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!


  1. " 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,"
    We are the product of our past and upbringing, we can't avoid that, we can learn to avoid the negatives - and that's a good thing. Anxiety is a bastard, a paralysing mind sapping bastard which hates anything positive, as you've discovered. This is great work you do, and it's positive. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your very honest account of your issues. I too made a choice and moved away from so called friends, who I never saw again, and have spent too long in my life trying to conform to peers and friends and colleagues.
    I am now me, I love me, I'm happy with me. Tattoos, facial piercings, all of it, is me, how me is meant to be.
    Keep being you xx

  3. these are great! keep up the good work! :)

  4. Absolutely amazing. If ever you need a pal to come with you think of me. I may be ancient but lots of fun. I love what you do, your a legend.