|Hide the yellow lines and it could be 1600|
In days of yore, rivers were the natural place to build townships and Tewkesbury is indeed an ancient settlement, with a huge and spectacular Norman abbey dating back to 1087 and a town centre with an impressive array of medieval timber framed buildings – all of which seemed to have survived successive generations of flooding.
|The 2007 floods were as high as the houses across the river|
It was raining as we arrived yesterday but fortunately that stopped overnight so we could take a stroll around some of the 350 listed buildings in the town centre.
|The oldest pub in Gloucestershire|
|And the Wethersoons where Mr Pickwick had an ale or two|
|Battle of Tewkesbury banners fly from houses|
|And alleys there|
The town is also famous for its alleys, which go back to the 17th century and were a ways of squeezing in more housing into the tight confines of the old town. As well as being the only source of light and air for the overcrowded houses built down them, they also acted as drains and rubbish dumps. Cholera and diptheria became rife at the peak of overcrowding in the 19th century.
|The magnificent Abbey boasts Europe's tallest tower|
|A stunning interior; the decorated roof on huge columns|
|The kneeling knight on top of his chapel|
The huge Healings Mill near the lock, built in 1869 and originally steam powered, continued the town's tradition of corn milling, with grain coming from Canada and the USA and then transhipped by the firm's barges upriver from Avonmouth and Sharpness. Sadly in 2006 it closed and the building lies empty awaiting some sort of redevelopment.
A fascinating couple of days in a very enjoyable small town, albeit one living something of a fragile existence where watching the weather forecast must be a daily essential.
However the high spot of the stay must be, finally after so many attempts, getting a decent photo of a kingfisher. Not on the branch of a tree or tucked in a riverside hedge but on our way to Tesco. Carrying my camera, just on the off chance, we spotted one perched on a mooring bracket across the river and he posed graciously while I stood on the bridge and snapped him.
|And highlight of the day - at last I get a kingfisher photo|