(DISCLAIMER: As an overall nice human being, I do not force entry, vandalize, steal, or disclose means of entry or location if it isn't obvious. I do this to protect locations and respect them. Trespass without forced entry is a civil offense rather than a criminal one, which isn't worth acting on unless one causes damage, steals, has ill intent, etc. I simply photograph and leave everything as I find it. I do not condone breaking and entering, and I do not condone what I do. I'm a danger to myself and a terrible role model )
There's an abandoned cottage in Shropshire that I decided to check out one fine day with Brother Michael. Abandoned houses tend to acquire nicknames based on some notable internal or external quality, such as Calcott Hall being called Red Dress Manor due to having once had a long-stolen red dress in there, or Cloud House being up in the hills. I should have just named Shrewsbury Library "Old Man Statue castle." In regards to todays house, Google streetview showed it with an awesome pirate flag in the yard, so "Pirate House" sprung to mind. However, someone who follows me on Instagram, an urban explorer from Birmingham, actually went here before me, and named it Cobweb Cottage in their video. So for the sake of consistency we'll use the same name.
Here it is!
As a little exposition, my accomplice Brother Michael is a monkvestite who regularly joins me on adventures, as part of what I call Adventure Therapy. He came out of a twenty-two year relationship and found his mental health in peril simply because for the first time in his life he was alone and had heaps of free time. So after getting a job at a local concentration camp, I caught him picking up shifts on his annual leave because he was so damn bored, and so I set out to improve his life through adventure therapy.
I also needed a driver. So there is an element of selfishness there. Indeed some of the other staff at the concentration camp where he works say that I'm a narcissist. Although I earn that title by loving myself, I still disagree with it.
See, we live in a world where self loathing is expected of us.
Worse still, we're so conditioned to the expectation that we all should find
fault with ourselves that, as demonstrated, when someone does come along and
announce something astonishing, that they're happy just the way they are, that
their life is great, that they consider themselves attractive, the
self-loathing masses don't flock to the individual asking "Can you tell me
how you achieved this?" No, humanity considers this an aberration. The
people will try their hardest to pull the happy person down and spit out words
like "cocky" and "arrogant" and "narcissist." And
while true narcissism is a very real and potentially dangerous thing, there is
a big difference between that and simply giving yourself a much deserved pat on
the back for being good at this whole life thing.
In odd contrast, if one plays down their achievements, or speaks bad of
their physical appearance, there's often a large number of people who would
offer reassurance. And I know a lot of these are probably friendly people, but it almost seems like by being down, we give terrible people a chance to prove how nice they
are, which ruins it for those of us who are actually nice. Whereas by being happy, we reveal their own insecurities. At least, thats how it
seems to me. Otherwise we're left with an odd mixed message. "Love
yourself but dont tell anyone," or "Stop moaning" and "feel
better than you do, but you better not feel better than me."
But the truth is I do get along with Brother Michael, but I'm no mental health professional. I can only teach people to enjoy life by showing them how I enjoy life. Does it matter what the passion is for as long as there is passion? Okay, maybe that's a stupid question when one considers the likes of Fritzl... but I mean finding that perfectly victimless thing that makes life enjoyable, and makes someone happy. And what is really wrong with wanting to achieve happiness?
We shouldn't feel bad for loving our lives. We shouldn't hate ourselves to the point of misery simply because that's an expectation of us. And we shouldn't feel inferior to others. We shouldn't fall for this doctrine of "Mind your superiors because they know better than you." I say this about your superiors- You have none!
Anyway, on with the show!
Cobweb Cottage sits only a short distance away in the Shropshire hills, on the outskirts of actual civilisation, and as mentioned, had a pirate flag flying at least as late as 2010. A crest on the front of the house gives its construction date as 1862, and it does appear on maps of the era, but with no notable differences.
We slipped inside through an opening, without really knowing what to expect. It certainly had an unconventional colour scheme but I actually find this place incredibly visually appealing, although I doubt many would agree.
There's not a lot left in terms of posessions, so it's hardly a time capsule house, but at the same time this doesnt seem to be just some empty house waiting to be sold.
I thought that the paint above the fireplace was pretty cool, but what the camera struggles to pick up is the glitter that is mixed in with the paint. I would love to have seen what this home looked like when it was fully furnished. It seems pretty sad that so much effort went into making it look interesting, and now it's just sitting here.
With this lounge, and the pirate flag appearing on Streetview, I think the people who lived here must have been awesome folks, and pretty quirky.
The bathroom is pretty awesome, and still has a toilet brush and toilet roll.
There's a razor on the floor in the cupboard next to the carpet cleaner.
What, don't you keep your razors there?
There's a mouse trap on the floor, although it has yet to catch anything, which was actually quite relieving. Being the keeper of two adorable rats, Zaphod and Megatron, I have a fondness for animals, in particular rodents. I feel like finding a dead rodent would be somehow more shocking than finding an entire sheep corpse in a derelict church, but let's face it, I'm crazy. I've actually already picked out the names of my next two future rats, Syphilis, which can be shortened to Phil, and Shithead, which will be pronounced "Shith-ead" so that my neices, nephews and Tree Surgeons kid, can interact with it without getting into trouble for swearing, but then look back on it from adulthood and laugh at how oblivious they were to Shitheads unfortunate name. I'm doing the cool uncle thing years in advance.
See, unlike other narcissists (Because I havent dropped that subject just yet) I'm actually a pretty loving person. I just love myself too.
To love oneself is very different to being arrogant or narcissistic.
Those things come at the expense of others. True love for oneself comes at nobody’s
expense. I was once faced with the question "Why do you love yourself so
much? You're no better than me, you know."
And my excellent response was "So why don't you love yourself too?"
See, humans steer towards competitiveness, but self love isn't about competing.
That's a mindset we need to get out of. I know it's difficult because the
social hierarchy is something so deeply ingrained into us, from our school
years where we're taught the importance of obedience to authority figures and
the importance of conformity, to the workplace where we're reminded of our
inferiority to our managers.
What self love proposes is the dispensing of a hierarchy, because ultimately
when it all boils down to the basics, we're all just individuals of a race of
primates indigenous to this world. We eat, poop, and die, just like every other
example of our species. Obviously, in any situation it is unlikely or flat
out impossible that humanity will flat-out annihilate the social hierarchy.
Some people are naturally more capable of being the leader, some people are
more able, and willing, to have the crowds attention on them, and some are quite content with the opposite, but what I'm
saying is, nobody should be made to feel inferior. And when one is happy with
themselves, one doesn't feel inferior at all
Meanwhile check out this kitchen! It's pretty awesome!
I've never seen one of these before, but it's a pulley clothes hanger.
It's dusty, but not dirty. A little effort would see this house perfectly habitable.
On one of the shelves are a couple of jars, one labeled Plum Jam, and the other lebeled Plum Chutney, both dated 2009.
Curiously in the kitchen was also this radio, and quite frankly the presence here of things like this, razors, and plum jam are highly indicative that the family didn't just move out and put the house on the market. It's almost like it was very selectively abandoned.
There's a telephone on the floor.
The electrical meter has a label which very faintly gives the date of 13th August 2007 as the date in which the meter was last read. This gives us a rough idea for when the house was left, but it raises the question of why the Plum Jam was labeled 2009.
This box hanging up in the kitchen was used to hang keys, but it's currently empty.
And at the back of the kitchen is this fairly ominous door covered by a curtain. It's actually a pretty cool detail though. This would have been a great place to live back in the day.
The veiled door led to this little pantry bit that felt like it should have been outdoors, and quite possibly was a long time ago. It's an old building and this has a very out-house vibe about it.
There's an incredibly dusty toilet, still in better condition than the toilets in some pubs and clubs.
In fact, in the original youtube explorers video, it was when they entered this particular room that they decided that "Cobweb Cottage" was an adequate name, so that says it all.
The cat flap has been boarded shut, likely when the house was left, to stop animals getting in.
That might work for your usual wildlife, such as badgers, foxes, and rats, but if you want to keep humans out, lock your doors and windows!
Making our way upstairs, we found that even the bedrooms had character.
There's a newspaper at the top of the stairs dated 2006. So this, and the meter and jam give us a rough idea that this house has been empty and just standing here unnoticed for a little over a decade.
The first bedroom we came across was painted red, and as with the lounge, the paint was clearly not professionally done, but its lack of professionalism gave it a certain charm. I get the feeling it may have been a young childs bedroom. It was a tiny but had a great vibe about it.
It also had these chinese symbols on the walls. At least I think they were Chinese. Maybe the family were chased away by Buzzfeed for cultural appropriation.
I realised that this is just the same symbol repeated. If anyone knows what it means, kindly let me know.
The second bedroom had two red walls, and the others unpainted. I guess they ran out of paint.
It still has a child-friendly vibe to it though.
The largest bedroom quite clearly belonged to the parents.
So what's one to make of all this? My photos look like they should be on Rightmove or something, but at the same time, this house doesn't seem like it's been simply moved out of and put up for sale. There are no "For Sale" signs, and the few remaining belongings, and the fact that the house is not locked and anybody can get in, all give it a feel of mystery. There's a story to this place that is going unwritten.
The garden was also quite spacious, but overgrown, but leading to fields, and a river.
And that seems to be all we've got.
In terms of colour scheme, it's unusual and quirky. It sure seems like it would have had character, and this shows even now that it is unfurnished.
And as a bonus you also got to read me rant about self love, which will no doubt prove to be a controversial topic. In fact it all sounds deliciously anarchistic, doesn't it? Not anarchy in a political sense. I'm not talking about political revolution or anything like that, but in a society so determined to remind us that we're not good enough, being able to love yourself is like giving society the finger.
This is broader, less destructive use of the word Anarchy which means being free from the bore of common standard and conformity. Freedom to be who you want to be.
And the insecure world hates it. This is why whenever someone is slightly odd or unusual we like to label them with some sort of disorder, just to reassure ourselves that we are normal and that it is them who are behaving strangely. You think words like "Aspergers" exist for the benefit of the person being labeled? No, no, that person was fine up until the other humans decided that they were somehow wrong and expressed a need to explain why. Normality is just a big list of standards we feel we have to meet, and if we don't then we're somehow inferior to those that do. Secretly, behind closed doors, nobody meets those standards. Out in public is all a big performance, and to truly embrace who you really are, weird quirks and everything, is the equivalent of improvising the performance while everyone else is sticking to the script. It takes courage, and it scares people. Quite simply, you'll find a lot of resistance on the path to loving yourself, but have patience with the people holding you back, because it's just because they haven't made the journey themselves yet. A lot of resistance to you loving yourself mostly comes out of a need from someone insecure to boost themselves by controling someone else. This is prevalent in bullying, and if you think about it, it's probably why they made Pride a sin back in the bible too. If you love yourself, you don't buy into the hierarchy and as such, the people at the top of that cannot influence you.
Go forth and love yourself.
And then when you've done that, share the blog, like my facebook page, follow my Instagram, and my Twitter.
Now, next blogs meant to be a Shrewsbury one but recent events, complications and necessities mean that we'll be in Telford instead.
But I can promise it will be important, and it will all make sense on the day.
Thanks for reading!