What can I say about Stratford except that I don’t enjoy commercialism and large crowds.
The cruise upriver was beautiful, England at its best, and more lovely people to share the locking with, even rounding the corner into the final lock on our river journey with the famous Trinity spire in view was beautiful. We chose to moor on the river with the park on one side and the town on the other. Our plan was to have two nights on the river then two nights in Bancroft basin which is where the Stratford canal joins the river. It is a tourist attraction in its own right being part of the open space outside the RSC theatre. It’s fun and lively and full of atmosphere and I would have been happy to let the gongoozlers (people who stand and watch narrowboats) take photos of Firecrest. However after 5 minutes of being enticed by river cruises, bike hire, walking tours, open topped bus rides, Shakespeare’s new house, old house, birth place, grand daughters house, his school etc etc I s overloaded and wanted to escape.
The Shakespeare houses were, at face value, expensive, I can’t say whether or not they were good value, but whilst Eric stayed on the boat to work I did set out to be the tourist. The queue outside was colossal and I knew that I would have been herded through exhibits unable to absorb the atmosphere so alas I retreated back to the sanctuary of my beloved boat. I did however stumble upon “the slaughter house” it is a heritage community centre and cafe not a place of butchery. A charity set up to provide a space for less advantaged groups in Stratford, whilst nurturing community projects. And whilst I was having a mug of tea and a huge piece of home made chocolate Brownie for £2.50! I got chatting to a lady who was one of the volunteer guides for one of the Shakespeare houses. I explained (politely) how I felt and she said she completely understood. It’s a catch 22 situation. I’m glad we have a great playwrite to be proud of and I’m glad that Stratford thrives on his legacy. But Stratford won’t miss me not taking part.
We did stay 2 nights on the river. And we did treat ourselves to tickets for the theatre. We saw a comedy called Visa Versa. And whilst yes that was also expensive, the theatre, company and production are all top rate and an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. We snook away on Saturday morning past the hot and sweaty park run runners and set off back home onto the canal network.