Sunday, 11 June 2017

A Punk Heron and the Kinver Rock Houses.

Sunday 11th June, 2017 in Kinver.
It had rained overnight and our new "family member", Esmerelda, thought that the raindrops were Smaug's jewels. We had found her in a small craft shop beside Autherley Lock.
The antics of our resident heron afforded us great amusement. "Mr Cool" paraded up and down the opposite bank with his usual supercilious air.
Close up he was the epitome of haughty sartorial elegance while he looked for his breakfast.
Finding no breakfast, he flew up into the tree above MM, croaking loudly at R below in a most disgruntled fashion.
He then turned into a punk rocker with his hair standing on end - perhaps the after effects of a distinct lack of breakfast! No longer Mr Cool! How we laughed!
We walked into Kinver, where we had arranged to meet Mike and Vanessa from yesterday. The coffee shop was down an attractive alleyway lined with little shops.
We spent a happy hour or two with them, swapping stories, and arranged to try to meet up again next Sunday, possibly in Stourport.
Afterwards, we walked up to the "Holy Austin Rock Houses" on Kinver Edge; dwellings carved out of the sandstone rock cliffs. They were still inhabited as recently as the 1960s and are now owned and maintained by the National Trust.
There are three levels, one above the other. The middle level has become unsafe but the lower and upper level have been restored and are in excellent condition. The well on the top level, at 180ft,  is reputedly the deepest in England.
These rooms were furnished in a Victorian theme and with a fire burning in the stove, they were warm and cosy. M declared that she would be very happy to live there.
On the table was an original copy of the Mail for 26th January 1901, recording the death of Queen Victoria and with pictures and pages of information about her life. It was great to be able to leaf through the pages; normally a publication of this age would be under glass.
A hobbit hole - up here! One of the unsafe dwellings on the middle level has been given a "Hobbit" door. M says that she wants one just like it!
On the upper level, the original houses were demolished as unsafe in the 1960s. They had traditional fronts, but the back rooms were all caves that went deep into the cliffside. Three of the houses have been faithfully recreated using photograhic evidence; the Rock Houses have been a tourist attraction since Victorian times, so many photographs exist of the originals.
These three houses are now used as a popular tea room and the terrace outside has lovely views over the countryside.
Fortified by tea, coffee and cake, we walked further up the hill to the site of the Iron Age Fort on the top of Kinver Edge. There are panoramic views from the top as far as Wolverhampton, Dudley and Birmingham to the north. We could also see the canal and Hyde Lock House way below.
Today, we didn't move but just ran the engine for 1.9 hours to recharge the batteries.

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