Wednesday, March 16, 2005


From Bladon we drove on to Stratford-on-Avon, another small town with but one claim to fame. William Shakespeare, as every high school student knows, was born in Stratford-on-Avon, and he retired and died there. The powers that be have preserved / restored the house where Shakespeare was born, and the house where lived Anne Hathaway, whom Shakespeare married. There are guides who describe the techniques used by John Shakespeare in his glovemaking business, and upstairs you can see the room where, they say, the Bard of Stratford was born. They have tried to deck out the place with period furnishings, but as an historian I am perpetually skeptical of modern recreations. After all, it’s not as if the place was immediately enshrined and frozen in time. What we see today is what it might have looked like—an artist’s rendering of what might have been, and nothing more. All of that did little to dampen the excitement of walking through the town that Shakespeare called home.

In the evening, our tour group met for dinner and drinks. We chatted with some of the other tourists. This time everyone was from an English-speaking country: the US dominated, but there were a few Canadians, Australians, and a New Zealander. In England, shops close around 5:00 or 6:00 and there wasn’t much to do after dinner, so we took a walk around Stratford. It’s small—-you can circumnavigate the town in about an hour.

I think it was somewhere on the drive to Stratford-on-Avon, as we passed the gentle rolling hills dotted with the wandering sheep, that Nora started to get the urge to get an up-close picture of a sheep. It turned into something of a quest, and it would be several days before we were able to get one, for while the sheep were ubiquitous, none wandered very near to the fences by the roads.


At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John was sweet and even asked the tour guide if we would be getting closer to any sheep because I wanted to take pictures. Tour guide said probably not so John told me he would take me to the Houston children's petting zoo upon our return. I told him it wouldn't be the same because they wouldn't be "proper English sheep."



Post a Comment

<< Home