A visication is when you go to visit friends or relations and have a free holiday, often somewhere you have not visited before and perhaps with unique accommodation. They might be showing you around with wining and dining, or you may be baby, dog and house sitting. It is always interesting if they have just moved home; a new location for writing ideas.
Team AK are living at a house on an organic farm. The cottage came with sitting tenants when the family bought the farm in the 1940s and apparently didn’t leave ( die?) until the end of the century; by which time there was still no gas, electricity or running water. Perhaps life with their wood stove and well water suited them. In 2000 the house was renovated and modernised, but still has loads of charm and real wooden doors. You can walk round the house; literally round and round. Every time we went through a door we were not sure which room we would find ourselves in. The stairs were shallow, deep and steep, luckily with banisters either side.
They don’t have to go far to post a letter as there is a royal mail letter box built into the wall of the house. A few yards from their front door is a farm shop like no other perhaps. No humans, just a coin operated organic whole milk dispensing machine and a help yourself cabinet with butter and free range eggs.
There are quaint traditions associated with Visications. We are always invited on a bank holiday weekend and always get stuck in traffic. I pass the time by putting pictures of the scenery on Instagram and updating those at our destination with pictures of Eddie Stobart lorries or slow moving farm tractors. I always forget something; this time my prescription sun glasses on the brightest sunniest August bank holiday weekend ever.
Our first morning was enlivened when, after several months of waiting, the landlord sent the chap to replace the back door before any of us were up. Half of us stayed at home in limbo thinking he would be finished at any moment and we could go out, he wasn’t, but at least we had a secure door ready for…
Sunday’s departure of Team AK to go camping in Wales, leaving the house and all the equipment to do with their business in our safe hands? They weren’t going glamping, but they did have a blow up tent and a cool box… and a fridge…
We enjoyed two outings to the nearby River Severn. On Sunday afternoon we went to Bridgnorth with the aim of finding the Severn Valley Steam Railway. As we found ourselves in the lower town we crossed the bridge over the river and had a ride in the country’s steepest cliff lift. We discovered a lovely church on the hill designed by Thomas Telford. Another unexpected ‘attraction’ was the music festival; several locations, all playing what appeared to be the same music VERY LOUDLY. Pity the poor people who lived nearby. Looking it up on line it seems we missed the poetry and arts, perhaps they were on Wed-Friday and Monday.
Bank Holiday Monday found us visiting Ironbridge two years after our last visit; since then the bridge has had a major rescue and restoration and is now painted in the original red brown. If you get the chance this is a great place to visit, you can walk along the river and visit all sorts of industrial museums. The river banks crowded with trees are a far cry from the fiery furnaces of the industrial revolution.
Talking to a photographer we discovered we had missed the coracle racing. Having a cup of tea at the Youth Hostel by the Coalbrook China museum we chatted to a New Zealand chap hostelling round Europe and visiting his son in Denmark for the son’s fiftieth birthday. You’re never too old to do youth hostelling. We talked to the lady booking people in, hostels provide all sorts of different accommodation and the supper club sounded fun, everyone sits down together at 7pm so you have company. Maybe we’ll try that when the relatives are tired of us visiting them.
What are your favourite visications?