Thursday, 10 March 2011
Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespearian Delights
On a sunny March day a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon evokes Shakespeare and his times very convincingly, especially as re-enactors in 16th Century costume are wandering round all the local sites, and ready to chat if tourists want more information.
The garden at Anne Hathaway's Cottage had many herbs starting into growth. The orchard is prepared for the season and the willow arbour neatly trimmed at this season, although by summer it will be almost hidden by the waving strands of freshly growing branches.
In town, Shakespeare's Birthplace was full of guides in Tudor costume. They were all eager to share their knowledge of the period, whether in the dining room, where the table was laden with fine meats and a large round cheese, or in the parlour with its spare four-poster bed and spinning wheel. The making of gloves was demonstrated [Shakespeare's father was a glove maker] and upstairs we saw how a shelf could be drawn out from under the four-poster for the children to sleep on. Practical if not comfortable.
Out in the garden, a pair of lovers held hands and talked earnestly. She looked very fine in her wide skirts, her hair braided under a sweet white cap sewn with pearls. He was as dashing as could be in his jerkin and padded short breeks, high boots, and his beret with its frilled edge. Ah, young love a la Shakespeare.