Like everything else in the world England is too…
My First Ghost Story In England
There is something romantic, sentimental and mysterious about ghosts and ghosts stories and almost everybody likes them including myself. I never knew whether I believed in ghosts or not, but I think, our bank holiday weekend in an English medieval town might changed my mind.
So here is
We decided to spend the last bank holiday weekend in Shwrewsbury and to visit 3 very different castles in North Wales. All we needed to do was to book a room somewhere, so I went online and had a look.
I noticed a nice little cottage in a 15C half-timbered building beautifully refurbished for a reasonable price, so I quickly booked it. Sometimes it is good to have a change and stay at a quirky place like this, isn’t it?
What a plesant surprise
The travel time is 2 hours from ours to Shrewsbury according to the Google maps and the Satnav, but because we decided to go nowhere near a motorway, the journey took 4 hours. The positive side of the drive was the beautiful landscape. We arrived around 6pm to Shrewsbury and I was sooo excited to step in the cottage. I had no idea what to expect, inspite of having seen several places like this on TV before.
The entrance gateway put a smile on my face when I saw its walls leaning in all direction, but the house took my breath away. The doors and rails painted in grey looked all very elegant just like the kitchen, even if I thought my style would be different. The house had an English and French country style feel and it was beautifully appointed with lots of attention to details. I must admit, I behaved like a dog which runs around all the rooms in the house once inside, or a scout when checking all the rooms in a campsite: I ran upstairs to have a look at the living room and the bathroom and I was surprised there was another storey to go. When I saw the sitting room and the bathroom, I thought, this house could be on the cover of a magazine!
I could not say there was no right angles in the sitting room, unlike Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) in the Beverly Hills Cop 2 when he said there was no right angle on the house (btw – I am not sure why I am referring to this film these days 🙂 ), but I am sure, being a 15C cottage, it was difficult to find a perfectly horizontal line in it. I wondered whether these houses are checked regularly from surveyors point of view… I would guess, yes, however I somehow could not imagine myself doing aerobics or dancing or jumping in such a room… I am probably silly but I am sure you know what I mean.
Full of excitement I ran upstairs to see the bedroom, which did not disappoint me either. It too was elegant, a bit English, a bit French, a bit country style, a bit shabby chic. My bedroom would have a different design, but this one was perfect for a romantic weekend. All in all, we could not believe how lucky we were to stay in such a beautiful place like this, for a very reasonable price.
The proof of pudding is in the eating
As read in the welcome pack, the owners refurbished the house themselves and I am sure they had all the good intentions in the world when they were doing it. At the same time, I am also sure that the decor had priority over practicality and things have never been tested. I do not wish to go into details what all could be changed to have a better stay/experience, but we left the owners a short list which is hopefully helpful and useful and will not offend them.
However, there were two things which were rather strange. The day we arrived the temperature dropped, so we put the heating on for a while (electric) which we then switched off before going to bed. We thought we did… It was on all night and then all day and in fact during our stay, although all the switches were switched off. It remains a mystery.
The other thing was the oven, which tripped the fuse when I tried to heat through some croissants in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I am always scared to death when something like this happens in somebody else’s home.
In-spite of this we had a nice time and in fact, one morning I said during breakfast, I would be happy to live in a house like this if I was a student, or single. I started to change my mind when I realised it was not the best idea of fun having to go downstairs for a pee in the middle of the night, or early in the morning, especially when you can hear some strange noises coming from the kitchen…
Do you think there is somebody down there?, I asked.
No, Darling, there’s nobody, said Bill.
Alright, alright… I plucked up all of my courage and went downstairs to the bathroom, however, I sort of expected to see somebody sitting in the armchair in the living room… Brrr….
The ominous night!
Our holiday was great, we visited castles and a grand house and walked around in Shrewsbury and I was wondering whether the Welsh castles are also haunted. Scottish castles are famous to have at least one ghost, just like the English, but what about the Welsh? I remembered what one of my brother’s friends who I just call “The Witch” said many years ago. According to him, Great-Britain is a place of evil spirits like ghosts and witches etc and Ireland is full of good spirits like fairies and pixies. Well, Great-Britain includes Wales, so following his logic Wales must have ghosts as well. I concentrated on Wales and not on England, where Shrewsbury lays.
There you go… Having talked about ghosts…
Sunday evening no matter where you went, there were parties all over in Shrewsbury. Every pub and club was heaving from old and young. We being tired, went to sleep earlier around 10pm. I had a good sleep until 2am when we both were woken up by the bedroom door that slammed loudly inspite of it being shut! It was scary. There was no wind or a storm outside, so I cannot see it being done by a draft. My first and very obvious thought was:
It was a ghost!
Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night to the noise of a slamming window or door, but then you realise outside is a storm or the wind is blowing. This was not the case. Like I said, my first and instant though was the ghost and I sort of could feel the presence. I mean, I don’t think it was in the room anymore, but I was confident he/she looked in the bedroom.
Do you think it was a ghost?, I asked worryingly.
No, it was just a draft, Darling, said Bill. (Not sure how confident he was in his own answer…)
The worst thing was that I suddenly realised I needed a pee. 🙂 How could I have possibly gone down to the bathroom on my own after this? Bill was a gentleman and he came down with me and we were all fine, no feeling of a presence of the ghost anymore. After this rather unusual experience and the noise of the streets which were still loud by young people at this time of the night, it was difficult to fall asleep again.
Whether a cottage becomes more attractive when it is haunted, I leave it to you to decide. Surely, it is exciting staying at a place which is said to have ghosts, however it might be better to know it upfront. When we got back to Maidenhead, I looked it up: Shrewsbury has around 600 timber-framed houses and the town is said to be extremely haunted with its 6 locations: Raven Meadows, The Dingle, Barracks Passage, Rowley’s House, Railway Station, The Hole in the Wall. And we have not mentioned/considered the smaller, half-timbered houses from the Tudor and Jacobean period of the town…
Do you think it was a ghost looking into the bedroom, or not?
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