Friday, August 05, 2011

castles and kings

We awoke in Stratford to sunshine and a great breakfast at Tim and Kate’s Victoria Lodge. It’s always a tasty breakfast there: the beans on toast, the sausages and tomatoes. The ham. I don’t know why the English breakfast is uniquely English; we have all the same ingredients in the US. It’s mostly just a deconstructed omelet. But we just eat differently. Everyone was up and we had a nice talk about the ghost in Greg and Bonnie’s room, and everyone made fun of Tony’s snoring, which was audible throughout the hallways.

We spent the morning in Stratford doing the usual Stratfordian things: I like the Shakespeare Trust and they do a great job of maintaining the birthplace and keeping everything nicely Tudor. There’s a fancy introductory exhibit – not new, it was there last year – at the entrance of the birthplace where you move from room to room as Ian McKellan and Juliet Stevens narrate Shakespeare’s life and random things light up. Then some doors open and you progress through the exhibit that way. Every time the door opened we would mutter “oohhhhh………gooooosh…..” like Surprise Party Sue.

We went into the “New Place Dig” for the first time. It wasn’t open to the public last year. I thought it was really interesting. When Shakespeare retired to Stratford after a long career in London he bought the second largest house in town. It had 22 rooms and was situated right next to the town hall. It got knocked down in 1759 because the owner was tired of dealing with tourists, but now archaeologists are digging up the foundations. What they plan to do next I don’t know, but it’s fun to watch them being Jacobean/Jurassic. And there’s a really nice set of gardens in the back.

I didn’t go inside Holy Trinity Church because the day was too nice and I wanted to sit on a bench and look at the River Avon. Before I knew it I was covered with ladybugs. I don’t know why this was. I never found out. It was an aphid-friendly bench.

We all met up at 1 (AUBRIE?) to meet Tony and the bus. Most of us had some lunch at Gregs.’ And we boarded again for Warwick Castle.

I spent the day at the castle like a boring old dad; I waved hello at the students as they did fun and exciting things, and sat under a tree reading and nodding off. I was not bored, oddly enough. It was great to just chill out by the peacock park and read some Peeta. All those P things. After a while I wandered out of the Castle and into the town, where I had a little Subway Sandwich. It was a really fancy day for me. I like Warwick, the town. The High Street is charming and there’s always a delicious SubClub to be eaten.

Tony took us all home, stopping briefly to let everyone grab dinner. He had a firm policy that there would be no food on the bus, but of course he let everyone eat on the bus anyway, since we’re all so nice and he had a little crush on a few of the girls. That’s the way of the world.

Finally we were back home, and we called it an early night. We did laundry, we wrote emails, we tagged photos. It’s odd how “home” has become “home.” You long for your “own” bed, even though it’s a crappy little dorm thing on wheels. We’re more adaptable than we think.