Here we are in Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Shakespeare capital of Warwickshire, and supplier of Shakespeare to the World.
Just as Lichfield is proud of Dr Johnson and Walsall is proud of Jerome K Jerome, Stratford is ecstatic over being the home of Shakespeare. Do I need to point out that all three of these writers got the hell out of the Midlands as soon as they could and headed for London where people would appreciate them? Shakespeare at least returned to Stratford for the last three years of his life, possibly because he had left his wife and kids there and after twenty years decided to find out how they were getting on.
This is the building marketed as Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
I’m told it’s actually a few years too young for Shakes to actually have been born there, but it may well have been the place where he was potty trained. Of course that would not have the same tourist cachet and in fact the Stratford Tourist Board will do almost anything to stop this information from coming to light. If I am pecked to death by swans in the next few days you know who to blame.
It was a hard slog up the Avon this morning to get here. The water level had gone up over a foot overnight, and there was a relatively strong current against us in the narrow or shallow sections. The wind was also blowing us around in the exposed bits, but thankfully there were not many of those. I ran the engine at about 1,800 rpm rather than the usual 1,500 rpm which was noisier, but did let us make headway against the current. We are moored up beside the park, a little downriver from the hideously ugly Royal Shakespeare Theater.
That being said, it attracts the best actors and directors in the country, and the productions of Shakespeare and other playwrights are superb. The first English language production of Les Miserables was done by the Royal Shakespeare Company, as was the first production of the current hit stage version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Tonight we are off to one of their theaters to see Vice Versa, a farce based on the plays of the Roman comic writer Plautus.
We spent some time wandering the streets of Stratford.
Then suddenly there was a dessert stall in the street, and the most cream filled scone ever created. Nick and Margaret accepted the challenge.
The scone was defeated, but not before Margaret was covered in powdered sugar shrapnel.