Monday, 28 December 2015

The view from the Parade

Time for a new adventure! It's almost a new year, with new challenges, new adventures, new conquests, all within the same old town that is Shrewsbury, best known for being the birthplace of Charlie D, our Lord and Master whose shrine is almost visible from todays adventure. Shrewsbury is also home of the first ever skyscraper, the artist of the walking dead, and a billion other creative minds, some of which I've met and others I'd love to meet. I would be bold enough to say that Darwin is an over-milked teat unfairly overshadowing what else the town has to offer, but last time I dared speak such blasphemy, his divine powers devolved me all the way back to being a quadruped, and that just wasn't practical for me. I imagine if I was at least feline I could do wonders with a Go-Pro, but this wasn't to be. But I digress.

There is a lot of beauty in this world. One of the things I never want to do is reach a point where I take it all for granted. I could stay in and watch TV or read, and be a sensible adult and buy those newspaper things everyone harps on about. However, in my experience it's very difficult to be happy and read the newspaper, or watch the news. The news comes on, tells you "Good Evening" and then spends your time telling you exactly why it isn't that at all. And here in the UK we "have to" pay TV license (Plot twist- we actually don't!). You see, there's a lot of fear mongering going on. I stopped paying TV license when I realised I shouldn't be paying my money to sit on my bottom, being made to feel miserable in my downtime, and I stopped watching TV altogether when I realised that I had options other than sitting on my bottom feeling miserable. It concerns me greatly that as a species our recreational activities are becoming as automonous as our work.

When it comes to rooftopping, there is still fear. Unlike TV license fear, rooftopping fear actually has an instinctive logical reason and isn't just a product of fear mongering. But even so, it's an instinct best ignored.
While I am wary of the consequences of my actions sometimes, from either gravity or from an authority figure who catches me in the act, I like to think I have the skills to avoid these consequences, and also I have hope that the police would understand that I am a danger only to myself and that the experience I am seeking is one that, upon knowing it is obtainable, is not one I can simply grow old without experiencing. The police are humans just like me and you. They understand that we do not pay 40-50 thousand pounds a year just for them to get rid of people sat on rooftops with cameras.

Remove fear from your life and the world is yours for the taking. It's a beautiful world, and it should be enjoyed by everyone.

And thats what I planned on telling anyone if I got caught recently climbing the Parade Shopping Centre!

This is perhaps one of the trickiest climbs ever, but it was so worth the effort.

Construction of this epic building began in 1826 and ended in 1830. It was originally the Royal Salop Infirmary, and is rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of former patients and nurses. You can see in the above photo near the door two apparitions of dead traffic cones, squashed beneath parking videos. You can tell that they're ghosts because they're blue, not red. A medium told me so. An expansion was added in 1870, and in 1915 balconies were added so that patients who had fought in the first world war could enjoy a view of the river.
After the second world war, an operating theatre suite was added to the roof, and a sluice block. However these features were apparently removed when it became a shopping centre with some 30+ flats on the upper floors, apparently to bring it back to its original look.
It ceased being a hospital in 1977 and today is a shopping centre.

Because Shrewsbury is a sloped town built on a hill, the Parade Shopping Centre in spite of not being a tall building has a pretty epic view from the top.

Click a picture to see it big.

Above looks over the river to Abbey Forgate, and the Lord Hill Column in the distance. 

Above: The golden illuminated building in the middle-background is the library.It is there that we'd be able to see the shrine to our Lord and Master Charlie D, if only we were higher... Or if he was higher. You make the effort, Darwin!

And then we have this excellent shot of the rest of Shrewsbury, showing St Juliens and St Alkmunds churches, with the market tower and St Chads looming in the distance.

Here's a "close up" from further along the roof.

St Marys Church is actually right next to the Parade but since it was impossible to climb this place with a tripod, I wasn't able to capture the entire tower in a long exposure, as there wasn't a means to angle the camera correctly. But I do like how the stars came out in the shot, and lets face it, you saw plenty of St Mary's in the last post

Which brings me to the cheeky part. You see, something like a gorilla-pod would really work wonders for long exposures on rooftops. I work for pittance and I'm currently in dispute with the DWP to find out why around £76 a month is getting deducted from my minimum wage earnings. So far they've found no reason for why it is happening, and my bosses are stumped too, and yet this money has gone, and when I say naughty things like "If there's no record of why it's being taken, can I have it back?" they cease their correspondence. And while I am still earning enough to live off, (so don't worry for me on that front) it means I'm a little strained for luxury purchases. It also makes me wonder how many other people this is happening to, where their hard earned money is stolen by the powers that be without explanation, and without assistance in rectifying the mistakes. I think the reason why we're not taught law in school is because this way authority figures can come along and do things and we just go along with it even if they are in the wrong. But I digress.

I lack the immediate financial means to give Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not the push it deserves, and up in the corner of this blog is a donate button. All donations will go to the adventure fund and this will include a smaller, portable tripod with bendy legs that wrap around things, as well as a go-pro. I know it's cheeky to ask, but I so rarely get less than a thousand reads and if each reader donated just £1 the result would be phenominal.

Of course, since it's cheeky to ask there's no pressure. Whats far more important to me is that you all check your payslips, and question anything odd, and most importantly of all, be nice to each other. So many complain about how bad the world is, but surely that would ease the pressure. The government will probably always be rather shit. What matters is how we treat each other.

Thanks for reading. Don't forget to follow my Twitter and Instagram, and share over the social media.

Stay awesome!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

New shots from Waitrose

I've told this story many times before. The building in Shrewsbury that is currently Waitrose was the gateway drug that led to my addiction to exploring. It was on a night in 2010 that I overheard a bunch of teenagers discussing exploring the abandoned Burger King building. I asked them to show me the way in, and as a result I got to explore the entire building, from its cellar to its roof. It was labyrinthian, and full of photo opportunities. I didn't know well enough to get as many photos as I should have, and due to it being so well known to the younglings of Shrewsbury, it didn't last that long.

A lot of security measures were taken to ensure it wasn't explored again. When it became Waitrose we did utilise the scaffolding to once again get a rooftop view, and also expansion down the rest of the street, but it was never a consistent place to explore. I was quite happy when I found out it actually was climbable, but the bad news was that all this time I had been blind to it. I had fallen into the sneakiest of all mental traps, the dreaded comfort zone.

And that to me was a real buzzkill,given that when I first started this whole thing, my mind was blown open. Suddenly everything was a ladder. The world was full of potential, and I set about seeing my home town from just about every angle imaginable. The trouble was, I gained my little collection of frequent rooftops, and fell into that comfort zone where I could look at a building and say "I can get up there," and stopped looking at other buildings and asking "... but can I get up there?"

Well I sure showed myself. Never question your own potential. Unless you try, your chances of success are always going to be zero, but rest assured, if I was to write a blog about the places I tried to explore but couldn't, it would have twice as many articles as this one in a matter of months. But trying and failing isn't defeat. Failing to try is defeat.

I don't force entry, vandalise, steal or disclose means of entry, and the view from Waitrose is pretty goddamn epic.
Too epic to turn down, you see. I am addicted to existence. I'm in love with existence. If I just stayed in and watched TV, I feel like I'd be being unfaithful to existence. Existence itself wouldn't mind. Existence is a polygamist. Everyone can love existence.

Click a picture to see it big.

I'm not sure what caused the light anomaly to the left of the clocktower, but on a long exposure it could be anything! It looks like a meteor falling from space, which is pretty cool.

 It's a shame that at night the Christmas Reindeer has his lights switched off and gets fenced up.

The corner of Barclays. For this shot, I actually sat there for ages. Since it's a long exposure on a busy street, it actually took a while for there to be a trafficless thirty seconds. Thirty seconds doesn't sound like much but when you're waiting for a camera to go "click" and you can hear an approaching vehicle, it's the longest thirty seconds you'll ever sit through.
On a long exposure, any traffic will appear as twin-streaks of light, of which I now have about two hundred of this street corner.

Further down Castle Street, you can see St Mary's graveyard on the left, and a big modern building on the right. I'm not sure what that is.

Here are the familiar St Juliens and St Alkmunds Churches. In the darkness I could barely see them but a long exposure works wonders.

But my favourite shot is of St Mary's!

Overall, I'm really glad to have rediscovered access to this rooftop. Of course, the full explore is no longer there as the building is no longer a giant derelict fast food outlet, but the view is amazing and for me it's very nostalgic as its accessibility over the last five years has been very inconsistent. But given that one of my favourite rooftops, the flag tower, has now been made inaccessible, I feel like some kind of balance has been restored by the rediscovery of this one.

In regards to life itself, it occurs to me that this is likely to be the final blog post of 2015, so let me review it over a couple paragraphs. I want to point out also that January 8th will be the two-year anniversary of "Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not." That is, exactly two years since I decided to document my adventures here on the internet. When I started, it was just a side project, while I dabbled in other areas of creative expression. I wasn't sure where I was heading, but if you're a creative mind then you'll know, I had to head somewhere! I wasn't expecting the blog I had on the side, the hobby of exploring, to explode with the popularity that it did. A lot of my readers tell me that my own writing style has improved since the earlier articles, but honestly I think that this is because I care more.

In regards to my personal life I feel like my life is now entering into a golden era of sorts, and that is odd because so often golden eras are only noticable in hindsight. 2015 is the year I initiated a social reboot, leaving the negative and the toxic behind me. It was especially difficult to start from scratch because, and this brings us full circle with what I was talking about earlier, toxic people do provide a comfort zone. When one faces absolute solitude without them, it becomes very easy to just stay put. And yet with the people of the past left in the past, absolute solitude actually equated to being less lonely. Life is strange like that. And gradually, with the absence of negative influences, my mind was able to evolve in the direction it should always have been evolving, and I was able to surround myself with positive people and experience life among my fellow human beings on a level I had rarely experienced.

It's strange now to think of "Me" in times gone by because that isn't me anymore. It feels like I'm writing for a fictional character that I was portraying. I feel that all the tragedy of early 2015 was a doorway to unlimited potential and growth after years of stagnation.

I have never felt so alive.

And in just two years of writing Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not, I've experienced the world in a way few do, I've discovered things I didn't realise were out there, my entire perspective on life has done a 180 degree turn. I've been on the radio, I've been mentioned in a book about Shrewsbury, I've had my readers donations pay for my camera, the product of which has been published on this blog since July of this year. I've seen my post views rise to such high numbers that I have been left speechless, and support for this blog from my readers has been tremendous.
And I can't help but have high hopes for the future, because if this is how far I can go in just two years, then where will I be in three, four or five years? I'm talking of the blogs success as well as my own personal growth. Future Me is going to be awesome. I'd so sleep with Future Me... (but I doubt I'm Future Me's type...) But regardless, the future is bright for me. I hope it is bright for you too, whoever you are, sat there on the recieving end of my verbal rubbish. We're all capable of initiating the change we want in our lives. My friend summed it up in a brilliant metaphor- "If I stop to scrape dog crap off my shoe, it doesn't mean that the dog crap won. It means I'm smart enough to scrape dog crap off my shoe."

Think on that. What do you want from life? Is anyone really stopping you?

Follow my Instagram, and my Twitter, and please please share this page, or better yet, donate to the blog fund in the top right corner. All donations will go to pushing Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not and its continued development.
My next blog will be facing the world with the knowledge that I was trapped in this comfort zone. There is one place in Shrewsbury I've always looked at and thought "I wish I could climb that." And at long last, this itch will be scratched.

Thanks for reading. Stay awesome!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Shrewsbury from higher up than you

The title of this blog post was actually going to be the original title of any web presence my work would have online, but the Oswestry Rooftopper pointed out that it was a teeny bit inaccurate, what with the exploration of abandoned buildings and not exclusive rooftopping, and so he came up with Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not so that the title would be less contradictory. Roughly four years later I explored rural Shropshire, and Camelot, so that really backfired.

But both titles have a hint of cheekiness that I love.

It was the more recent explores of Camelot and Calcott Hall that involved fast talking, sneaking and avoidance of security that made me realise how much I miss my old rooftopping days. The stealth element doesn't usually have such a large role in your typical abandoned houses out in the countryside that I have been focusing on. However, when one is scaling buildings in a town with a thriving night life, being seen can cut an adventure short.

Since obtaining a decent camera I've been eager to revisit the rooftops, especially since so many of my older rooftop photos are from 2010 through to 2012, most of which you can find in the earlier posts of this blog. But in my photo collection there are no recent photos of Shrewsbury from the rooftops. So I decided to compile some of my recent rooftop activity on one blog post and link you back to the older posts as we go.

Let's start at the eyesore of Shrewsbury, Princess House. Home of the hub of human misery that is the Job Centre. Original article here!

And I have to say this: Wow! I've obviously gone to the page itself to get a URL for the link there, and I'm quite blown away by how far the picture quality has come since those days. These are proud times.

Remember, click a picture to see it big.

Princess House is a very tricky building to scale. (No, I'm not going to tell you how. Rest assured, it requires no excessive force or vandalism.) This place remains one of my favourite vantage points, with a tasty view of the square, and the bottom of Pride Hill where the spire of the rooftop maze and the flag tower can just be seen.

And here we have a lovely view of the Music Hall, and the Market Hall tower, with St Chads looming in the distance. This was the rooftop where I did my first ever panorama, showing St Marys, St Alkmunds and St Juliens church. (By the way, I'd love to be able to turn St Juliens into a link to a previous blog post too. The view from the top must be spectacular and I know some of my readers have been up there. So if anyone can slip in a good word and get me access I will love them forever.) But back to the panorama! It's not the most focused shot of all time but I love it. Click to see it big!

Curiously, the eagle statue that has been on top of Princess House for years was missing. It's either been removed by the staff of the building or by a rooftopping thief. It was there earlier this year though so it is a recent absence. It's sad to see the statue not there anymore.

Anyway, moving on, I mentioned a flag tower, didn't I? It's been one of the hardest rooftops to get to for five years now, and it seems that its accessibility is at an end. These are sad times, but not unpredictable and as such I was able to make the most of it in its final days. You can read the original article here.

The flag tower, up until 2012, still had the rope attached to it for a flag, although evidence suggests my rooftopping posse of old, nor Tree Surgeon my current explorer buddy, are not the only humans to have come up here. What evidence is that??? Well it's covered in signatures. And some of them are dated decades ago, while others are a lot more recent, although I'm sure some of the dates are bluffing.The ones that are genuinely decades old are a lot more faded.

Nice view of Pride Hill too, and of the market hall with the clocktower.

With rooftop access down a large chunk of Shoplatch, I also got a close up of the market hall as well as a view down Mardol.

While I don't know the origins of the bizarre street called Mardol, which you can see in the above photo stretching off into the distance, the street I'm currently on, Shoplatch, derives from Schutts Place, which was in reference to the Schutte Family, who lived in the building that eventually became the Hole in the Wall. Centuries ago the Schutte family were called the Schitte family, due to their profession of waste disposal. So technically you might say Shoplatch derives from Shit Place, but it is far from true of the actual place! This is perhaps my favourite rooftop spot in the whole town!

Meanwhile from the Hole in the Wall, the furthest point one can get down before coming to the impassable Draytons Passage, one can get this view of St Chads, and just see the Maplin roof sticking up there in the corner.

Moving on to the rooftops of Barker Street... where's that? It's the one that connects Claremont Road to Welsh Bridge. These are tricky rooftops to get to, but so worth it. The last time any photos were taken, Claremont Church was still under reconstruction, and you can see that article here.

This particular rooftop is a real adventure to get to. Unobvious means of access, and quite the tricky little workout. On my most recent visit here I almost gave up, due to being so out of shape since the days I climbed buildings on a more regular basis. But I persevered. And as such we have a lovely view of Rowleys Mansion, and the carpark next to it.

Beneath this car park, I have reason to believe there may be tunnels. It's actually a real area of interest. 

Claremont Church itself is something of an eyesore on the exterior but inside it's now a real nice cafe though, and it's the one that holds the mental health meet up on the first weekend of every month that I mentioned on my last article. It sure is strange drinking nice coffee and meeting nice people in a building I once explored when it was derelict.

On this rooftop, which I admit I never noticed from ground level until I first made it up here around 2011, is this eagle statue.

Apparently this was the Eagle Star Building, and it was built in 1940, and finished in 1946, making it fairly young in architectural terms, especially in Shrewsbury! The building was made with a Neo-Tudor appearance so that it would fit in with the rest of the town... Something the architects of more modern buildings here totally failed to do. Before its construction, the location was used in the 1920s by WH Smiths, and before that in the 1900s by Boots. As of 1946 the building was used by Eagle Star Insurance, and while I don't know when it ceased being used by them, the Eagle Star Insurance Company itself was bought out by BAT industries in 1984. It is now owned by Zurich Financial Services, although they aren't doing anything with it. The building on the other hand is now an estate agents.

And that concludes todays post of some of my most recent rooftop shots of Shrewsbury! Finally, after so much time exploring rural Shropshire and gallivanting off to Lancashire, "Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not" lives up to the title. I have one final digression, regarding Calcott Hall that I recently revisited.

I recently recieved a testimony from someone from the area who wanted to clarify a few matters, what with the Daily Mail sensationalising the place with their silly article on "Red Dress Manor" and alerting the world to an abandoned home ripe for plundering. This contact sent the information to me via another, so it reads like it's speaking to someone who isn't me. I don't, to my knowledge, have an Aunt Clo.
It says-

"'When we moved there in 1988, Calcott was in much the same condition as it is now, albeit with not so many broken windows (but there was a tree growing through the front porch into the house). I assume the woman in red the 'writer' talks about was the mother, as there was a brother and sister living there - both middle aged and, shall we say, 'naive' rather than brick short of the pile. The son's name was Bill and your aunt Clo thinks his sister's was Louise. The locals told us they had enjoyed a very privileged childhood - old fashioned, but everything money could buy. They were driven around in a pony carriage, clad in velvet suits. Both parents died within a short time of each other, meaning the two siblings were left with absolutely no clue as to how to run the farm; it just fell into disrepair. Both had diabetes - untreated despite my pleas to see a doctor regularly and diet, etc. They had a hoard of poor cats with everything from cat 'flu to cat AIDS, which they gave to one of ours as they were only just down the lane from The Elms. The first Christmas after we bought The Elms, I put a card through their door (literally, as it never closed! ha ha) and Bill came up to bring us one in return - dressed in his Sunday best, all shiny with hat in hand. Bless him! They lived more or less in the back kitchen. She died first, not long after we sold the place. The brother didn't tell anyone for couple of days. It was so very sad. He eventually lost a leg with the diabetes, went into a home and that's the last I heard. Neither sibling married and I've no idea who legally owns it now. Maybe it's been put in Chancery, but it's a wicked shame. People thought we'd go back and do it up but it had already gone too far downhill. there was a little turret on top of the house, where the original owner used to watch his workers and check where they were in the fields! I think part of it flooded as it's right by the river (I know the yard did). The siblings were certainly there until the mid '90s, so all this crap about the 'woman in Red' who died in the '70s and was the last there is rubbish -- as any local would have told him.' 

I personally love the way this person writes. I love hearing from my readers about places of mystery so if you do have any information about anywhere featured at Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not, please get in touch. I had long suspected that the red dress had been used to sensationalise the place for the media, and since it was found in a smaller bedroom and not the larger master bedroom, it made no sense that it would belong to someone living there alone. I went back over some of the letters I had photographed for names, to find any evidence that Bill and Louise did live there. Keeping in mind that Louise may not actually be the girls name. The "Mr W.T Jones" that appears on a letter dated 1968 could easily be the father of the two.
There was "T.E Jones" on a letter dated 1938. One of the school books was named W.T Jones, but lets face it, if the same family had it as far back as 1938, there could indeed be a plethora of personal belongings dating back over several lives and nothing found there necessarily has to be recent. The school books for Welshpool Girls Grammar School correspond with the picture in the lounge of all the students, but that is dated 1952. A diary entry dated 1950 also mentions attending this school.

But I was starting to think I'd not find anything recent enough to be attributed to Bill and Louise. But then I found amongst my photos a schoolbook with William Jones on the front. And next to that, Billy Jones. Dated in the 1980s. Jackpot. Back in the day, and because the English language is weird, William was commonly shortened to Bill. There was also an out-of-place Mary Rogers. Hmm.
But without going back and sifting through it all personally, I can't elaborate any more on the subject. But what little evidence I do have does more to support my contacts story than contradict it, and this is the story that makes the most sense so far, so I'm happy. Thank you. You all can read up on my adventures in Calcott Hall here and here.

Lastly, I've reinstalled the donate button at the top of the blog. Just so you know, I live in the town centre, and work for minimum wage. In the past my readers donations got me a camera which revolutionised the content of this blog, and now I want to give Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not another push. All donations to the blog will go entirely to the blog. A gorilla-pod is a fairly affordable item on the agenda. That's a teeny tripod with bendy legs that will be great for wrapping around scaffolding and other rooftop bits, since dragging an actual tripod up onto the rooftops is very tricky, and I sort of borrowed it from a friend years ago who probably wants it back by now. Also on the agenda are printing costs since a few people have asked about having large print outs of my pictures, but in the long term I'm also thinking of getting a Go Pro so that I can show you guys the rooftops from my perspective, and my aspirations and goals go way beyond that. I want to travel the world. I want to blog about the abandoned places I see so much of online but have yet to visit.
If you can spare money for the blog fund, I'll really appreciate it. Although I respect it if you can't. It's a lot to ask. But it worked for the camera, and if one doesn't try then ones chances of success will always be zero.

If you love this post please share it online. And feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks for reading. Stay Awesome!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Apocalypse House

A little while ago I went to a meetup hosted by the well known and much respected Jim of BBC Radio Shropshire. You know, the guy who interviewed me not long ago. The meetup is on the first Saturday of every month, and it's basically for people struggling with mental health issues, and their friends, to come along and hang out over a coffee. Now I've heard of and been to a few similar themed but let-me-stress unrelated mental health meet ups held by others, which have proved to be little more than 1upping contests, as if suffering is a competition. But Jims group? It was the way these things should be. It had a very healthy atmosphere. To my delight, mental health wasn't even a key topic of conversation, nor was there a rigid membership or a structured meeting. It was just ordinary people meeting up to talk about ordinary things and get along.

So why was I there? Well a little known fact about me is that I do have problems with anxiety. This will come as a surprise to many, because I do have an extravagant personality. But I'm like an onion. I have many layers. And if you cut me I will make you cry.
I don't think my anxiety is inconquerable. And I'm also lucky in the fact that I have indomitable love for myself, even if I do struggle socially.

But in addition to that I'm also in the relatively-early stages of a social reboot, and so I really need to get out and meet people. You see, I wasted years of my life with the wrong crowd, unhealthy minds, cynics, bullies, a hierarchical setting, an elitist atmosphere, making a conformist group out of misery. And one of the key components binding these humans together was the need for a villain, or a figure they could project their own sins and insecurities onto in order to avoid any inner reflection and actually get off their arses and effect positive change. I refer to them as The Old Posse, but don't take note of that because following this one mention I hope to never have to mention them again.  Subtracting from my life everyone I considered a friend (at the realisation that they were not my friends) has been perhaps the smartest move of my life. It left me with a social void though, and that's not been easy to fill when one has anxiety. But on the plus side, the lack of negativity in my life makes me a lot more attractive to positive people.

You see, positive, healthy minded people will not associate with anyone who associates with cynics and smellfunguses. So a purge of everyone was absolutely essential for this kind of ascension.
A total bonus is being happy and comfortable with oneself. I don't think you need reminding that I have an advantage in this area! I absolutely love being me! I get an enormous thrill from being me! Oh, people shake their head and chuckle at it. But they don't really mind the ego because it doesn't exist at the expense of others. I love everyone else too! I'm less devoted to them than I am to myself, sure, but I love watching everyone do their thing. Each one of us has the power to conquer any moment in time we choose simply by being ourselves and doing what we want to be doing. When we shine, everyone else is irrelevant in the eyes of the beholder. We all have that power. The interesting thing to consider with me (that I have been known to both lament and chuckle at) is maybe if not for this anxiety I might be someone else entirely, a successful, rich, corporate cog in the grand captialist machine, moving amongst the neurotypical human race as one of them, trading my soul for a paycheck, approaching my deathbed with the sudden lastminute hindsight that maybe it was all a waste because while I was successful and rich, I really wish I'd had more fun. In my dying breath I'd rip off the suit that had been practically painted onto my body for sixty years, and go climb a tree. I might do that if I survive sixty years anyway! It sounds like fun!

But as it happens I have turned my attention to adventure. I can't bury my bizarre out-of-place personality, and nor should I. When people refer to my ego as a flaw, what part of me are they attacking with? That's right! Their own ego! But you see, I survived all that I have survived because I am who I am. A backstory of child abuse, bullying, homelessness, unhealthy relationships, sociopathic monsters seeking to undo all that I am simply to boost their own ego, all of this may have left me with anxiety and a slight inability to feel comfortable among humankind, but I survived it all because of my ego and the strength that it gives me. Which really makes it less ego and more pride. My favourite sin!

And with this pride comes indomitability, and with that I seek adventure. Millions of years of evolution produced humanity, a race of bipeds with four magnificent limbs with which to run, and jump, and climb, and take lots of pretty pictures, and I shall not waste it sat down watching TV or reading your newspapers or taking your prozac, or bending to words like "Health and Safety." Bah! I want to see things! I want to experience everything! Is there a God? I don't know but I'd like to someday find out! I'd like to look the Grand Poohbah of Existence straight in the face and say "Lord, if you made mankind in your own image, why am I so handsome?"

But I also want friends. I want to overcome my anxiety. And so to bring this rant full circle, this is why I really enjoyed Jims get-together. It was a reason for me to go out and interact, and build connections. I will be attending on the first Saturday of every month, as and when I can. And I welcome anyone else to join me.

Now onto the actual adventure! The reason you're all here! I do indeed have an adventure for you, following my ramblings. Todays target is an abandoned farm in the Shropshire countryside that I've affectionately taken to calling the Apocalypse House!

I nicknamed it the Apocalypse House because it had a vague apocalyptic vibe about the place. Not that this is at all unusual for someone who spends a lot of time sneaking around abandoned places. But this place looks so barren on the inside with a contrasting interior in the sense that, while very run down and obviously not being lived in, it seemed to still be in use by someone somewhere. It made me think instantly of a Left 4 Dead style safehouse. I can easily imagine a group of people hiding in this place from a zombie horde. Of course, nothing will beat my own personal zombie survival plan, but thats a brag for another day.

On the surface Apocalypse House seems rather protected from trespassers.

Of course, these kind of signs actually mean very little. And even if the all-seeing eye of Big Brother was here, I'm not convinced there's anyone watching. Recording, maybe, but not monitoring. It's far cheaper to go with dystopian paranoia than dystopian reality.

So I had absolutely no problem exploring the grounds. 

 And to my delight, I got to climb on a freakin' combine harvester!

 There were some explorable out buildings which were photogenic but would probably not have been worth blogging about if they were here on their own.

Something I simply could not resist was this tower and it's rickety old ladder.

 Now, I'm a seasoned rooftopper so you'd think I'd be immune to the effects of vertigo, but this big rickety ladder did indeed scare the willies out of me. But could I just shrug and go home knowing that I could have gotten myself some shots of the Apocalypse House from above as well as a delicious view of the Shropshire countryside?

See? It's a great day to risk my life needlessly!

Now onto the house itself... well, it sure looked inpenetrable to the casual observer.

Fortunately I'm not a casual observer. I don't force entry though. Always remember that.

The front room of the Apocalypse House was barren, but still had an eerie vibe of being used by someone, what with the plastic table there that was likely not part of the original furnishing. 

There was a larger room beyond that, which seemed a lot creepier.

Under the stairs was another door, leading to a room full of clutter.

But the piano was a lovely surprise. It still worked and everything.

A copyof the Oswestry Advertizer was dated May 29 2002.

And here we have a handwritten letter for a mysterious Frank.

As you can see, Frank is a transformer, and he was hiding in the corner. I didn't want to embarass him by pointing out that I knew it was him though!

Onto the upstairs!

The upstairs was somewhat lacking in floorboards, and the ones that remained were far from safe, but it seemed almost as if someone had started work here and then given up.

 And there was this peculiar sight, an owl hanging from the ceiling.

Of all the abandoned places I've explored, this place is among the most baffling. It's out in the Shropshire wilderness, and its story is very much up to speculation. This isn't your typical abandoned house where someone passes away and the place falls into gradual ruin. No, this was a home, and then it wasn't, and someone decided they were going to do something with it, and then decided at some point to call it a day.
What we have is a very deliberate, but neglected, layout. The chair placement downstairs and the piano would imply that someone is using it. But miles from civilisation, the who and why are anyones guess.

The Shropshire countryside seems to have an unlimited supply of curiosities and oddities hidden in all the areas people aren't supposed to go. But now it's November and it's dark before 5pm. You know what that means???

It's Rooftopping Season!!!

Yes, under cover of darkness is the best time to go scaling buildings, perhaps the most dangerous sport I partake in. But the view once up there makes it all worth it. So next blog post will be from right in the middle of Shrewsbury. Don't forget to look up. You might see me.

If any of you have any information about this place, or any other featured on Shrewsbury From Where You Are Not, get in touch. I love hearing from my readers. You can also follow me on Twitter and on Instagram.

Thanks for reading! Stay awesome!