We saw a group of Morris dancers performing when we were in Stratford. My friend wanted to see them because she had heard about them but hadn't been able to imagine what it would look like. I hadn't heard of them at all before. It made me think that our clog dancing must be something like it. Though i have never yet seen that so can't compare really.
It seems that Morris dancing is a tradition that goes back at least 600 years. Mostly performed by men as it seems. And from what i saw that seems true. The whole group of dancers we saw were male. And for the few dances where they invited the public to join, they only invited the men. Which was fine with us at the time because it was rather warm weather and the dancing looked like heavy work...
And i won't comment on the hats...
'As you like it' - sandwich bar
'The food of love' - deli
'The Nutcracker' - Christmas shop
'Much ado about toys' - toy shop
So many of the retail outlets have given their shop names a Shakesperian theme, which is not only quite different, but in keeping with the town's feel. Some people may think it a tad corny, but I quite liked it!
Maybe it's the romantic in me. or that I have always LOVED Shakespeare's writing!
One might think that many places in Stratford-upon-Avon have thatch because when one thinks of this town, you think immediately of Anne Hathaway's Cottage, which has stunning thatch on it!
But this is not the case.
There is only ONE remaining building, the Old Thatch Tavern, in the town with thatch, and afew houses scattered here and there on the outskirts of the town, one of them being Anne Hathaway's Cottage.
The designs on the roofs are intricate and delicate, yet have a certain 'bulk' to them, if that makes sense? The thatch roofs are often quite detailed and an artwork in themselves. Very pleasing to the eye!
There is plenty of bird-proofing going on to preserve the thatch and architecture from ruin.
Spring had certainly sprung when we visited Stratford-upon-Avon!
I recently learn that some daffodills are poisonous, and this took me aback, as there are so many around in spring (I even have them in my flower box on my balcony! They are so pretty!), and children love putting things in their mouths...
There were all kinds of flowers, as can be seen in the travelogue, but there were tons more daffodills of various shapes, colours and sizes. All over the place.
There is a bit of a 'ho-ha' when people hear that Shakespeare left his wife Anne the guest bed in his will. One would think 'what?, didn't he love her or something? Why only the bed?.'
Well actually, in those days, this was the grandest thing to leave a loved one in one's will, and seen to be highly romantic too!
The guest bed was the BEST bed in the house. People judged your wealth and status by what your beds were like, and your guest bed, usually located in the parlour (the best room in the house), was always the best, mum and dad then having the second best bed and then so on.
Hence Anne getting the guest bed. He could not have, in those days, have left her anything more desirable!
I always wondered why the beds were so short in length. Were they shorter back then? Nope. They used to sleep sitting up, not lying down, for superstitious reasons!
All fascinating stuff!
A local custom could be a custom motorcycle, This is a blend of the old and the new, a vincent engine and running gear from a modern japanese sports bike.
There is a strange custom in Stratford of naming flowers and plants after Shakespearian characters. This is the 'Falstaff' plant in the birthplace garden.....
... while the boats are named after female characters. Meet Viola, Virgilla, Rosalind, Beatrice, Helena & someone else!