We had a wonderful weekend at Calf Heath, socialising with Helen and Andy, going to the Historic Narrowboat Club‘s auction of memorabilia and assorted items (Andy was very happy to come away with the two lots he’d been wanting), and watching the Six Nations Rugby final at a delightful pub called The Woolpack in Weston. Sadly neither of us thought to take a photo of the village green or pub, which were both very quintessentially ‘English’. You’ll see a picture if you click on this link.
Barry and I even got quite enthused watching England ALMOST win the title (we’re used to watching and supporting The All Blacks) – it could’ve gone either way until the whistle blew.
Today is my mum’s birthday, so I’ve left Barry on board, hitched a lift with Helen, jumped on a train at Penkridge, changed at Smethwick Galton Bridge, then a bus from Kidderminster Rail Station to her house! I’ve booked a ‘Spoil me’ afternoon tea for her at a little café in Evesham, about a half hour drive from here. I spent a few weeks in the town in May 2009, when Barry returned to NZ after his dad was diagnosed with cancer, on our first six-month narrow boating experience.
Barry in the meantime has tootled up the cut to Penkridge, and will be continuing on to Stafford where I’ll meet up with him tomorrow afternoon – once again by bus and two trains!
Kinver Rock Houses
On Saturday 14th March, we finally had the opportunity to look inside the Kinver Rock Houses.
They are fascinating, and well worth a visit if you get the chance.
Inhabited until the 1950s (said to be the last ‘troglodyte dwellings’ occupied in England), apparently if families wanted a bit of extra room they’d cut their way through the rock. I’m sure it didn’t just happen like that, and there would’ve had to be some rules or there’d have been a rockfall!
They’re now owned and maintained by The National Trust, who’ve lovingly restored and cared for them after they were almost destroyed by decay and vandalism.
The upper level
The middle and lower levels
Inside the lower level, the cave houses have been made to look as they would’ve in the 1930s. Sadly only one was open during our visit, the other one was being worked on.
In 1830, six families lived in these rock houses, and generations of one family resided there for more than 150 years!
They are also, almost certainly, part of the inspiration for J R Tolkein’s ‘Hobbit Holes’. Living in the city of Birmingham, he pined for the countryside, and Kinver Edge would’ve been somewhere he could’ve visited and seen the houses. The second level especially look extremely similar to those found in Hobbiton, Matamata, NZ.
Inside one of the rock houses …
A walk around the outside
Astounding! The similarities between Kinver Rock Houses and the Hobbit movie set in NZ cannot be denied, and I feel extremely fortunate to have visited and experienced them both.