Not far from where we work is a huge big Sculpture park called the British ironwork centre. It’s on the A5 just south of Oswestry. January and February were free to get in so we decided to go and have a look.

You can also buy membership for a year at a very reasonable fee of £7.50 each which entitles you to go as many times as you like in a year plus 10% discount in the cafe and 10% discount in the shop. We bought the membership because we know we will go back again because so many things change there through out the year.

The grounds are huge so be prepared for a nice walk, and they have really thought about how they place the sculptures. Some even being in the water etc. lots of information boards telling you about them. They are very keen on getting the message across about endangered animals under threat of extinction.

Elephant made from old car parts

The elephant above was made from old car clutches, brake parts, chains etc and was so impressive. The Maori head below from more car parts.

Māori head

You really need to go there to appreciate the scale of the grounds and we had a lovely lunch at the cafe sitting outside in the sun. We will be going back. And of course the shop which I think if we had a house we would have spent a fortune in.

On one of our walks from the site up to Chirk castle, through the woods we were sitting on a bench taking in the peace and tranquility. A lady walker stopped to say hello and told us a lot of history of the area and told us about a lovely pub which a friend of hers owns.

A pub with views over looking a river and mountains with good food and real ales. I sat up straight and was all ears. We had the next day off so our plan was to visit this pub as the weather was going to be good.

The pub was about half hours drive away in a place called Carrog , the pubs’s called The Grouse inn. I drove there turning off the main road and winding down a single track road, over an old bridge over the river Dee and into the pub carpark. This is where I handed over the car keys to Nikki for her to drive back after our lunch.

The setting is fantastic. We decided to sit outside even though it’s February but we were in the sun and could not miss the view by sitting inside.

Lunch with a view

The food was very good, The beer was very good, The view was very good, the weather was very good and of course the company was very good. I could have sat there all afternoon to be honest.

The view

Back to work the next day but planning our next day off. We decided we were going to go to Shrewsbury. About a 45 minute drive away. Shrewsbury sits on the river Severn and is the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Lots of old Tudor buildings that have been sat there for so many years and as you look at them you wonder how they have survived. The old beams all leaning and twisted but so much character.

The main shopping area we did not like with all the high street shops in. That’s just the same as any town with main stream shops. But the old parts we found were great and the old market hall with all its independent shops was very nice.

Nikki was chatting to a stall holder and she told her we had missed all the best bits of the old town with a lot of independent shops and at the end of the street was the river which we could have walked all along and back around to where we had parked. So a revisit is on the cards.

Not far from where we parked and crossed the river into the town was a sculpture. It looks like a slinky (remember them) or a cows spine as some of the locals say. It was put there to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. The local council paid for it at a price of one million pounds. This upset a lot of locals obviously.

Old bridge and modern sculpture

A walk up to the castle grounds on a sunny afternoon was also rewarded with some nice sights of the grounds and the snowdrops. The castle is close to us so it will be nice going up there on a regular basis to see it all grow and all the plants and trees coming into bloom and changing through the season .

Chirk castle grounds

So that’s us up to date. Lots of other things planned for our remaining eight months of work. Work really does get in the way of our life but we need the money to be able to do the things we like to do.

Loverly old building in Shrewsbury