|Sue & Nessy at|
Anne Hathaway's cottage
Nothing's perfect. Fact. I had a few days myself when I was in doldrums land but then, I have a few more peccadilloes than most to tame. In the end, those including son Chris and mate Baz who encouraged me to look out the window, probably had it right.
We engaged with this tour to gain an overview of the UK, not to see everything and sit opposite Eddie Maguire as the resident expert. That's what we got. Into the bargain, we met some nice people, some of which were on the tour, some serving in pubs and shops. I took lots of photos and gathered one or two stories which will end as poems in print. We laughed a lot, had a memorable birthday banquet in a medieval castle, listened to glorious Welsh singing, watched remarkable Irish dancing and listened to pipers in Ireland and Scotland ... and then there was the scenery. We feel we have had the best of all of the nation states which make up the UK and that includes the weather (even the rain and wind in the Scottish Highlands).
You make your own luck but given the past fifteen years and it's constant coastline of hidden rocks which has tried to sink us numerous times, being here is the achievement.
There has been much written and said about his life and lifestyle and even the authorship of his writing. Many good cases have been put that perhaps others such as Francis Bacon may have penned some of the work but as it will never be proven either way, its hardly worth worrying about. The more likely conjecture is that Shakespeare was bisexual and entered into same sex relationships with high profile admirers who effectively cuckolded Anne. His burial in Holy Trinity Church, Statford and not in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, is said to further suggest a dissfavour with Crown and Church. His grave features a warning, written by the bard himself, that the removal of his bones from their gravesite will incur a curse. Perhaps that put them off?
The markers for Shakespeare's links in Stratford are obvious. Apart from his grave inside the Holy Trinity Church, in the chancel before the alter (2 quid to see it), his birthplace is right in the heart of town (12 quid to see it) and Anne Hathaway's cottage (15 quid to see it, even though the original was burnt down by an arsonist in the 1960's). Everywhere else, tudor style buildings abound and just about every shop has worked the bard into their name. The theatre for the Royal Shakespeare Company is by the Avon (previously noted as meaning "river") and not far from that, the Black Swan/Dirty Duck pub is on the shores of the River River.
|The Dirty Duck|
Someone else ended up eating it, as we couldn't be late again.
The afternoon was a long few hours into London and the ultimate break up of the touring party. We had previously thanked both director and driver but did so again with a genuine warmth, grateful for their experience adding to ours.
Despite confusing the cabby (don't call them taxis), we managed to get home to our digs, a very nice three room serviced apartment just below Kensington Gardens in the inner west of London. Both cab driver's we struck last night were brilliant.
Tomorrow night, Phoenix Theatre on Charring Cross Rd for "Blood Brothers", a West End production and a chance to see how bloody talented our Christopher really is.