Sunday, November 12, 2006
Continuing my trip aroung the Midlands area, the coach brought us to the small, beautiful, and remote Stokesay Castle. Actually it is one of the best preserved examples of a 13th century fortified manor house on the world. As you walk into the Great Hall, you can imagine long tables full of steaming food, noblemen and guests drinking and singing, armour clanking, dogs snaging scraps of food, live medievil music playing, and the smell of sweaty soldiers before deoderant was invented.
Interestingly, the ladies of the court were not allowed to the feast. They were to stay in their bed chambers and peek through holes in the walls to see the hunk knight of their dreams.
I found out all this information through the guided tour audio-guides: a 1980's brick-like phone-shaped device that plays the information track at the touvh of a button. Stocksay Castle's audio-guide was hilarious! A male and female voice would take turns talking, while sound effects play behind (squeeling pig, soldiers partying, head chopped off sound...) Reminds me of the even more hilarious audio guide for Stonehenge - poety by druids, warnings by whitches, and goats...yes. Goats.
I also learned that Stokesay Castle had been attacked only once in it's entire history! And it surrended without a fight during the English Civil War (around 1640s). Not very glamourous...
The audio guide has about 16 stops. At the end of each stop, it tells you to turn and walk to another location. Great. Easy. Should be simple without any opportunity to get lost. Unfortunately, stop 12 was in a room that was closed off, but we listened anyway, trying to match stop 12 with room 13. The guide is telling us to look for "the two distinctive holes in the floor.." but all I could see was a beetle and what looks like the remains of a well-blown nose. "Walk through the door and turn left..." is what I hear, but if I went left, I would walk out the window. How easily life can be turned upside-down!
But then it was time to get on the bus, as the university professer/Margret Thatcher guide was calling us to board. On to our final destination of the day: the town of Shrewsbury. Birthplace to one of the most important men in science...