I wonder what William Shakespeare would think of Stratford-upon-Avon today was my first thought, as I photographed the River Avon with a contemporary Big Wheel prominent on the landscape.

If short on time, it’s a great way to take in the surrounding Warwickshire countryside seated in one of the transparent weatherproof pods. The sun was shining and we weren’t in a rush, so we opted for an amble around the town.

The buildings’ architecture of brick or plaster with exposed wood-framed walls is a pleasure to see, many of which have bowed since the 16th century. Some top storeys overhang the bottom ones and gave the occupants extra room. They appear quaint these days and it’s a blessing they have survived.

The properties where the famous playwright and poet was born and grew up before he lived in London were temporarily closed. We observed from outside, New Place, a museum with an Elizabethan garden, and the Bard’s birthplace which is in another area.

A statue of the great man and a visitor centre with a gift shop celebrating his life and works are situated close to the house. The items on offer are of good quality and unique. I willed myself not to get carried away as I already have associated literature at home and managed to escape by only buying picture postcards.

Also on Henley Street, I was drawn to a sculpture by James Butler R.A. of a grinning jester dancing energetically, a marotte balanced on his fingertip and looking as if he might leap from his plinth. The Fool is a character who performs in many of Shakespeare’s plays and is still as entertaining.

It was disappointing not to go inside places of interest due to Covid restrictions, but we still enjoyed the special atmosphere of the Medieval market town. There’s a varied mixture of businesses, old and new. We lunched at Ask Italian and I bought a linen shift dress from an independent shop called Pop Up Clothing Co.

The afternoon was spent wandering along the riverbank under weeping willows and hearing shouts of a coach instructing a rowing team as their boat sped by colourful narrowboats moored at the sides.

After a few hours of watching ducks and swans, and gushing weirs, we crossed a bridge and headed back to town.

Holy Trinity Church is on the way and it’s where Shakespeare rests in peace. We searched for his grave amid shrubs and pink flowering trees but later discovered he is buried inside.

Tired and thirsty at the end of a fulfilling day was the perfect excuse to stop at an inviting waterside pub along the way. And so, we did, before returning to our holiday let in Oxfordshire.

Until next time.
Sue. X