Monday, August 04, 2008

England Trip - August 4th, 1983

Big road day today. We covered a total of 88 miles with a pit stop in Shugborough on our way to Chester. The 88 miles took all day. We rarely travelled on Interstate type highways. The roads were one lane each way most of the time. A 30 mile stretch sometimes took 90 minutes or longer depending on the traffic and the road conditions, but it was all part of the adventure.

Shugborough was a large historic estate house and grounds. I don't remember much about it. It's possible it may have been partially closed. I have a picture of the gates and a picture of the Cat's Monument, a famous tribute to some rich bastard's feline friend.

Chester had great shops and I bought my mother a Wedgwood pitcher as a gift. The shopping district was quaint, decked out in traditional middle age white plaster and wood board. I have a vague memory of a cobblestone passage with a sign that said "Fowler" with an arrow pointing down the way. Chester also had the remains of protective walls around the city rim from 500 years ago (or longer).

I didn't know it when I was there but the Horrocks branch of my mother's family hailed from Cheshire (the province where Chester sits). This may have been as close as I came to visiting my true ancestral England.

I have a memory fragment that may be from Chester or not, but I associate it with walking on the city walls, so I think it was here that I noticed something about music in English pubs. Not all the bands were cooler. I was shocked to discovered that KC and the Sunshine Band were still releasing singles and getting British air play (and jukebox spins too). They shuffled the release strategy among bands that were popular in both places. While Every Breath You Take by the Police was a monster hit in the U.S. that summer, the U.K. jukeboxes all featured Wrapped Around Your Finger.

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