Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chepstow, and Last night

And so off we were to Chepstow. As we were in a bit of a time crunch, we didn't really want to stop at a pub for lunch so we had asked for directions to a market as we left Cosmeston. Oh -- it's very simple, just go out and turn left... Uh Huh. We messed it up somehow and ended up threading our way through the industrial underbelly of Cardiff. LOL -- now we KNOW why Kate had suggested we not go there!

Giving up on the market we got back on the highway - Chepstow was only 20 miles further on anyways. On the way we passed yet more signs for the Forest of Dean. Hee, never got into the forest but we drove all around it. (Back in 1992 Dave and I visited Tinturn Abbey as we did our backpacking trip.) But this picture is for my buddy Dean.

Sure enough, we found a sandwich shop across the street from the castle that would pack our sandwiches to go. So we took them up to the castle and had another castle picnic.

Again situated in a nicely defensible position, the castle offers pretty spectacular views.

Chepstow is a particularly well preserved castle, and one that had a rather prominent position in the political history of Wales in general. So there is a lot documented about the castle and its inhabitants. As I mentioned earlier, a book I'd grabbed from the library before leaving, simply because it was titled "Life in a Medieval Castle", was largely based upon Chepstow. We'd been reading excerpts of the book on the road for the past couple days. Unfortunately for the reading -- the distances we travelled in Wales were always very short so that we were forever getting OUT of the car to see something else! LOL. So we didn't get a lot of the book read. But we've continued reading it here at home and it offers a really detailed description of the political climate that led to the hey-day of castles, across Europe in general. William the Conqurer brought feudalism to Britain, which was a huge shaper of society for the next several hundred years.

One of the highlights of the castle for us was a very well done museum like exhibition about the history of the castle. Who inhabited it when, what each did to further the structure. There were four major developments, each adding chunks. William Marshall was the first and started the castle with the square tower seen in the first "cliff picture" above.

Ah well - we did have much fun climbing in and around the differnt eras of the castle.

Alas, eventually we had to skedaddle out of there and head towards London. Arrived at Helen's place in St. Albans right on time and she met us in the alley to let us into the parking garage at her building.

It was so much fun to spend time with a brokie again -- this time somewhat removed from the hubbub of the weekend and actually get to talk some in depth. :-D Shared with her many of our stories from Wales. And admired her impressive collection of BBM memoriabilia -- this here is just a small sample of it!

We went to dinner at a new Thai restaurant, which turned out to be very good! And we had just a very lovely last evening, made ten times more special to spend it with a new friend.



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