2011 UK and Ireland travel blog

Church at Knockin Heath

Great GreatGrandfather's grave

Graveyard at Knockin Heath

Church Notice

Back of the Church

Country Lane that Church is on

Chirk Castle

Entrance to Chirk Castle

Castle Courtyard

Pat in the Stocks

View from the Castle towards Chirk

The Laundry Room

The Owen's at Chirk Castle

Friendly Cat in the garden at Chirk

The Acquaducts

The locks

Another view of the locks

Joan and Steve at the Acquaducts

The Commercial Hotel

Roman Gardens from Chester Wall

Chester Catheral

Chester street

The entrance to the hotel courtyard (via the steps)

Main Entrance to the Commerical Hotel

Chester Cathereal

Chester Wall

Another view of the wall

The very hard to get to Visiters Centre at Chester


.Writing for 2 days as WiFi was not strong enough in last night's hotel. For the middle of Wales we we travelled the most pleasant countryside of rolling hills, terraced fields and small hamlets. This is sheep country black and white. Crossing back just slightly into England near Shrewsbury we sought out the very tiny hamlet of Knockin Heath. Joan's great-great grandfather was a lay preacher at the local Methodist church, and after a series of narrow country lanes we found the church. Still in remarkable condition and still serving it was built in 1833, a small stone church with a little ancient graveyard in the churchyard. And after a diligent search as the grave makers are quite weathered we found the grave of Joan's great-great grandfather Thomas Pierce who died in 1899 and her great-great grandmother Rebecca who died in 1923. Amazing and quite moving for Joan. We poked around the country lane and area beside the church. A very tranquil and away-out-in-English-countryside setting. I like to collect rocks from places we have visited for our front garden at home and the first small rock I found from the churchyard contained a marvellous fossil of a small complete seashell. An incredibly beautiful memento. From Knockin Heath we went back into Wales to visit Chirk Castle. Built by Edward I to control the Welsh savages it is a huge majestic castle built high on a hill in where else but Chirk, Wales. Up until 2004 the descendants of the original lords of the castle lived here converting some of the stone rooms into living quarters. But in a full 18the century design and decor. Viewing the servants and soldiers quarters was very interesting. The spartan living conditions, food preparation areas and all associated with running a castle made for a tough life. Wonderfully preserved in all ways the tower's living quarters for the original Lord before the previously mentioned newer living quarters also featured probably the first water closets. A stone alcove and passageway to a hole in a rock bench whose function was obvious. If you can imagine the malodorous waft of a 500 foot and 800 year old "bog". A quick visit to the nearby 19the century aqueduct that carries the canal to the Mersey River over a river far below. Quite an engineering feat and tour boats now ply these canals all over England. Back into England to the amazing Roman walled city of Chester. A beautiful city with this tall and wide Roman wall running around the inner old city. We stayed at the Commercial Hotel smack in the middle of the old city. And without help we never would have found it. An old hotel in a Church courtyard, refurbished and retaining the old charm, a collection of hallways and scattered rooms. An no elevator. Luggage hauled up 4 staircases by you-know-who. And a bit much for Mother. Our travel agent shall be hearing about this one. We have quite a lot of specifics when travelling with Mother. Our soon to be ex-travel agent assured us before us leaving that all our specifics would be meet. Why I oughta... And as it turned out this hotel is party central for Chester's young crowd. The painted bimbos and strutting dudes soon filled the place making us two old farts stand out like well two old farts. The owner of the hotel, an old rock & roller came over and chatted with us, apologizing profusely and needlessly about the nature of his party hotel. A real good guy I was soon lost in talk of rock and roll and record collecting. He looked after us, two free bottles of red at dinner. Excellent food in the hotel's excellent dining room which was quickly turned into the DJ room the moment we finished dinner. The party raved on until 2 AM. But we were prepared and all in all it wasn't that bad a night. Maybe 4 pints of beer and two bottles of red has something to do with that. The next morning the hotel bill was cut by 30 pounds and breakfast was on the house. Today was the short trip to Liverpool and The Docks area we are staying at for 2 nights. A modern hotel near the huge new shopping area and all the Beatles attractions that I am going to visit tomorrow. The Cavern Club, John Lennon and Paul McCartney's boyhood homes, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. But all this will be tomorrow's story. Today we just walked around and bought new clothes. Cannot find a laundromat so far in England, none of the hotels has guest do-it-yourself laundries. Oh they'll do your laundry for you and gladly. But 3 pounds 50 pence to wash a pair of socks. I think not. Perhaps our day after tomorrow destination Ireland will have laundromats. And one other thing the English could use is air-conditioning. Not one of the hotels and few other establishments we have been in have air-conditiong. A table fan and an open window are what you get. Driving is now like driving at home...so far a breeze. Oh and just one other things the English are terrible litter bugs. A beautiful and majestic city like Chester is strewn with discarded fast food wrappers, beer cans everywhere, a cigarette packages. It appears Liverpool is the same. But enough...it's getting late...so until tomorrow...to all goodnight. Steve & Joan & Patricia

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