(Warning: unexpectedly long post, which suggests how good my day was! As a side note, thanks to AT for all the photos except for the one above.)
I’ve just returned home from a really lovely School Trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. It’s my third trip there, and all of them have been school excursions, but it’s a lovely town – the birthplace of William Shakespeare – and definitely worth multiple visits!
We arrived quite early with varying amounts of free time as different groups had different times for group tours around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, but the vast majority of my friend group headed straight for Poundland to buy snacks, which was where I picked up the bag of Wasabi Peas. I love them so much, especially the unusual kick of spice, that as soon as I saw them I picked up two bags and went straight for the checkout. I even considered buying a third. If I find the spice gets too overwhelming, I breathe in and out deeply through the nose. Seriously.
I was fortunate to have a tour that ended with enough time for us to have lunch before the play. Whilst not a comprehensive tour, our guide was really enthusiastic, giving us a brief, interesting history of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and its neighbouring Swan Theatre. I stood on the same floors as Judi Dench (whom our guide had seen performing before her well-deserved fame) and David Tennant (who was at the RST last year playing Richard II. Remember his appearance on the Graham Norton Show with a ponytail? That ponytail was for this role! I know, I fangirled internally). They even have a giant poster of DT. All hail His Awesomeness:
A key part about visiting a different town is visiting local cafes or restaurants instead of the chain store Costa’s, Starbucks or Subway. As a small group of four, we chose to eat at Wildwood Kitchen (not actually local, as I found out later, but still new to us!), an Italian Restaurant that was still very affordable for us as the pizzas were big enough for two (the pastas were stretching it a bit in pricing so we didn’t get any).
The restaurant is a two minute walk from the theatre. The decor was warm and simple, the staff helpful and lovely, and there was a generally very cozy atmosphere.
We ordered a classic Margherita and a Fiorentina (spinach, black olives and egg! It’s much nicer than you’d expect) which had a thin base and were hard to cut into slices but tasted really nice and arrived quickly, and they even gave us our tap water in a jug with slices of lemon and lime.
We got very excited over the lemon and lime.
Don’t ask why.
We also pretended to be sophisticated people by drinking the water in our supplied wine glasses.
After our meal we headed to Hooray’s, a cafe around the corner that serves cakes, crepes and some really, really, good ice cream. Not much is better than an amazing local ice-cream shop. We bought our mini-scoops and power-walked straight to the theatre because, although we were still early enough for the play, we were late for the school’s designated meet-up time. There are always those ultra late people during school trips, and today, we were those people.
It was a strange moment.
We came to Stratford to see Oppenheimer. Some girls in my year group would disagree in favour of the boys from the nearby boys’ school
(who really don’t look bad 😉 ). It’s been rated 5* by the Daily Telegraph and Guardian, and it’s not hard to see why. I particularly enjoyed the use of the black-board stage used by the cast to write equations (in great handwriting!) and also used in conjunction with projections to help briefly explain to the audience the science in a dramatic and engaging way.
Lastly, I got made good knitting progress on the way home. Whilst I usually sit on my own on coaches, I don’t mind because I’m not disappointing anyone with my lack of coach-journey sociability, but it does mean that I have to find ways of entertaining myself when I’m not taking a nap. I’m not usually able to read or do other things during travel without some sort of brain overload, but I somehow managed to get to 4096 on the game 2048 this morning and didn’t get a headache! At all! I put travel knitting into practice in the evening and I think this is working out – think of all the knitting I could get done now! I’m working on hats for both Dad and my younger brother, simple beanies with wide brims for folding over, just as they like them.
Lastly, in the first photo above, you can see the desk that I came home to – so neat and orderly (you can see the wood! Wow!) that I did a double-take – courtesy of my sister, who was borrowing my computer whilst I was out and couldn’t stand the mess.
Maybe I should let her borrow it more often. 😉