Sunday, 7 August 2022

Down by the Docks

You've never been to Gloucester? A teenage boy in the queue for the museum loos exclaimed in utter astonishment. Yes, despite it being barely an hour's drive from Walsall, we'd never visited the city of Gloucester until Jon's birthday on Friday.


Gloucester, on the River Severn, forms the most inland port in the country and offers the most southerly crossing into Wales. Known as Glevum by the Romans, they built a fort here in 48 AD. The city was appointed a customs port by Elizabeth I in 1580. In 1793 Parliament gave the go-ahead to build a ship canal to navigate the difficult tidal section of the river, although it took over twenty years to be completed. The docks became busier and warehouses continued to be built up until the 1870s importing, amongst other goods, corn from Ireland and Europe, sugar from the Caribbean and timber from Scandinavia whilst salt from nearby Worcestershire was one of the port's largest exports. The area fell into decline following the introduction of the motorways in the 1960s. With funding from the National Lottery, regeneration of the area started in 2004.

Our first port of call was The National Waterways Museum within the huge Llanthony Warehouse. The teenage boy recommended the cakes in the cafe but we'd had breakfast before we'd left home and made out way straight to the exhibits. 


Despite the dressing-up box being for kids, we had to play.


The fifteen Victorian warehouses are all grade II listed and therefore protected from development.










We resisted the temptation to pop into this beautifully located Wetherspoons for a pint.



We were surprised at how quiet the Docks area was, everyone must have been in Birmingham.


We wandered into the city centre, marvelling at the amount of occult shops in the high street - if you ever feel the need to buy a five foot statue of Baphomet, get yourself down to Gloucester.



The people of Gloucester are really friendly, The owner of the house with the turquoise front door at the end of the terrace came out to tell me how lovely I looked in my dress. 




There's been a place of worship on the site of Gloucester Cathedral since 600. The current church was built in the 11th Century and extensively restored between 1873 and 1897 by Gilbert Scott (the architect behind St Pancras station and most of Raj era Mumbai).



Notable burials include King Edward II; Robert Curthose, the eldest son of William the Conqueror (and therefore one of Lord Jon's illustrious ancestors) and the physician Edward Jenner. I was fascinated to see several Puritan memorials and loved the plaque dedicated to Mary Elizabeth Wemyss, who'd devoted her life and means to righting the wrongs against helpless dumb creatures.


The memorial to Sarah Morley, who'd died at sea during childbirth, featured a pelican - in folklore, a bird prepared to die for her offspring by piercing her heart with her beak and feeding her young with her dying blood. 






The encaustic floor tiles date from between 1400 and 1460.





Back at the docks we eschewed 'Spoons for Greek on the Docks. The manager was very impressed with Jon's conversational Greek and we absolutely loved the food - a vegetarian Kleftiko Lahanikon for me and a Bifteki burger (with a huge slab of Haloumi) for himself. I drank Mythos and Jon, who was driving, had zero alcohol Heineken. (Menu HERE)















Alney Island nature reserve runs parallel to the docks and we worked off our lunch with a four mile walk.







It may have been our first visit to Gloucester but it shan't be our last, we loved it!


Of course, birthday's aren't just a one day affair. The celebrations continued on Saturday, meeting up with Tony, Liz and Al for dinner in Walsall's Greek Cypriot restaurant, Kouzina. As it was a gloriously warm evening, Jon and I walked the two miles across town, stopping off at Spoons for a few pints on the way.


When the staff heard us toasting Jon's birthday, they set him over a mini bottle of fizz on the house. 


As always the food was superb and the company utterly brilliant. Before we knew it Kouzina had shut up for the night and it was time to go home. 




Jon says thanks for all the birthday wishes, 56 is looking pretty good so far!

48 comments:

  1. Happy birthday week to Lord Jon. Hi Vix, you certainly make a handsome couple. I love learning about the places you visit. The photos are top quality as usual. Can we just take a moment to appreciate that blue dress!! you look stunning and how wonderful that someone came out of their house to tell you! I read the words on the poor mothers memorial - so sad. Anyway enjoy the rest of the week. also it is so nice when you have a regular place you eat like your Greek restaurant. Cheers Shazx

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    1. Thanks, Shaz! I haven't worn sleeves for ages, it wasn't particularly warm on Friday so that Mexican dress seemed the ideal choice to keep the goosebumps at bay! I was tempted to offer to swap my dress for that chap's elegant Georgian townhouse - my dream house!
      Isn't that young woman's memorial sad? xxx

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  2. Another beauiful town/city. I imagine most people that go to Britian for vacation would never make it here. Their loss

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    1. I can't believe it's taken us so long to visit, so much to see! xxx

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  3. Happy birthday Lord Jon! Your jollies look brilliant - keep on celebrating !

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  4. Happy Birthday, Lord Jon! I hope your special day was everything you could have wanted!

    Gloucester looks gorgeous - I love all the old buildings. Nice to have it to yourselves too! You two are so stylish! Happy weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! It was a fab place to spend the day - I love an industrial building or two! xxx

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  5. Happy Birthday Jon, amazing ole brick buildings. It amazing how they change old warehouse to new and exciting shop.
    Once again Happy Birthday Jon
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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    1. Thanks, Dora! Those warehouses are so grand, I'm so glad they were saved! xxx

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  6. gloucester looks gorgeous with all the big warehouses and resaturants directly at the quay..... if i ever get around to a new front door i will paint it turquoise - love your dress!
    and all that yummy greek food and lovely pics of you and your friends - gorgeous!
    xxxx

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    1. I loved that turquoise front door, the owner obviously had very good taste!
      Gloucester was fabulous, I love a city with an industrial heritage. xxx

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  7. What splendid celebrations, so glad Jon had a good day. Loved the medieval cathedral, but you found so much variety - who knew Gloucester was so interesting? I suspect Jon's "conversational Greek" ensures you will always be valued and remembered when you go back - how many times do you think that has happened to the restaurant manager?

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    1. I know! I feel quite ashamed that it'd taken us so long to visit Gloucester.
      Jon keeps cracking on with his Greek - he's desperate to live there! xxx

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  8. Yes 56 is looking VERY good. It looks like a brilliant birthday weekend was had by all. It's nice being a 'tourist' close to home isn't it, learning all about your own locality.

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    1. It was a fabulous weekend, thanks Sue! I'm constantly amazed by how many interesting places are on our doorstep! xxx

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  9. Belated happy birthday wishes to Sir Jon. Gloucester looks amazing. Thanks.

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  10. Happy Birthday Jon. 56 isn't so bad! Day trip holidays are certainly nice, and meeting up with good friends over good food, the icing!

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  11. Sounds like the perfect way to spend a birthday. And good weather too. x

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    1. It was fab, thanks Cherie. The weather was a bit chilly on Friday but it's been glorious ever since! xxx

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  12. I've never been to Gloucester either! And it's one of the last places I'd associate with docks but what fab docks; all those different warehouses. The cathedral looked marvellous; loved the tiles and poor Sarah Morley! I didn't know that about the pelican and will look out for them now. I once saw one at the lake in our local Victorian park; I don't know if it was a visitor or an escapee from somewhere but it was most definitely a pelican!

    Sounds like Lord Jon had a fab birthday!
    xxx

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    1. Wow! Fancy seeing a pelican in the park! I was fascinated by the pelican on Sarah's tombstone, I bet the 18th century parishioners were amazed by it, too.
      Gloucester was lovely, I liked that it had a bit of an edge, too and definitely not a glossy, touristy place. xxx

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  13. Happy Belated Birthday, Jon!! Looks like you had a great time! I've never bee to Gloucester either, love the way you are always exploring places both near and far, goes to show we have really interesting places on our doorstep! Love the blue dress too... and the green one! Greetings from Barcelona!

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    1. Thanks so much, Diana! he had a wonderful few days. I'm pulling out all my old favourite dresses now Summer has finally arrived! xxx

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  14. It probably won't surprise you if I tell you that I've been to Gloucester. I think we were there in 2009 or thereabouts, and we absolutely loved it, particularly the docks area. I remember there was a huge antique centre in one of the warehouses. We also visited the splendid cathedral and had posh fish and chips in a pub. Thanks for the trip down memory lane and a due reminder that we'll have to go back one day.
    Sounds like Jon had the perfect birthday! xxx

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  15. One of Mr GBT's brothers lived there but we only ever saw him on big family occasions so have never visited. It's on the radar of places to go. Looks like the birthday boy had a fabulous celebration! Arilx

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    1. You'd absolutely love Gloucester, Aril! xxx

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  16. Happy Birthday Jon! What a fab day out you had. Gloucester has been on my must visit list for a while now. Your dress is stunning I'm not surprised someone came out of their house to tell you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Gisela! Gloucester is fantastic, we loved it. xxx

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  17. Happy Birthday Jon! You look like you had a marvellous time! I've been to Gloucester station but was picked up and taken to Tibberton where my friend lived so I never explored the city!
    It looks beautiful. I was supposed to sing at the Cathedral but couldn't make it in the end when we were supposed to sing the service there. It looks lovely.
    You look a vision in that dreamy turquoise dress!xx

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! Gloucester is fantastic and I know you'd be bowled over by the cathedral and the lovely "secret garden" behind it. I fancied the Beatrix Potter Museum but we'd run out of time, I'll have to go back! xxx

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  18. I have never been to Gloucester either, I had no idea there would be so much, including a nearby nature reserve. The pelican folklore was interesting and the barges along the waterfront are worth a day trip in themselves. Your dress did look very lovely and I really enjoyed Jon's birthday treat day out. Many happy returns Jon.

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    1. Thanks, Betty! Gloucester is so interesting and the cathedral's probably the most impressive I've ever visited. The nature reserve went on for miles and was so tranquil despite being near the city! xxx

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  19. Happy birthday Jon. Looks like a good one. Lots of love from us two xx

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  20. Gloucester is lovely isn't it? I must admit, it was very quiet around the docks area when we visited too. Not sure why. Glad that you managed to seek out some Greek cuisine too and that lady was right - you do look lovely in that turquoise dress! Jon's Birthday celebrations look fun...56?! Where has that time gone? xxx

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    1. We loved Gloucester. How weird that it was quiet when you visited. I expected the museum to be bustling during the school holidays although the river did get busy after lunch - they run paddle boarding classes for £5 during the summer - talk about a bargain!
      A friend who no longer blogs sent me that vintage Mexican dress for my 50th - it's been a festival staple for years. xxx

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  21. Happy Birthday Jon!, and so glad to see that you've been celebrated it properly!
    Gloucester looks amazing, love that brick warehouses, and love the Cathedral (always a huge fan of those fan vaults, gothic rocks!).
    Looking fabulous in your turquoise dress and Jon's shirts are always fab too!
    Lovely to see you enjoying some greek food and even some greek chatting!.
    besos

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    1. Thanks so much, Monica. Gloucester was fantastic, such an interesting place with the docks, the cathedral and all the mediaeval buildings dotted around. xxx

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  22. I'm sure I already commented, but Blogger must have eaten my comment ...
    It probably won't surprise you that I've been to Gloucester, in 2009 if I remember correctly. We absolutely loved the docks and visited a huge antique center in one of them. We also went to see the cathedral, it's absolutely stunning isn't it?
    Seems Jon had a wonderful birthday and that it was celebrated in style. I'm very impressed with his conversational Greek! xxx

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    1. Naughty blogger - I found your original comment in spam after publishing this one, how very strange!
      I had a feeling you'd have been to Gloucester. that massive antique centre shut at 3pm so we didn't visit but it looked rather interesting. xxx

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  23. It looks a fascinating place to visit. I don't really know what I expected Gloucester to be like but this is definitely not it :)

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    1. It's such an interesting - and atmospheric - place! xxx

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  24. A big happy birthday to Jon ! Lovely pics of you all having fun. Thanks for the tour of Gloucester docks. I've only ever driven past on the motorway. My brother live there for a bit but I was teenage gallivanting about so never actually visited :0 xXx

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    1. Thanks, Lulu! Gloucester was ace, we'll definitely go back. xxx

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  25. Happy birthday Jon! My partner is named Jon too! Sounds like a lovely day! It is so interesting how the industrial revolution changed things with ships, trains, cars all taking over from each other and fighting for supremacy! Mary sounds lovely! How difficult it must have been to fight for animal rights back then!

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  26. You two always seem to have a blast together. That azure blue maxi you wore is a dream. Happy belated b-day to Jon.

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Lots of love, Vix