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A Visit to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings

and a detour to a Garden centre

Off on our caravanning travels for a few days recently to a site Nr Bromsgrove we planned to visit the Avoncroft Museum, hopefully to take pictures of the historic buildings, however on day one the weather had other ideas so it was a case of maybe tomorrow, and what do we do now?

On our way to the caravan site we had passed a garden centre in Wychbold, just a couple of miles away, so with a view to getting out of the rain and wind and finding a cosy coffee shop we set off. The garden centre proved to be huge, the largest we have ever seen with acres of car parking; a picnic area and a riverside walk " Far too wet and windy to explore those today" we thought.

Finding a parking spot as near as possible to the entrance we made a dash to avoid getting a soaking and rushed into the building, and what a building! Apparently the whole place had recently been improved and extended.

So, with no historic buildings to take pictures of and my camera around my neck what was I going to do? "Take pictures of the flowers" my husband suggested and promptly wished he had kept his mouth shut as I proceeded to perform all kinds of contortions to take pictures from what I like to think of as artistic angles. I certainly got a few strange, but I have to say, indulgent glances from members of the garden centre staff not to mention customers who were obviously wondering what this clearly eccentric senior citizen was up to. "Don't you dare lie on the floor" my husband whispered in my shell-like and then as if he had just had a brainwave said "I'm off to find the coffee shop come and find me when you're ready to behave yourself"

Wow! I thought, when I get these images home I'm going to try to turn out some of those fantastic arty shots the like of which I've seen in camera mags - well we'll see how this flash of brilliance turns out at a later date.

After what I judged to be sufficient time for hubby to calm down a bit I wandered around following the signs for the restaurant and coffee shop, stopping off here and there to take a few more pics; what a fascinating place. My tour took longer than I thought, hubby had purchased and drunk two cups of coffee and having perused the lunchtime menu was ready to order.

After a most enjoyable lunch and another cup of coffee we set off to purchase some geranium plugs and to find the exit, but not before we had scoured the excellent food hall for some local produce. The cheese counter provided some delicious items to put with bread from the bakery counter to make a tasty supper.

In an attempt to improve Hubby's mood I offered to pay for his geranium plugs and proceeded to the checkout credit card in hand to be greeted by a smiling, or was it smirking assistant who accepted the card, packed up the plugs and said "I hope you've had a nice afternoon madam. Are you a professional" To which I replied as I was being discreetly propelled away from the counter by a firm hold on my left elbow "No, just a happy snapper"

Day two dawned bright, windy and very cold with a promise of wintry showers. However undaunted - me at any rate- we set of try our luck at Avoncroft Museum again.

Avoncroft is a fascinating museum with buildings spanning seven centuries, all carefully saved from destruction and reassembled on the site. It is possible to walk into buildings from many different periods of history. There is a superb 16th century Merchants House and at the other extreme a 40's Prefab used to house the families of Service Men returning home after the end of World War 2. 

Being a caravanner I particularly wanted to see what was billed as "an extravagant Edwardian living wagon built for a travelling showman" but hail and sleet showers defeated us.

We did manage to see many of the farm buildings and implements and sheltered from the hail inside the Old Toll House which is fully furnished and for me was reminiscent of my childhood sixtyish years ago. We also had a chat with a potter and a blacksmith who both demonstrate their craft for visitors.

A break in the weather allowed us to walk down to the 19th Century windmill, a crushing mill for making Worcestershire cider and perry. No samples available! However there is a coffee shop in the central area.

We only managed to scratch the surface of the museum exhibits and other goodies on offer before cold and wet we set off in search of an early evening meal at a local hostelry. We shall certainly return at a later date.

Picture tour of Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings >



A Pictures of England article submitted by Sally Birch

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