Okay, the title is misleading – and merely to test the poetry knowledge of anyone reading this post. The subject isn’t my old lover’s ghost, but more a general observation that Shrewsbury seems to be a seriously haunted town.
I’d noticed a while back how my ordinarily efficient smart phone played up in certain shops and areas of the town. On one occasion it went completely barmy, flashing on and off and refusing to respond to any button pressing. A few minutes later, when trying to pay for some items, the shop till also went odd and wouldn’t work. The sales assistant apologised and I made some jokey comment about my phone being of a similar mind and perhaps the shop was haunted.
At this point he leaned forward and told me, in conspiratorial tone – presumably not wanting to get in trouble for potentially scaring off clients – that the place was, indeed, haunted. He recounted several strange recurring incidents – malfunctioning equipment, lights, and changing room doors which lock themselves after hours – and said staff were convinced the shop was riddled with ghosts.
It, along with many other shops, is built on the site of the old castle walls and I’ve since noticed that all along that stretch my phone is knocked out of working order every time I go into a building.
I’m sure some dry, sensible geologist type, or architect, or whatever, will be able to explain rationally why certain areas of Shrewsbury interfere with mobile phones, despite the rest of the town offering glorious network coverage (the likes of which I was denied during six years of rural living, hence the gushing). But I don’t want to hear those rational explanations. I like the thought that this beautiful old medieval town is rampant with mischievous ghosts.
The sales assistant in the haunted shop said he’d been on the Guided Haunted Walk and how fantastic this tour is. I’ve yet to do it myself, but am looking forward to it. Shrewsbury at night is even more gorgeous than in the daytime and, with or without ghosts, many of the tiny cobbled alleyways are so evocative of their past, it’s like stepping back in time just to walk down them and imagine what life (and death) they’ve seen over the centuries.
The poem, incidentally, is beautiful and called Love’s Deity, by John Donne. Today just before I got into the hairdresser’s, a rather unkind email arrived on my phone. The hairdresser’s is built upon the old castle walls and one of those mischievous ghosts decided – wisely, I thought, on reflection – to erase that email from my phone. So, I dedicate the poem to that thoughtful spirit and thank him/her for not interfering with the scissors during my haircut.