Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Saturday Away

My parents are great. After a very busy summer they offered to give Woody and me a day to ourselves and took the boys off for adventures on steam trains and up church towers. So what to do with Autumn creeping in and a whole day to potter about? Only one choice for us, off to Ludlow we must go.
Up over the Shropshire Hills the season is much further on than in the Moorlands surprisingly. Every shade of crimson, sienna and burnt umber lined the hedgerows as we trundled along one of my favourite journeys in the world from Eccleshall to Newport ,(I ignore the bit through Telford - I studied near there for a year and I just have to admit its really not my sort of town), then on across the Severn, uphill to Much Wenlock and then the final stretch to Ludlow with the mighty tower of St Lawrence's church beckoning us on.
This journey turns me into a jibberring wreck of joy but we can only contemplate coming in the season of mists and mellow fruitfullness. There's something so magical about the textures and colours of Shropshire's patchwork landscape that transfixes me.
Acre after acre of blonde, stubble fields sat hard up against newly ploughed velvety furrows that snaked around knots of woodland changing into their autumn clothes. Yesterday was a day of heavy clouds then bright low sunshine that threw amazing shadows across the countryside as the clouds scudded swiftly over a soft blue sky. No photos sadly but those pictures will stay in my head all season.
This weekend is the Ludlow and Marches Food Festival , usually the sort of busy event that would put us off visiting but being just us two we thought we'd make the most of it and enjoy a bit of festiveness. Well I did.

Going to a Food Festival with a non-foodie is interesting believe me. Woody has no interest whatsoever. He likes a good meal but only if its quick and he doesn't have to get involved.  Left to his own devices he'd live totally from the freezer and the tin cupboard. London Grill with fish fingers and a fried egg is Woody's idea of foodie heaven. I was in my element though.
So we didn't do the tented village inside the castle but we visited the Fringe stalls and had a proper linger around the market admiring cobnuts and damsons, lychees and fennel, all sorts of tomatoes and fabulous apples. Woody does however love his cheese and fruit so we treated ourselves to a few local specials and the most delicious peaches.
Mostly we just enjoyed a bit of good old fashioned sauntering, people watching and mooching. There were Sausauge Trails, Ale Trails, Waiters Races, Pudding tasting; all sort of queues for this and that but we could still potter about in one of our favourite places and just enjoy the day.
Ludlow has few chain shops and is a British pioneer of the Italian Slow Food idea that puts shoppers back in touch with the best produce from where they live with the emphasis on quality, provenance and taste.
But there are other traders too, vintage heaven with lots of lovely emporiums selling salvage, clothing, brocante and lighting but my favourite shop is a traditional ironmongers, just like Frost's where my mum and dad used to shop. You could get everything from lawn seed to a roll of lino for the kitchen floor, all in a village shop in a row of terraced houses. Brilliant.
We came home with new books, old books, a few treats to stash away for Christmas, the new Country Living (perfect timing) and a beautiful bunch of Shropshire chyrsanthemums. Mine are a way off flowering yet so these are bringing a lovely feeling of harvest to our little home for now.What a wonderful day.

34 comments:

Sue said...

Thank you so much for this lovely post Steph. I've only been to Ludlow a couple of times and that was years ago. I know all about its food movement and I keep meaning to go. I've just looked at google maps and find it is only an hour from Worcester. What's stopping me?

Rose Fern said...

How I want to go there, thaks to your posting, Steph!!!
Beautiful photos! And the market...my kind!

Suzanne said...

HI, I used to live in Shropshire as my mother's family come from there, and I adore Ludlow! You know how to make a girl homesick!!! Lovely photos too...........xx

Rose Fern said...

PS. Ironmongers is MY fav shop, too!!!I can browse forever!

Miss Holly said...

What a glorious visit !! Thanks for taking us along...

Jill (http:stocktoncrafts.typepad.com) said...

Ludlow looks beautiful...hubby thinks we should be able to do a day trip! Thanks for the idea :)x

hels said...

Lovely post! It just so happens we are off there tomorrow, staying in a little cottage in the centre for a few days. Never been before so it was great to see your pics and am looking forward to it even more now!

periwinkle said...

My mouth is watering just looking at all that gorgeous food but I do love the bike laden down with onions , that's just brilliant. I'm having a little giveaway if you want to pop over x

Rose H (UK) said...

Lovely Ludlow! I was there about two weeks ago, a glorious day out :o) I only took a few photos, not as lovely as yours though Steph.
You weren't too far away from me when you were travelling there through Eccleshall & Newport - I'm only in Penkridge about 15/16 miles away.
Thank you for such a lovely post, you've pictured many of the shops I visited whilst there :o)
Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
Best wishes
Rose H

fabriquefantastique said...

fabulous images.....time for a UK fix

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

Ohh I've longed to go to Ludlow for years, I have never even been to Shrophire! One day...your fabulous post has made me want to go more than ever! x

Louise said...

My Dave lived in Wolverhampton for 6 years (he's just moved to the moorlands) so we were really close to places like Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock and had loads of days out all over Shropshire. I love Ludlow, and lots of other parts of Shropshire too, and we always enjoyed a potter around the town!

Patti said...

I enjoy your posts so much as I dream of quaint country side English villages. But I realized this day 9/11 how much I love and am proud of being an American. Our country is beautiful, strong and proud. God Bless America and God Bless all Countries and Keep us Safe.

Simone said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful day. I have never been to Shropshire and must put it on my 'places to see' list.

Country Rabbit said...

beautiful images steph you capture the atmosphere so perfectly well ;0)
I love your descriptions, you remind me of Elspeth thompson when you write, i miss her lovely descriptions of things. Lovely to just be with your hubby and explore the places you love x

Nimblefingerssteadyeyebrows said...

How gorgeous! I have a friend who lives in Ludlow. I can see that it's time to go and visit her! Love the last photo- gorgeous flowers and fab tea cozy. Laura x

Sue said...

Thank You again Steph for sharing.I've never been to Shropshire,looks like my kind of place,loved your flowers too, such beautiful colours,nice to have some you and hubby time(i'm all for that as well)
Best Wishes
Sue xxx
(am i being a numpty, but what's a London Grill)!!!

Claire said...

What a super day out, lovely pics, makes me want to grab my passport and run away.........

Claire :}

Frances said...

I am so glad to have this reminder that Ludlow is a place I must find a way to visit...some year soon.

xo

Toffeeapple said...

I have never yet made it to the Food Festival but I do love Ludlow with a passion. The butchers are the very best.

silverpebble said...

A sausage trail? Pudding tasting? It sounds like absolute heaven to me - I'm a little envious of your trip to Ludlow as I've heard how good the food shoppping is so many times.

I so love the look of that hardware store. We have one in a village near here (Clare) and it's one of my favourite shops.

melanie said...

What fabulous window displays! :) xxx

Pipany said...

Such a lovely post Steph. Ludlow looks like my sort of place and I really enjoyed your descriptions of the journey. Great new header too!

patchworkandlace said...

lovely post ive never been there before but it looks worth a visit, the shops look lovely

Stitchy said...

Being a Canadian, never having the privilege to travel to the UK, it all looks and sounds so story book! Your writing is lovely as well. Thank you for taking us along!
I especially liked the onion bike. lol

Rebecca

Sew Recycled said...

Oh how gorgeous is Ludlow, very jealous. Its somewhere I would really love to visit.
Its so important to have some special time together, glad you had a lovely time!
Emx

Karen Wiederhold said...

I'm sorry I missed the festival year again :-( I really must get it in my diary for next year. Is Ludlow lovely to visit any time of the year when the festival isn't on as keep thinking of a day out there on a weekend?

green glamour said...

What a jolly good post i have never been, now its on my wish list. ps love the new banner. I think it was on your post i learnt about Alys Flowler. thanks for that ive just blogged her new book and its full of autumn lovelyness ,even down to the dress she has on. thanks from green-glamour. x

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Oh My! My idea of heaven. A food festival! I love cooking and baking so events of that nature are of great interest to me. I went to Ludlow in 99, a lovely place which deserves another visit I think. It's good to have time just for yourself and your husband. We all need time away from our children sometimes much as we do love them! My husband has just been told no yeast, dairy, sugar, corn and other things. That is going to put my cooking skills to the test!
The onions and shallots on the bike look fantastic!
A lovely post, once again!
Isabelle x

purple-roses-country-cottage said...

Dear Steph, thank you so much for showing us Ludlow! What a lovely place. And the new picture for your Blog looks beautiful! Kindest regards Nicole

Niki Jackson said...

Looks like a wonderful time! Niki x

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Cottage 1945 said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time!

saraeden said...

I love Ludlow and have fond memories of visiting when i was younger as we lived in Bridgnorth then x