Well hello lovelies....I wonder if any of you are still out there? I hardly dare expect an audience after all these months!
I do hope somebody might read this, but in any eventuality I want to start blogging again and recording some of the special times and travels I hope to have...well just recording anything that takes my fancy really.
I also have a little photographic project that's been in the back of my mind for years now....and today I managed to make a start on it ....but more of that later.
Despite only living a hour up the road from the iconic home of William Shakespeare, until today I had never paid it a visit. Hubby worked near here when our boys were little and often said we should go, but it never happened....until now.
As it turned out it was very easy to park and follow the signs to the tourist information centre, where we picked up a free map and headed off to explore.
Yay, colourful canal boats were a great start.
The river Avon looked so pretty in the morning sunshine and plenty of folks were about already....strolling beside it or sailing on it.
We crossed a footbridge to the opposite bank.
Which lead to a pleasant footpath with great views of the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. Ummmm, it's a big lump of a building from this angle.
So much activity including pretty boats and graceful swans.
They paddled at our walking speed so many photo opportunities were possible :0)
A little further along they vanished, only to reappear as they descended this weir. That looked a lot of fun.
It seemed such a user friendly river, not too wide or fast flowing.
And walked through gardens were actors were setting up for a free performance of "The merry wives of Windsor."
We carried on and came to the chain ferry
The town is very compact and easy to navigate, with many, many really beautiful OLD buildings. This one says Built 1485, wow.
Everywhere looked pretty in the sunshine.
I tried to get hubby and eldest (we were just a band of 3 for this trip) to go in here for a drink but they didn't seem keen.
There were stunning flowers on every street. Eldest said it must be nice to live in a tourist hot spot because the council make it look really nice. Having grown up in one I know there are disadvantages too :0)
Stratford certainly seemed well maintained with lots of pedestrian areas and a happy vibe.
With many sites related to the bard dotted around. This is the Shakespeare bookshop with his birthplace to the left.
Here's a clue as to our destination.
On this occasion we just looked over the gate and admired the exterior.
I was more than happy to be outdoors on such a glorious day. We found a little walk beside Shottery Brook which gave my favourite views of the cottage.
This is a tranquil walk was developed in 1977 and I think it gives a small glimpse of how rural this area would have been in Shakespeare's time.
Or even in more recent times, as this photo from 1895 that I managed to find shows.
Today it was a dappled delight.
and I loved this view little further along.
Thatch was everywhere...even on new builds.
The thatcher was busy at work despite it being Sunday.
After twenty minutes more walking we were back in town, and with our car parking time running out it was time to leave, I snapped a few last pretty views as we went.
Down Bridge Street.
and across the water, looking back towards the RSC theatre.
Goodbye canal boats.
Phew, this is turning into a long post, but it's not quiet finished yet....remember that photographic project I mentioned? Well it's based around the pictures in this book, which I picked up in a charity shop years ago.
And here is the Stratford upon Avon page....with a couple of sights you will be familiar with dear reader :0)
There's really not much writing in this book, just big photos and small snippets of information.
So here's Ted's image of the Royal Shakespeare theatre....
And here's mine. I tried to get the same angle, but he got more swans and better reflections :0)
No matter, I really just wanted to see how this view had changed in the intervening 40 odd years. And if you look closely you can see it has, quiet a lot. Part of the building by the waters edge has gone, with extensions to the roof and the left hand side now present. It seems the riverbank in the foreground has been altered quiet a bit too, with a concrete bank and tarmac path where the grass once was.
Now onto the picture of Anne Hathaway's cottage in Ted's book....
I didn't manage to get exactly the same angle and this was actually a lucky shot, taken by holding my camera at arms length over the hedge :0)
Despite this I actually prefer my version in this case. I've got the chimney tops and the colour of the building is nicer now I think. In this case there isn't much change, thank goodness (though I think the thatch is looking shabbier than it was...and this is probably a replacement since the 70's I would guess?). Now I'm looking closely at this picture I'm happy to find I got 2 figures in my image...as Ted did :0)
I'm going to try and visit more places featured in this book, maybe I won't get the exact angles for my pictures, but that doesn't matter. I'm just using it as an excuse, and inspiration to get out and discover places new. I will of course take you lovelies along too :0)
This could be a long project, but there will be other posts too.