Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My 2015 England Adventure in Stratford-Upon-Avon!

Shakespeare's Birthplace and Gardens
Medlar Tree Ready For Picking!
Is That You Will?
Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Garden
Mary Arden's Farm
Dinner at the Arden Farm
The Kitchen at the Arden Farm
Hall's Croft
A Bed Chamber in Hall's Croft
The Hall's Croft Garden
A Small Herb Garden at the rear of Hall's Croft
Holy Trinity Church
Shakespeare's Tomb
Harvard House
The Dining Table of Harvard House
Teasels to Keep You from Sitting!
Discovering Painted 'Wallpaper' on the Walls of Harvard House
Tea at the Hathaway Tea Room
A Substantial Afternoon Tea Tray
Had Enough for a Picnic Dinner for the Train Ride Back to London!
I am doing a presentation in March of 2016 on the herbs and flowers of Shakespeare.  Ironically enough I had planned a train ride to Stratford-Upon-Avon during this trip before I decided to do the presentation.  It is fate!  I had had such lovely weather up to the day I went to Stratford and I should have known it would rain!  So I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked in the gardens taking photos.  They do have a wonderful double decker bus that goes from major point to major point in and around Stratford that did help.  I could not waste time or enjoy looking around as much as I would have liked.  I call it power touring!

I did go to Shakespeare's birthplace first because it was in town and not far from the train and before I got the bus.  There are costumed guides that take you through that time period and the last little guide asked me what was my favorite Shakespeare play!  Yikes!  Had to think quickly and so I said A Midsummer's Night Dream and she quoted something by Puck!  Really wonderful the young mind!  I would have been fumbling to get the quote out!

So next I got to the bus and made my way out to Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Gardens.  I sort of rushed through the cottage so I could get out in the gardens before it rained harder.  And got the next bus to go to Mary Arden's farm, a working Tudor farm.  Got to see the blacksmith at work and the tail end of the dinner the Reppert sisters told me to attend.  If they weren't drinking real alcohol, they were acting very well.  Let's just say they enjoyed their meal and drink!  Then it was back to town and a stop at Hall's Croft, the house of Dr. John Hall who married Shakespeare's eldest daughter, Susanna.  The gardens contain many medicinal herbs that would have been used by Dr. Hall.  Then I walked to the Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was both baptized and buried.  A beautiful church inside with lovely stained glass windows.  The last house I got to see was called Harvard House and was built and owned by Thomas Rogers, a butcher and corn and cattle merchant.  It was a townhouse of that time.  Shakespeare purchased New Place nearby which was the largest house in Stratford.  I discovered yesterday that New Place was really the gardens that I needed to see, but sadly New Place and gardens are closed until April of 2016.  So hopefully I will get to see the traditional gardens of Tudor times when I go in May.

I finished off my day in Stratford with an afternoon tea at Hathaway's Tea Room.  The tea itself was very good and very well priced.  I had roast beef, egg mayonnaise and prawn Marie Rose sandwiches, a scone with strawberry conserve and clotted cream and two desserts, a lemon meringue tart and a coffee cake.  The service the day I was there was lacking.  In fact people left when they weren't waited on right away.  I took a box away that's how much food was left!

I headed for the train station.  I had a late direct train (9:30 PM) and as the trains came and went I soon regretted my choice.  A young girl with a gym bag came and sat down beside me.  She was eating a bag of crisps (chips) and putting her finger into the bag to get the flavor and licking her finger.  I said to her, honey those crisps must be good.  She nodded her head.  I asked her if she would like to share my dinner.  She nodded again.  I opened it and it had flipped around, but she picked out the lemon meringue tart and she said she would like it.  I asked her what her name was she said Maya and I told her my name was Nancy and I was from Pittsburgh.  Her eyes lit up when I said Pittsburgh and she told me she had a friend that lived in Pittsburgh.  I told her she would have to come and visit and then her train came and she was gone.  As the train master locked the bathroom and the room where they sold newspapers and snacks, I grew more apprehensive.  There was a lone young woman on the other end of the bench.  She was eating her dinner.  She was carrying a floor lamp with her.  I went down to her end of the bench and asked if I could join her.  She said sure in a hybrid American/English accent.  A young actor trying to make it work.  Long story short she convinced me to take the train with her.  They will never check your ticket.  Well, they did, but I was OK.  Hope to see you next time I am in England, Blake!

So we are getting down to the end of my Adventures in England.  One more post to go!  Still  surprisingly warm here in the herb garden.  Not Christmas like at all.  Hope you had a great day.  Talk to you tomorrow!


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I enjoy reading your adventures in England and the pictures were great.

Happy Christmas Eve and have a lovely Christmas day tomorrow and a GREAT 2016.


Rosemary said...

Another grand adventure! Sounds like the dinner experience was different than ours!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Thanks FL! Hope you had a lovely Christmas day and that 2016 is happy and healthy for you! xo

Thanks Rosemary! Yes, I did have a different experience for dinner! May try again next time I am there. xo