Thursday, August 05, 2010


My room at the B&B in Stratford was a little snug. My shower was literally next to my bed. You could roll out of bed and into the shower, and that's not just a cute phrase. You could actually do that. But little rooms like that are fine if it's just you. I don't have that much stuff. When I stay in little European hotel rooms I feel like Hemingway. Anyway, I woke up feeling great, and is there anything better than a traditional English breakfast?

We spent time in Stratford this morning. I did my usual Stratford tour, though I didn't actually go into some of the properties. I am a little crowd-averse lately, and I actually enjoy sitting in gardens and waiting for my students to come through the gift shop. Does this mean I am old. Yep! It does! Anyway, we watched that fancy new movie at the Shakespeare birthplace and then I sat in the garden while a nice gentlemen performed a monologue from Antony and Cleopatra and another one from Henry V. Then his friend showed up, and they did two scenes: Twelfth Night and Hamlet. They were really good - fun to watch. You can see one of the actors playing Andrew Aguecheek in the photo. He had a pretty sweet wig. It's nice to see good Shakespeare in Shakespeare's own backyard.

Our tour progressed down Sheep Street, which was the source of the Stratford plague in the 1600's (dead sheep in the road, ratty wool, mountains of poop) and also #40, the most haunted house in England. I told the students about the axe murderer who lived there in the 1500's, the old witch who had her face slashed in Sheep Street, and the little girl who was disemboweled in the Stratford town square. All of these ghosts show up at #40, plus a bunch more. And even though it was mid-day, I got a little chill passing under the windows.

Next we made a brief stop at the town council, where Becca and Dan did a little trick where they made it look like they were magically sliding up and down the pews. It was really funny.
We also stopped by Hall's Croft where our tour guide was quite a character. I hesitate from saying much more than that. Go see this guy, and you will see what I mean.

We had lunch along the river Avon and we fed the geese french fries. I had a little nap and my students played a funny "joke" where they hid from me and then watched me wake up alone and confused. I hope they enjoyed their little "joke!" It was very traumatic for me. Just me and some geese. All alone. Until I made friends with the harmonica player who made his dog howl on cue:

I only went inside Warwick castle for about 20 minutes, and most of that was spent reading my book up on the lookout. It's not that I dislike the castle, but I've seen everything there 3 times over and I'm really into this book (The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall.) After a while I wandered out of the castle and into the city of Warwick, where I saw the following:

The town center:
This museum, which was one half Victorian children's schoolhouse, and the other half a monument to soldiers. This museum seemed to have some identity issues. If someone asked you what kind of a museum it was you wouldn't know what to say. "It's a museum with blackboards.....and......bayonets..."
A really cool spider web on the bridge.
This place, which is called a hospital, but isn't one. It's more of an inn.

We drove back to our flats in the evening. The countryside was beautiful and it was great to chat along the way with Alex Ungerman. Our driver Gwin did a good job getting us home despite road blockades, confusing signage, and the mess of streets called London. I think if I had to drive in Zimbabwe I would do a much worse job.