Today dawned slightly overcast, cold but with the sun shining. Great day for a walk around Stratford-upon-Avon to check out a few things related to William Shakespeare.
The River Avon looked great with the sun glinting off the surface, the swans and geese swimming and the water still enough to produce beautiful reflections of the bridges and trees. As we walked into the centre of town, You can soon see the town relies on the name of Shakespeare. on lots of businesses, objects in windows, signs point toward places of historic significance and statues and sculptures related to Shakespeare.
Playing tourists, our first stop was the restored 16th century house identified as the birthplace, in 1564, and childhood home of Shakespeare. This is now a museum. Next door on one side is what was a blacksmith's house, now a gift shop selling all things Shakespeare. The other side of the house is a new building, headquarters of the Shakespeare's Trust, owners of the house.
Wandering a bit further up town, we find Shakespeare's schoolroom and Guildhall, and, not too far from that, the house that is identified as the one in which Shakespeare retired.
A bit more walking around town and alongside the river, it was into the car and head north to Warwick. Not far north I might add. It's a bit like Tasmania here, it looks a reasonable distance on a map but due to the scale, not very far at all. Warwick was little more than a drive through and a passing look at the castle built in the 12th century. Let's face it, Therese and I come from the Warwick area on the Darling Downs and it really isn't much like this area. I guess it must have reminded someone back many years ago.
From Warwick, just a few miles up the road is Kenilworth Castle, commenced in the 12th century and extensively modified by King John in the 13th century, These modifications included damming the local streams to almost create an Island on which the castle stood. In the 14th and 15th centuries it was further modified, turning it into a palace fortress. In 1649, with the exception of two buildings, the castle was desroyed in the civil war. The Gatehouse, modified as a residence where Queen Elizabeth I stayed, and the stables remain.
The main destination for today was the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. This museum contains a history of British motorcycling with around 900 motorcycles on display across five large rooms and the entry foyer and cafeteria. Absolutely overwhelming and containing so many different motorcycles, almost every one of them in beautiful condition and like new. (Of course, being British bikes, a number of them had puddles of oil underneath). I didn't attempt to take or include many photos as the bikes are lined up so close together it was very difficult to get a clear photo of a particular motorcycle. Very interesting to see a number of prototypes of Triumph, BSA, Norton, Brough-Superior and other brands that were in many cases, the only one made.
Tomorrow should see us in Liverpool.