Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Rebecca has just had a fantastic few days with Zara (a friend from Dipton) who is over here visiting family with her mum & grandma. Zara came and stayed for the weekend and so there was lots of talking!

We took Zara back up to Birmingham on Monday morning and then Josh, Rebecca, Zara, Kim & I went down to Stratford to visit Shakespeare's home town. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and it is great to be able to visit these places outside of the busy tourist times. After we had stopped for lunch at a canal side pub we went to Anne Hathaway's Cottage. This is where Shakespeare's wife grew up and is a thatched cottage with the most amazing cottage garden and garden walks. We sat out in a willow cabin listening to some of Shakespeare's sonnets.

Anne Hathaway's cottage

Rebecca, Josh & I then stayed at a B&B in Stratford and the next day we went to Mary Arden's Farm. Mary Arden was Shakespeare's mother and this is where she grew up. I thought this would just be another cottage to visit but how wrong I was... This was excellent and we spent about 3 hours here. There are volunteers who work here and they dress up and work the farm as in the Tudor times (15oo's). We saw them cutting up wood for the fires and the man told us about how they grow hedges and coppice the wood so that it kept in a sustainable way. Then around the front of the house was a man working up the garden to plant herbs, the vegetable garden provides them with most of the vegetables which they use at the farm. Inside we saw some women in the kitchen cooking the dinner - they were having a chicken which had been killed by a mink and they were cooking it over the fire. They had also prepared all the vegetables for the meal, baked the bread and made the beer.

We also saw a falconry display with a kestrel. These are quite small birds and would have been used to teach the Tudor boys how to train birds for hunting.

at Mary Arden's farm

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