First stop - Warwickshire, home of everyone's favourite playwright, William Shakespeare... we hit Warwick first, as there was a Medieval festival on, and I was rather set on watching the Trebuchet at Warwick Castle... Eryn says I should mention that I don't mean the font Trebuchet, but that it's also a really, really old seige weapon.
After a bit of a wander through town, to see some proper Morris dancing, with the men with silly flower hats and bells on, and some other blokes with their faces painted black (apparently in the olden days the churchy types thought dancing was the work of the devil, so those involved painted their faces so they wouldn't end up in big trouble). It was all very English. And a bit ridiculous. You can see why we've adopted the Haka, rather than the 'other' traditional form of dance - the other teams would just be doubled over laughing otherwise - could be a new idea, though?!
The castle was next - it's ₤18.95 EACH to get into, but worth every penny! The highlights:
- The Birds of Prey display - the birds were massive and flew so low we had to duck! They were so majestic.
- The sword fight re-enactments, the actors were pretty funny and it was all very well done.
- The castle itself, which is pretty tall and has a wall-walk that goes quite high up and a lot of the way round - great views on what is probably the hottest day we've had so far this summer (and they tell you it doesn't get hot in the UK - it's a lie!)
- The Trebuchet - a real one, which I was chosen to help fire (there are only 6 helpers and there was pretty much the population of Britain there that day)! It was well cool. There are photos here:
To be honest, the non-tourist parts of Stratford are a bit dodgy looking... but once we got to Anne Hathaway's Cottage (the house Will's missus grew up in)we forgot that, as it was lovely - with a thatched roof and rambling (but in that good way) country garden... if only we could get married there! It was the stuff of picture postcards. We managed to pinch some of the berries and broad beans (definitely not for Eryn) from the garden... yum.
By the time we left there it was about a million degrees... for the second day on the trot too. We somehow managed to sneak into Shakespeare's actual house at just the right moment - there was almost no one else in it - hooray! Places that old don't have airconditioning, and the fewer people in there adding to the heat, the better. It's a bit strange to think that probably none of us will be so incredibly famous that in almost 500 years people will want to look at the houses we were born and grew up in - if the houses are even still standing... they don't make them like they used to!
We wrapped up what was an ever-so-english weekend with an outdoor performance of Romeo & Juliet, in a park alongside the Avon... it was an amatuer production, but they were from Cambridge University, so as you might imagine, it was very slick... and best of all? It was FREE.
K & E x