

 

I then went through the woods for a couple of hours. Nothing special to report but it was a very enjoyable walk and the sun was out which always helps.

When I decided it was time to start walking the rain acme! I suggested to one of the National Trust guys that they turn the water off and the radioed up and sure enough after 10 mins or so there was a rainbow and the sun came out.

Home at dusk to shut up the chooks and get the eggs. 4 today. It is so nice to have fresh eggs, I am eating heaps!

Next day was cooler again but not as cold as a couple of days ago, only a thing cover of ice on the buckets. Made a list of things to see and then decided I had better get organized and go somewhere. Sun was still shining at that point but it began raining soon after I got to Powis Castle.

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Powis Castle

Not too bad though, it was only if I took my hood off I knew it was raining so it wasn’t too heavy and my coat is long!

 

At least when it rains it isn’t so cold.

Walked round the gardens. They had some interesting topiary trees. Apparently they were left to grow freely for a number of years before reverting them back to topiary. One looks like it is giving the V sign while another looks as though it has a nose.

Whether it is deliberate or just the way I see them I’m not sure.

Had a look around the house which it was converted to a couple of hundred years ago. When I saw some things covered I knew exactly why having been instructed on such things a Chirk Castle.

I went to Tescos on the way home as I couldn’t decide what to have for dinner. I decided on a meaty bit of belly pork which cost a whole $1 or thereabouts.

I was home about 4:30  and emptied rubbish and gave the chooks some scraps. I then changed out of my jeans, forgetting that I had to put the chooks to bed after dark.

I was having a coffee and fruit bun and I thought I heard a knock. Cats? No they have doors I got up a woman was in the house!  Turned out it was A and K’s friends. Checking to see if I was OK. I don’t expect people to come here, especially as the gate is locked but no doubt they know where the key is. They stopped and chatted for a while and I tucked my pants into my boots and put the girls to bed when they left. All 8 present and correct.

Milky came to see me for a short while but soon left. I would have thought she would have enjoyed sitting by the fire. I do!

 

 

 

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