Tag Archives: Stratford upon Avon

The Big Wheel – Stratford upon Avon

Hey guys!

How are you all? Today was amazing because the sunshine came out so I finally got chance to get on the Big Wheel in Stratford. 

Firstly, the river and theatre looked beautiful. It really is quite breathtaking. 

I have to say, it was amazing. The views were stunning. Apologises about some of the glare on the photos. However, it doesn’t matter. It was just lovely. I genuinely have so much love for my home. For a price of £5 we spent about 5 or so minutes going around, taking in the scenery. 

I had the best time. There’s always so much to see. The town was thriving today as well. This Wheel caused a lot of controversy with the locals. Yet, I loved it. I see it as a positive to see the amazing views of our town. It made me incredibly humble for what I’ve got on my doorstep. 


Finally, my mum took this photo of me. It’s not horrendous but I wasn’t feeling particularly well as it was rocking at the top! A sunny but breezy day. 


I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures. I loved it I have to say! 

Big love all xx

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Shakespeare Celebrations: 400

Wow! What an incredible weekend. Firstly, my apologies for not being around, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me once I’ve told you all about this magical weekend celebrating the greatest playwright of all time.

William Shakespeare: legend. April 23rd 1564 – April 23rd 1616. 400 years since he died. Aged 52. What an inspirational legacy that has been left behind…

So, being a Stratfordian (how my students cringe when I say that!) I had to take part in the celebrations, and naturally Stratford upon Avon threw an incredible event. There was the parade, performances, floral tributes, fireworks and even a visit from royalty! The worlds media was there as was I. I feel honoured to have been a tiny part of it.

There were 10,000 of these…and everyone who littered the streets wore them. 


The parade was, dare I say it, a roller coaster of emotions. It began with the funeral bells from Holy Trinity Church and the marching of a mini coffin and floral tribute. We were to throw rosemary as it passed. The streets smelt wonderful after this. 


We had visitors from all around the world come to pay their respects. The sun was shining and the flags were waving proudly. 


There were some beautiful national dress… 


And an incredible jazz band from New Orleans… 


King Edward Grammar School opened its doors to the Guild Hall and Shakespeare’s classroom. It’s really beautiful. The picture of Shakespeare hangs proud. Such humble beginnings. 




And from past history, to making new history. Shakespeare is still inspiring millions today. A project for the children outside Shakespeare’s birthplace. 


The parade marched to Holy Trinty Church where all the flowers from the parade were laid at Shakespeare’s grave. I honestly don’t have the words to describe the smell. It was heavenly and so fittingly decorated. 


Finally, the RSC did a live production which was streamed all around the world, with a star studded cast. There was only one way to finish this off: fireworks. 


So, thank you Stratford for being so beautiful. I’m so proud that this is my heritage. Thank you Shakespeare for transforming the lives of millions by the power of the written and performed word. How staggering it is that it makes as much sense today as I did back then. But, most of all, thank goodness that things like this are still celebrated. Here’s to the next 400!


To close, one of my favourite Shakespeare quotes:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Hamlet.


Big love x

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New William Shakespeare Statue: Stratford upon Avon

Hey guys! 

So, it was the last day of my holiday today and I had a lovely lunch with my Momma at the RSC Rooftop Restaurant. Whilst we were there, I made her come and see the new Shakespeare statue. He is a real beauty. With the sun shining (hence the squinting expression!) in front of him, it was the perfect excuse for a photo moment! 

 

The position outside the theatre on Bancroft Gardens is perfect. He is welcoming all to our wonderful town.

He was created by Lawrence Holofcener who wanted to make this to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare later this month. He was given to the town to mark this historical event. There’s a number of events coming up for the anniversary, including a visit from Prince Charles. 

The statue was unveiled on February 23rd, the 90th birthday of Holofcener. What emotional and wonderful timing. Also, what a really thoughtful gift. Stratfordians love him! 

If you get chance, make a visit. He’s waiting for you all…

Big love x

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A Tourist In My Own Town

Hey everyone! 

You may have guessed from my previous post that it is in fact half term. This morning, as the frost cleared and the sun came out to dance along the pavements, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to play tourist again. 

Despite coming from Stratford upon Avon, it’s always changing and there’s always something new to see. Today, I decided to take a trip up the RSC tower to see the panoramic views of my beloved town. 

  

The tower stands at 36 metres tall, giving you the best views of Stratford. It’s approximately 7 double decker buses high! But, it’s definitely worth it. 

  
Firstly, my favourite view: Bancroft. The river was slightly frozen over today, but by the time I got there it was shimmering like crystal. 

  

Secondly, the contrasting buildings that Stratford embody, from the trademark black and white thatched buildings, to the new builds. 

 
Apologies for the glare, but that’s the angle of the sun for you! I love how Holy Trinity Church is peeking out towards the left hand side. 

  

Riverside: beautiful. It’s always a favourite habit of mine to have prosecco by the river at Carluccios. 

  

Finally, the obligatory selfie. Despite the sun beaming down, it was still fur coat weather. Trademark. 
  

Hope you’ve enjoyed my photos! If you’re ever near Stratford and it’s a sunny day, take a trip up the tower. You won’t regret it! 

Big love xx

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Wendy and Peter Pan – RSC, Stratford upon Avon 

  

Happy new year everyone! 

Hope you’re all well and 2016 has started off in the best way for you. My new year started with a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre in Stratford upon Avon with my best friend to see Wendy and Peter Pan. There aren’t enough words to describe how amazing, clever, magical and funny this show is. Being the grand young age of 25 means that we got tickets for £5 too. Such a bargain! 

I should just state here that all photos used in this post are from the RSC website: https://www.rsc.org.uk/wendy-and-peter-pan/about-the-play

  


Plot:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the title of this production is an inversion of the original, placing emphasis on Wendy as well as Peter. Ella Hickson, writer and adapter of Wendy and Peter Pan, was really clear that in the original it was Peter having all of the fun, whereas Wendy was just playing mother. She wanted to tell her version from Wendy’s perspective. 

There are many aspects that are true to the original: Peter, the Lost Boys, Neverland, flying, Tink, Hook. They have just been tweaked and changed for a modern audience. It must be noted that a modern audience is both adults and children. There is humour for youngsters and intricate plot details for the adults. From start to finish the laughter echoed from the walls from young and old alike. A particular favourite part of mine, when Wendy was teaching the Lost Boys how to shake hands and say “How do you do” Curly says: 

“How do I do you?”

Also, to differ from the original plot, Hickson invents a third sibling, Tom, who suffers from an sickness. This is where the older, more metaphorical interpretations of the novel are explored through drama. 

  


Casting and characters:
Firstly, I need to say how brilliant this production cast were. There were a range of ages within the production team as well as experience, but all were equally amazing. 

Wendy, played by Mariah Gale, was exceptional. She portrays her devotion, rejection, hurt and happiness all explicitly and effectively. She was a fabulous Wendy. Her brother, Tom, is always at the front of her mind. She’s desperate to find him, for him to be with the Lost Boys. Thus, she can make herself happy again. 

Peter Pan, played by Rhys Rusbatch, was sublime. He played the part of Pan really well, focussing clearly on how he never wants to grow up. The cheeky chappy is portrayed not only through dialogue but also his gestures. His flying, and his shadow should be praised equally too. 

Hook and Smee, played by Darrell D’Silva and Paul Kemp respectively, were the epitome of the villain character. The banter between the two was hilarious and true to the original text. The relationship was portrayed really accurately. They made me smile, but I could see the children in the audience really boo-ing them. Always the sign of a good villain. 

Martin, played by Adam Gillen, was the pirate who couldn’t ARRR. I recognised his voice, he has naturally humorous tone to his voice. (I finally remembered he was from ITV’s Benidorm!) The audience naturally feels for him because he’s quite clearly not a pirate and he’s clearly not a Lost Boy, so he doesn’t really fit with anyone. 

Finally, and perhaps my favourite of all the characters in this production, Tinkerbell, played by Charlotte Mills. A cockney, naughty pixie. Who’d have thought it?! Her one liners, her reactions, her movements were just incredible. I laughed so hard at her. She’s just amazing. 

“Oh, a little blab, did you? Lack of oxygen up there on your high horse?” 

  

Setting:

Staying true to the original, the production was set in the children’s nursery or Neverland. The nursery, with swords, beds, teddies and a mobile was really picturesque. (Image by me) Then when it came to Peter’s home, the stage came alive from the ground upwards, with Tink hanging on from a bed, a bath tub and fairy lights. Hook’s ship was also an incredible piece of craftsmanship. A whole ship on stage. Just wow! 

  

  
All in all, it was pure magic. Glitter, flying, ships and laughter. I want to see it again! It was just the best way to start this year off. 

So I left feeling like I always do, incredibly lucky to have the RSC on my doorstep at home. 

  

Big love x

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Sunny Stratford (upon Avon)

Morning! 

I was given the opportunity this week to spend a whole day along the Riverside in the glorious sunshine, whilst waiting for my poorly car to be fixed. I decided to be a mini tourist for the day! 

It was a little trip down memory lane for me, I must admit. I took this first picture in my favourite spot along the river. It’s quite a way back along the RSC gardens, just before the Holy Trinity Church. You can just see the top of the RSC Theatre Tower in the background. I also had a friendly swan for company. 

  

From here I took a slow stroll across to Holy Trinity Church. It really is a remarkable building. There’s some work going on at the moment to help restore the roof, but it’s still stunning. Inside is William Shakespeare’s grave. It brought back some memories from when I was at Primary school, because we used to walk here for Harvest Festival. 

  
I then walked all the way round back to the top of riverside, past the RSC Theatre and the many boats. The pictures below are taken from a bridge towards the end of the river. In the first, you can see the beautiful theatre which is also having some work done currently. The second, you can see the lock and the town.

 
  
This is only a tiny part of Stratford, but it is rather beautiful in the sunshine. It passed the time quite nicely. I remember sitting under the big tree in the bottom picture, drinking chocolate frappuccinos from Starbucks when I was 16 with my friends. Various people would perform and act. I also remember hiding my umbrella in the bush at the end when the fair was in town. I did get it back at the end of the night! 

Memories are so important, and I feel so lucky to have this town as my growing up place. I hope everyone enjoys these photos! I’d love to see some of your photos from where you grew up.  

Have a great weekend 🙂

BL xx

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Filed under Days Out, Gardens, Photography, Stratford upon Avon, UK

The American Fountain – Stratford upon Avon

Whilst I was bimbling around Stratford-upon-Avon today, I noticed in the corner of my eye just how beautiful the American Fountain looked. The clouds seemed to be carpeting it, the flowers showing signs of how summer is here. It brought memories back from my childhood, that made me smile fondly today and look up and admire this stunning clock tower.

When I was a little girl, my family used to tell me that a giant lived in the clock tower and he watched over the town through the windows, keeping everyone safe. My parents told me it was bad manners to walk past without saying anything or knocking to greet the giant. So, every time I walked past the clock tower, I would knock on the door in the hope that I would meet the giant as I always wanted to thank him for keeping an eye on the town I love.

Obviously there is no giant, but whenever I walk past this fountain I always smile, remembering this story. Sometimes life is just too busy and we don’t get chance to stop and look at what is around us. But, today I spent some time re-living a tiny segment of my own history.

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What is the real history behind this clock tower?

In 1887 the town was presented with this Shakespeare Memorial Fountain and Clock Tower (as it is officially known) by an American journalist George W Child’s of Philadelphia. The fountain was built to honour William Shakespeare and Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and was revealed to the town by actor Sir Henry Irving.

The clock tower is Victorian Gothic in style and used to provide water to the town, but doesn’t anymore. It is constructed mainly from Peterhead granite and freestone. It resembles a small gothic cathedral of some sorts. It has its own set of bells which were designed by JA Cossin’s of Birmingham. Each side has a clock, where above each clock face, sits a caricature of a fairy from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Nevertheless, for me, it will always be the tower where the giant lives, who watches over the town. There’s something quite special about that for me. Do you have a place with a story from when you were a child?

Big love x

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