A fantastic day with friends...A castle..A memorable meal...


Us and Linda and Ken having a few drinks at the Boat Inn in Chepstow.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Shirenewton, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales:
From this site:
"After the Norman conquest of England, Chepstow was a key location. It was at the lowest bridging point of the River Wye, provided a base from which to advance Norman control into south Wales, and controlled river access to Hereford and the Marches. Chepstow Castle was founded by William Fitz Osborn, 1st Earl of Hereford, in 1067, and it's Great Tower, often cited as the oldest surviving stone fortification in Britain dates from that time or shortly afterward. Its site, with sheer cliffs on one side and a natural valley on the other, afforded an excellent defensive location. A Benedictine priory, now St Mary's Church, was also established nearby. This was the centre of a small religious community, the remains of which are buried under the adjoining car park. Monks, originally from Cormeilles Abbey in Normandy, were there until the Dissolution of the Monasteries."
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With little time this morning to spend on presenting facts and photos about our outstanding experience at the Chepstow Castle, which we'll share in a few upcoming posts starting tomorrow, today we're posting photos from our memorable lunch with Linda and Ken.

We stopped at a cafe for tea located next to Chepstow Castle.  We loved the colorful tea timer!
As it turns out, based on their schedule we'll only have one more day to spend together and we're all making the most of it.  Our friendship with Linda and Ken began in 2013 when we met them through Kathy and Don when we spent our first three months in Marloth Park and continued as we stayed in touch over the years. 

We walked along the River Wye to the Boat Inn for lunch.
While living in Marloth Park for 15 months beginning in February 2018 and ending in May 2019, we had many opportunities to socialize with them including a week they spent staying with us at The Orange House where we lived during that extended period.

They, along with Kathy and Don and many other friends became a part of our social circle with everyone being loving and supportive during and after my recent open-heart surgery.  

We stopped to check out the various relics.
With no family around these friendships meant the world to both of us.  Now, healed and ready for action, we met aChepstow Castle at Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain for a rewarding experience in a castle.
Ken ordered the fresh trout which he enjoyed.
Over the years of our world travel, we'd seen many castles but none impressed us more than Chepstow Castle.  We can't wait to share the photos and stories of this stunning piece of history.

But, today, it takes less time to present our dining experience after our visit to the castle than it will when we begin sharing castle details tomorrow.  However, in no way do we want to minimize the significance of this exceptional dining experience so conveniently located a short walk from the castle.
Both Linda and Tom ordered the Guinness Beef Pie.  They both loved this dish with bread and veggies on the side.
To be able to spend time with friends after such a long period of our own, was refreshing.  The last time we had an opportunity was when we were in Ireland between May and August when friend Lisa and Barry came to Connemara to spend time with us.
Two plates of steamed vegetables were placed on the table.
The walk through the castle was outstanding but when we had an opportunity to sit down for tea in a charming coffee shop and later for lunch at The Boat Inn, the day proved to be rich and fulfilling.
This was the largest and most delicious plate of mussels I've ever had.  The sauce was made with butter, lemon and cream without flour.  I'd like to return to the Boat Inn one more time before we depart to order this again.
Here's information on the historic Boat Inn: 
From this site:
The Boat Inn, The Back, Chepstow
"An inscribed date in this building suggests that it was erected in 1789. The original character has survived in many of the interior features, such as the low ceiling and stone flags on the floor. At one time the inn was known as the Chepstow Boat. From around the Second World War to the 1980s the building was a private home. Inquests were held in the building in the 19th century, often into the deaths of people recovered from the river. See the Footnotes below for the names of previous Boat Inn licensees.

The inn was built alongside a dry dock, where ships’ hulls were repaired until the mid-19th century. This waterfront area is known as The Back, an old word for quay or wharf. Previously it was known as “Hell’s acre” because of the rowdiness and fights were common when sailors hit the bottle in the dozen or so pubs in the area.

In 1880, four men who held “respectable positions” in local society, were tried for hauling a fishmonger called Thomas Scott from the Boat Inn and throwing him into the river on the evening of the Chepstow boat races. The defendants said Scott had reneged on a bet. They were fined 30s each, plus costs, and told they were lucky not to be on trial for manslaughter.

The area was once the hub of Chepstow’s maritime activity. There were two slipways, and officers kept watch from a Custom House to ensure the correct duties were paid on incoming goods. Timber was one of the main commodities which passed through. Tourists boarded pleasure boats here for trips on the river Wye, and in 1840 Chartists who took part in the Newport uprising of 1839 departed from here after being sentenced to transportation to Australia. Light industries thrived in the vicinity, including a blacksmith’s forge, a sawmill and a bobbin factory.

One area of the Boat Inn, in the section to the right of the entrance, is said to be haunted. A notice painted on the wall advises customers: “While sitting here you [may] experience a sudden shiver or catch a fleeting glimpse of a figure from times past."
After lunch, we chatted by the fireplace in this relaxing area of the restaurant.
It's almost time for us to get on the road to drive to yet another castle where we'll meet up with Linda and Ken to tour the Raglan Castle and later, once again, find a restaurant where hopefully we'll have as good a meal as yesterday and no doubt, another great opportunity to chat with these dear friends.

We'll be back tomorrow with more.  May your day be fulfilling and meaningful!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 16, 2018:

The continuation of photos of the "Ridiculous Nine" we'd seen while on safari in Kruger National Park with friends from the US, Tom and Lois. "Black-backed jackals are closely related, both genetically and physically, to side-striped jackals. They are leanly built and quite hard to spot in the wilderness as they swiftly move through the terrain into areas of thicker vegetation, with their long, bushy tails bouncing behind them. They are a ginger color below the middle of their sides and their shoulders, and a mixture of black and grey above this line on their backs (the origin of their name). They are generally smaller than they appear in photographs and weigh only 6 to13 kg (13 to 29 lb), the same approximate size as most species of dwarf antelope."  For more details, please click here.

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