Sunday, June 28, 2009


Life I’m not happy to be home.

There’s no greater mental barometer of how well a holiday went than the genuine feeling as you stumble onto the train at the end of the week (or in my case about four days) that you’re leaving a place were you felt complete and yourself and complete within yourself and those things are effortless, to return to a place where you have to work at them. That’s what vacations are supposed to do, but you hear so often about how stressful they can be, how often they’re nothing like a holiday because of the hassle involved in attempting to enjoy yourself, I’m so pleased and elated that I can genuinely say that I did enjoy myself, despite having developed blisters by the end of the first day and painfully limped through the rest of it.

I’ll be boring you stupid in the coming days (and weeks?) with tales of Stratford-Upon-Avon (and photos, so many photos) but I want to make the most of my Shakespearean glow by finally watching the BBC adaptations of his history plays so I’ll not spend too much time tapping things here today. Just to say this: after watching the results, I’m glad I didn’t follow my original idea of a coach tour. I watched coaches park up throughout the town, outside the various designated Shakespeare houses, the passengers herded off and into the dwelling which they’d trundle through briefly, take some photos, buy some souvenirs before being led back to the coach and on to the next attraction, presumably working through all five before returning to wherever they came from without the time to breath in the atmosphere.

To spend just half an hour here and there is not enough time. Much better, as I did, to slowly let the story of the bard's life through his home unfold slowly over a few days, seeing the places where he and his family were born, died, were buried and commemorated and discovering the world in which all of that happened. If you’ve already been yourself, you’ll know that there aren’t many places like it in Britain. It might have gained many of the elements of a modern town, the same high street shops which make most places seem like a photocopy of each other these days and industrialisation and suburbia just outside the centre, at magic hour it still retains the stillness of an ancient village, a reminder of what we've lost.

[Exit pursued by a bear.]

[End of Act I.]

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