People Underestimate the Value of a Good Ramble

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The UK Trip...Shakespeare and Birthdays

In case you missed's Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

One thing I realized right away about actual England and my ideas about England is that I am a romantic.  Who knew?

For instance, in Bath I expected ladies with parasols and long sweeping Regency dresses (a la Jane Austen novels) to be walking down the streets on the way to the lending library or to take tea at the pavilion or even for Prinny, the Regent himself, to be holding court in the assembly rooms.  In Stratford, I was looking for gentlemen in Elizabethan dress with side swords who would bow and lay their cloaks over water puddles for me.  

It wasn't like that.  

We didn't even see one kilt in Scotland. 

Instead, there were Burger Kings and McDonalds and KFCs on the corners and lots of random nationalities wandering in large, chaotic groups, talking in foreign languages a mile a minute and bowling over anything in their path. Seriously. Of course, this is more London, but there were tourist groups pretty much everywhere.  The nerve. 

So we drove through the dark and the rain in traffic on the way to Stratford. Now Jeff knows how I feel when I have to drive at night.

We woke up in Stratford on January 13, my 50th birthday, and took a lovely walk along the Avon to see Shakespeare's grave in Holy Trinity Church.  

Then we strolled back through town, passing Hall's Croft (where his daughter Susannah and her husband Dr. John Hall lived), New Place (where Shakespeare and his family lived, which is basically just a garden on the corner now) and John Nash house (which is where his granddaughter and her husband lived).  We didn't go in any of them for several reasons.  

Mostly it was because of time. We needed to be in Manchester by tea time. Also, we didn't want to spend more money than was absolutely necessary and so we choose what we wanted most to do and that was to see the town and to visit the grave. The walk along the river was beautiful.

Oh...and a bird pooped in my hair. That's like a good luck thing somewhere, right?  Right??

But we did see the gardens and then drove past the birthplace - twice, cause we missed it - and Anne Hathaway's cottage, where we got a glimpse of the thatched roof among the scaffolding while rolling past. 

No matter what we heard about British food, everything we had was good. Of course, I had fish and chips several times, plus a lovely steak and onion pie.  Jeff was more adventurous; he had bangers and mash one night and even had haggis in Scotland.  He was really enjoying the sausages, especially in Stratford, where they had fresh local sausages from a butcher just across the street.

Breakfasts were a little strange. I mean baked beans and tomatoes sounds more like a picnic to me, plus I personally don't eat either one of those things. But I did fall in love with porridge and brown bread.  I've tried to re-create porridge several times since we've been back, but I can't quite get it right. 

I'm open to any and all suggestions.

My birthday continues with more invisible friends next.


Anonymous said...

Those are wonderful photographs, they make me want to visit...I stayed in Stratford as a nipper but only remember the ferry across the river and the huge house we stayed in as my aunt was an army wife and they had this huge house...we slept in like a dormitory it was that big.

I'm sorry now that we didn't get you a big cake!

Toni said...

Oh no! You didn't have to get me anything. Or, I would have taken more porridge. I developed such a love of porridge.