Tag: Shrewsbury (page 2 of 2)

Why don’t dogs poo white stuff anymore?

This was a weird thought I had walking the streets of Shrewsbury the other day (ironically, not whilst on the toilet).

White dog poo

White dog poo

Incidentally, but not unrelated, until I moved to Shrewsbury I hadn’t been particularly bothered by dog poo on the streets (at least not since adulthood). I had not noticed much in the way of dog poo on the streets of the three places I’d lived in over the ten years prior to coming here: Japan, Oxford and Charlbury. In fact, I was quite shocked when we moved here at the sheer quantity (not so much quality, that relates to the white-poo thought) of dog poo on the streets of Shrewsbury. Do Shropshire’s dogs poo when the urge takes them whereas Oxfordshire ones wait until they get home? Or are the owners to blame? Do Oxfordshire owners carry those handy little poo bags whereas Shrosphire owners don’t bother? I suspect a mixture of the former and latter. However, I digress. Today’s thought is about the quality of poo, not the quantity.

No poo on these streets

No poo on these streets

I remember dog poo featuring in my childhood quite a lot (we always had a dog, who pooed, and I suspect the streets of Stafford in the 1970s and  1980s were similarly plagued by sporadically dumped excrement as the streets of Shrewsbury are in the 2010s). Dog poo is something I remember seeing, studying, stepping in (embarrassingly) and stepping over (fortunately). Dog poo, was sometimes white. Now, in Shrewsbury at least, dog poo is always brown.

Why?

I’ve asked the Internet. The Internet claims that it is to do with there being less bone marrow in the diets of dogs. Less bone marrow equals less calcium. Calcium is white and crumbly. So less calcium equals less white and crumbly poo.

That was easy.

I just need to get the dog owners of Shrewsbury to CLEAN UP THEIR BROWN SLOPPY POO PLEASE!

If the owners won't do it...

If the owners won’t do it…

I like collecting interesting roundabouts and scary corners

I’m not sure that this classifies as a ‘weird thought’ but I think it classifies as weird so I’m half way there. I like to collect interesting roundabouts and scary corners. I will introduce a few here. I’d like to explore more.

There is a roundabout in Oxford affectionately known in our family as T.S.R. which stands for The Scary Roundabout. The real name of this roundabout is the Headington Roundabout. It was this roundabout that was responsible for sending me hurtling down the M4 to London with a boot full of food shopping, including icecream, on a very hot August Sunday afternoon many years ago. That was a very scary moment. I had taken the wrong exit.

Does this look scary to you?

Does this look scary to you?

I used to DREAD going around this roundabout when we lived in Oxford. I had a temping job once where I had no choice but to go on this roundabout to get from home to the place of work. I was so glad that that job only lasted only two weeks.

There is a roundabout in Shrewsbury that, in contrast to T.S.R., I find quite lovely because of its unusual shape. It is known to us in the Collins family as The 50p Roundabout. It isn’t even a roundabout as it is shaped like a 50p so it isn’t round (albeit a 50p with too many sides). My children also call it the rabbit roundabout after we were told that a colony of rabbits live on the roundabout (I’ve never seen any rabbits there). It is officially known as Meole Brace Roundabout (incidentally I like to call Meole Brace Melrose Brace after a rather naff US drama of the past).

Do these live on the 50p roundabout?

Do these live on the 50p roundabout?

The famous 50p roundabout

The famous 50p roundabout

There is a famous roundabout in Swindon I’d like to visit someday. It is known as the ‘Magic Roundabout’ and looks like a dalliance with death to me.

And the winner of the best roundabout in the UK is...

And the winner of the best roundabout in the UK is…

Another roundabout worth a visit might be the roundabout that was voted the best roundabout in the UK by the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society (yes, such an organisation does exist) in 2013. It circles a duck pond (almost as cute as rabbits).

The duck pond roundabout in Kent

The duck pond roundabout in Kent

And after visiting that one, I want to visit the roundabout that houses a windmill (winner of the best roundabout vote in 2012).

Have you ever been around this roundabout near York?

Have you ever been around this roundabout near York?

As for corners, I have two corners I am especially fond of. The first one is between Aberystwyth and Borth. It is the scariest corner I have ever had the pleasure to drive along. It is on a mountain side and it has an angle of about 40 degrees (or 320 degrees from the outside).

Which way to the scariest corner in Britain?

Which way to the scariest corner in Britain?

The second scary corner in my collection is between Charlbury and Chipping Norton. This corner sticks in my memory because my husband had to drive me from Charlbury, where we lived, to Chipping Norton, where the nearest hospital was, while I struggled not to give birth to my second son in the car. It was a particularly icy night in early March. I will never forget that roundabout. It marked the half way mark from home to hospital.

Do you know the scary corner between Charlbury and Chipping Norton?

Do you know the scary corner between Charlbury and Chipping Norton?

I hope this odd hobby of mine makes me more interesting than a train spotter. Perhaps I ought to start a note book of corners and roundabouts. But first, I want this book!

This is going on my Christmas list

This is going on my Christmas list

I’m not being funny, but your blog is awful

I’ve lived in Shrewsbury now for six years. I do like this lovely, medieval town very much. As I’ve explained before I love straplines and Shrewsbury has a great strapline: the great one-off. There is even a video on YouTube about how lovely it is here (and it really is).

But there is one phrase I hear a lot out and about this town which I don’t remember hearing on the streets of Oxford (although it does appear on the Oxford Dictionaries website) or Charlbury and it is a phrase I don’t like. That phrase is: I’m not being funny, but.

A town which is full of people not being funny

A town which is full of people not being funny

This phrase now sits happily in my box of Phrases I Don’t Like (sitting along side ‘at the end of the day‘, ‘the bottom line’, ‘ping me an email’ and ‘keep me in the loop’). The reason I don’t like it is because when you hear it you know that something bad is going to follow. You know that some negative comment must be on its way. You hear this phrase and you need to brace yourself.

You never hear ‘I’m not being funny but, there are some lovely people in this world’ or ‘I’m not being funny but, let’s give everyone some chocolate tomorrow’.

Let's spread a little chocolate around the world

Let’s spread a little chocolate around the world

Perhaps I should change the reputation of this phrase and use it ad nauseum in my daily conversations with all the Salopians I know. But I need to follow it with something lovely and flowery. That will be my mission.

I'm not being funny but, flowers are pointless

I’m not being funny but, flowers are pointless

Why do I like charity shops so much?

I am back at home now and yesterday on the way home from West Wales while we were on our lunch stop I dragged my family around the charity shops of Machynlleth. Every city we go to I drag them around charity shops: Edinburgh, Plymouth, and Aberystwyth to name just three. They are used to it now. They are very tolerant.

I had to take a trip to the local public conveniences shortly after our lunch stop in Machynlleth and while there I pondered: why am I so obsessed with charity shops?

I think the answer is partly genetic, partly historical and partly nostalgia.

These books make me feel nostalgic

These books make me feel nostalgic

My family are a family of charity shop lovers. We are bargain hunters. We don’t go to ‘normal’ shops very often (unless there is a sale on). However, cheap we like but we’d rather find something of value second hand that something cheaply made selling at a low price. We favour Severn Hospice over George at Asda.

Cheap and cheerful?

Cheap and cheerful?

I’d say that about half of my clothes are second hand. I own some lovely items from Coast, Jigsaw, Mexx, Boden and White Stuff. Most of them pre-owned.I am sure my friends think I have lots of clothes (I do). I’m sure they think I am frivolous with my money (I am, but only in Oxfam).

One of my favourites in Shrewbsury

One of my favourites in Shrewbsury

My mum, sister and I meet regularly to mooch around the local charity shops. So I blame them for the genetic and historic reasons for my love of charity shops. I remember going around charity shops and factory shops as a child (being dragged around to some extent). Then I remember going through a period of rebellion against charity shops from the age of about 14 to 18, believing that charity clothes were ‘cuffy‘. Later, while living in Exeter during my degree years, I re-discovered my love of second hand, when I discovered the most amazing vintage / second-hand clothes shop called The Real McCoy (and it is still there). Shopping by myself, I’d visit that shop to feel the fabrics, try on the ball gowns, and image myself in the vintage 1960s and 1970s dresses.

Next came a few years living in Oxford and Oxford town center is weirdly devoid of charity shops. Moving to Shrewsbury was a blessing in this respect, there are lots of charity shops here and I love them all. It felt like coming home.

Where are the charity shops?

Where are the charity shops?

The final reason for my love of charity shops I think comes from my craving for nostalgia and my love of the past. I think I am secretly looking to get that feeling of nostalgia, or the uncanny as Freud would call it, that we get from finding an object that reminds us of something or somewhere else (in time or space). I love to find objects that remind me of my past. I enjoy that warm, comforting feeling of recognition (such as I had from finding the ‘rock concert‘ in New Quay). A year ago I found an ornament in Oxfam in Shrewsbury that we had had in the house when I was a child. I bought it, even though it is really quite unattractive. I had to have it. I had no need for it. But the feeling of nostalgia that seeing it had engendered in me was something I wanted to keep.

This was one of a pair of statues we owned

This was one of a pair of statues we owned

I like to browse the children’s books to find old Beanos, Blue Peter annuals or The Bash Street Kids annuals that I owned for that same reason. Looking through the pages of these books takes me straight back to my childhood. Watch out, Proust is about to rear his head again.

And here he is. I’m sure he’d be a big fan of charity shops had they had them in 19th-century France (perhaps they did).

This man again?

This man again?

 

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