10 October 2009--There are three couples in the B&B, English, Scottish, and Welsh. The gents were in the
military together in the early '50s, and have kept in touch and met regularly since. Pascal puts on his best Parisian
waiter act at breakfast this morning, and insults each of them in turn, and me, and himself. We are all laughing so hard
we can barely eat.
It's a beautiful sunny day, and I make the twenty-minute walk away from town to Anne Hathaway's Cottage. This was the Hathaway family home, where the young Shakespeare would have gone to woo Anne. (I think this was before she found out she was the crown princess of Genovia.) The wooing seems to have gone rather well--Will, 18, married Anne, 26, and their daughter was born a few short months later. The house is interesting, but I especially enjoy the grounds, which would have been farmland at the time. There is a lovely flower garden just outside the house, an orchard, and a sculpure garden, featuring works inspired by Shakespeare's plays. There is also a Woodland Walk which is, well, a walk in the woods. The whole time, I have the Beatles' Day Tripper running through my mind: She's a big teaser, she took me Hathaway there.... I guess Will would disagree.
Back in town, I visit the Shakespeare Centre and Birthplace. A multi-media intro reminds us just who exactly he was, in case we'd forgotten, after which we are herded through the house. There are interpreters in each room to tell us about the life and times. Pa Shakespeare was a glover, selling his wares out the front window. The house served as an Inn at various times. Will inherited the place, and owned it until his death. His will suggests that he was no longer very much fond of his wife, who outlived him by many years. It's that damned Gwyneth Paltrow, I bet.
Return to Trinity Church to see if I can get a closer look at the tomb. The area is open now, but shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists, and there's a charge of £1.50 besides. I wouldn't let either of those stop me, but together they are more than I want to deal with.
Dinner at the Old Thatch again. I'd scoped out another pub, but oddly enough, it doesn't serve food on Saturday evening. I don't feel like hunting, and the Thatch is close by. The parade of kids is a little slower this evening.