The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Attic Theatre, Stratford upon Avon

Magic in The Attic

Wizard of OzTread the Boards Theatre Company returns to The Attic Theatre in Stratford upon Avon with a wonderfully energetic and fun production of the classic, The Wizard of Oz. Director, John-Robert Partridge, makes sure the magic moves right through this captivating and funny version of the popular stage show, an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. Team Dorothy beautifully act and sing their way to the Emerald City and land of Oz, creating bucket loads of laughs along the way as they meet witches, munchkins and finally the Wizard. Sitting in the audience turns out to be an uplifting way to spend a Friday evening in Stratford upon Avon, land of the theatre.

Treading the Boards

Dorothy & CoThis production’s small cast radiates energy from start to finish with six of the seven actors covering more than one part. For me, their ability to sucessfully switch parts, costumes and accents is ultra-impressive. Ashleigh Dickinson, plays Aunt Em, Glinda, the doorkeeper and a mouse and doesn’t falter despite dipping in and out of American, RP and Northern English accents as well as a very strong Birmingham accent she gives the mouse. I have to admit, it is the first time I have heard Dorothy referred to as Bab! Alexandra Whitworth plays both baddies, Wicked Witch of the West and Miss Gulch. She is the most likeable Wicked Witch I’ve seen but plays both parts with gusto.

I particularly like the funny and original portrayals of Professor Marvel and Tik Tok, both played by Daniel Arbon. Daniel is striking with his perfect timing and delivery of lines and to maintain the perfect robotic Tik Tok voice, as he does throughout the mechanical man’s time on stage, is pretty notable. And, even better, Daniel makes both characters laugh-out very-loud funny.

Music, Set and Props

Music includes new songs plus Wizard of Oz essentials like ‘We’re Off To See the Wizard’ and, of course, ‘Over the Rainbow’ which is sung to perfection by Matilda Bott as ruby-slippered Dorothy. Matilda delivers every line of her performance, singing and speaking, without wavering. But Dorothy’s team wouldn’t be complete without Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion whose performances are equally excellent. So much talent!

The set for this show is, well, unsophisticated to say the least but creative and original at the same time.  I like that it does ‘snow’ on the poppy field and that the Wizard ‘floats away in a balloon’, albeit a miniature one.  And to get a river, complete with Stratford swan, into The Attic is inventive and then some.

The Attic Theatre

The Attic TheatreHome to The Attic Theatre is, not surprisingly, an attic. It is tiny and the audience is up close and personal to the actors who have nowhere to hide. This performance, therefore, succeeds because of excellent directing, honest talent and ingenuity. The company’s website says the show is ‘fun for all ages’ but there are very few children in the audience. Although that surprises me, I do think some of the humour in this show was always going to be appreciated more by adults than children, especially some of the references to Trump, Titanic plus an inevitable Shakespeare quote. But the grownups around me certainly ‘got’ the humour so you definitely don’t need a child or two in tow to go and see this show. That said, I do wonder why more families in the Stratford area are not making sure their children see Dorothy & Co on stage. Maybe that is just down to advertising and marketing in the right places.

Don’t Miss The Show

Cox's YardBook tickets for The Wizard of Oz and enjoy an uplifting evening. Perfect if you’re visiting for the weekend. It’s showing until 27 August at The Attic Theatre, Cox’s Yard, right next to The Avon.  Find theatre info at The Attic Theatre or for booking and ticket details go to Wizard of Oz info.

Stratford for the Weekend x

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On the Flower Trail, Stratford upon Avon

Early Bird Catches the Flowers

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The summer’s flow’r is to the summer sweet (Will Shakespeare, Sonnet 94)

Simple Stuff

DSCN6058So, I’m outside a big Tudor house in Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, where, in April 1564, a very famous play writer, poet and a bit of a lad was born. Aka Shakespeare’s Birthplace. The sky is blue and cloudless, the morning sun is already warm and I am one of only a few people around. How? Well, to see the Birthplace this quiet needs an early arrival while Stratford’s visitors are still cocooned in their hotels and B&Bs enjoying that obligatory weekend away  treat of a proper posh breakfast (#weekendenvy). Not a problem for me as I’m an early bird.  With the emphasis on early.  I get up abnormally early as I love this time of day. So here I am, early on a Sunday morning, savouring the sunshine and taking photos. And loving the  simple stuff.

Flower Trail

DSCN6055.JPGThere’s always new stuff to photograph in Stratford upon Avon. As well as keeping Shakespeare’s amazing literary legacy alive, this little market town does many things well.  One of them is flowers. The town fills up with flowers. Lots of them.  And I’m on a mission to take myself on a make-it-up-as-I-go-along flower trail around this lovely town.

Café Stop

So, leaving the Birthplace behind me, I take a short walk along an oh-so-unusually-quiet Henley Street and turn right onto High Street. It’s too early for shops to be open so I can’t be distracted by any oh-so-necessary treats from Waterstones, Body Shop or Lush & Co and can focus on the photos.  Oh, hold on, I am distracted. One of my favourite coffee locations, Bardia’s Floral Café , is already open and frothing coffee. It would be rude to walk past. So, of course, I don’t.  Instead I stop and order a cappuccino and pastry to go and earn another stamp on my loyalty card (win,win,win).

Cakes at Bardia's, Stratford upon Avon

This quirky little café is one of my favourites for a reason.  It’s just so pretty. Tables are always prettied up with fresh flowers, above the counter is an amazing floral canopy and the interior designy bits and pieces are all café perfect.  Bardia’s is owned by a very talented florist from the Hidden Garden so it’s not surprising it’s so pretty. Oh, and I challenge you to find the customer toilet!

Sunny Spot

DSCN6143Ok, now I need a sunny spot where I can enjoy my treats with a lovely view.  The view bit is easy as there are so many in Stratford upon Avon. So another short walk along High Street and a left turn onto Sheep Street takes me down to Waterside with the amazing Royal Shakespeare Theatre as a perfect backdrop.  And because it’s still early morning, there are many unoccupied benches to perch on. That’s usually as unlikely as spotting Shakespeare snogging Anne on the banks of the Avon. But today I can choose the best spot next to the lovely River Avon. And I enjoy my morning treats on a proper bench!!

Oh, What a Lovely Day!

DSCN6066Now, with breakfast #2 finished, I wander along the river bank. Stratford rowing club is getting organised for the day, the river cruise boats are manoeuvring into position ready for their first Sunday passengers and the sunshine is getting warmer and brighter.  Oh, what a lovely day!

Although I’m on a flower trail, I take a number of photos of the swans, the river and boats to add to the hundreds I already have. Something I love about the River Avon is that it’s an ever-changing scene.  A bit like the sea I guess. Only narrower. And not as salty. Anyway the point is the photos won’t be the same as any I have already. So click, click, click. Actually, cameras don’t really have that reassuring click sound now, do they? But I’m not sure what the up to date sound is called so I carry on clicking for now.

Bancroft Gardens

DSCN6094.JPGOk, on with the walk. At this bit of the River Avon, the Stratford upon Avon canal joins the waterways party.  A canal lock lets boats in and out of the canal basin and the hard work put in by boat owners to open and shut the lock usually provides entertainment for visitors on the bridge.  But not yet as it’s still early! So I walk over the bridge, take more photos, and then meander through the very pretty Bancroft Gardens. Visitors are slowly starting to emerge from hotels now and a number of them are taking the inevitable Gower Memorial shots. The memorial  is a statue of Will S. keeping an eye on his namesake theatre while surrounded by statues of four characters from his plays. But it’s the flowers that I want photos of and they look extra lovely in today’s sunshine.  So I take many!

DSCN6119The colours in the Bancroft Gardens are stunning. The lavender is bright and beautifully old-fashioned while an amazing clematis frames a view of the tower across at the RST. This Sunday morning is all about the simple things.

Sunday Perfection

I don’t ever take this town’s prettiness for granted and I love that so many visitors make their way to Stratford to unwind, celebrate and take in the arty vibe.  My flower trail is a perfect start to a day if you’re in Stratford for the Weekend. It’s like therapy only lovelier and cheaper. There’s lots of short and very pretty walks you could take.  This Sunday morning cost me no more than the price of my cappuccino and pastry, I have a bundle of pretty photos to show for it and a lovely relaxing start to the day. Sunday perfection.

Get in Touch

DSCN6136So pop a few simple things into your weekend in Stratford upon Avon.  Get in touch here and let me know where you found your favourite corner of this lovely little market town!! And I hope you’ll look back for more Stratford inspo in new Stratford for the Weekend blog posts.

Stratford for the Weekend x

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National Trust’s Charlecote Park

Coffee, Scones & the Rest is History

NT Tea & Scone at Charlecote Park‘I never trouble myself to stop for coffee when I visit a National Trust property’, said no one ever. A visit to the NT café is compulsory. An NT scone is obligatory. But top of my NT café list is the one at the lovely Charlecote Park, home to Warwickshire’s Lucy family from the Tudor to the Victorian era. So, visiting Stratford for the weekend? Bring your shiny NT card and take a short (4 miles) but very pretty drive to Charlecote. I’ll ask them to save you a scone. Let me know if you would prefer it with jam and butter or jam and cream.

Shakespeare the Poacher

DSCN5826Anyway, the story goes that William Shakespeare took similar advice and made his way from Stratford upon Avon to Charlecote.  It wasn’t all’s well that ends well with coffee and a scone for scallywag Shakespeare as he was apparently caught poaching deer on the Charlecote Estate. Not very neighbourly in my view. The story continues with Shakespeare running off to London to avoid prosecution by Sir Thomas Lucy, head of the Charlecote household at the time. Well, we know Shakespeare decamped to London and left Anne and the kids to it in Stratford so maybe it isn’t just another story. There’s more about this Tudor scandal at Poaching Shakespeare .

The Deer Park

Fallow Deer at Charlecote ParkI have to say I can understand what attracted Shakespeare to Charlecote.  Well, not that I go poaching. Obviously. But Charlecote is famous for its fallow deer as well as for its Capability Brown-style landscape and beautiful gardens. I’ve not ever paid a visit to the park without seeing a number of deer. Important bit: the bucks (males) will probably not look quite as you expect them to if you visit during June as they are just starting to regrow their antlers after their annual shedding (casting to use the correct deer term). If you spot any cast off antlers lying around, they need to be left for the deer as they contribute to their diet.  Cute bit: the does (females) are starting to deliver their babies.  Or fawns to call these beautiful creatures by their correct name.  Serious bit: the deer are just beautiful but they are wild animals and must be respected as such.  I love to see them and I spend as much time watching the deer as I do drinking coffee at Charlecote.

Jacob Sheep

Jacob Sheep at Charlecote ParkAs well as deer, there are Jacob sheep at Charlecote. The original Jacob sheep moved into Charlecote way back in 1756 when George Lucy brought them home with him from Europe. Not your average holiday souvenir. I usually go for a necklace or a bangle. But these are very distinctive and very smart sheep. You’re as likely to come across the piebald, horned Jacob sheep as you are the deer when you walk around the park.

 A Walk in the Park

Walk in the Park at CharlecoteYou can wander as near or as far as you want to in the park but, mud alert, don’t go to Charlecote in your posh shoes or you’ll miss most of it. To give you more tea  and coffee drinking time, there’s a lovely parkland walk already mapped out for you by the National Trust.  It will take you less than an hour so nothing too taxing but just enough walking to earn you jam and cream on your scone. Find the route at Parkland Walk and remember to take your picture taking device.

The Big House

A Pretty Entrance to Charlecote ParkSo, let’s make our way from the deer, sheep and park into the Lucy family’s big house. You do that through a very posh porch. Apparently it was built to impress Elizabeth 1 when she visited Charlecote.  So even in the days of Good Queen Bess it was the done thing to impress visitors with a bit of building work. The Lucy family kept up the family tradition of interior design and in the 1840s came home from their European jolly with many purchases to show off in their home.  I like their style. Have a look around the house to see whether you do.

Charlecote Park House and Gardens

The house is Tudor in style. And big in size.  It needs to be big to have a Great Hall with enough wall space for 400 years’ worth of Lucy family portraits.  Imagine having to hang all of those and get them straight.

But I love Charlecote as, despite its size and grand outward appearance, it feels like a home.  Not like any home I’ve ever lived in it has to be said. But, as grand properties go, it still manages to feel like a family home. Although, the Library is off the scale (compared to my tiny book shelves) and is apparently one of the NT’s best. Did you spot the library envy there?

 

Tea Garden and The Orangery

Welcoming visitors to Charlecote Park.jpgAfter wandering around the big house, and chatting to Charlecote’s very welcoming NT guides who are always ready with a Charlecote story or two, you’ll be ready for that cup of coffee we’ve already agreed is compulsory. If you visit Charlecote on a fine weather day, take tea in the Tea Garden (how posh is that?). Or upgrade your tea or coffee and scones to a picnic and enjoy it in a pretty corner of the park or by the river.  If it’s lunchtime, stop off at The Orangery where Charlecote’s award winning venison is served.  I can’t recommend the venison myself as I’m a non-meat eater but I’ve been told it’s earned its award.

Confession Time

Getting Visitor Ready at Charlecote ParkCharlecote has earned its reputation as a beautiful property, park and gardens that deserves to be on your NT-properties-to-visit list.  But I have to own up to something here. I do sometimes pop over to Charlecote Park just for a cappuccino. And a scone. I use Charlecote as my own personal coffee shop. With a lovely view. Please don’t blow my cover.

Have a look at Charlecote Park for more of this lovely NT property’s history, opening times and directions and you’re good to go.

Send me your tea, coffee and scone pictures if you venture the short distance over to Charlecote Park when you’re next in Stratford. Click here to get in touch. Love to hear from you.

Stratford for the Weekend x

 

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Café Watching in Stratford upon Avon

Tea and Coffee Shops are popping up all over!

Tea Time at Orange MabelShow me the way to a pretty tea shop and I’m in there before you can pour a cup of Earl Grey.  Tell me about a funky coffee shop and I’m away to find it as fast as you can sprinkle chocolate on a cappuccino.  It’s all because I absolutely love cafés. Now, being a tourist town, Stratford upon Avon welcomes a multitude of all year round visitors (something to do with that Shakespeare lad, I believe) who need cups of tea and mugs of coffee.

So …..  ta daaa ….. cafés have popped up all over town

Cakes at Bardia's, Stratford upon AvonNo complaints from me. I can stop by for a flat white in between the more mundane stuff I do in town. Like shopping. What?  Shopping is mundane? Well, maybe not to most people but I’m not the world’s best shopper. And my shopping trips are really just tea and coffee stops with token gestures of shopping thrown in. That counts as shopping doesn’t it? Yes? Thank you. Now back to Café Watching.

Cafés just need to be good

Cappuccino at Bardia'sOk, just to say I take my Café Watching very seriously. I love café interiors as much as the hot drinks the baristas whip up from their ever-increasing-in-size, shiny coffee machines.  I like cafés with outside spaces.  I like small cafés with a sprinkling of prettiness or a dash of character. I like big cafés with oodles of relaxing space.  I don’t mind whether cafés are chain led or one of the indie family. They just need to be good.

Tea and Coffee Emporia

Coffee Time at Bardia's, Stratford upon AvonSee, like I said, Café Watching is a serious business.  And I love recommending my favourite cafés to anyone who asks.  Or even anyone who doesn’t ask. So, as you didn’t ask, here’s a little intro to just some of the tea and coffee emporia I call on when I’m out on Café Watch.  They are not in any particular order as they are all on my favourites list.

BARDIA’S … small but perfectly formed

As cafés go, Bardia’s isn’t small, it’s tiny. When this café was getting customer ready last year, it was difficult to imagine how a counter, tables and chairs, let alone customers, would fit inside. But its tininess is part of this café’s magic.  The tea and coffee menu here is perfect (not too long) but creative. Try their cold coffee in the summer or hot chocolate in the winter! Treats on the counter range from Guinness Cake to Granola Bars and many other portions of yumminess in between. And Bardia’s have latte art down to perfection.  All good so far! But what’s really lovely about Bardia’s is the layout. The glazed café front opens up completely.  That way you can sit inside but feel like you’re outside. Or sit outside but still feel part of the café. But wherever you sit you’re surrounded by prettiness as well as professional and friendly service. Bardia’s is the creation of a Stratford florist which explains its prettiness and creative interior. Find this gem of a café when you’re next in Stratford. It’s at High Street’s entrance to Bell Court.  Look for the beautiful flower canopy.  You won’t miss it.

Find more tiny café info at Bardia’s

ORANGE MABEL … queen of vintage prettiness

Wander down Stratford’s Union Street and step into a cheery haven of mismatched china and pretty tea pots. A cup of tea here turns into a vintage treat … loose leaf tea, of course. Cream teas and delicious cakes with olden-day-sized portions taste even better than they already are when surrounded by such prettiness.  You couldn’t be grumpy even if you wanted to once you’ve wandered into Orange Mabel. There’s wall to wall colour, flowers and pretty vintage pieces in this jewel of a tea shop … Instagram heaven! And a menu that will take you through from breakfast to tea time. I’ll be back there again very soon for tea, scones, jam and cream.  A proper Cream Tea.

More vintage tea shop details at Orange Mabel

BOSTON TEA PARTY … quirky schoolroom café

I love trying Boston Tea Party Cafés when I go anywhere new. BTPs are usually quirky conversions of no-longer-loved buildings. Stratford’s BTP is in a former schoolroom on Henley Street, just a little walk along from Shakespeare’s childhood home. I like the way BTP have brought this space up to modern café standard without losing the charm of the original building. Actually, I love Stratford’s BTP! It’s the place to go to relax. A fab place to meet a friend for a gossip update. Sit in the sunshine at the front to people watch over your cappuccino. For somewhere quieter, take your tea into the little courtyard behind the café.  BTP is popular for breakfasts. Not surprising when you see their menu (mushrooms on sourdough and their breakfast smoothies are amazing!). Or just wander in for a hot drink when you need a Stratford sightseeing interlude. I like tea as much as coffee and BTP’s tea menu is amazing … all loose leaf, of course.

Have a look at Stratford’s BTP menu at Boston Tea Party

Stratford's Boston Tea Party

SUSIE’S CAFÉ BAR … café meets theatre

The relaxed and informal vibe that greets you at Susie’s is sublime.  It’s a lovely big space packed with arty details and a friendly welcome from ultra-cool staff.  Susie’s is the sort of café you can wander into to order a coffee, read a book in a lovely leather armchair or be productive on your laptop at one of their oversized, mismatched tables. But the important bit of the café, the counter and bar, is a visual treat.  Homemade cakes and sweet treats are tricky to resist and there’s always gluten free and vegan options too which is good news. But it’s not all about sweetness and pastries.  Breakfasts and lunches are as good as the cakes. It’s so lovely in Susie’s you may want to stay around for a glass of wine (or two) or a beer (draft). But if you just need a tea or coffee and a relaxing break from your sightseeing, there’s an excellent tea and coffee menu so Susie’s is a perfect choice. To find Susie’s, step inside the RSC’s The Other Place, just a short walk along from the main theatre. It’s easy to find. You’ll spot the splashes of RSC red, bunting and red parasols at this time of year.

More Café Bar info at Susie’s Cafe Bar

THE GARDEN CAFÉ … friendly café with a garden!

This pretty café is on Stratford’s Sheep Street, a few minutes away from the Shakespeare Theatre.  Sheep Street is a destination for cafés, restaurants and pubs so you’ll probably find yourself walking down there when you visit Stratford. If the sun has been good enough to shine when you visit The Garden Café, find a table outside and enjoy it along with your flat white or cream tea.  The café is a relaxing little place with a beautiful shiny red beast of a coffee machine and lovely friendly service (important!). Even if you turn up before they have properly opened you will receive a kindly welcome … as I found out when I did exactly that! Flat whites here are perfect by the way but you’ll find it difficult to resist a homemade cake to go with it. Have a look at the cakes in the window.  Bet you go in and order one.

More Café info at The Garden Cafe

Keep in touch!

Let Stratford for the Weekend  know about your favourite Stratford upon Avon cafés  … click here to get in touch. Look forward to hearing from you!

Stratford for the Weekend x

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Stratford’s Motoring Jamboree

Festival of Motoring, Stratford upon Avon

Shiny cars and summer vibes

Sunshine and carsStratford upon Avon is excellent at putting on a good do. You can rely on Stratford to get invites sent out, music booked and organise something decent to eat.  But this weekend, for the May Bank holiday, Stratford also remembered to book the sunshine.  And that added welcome summery vibes to Stratford’s annual jamboree of classic cars, super cars, beasty bikes and vintage vans; an amazing and extremely popular two-day Festival of Motoring.

Jeremy Clarkson

Now, I just need to make something clear. I’m not much of a car enthusiast.  Ok, so that’s not really accurate.  My car knowledge is probably on a par with Jeremy Clarkson’s knowledge of crocheting. I do normally find cars, bikes and vans very difficult to get excited about. I just don’t ‘get’ them.  And my reaction to a curvy Morgan or a sleek Pontiac is usually limited to the topic of colour (one red, two blue!).

 

But I do love a good Festival.  And Stratford has, once again, put on a very successful Festival of Motoring.

May Bank Holiday

Getting Festival readyAnnually, over the May Bank Holiday weekend, Stratford town fills up with shining examples of motoring excellence.  Around 300 vehicles take their show place in the street on each of two days. And shine they do. The commitment these car, van and bike enthusiasts have to the maintenance of their vehicles and the effort, time, knowledge (as well as finances) invested in these vehicles is super impressive. Owners are generally proud as punch of their engineered offspring that they have worked on and cleaned until they gleam.  In other words, they have worked majorly hard to get their beauties in concourse condition (learned my new car show terminology yesterday!).  As a result, even a zero-interest-in-cars person as I am would find it difficult to not spot something they like at this motoring jamboree. I got caught up in all of this pride and found many vehicles, both two, three and four-wheeled, that I liked the look of.

A pink engine!

Pink Cadillac!What I also found, and loved, was the willingness of the exhibitors to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.  They happily spent time talking about their vehicle’s history, what tweaks they have made and how many hours they have spent nurturing their motoring baby.  I was shown what’s under the bonnet of a pink Cadillac. A pink engine no less! I would have looked under a bonnet before now if I had known engines come in pink. But back to the owners. I learned about a couple’s VW trip to St Tropez in the 1960s. They took £76 between them and had an incredible time!  I learned the difference between old and modern car paint. Apparently it isn’t difficult to spray a car if you have the correct gear but I’m not planning to try.

So, lots of advice and information on offer alongside some amazing cars. But, even better, I met some lovely, enthusiastic and interesting people along the way.

Next year

So, a fun weekend in my view even as someone without a drop of engineering blood in her veins.  And I won’t be the only one looking forward to next year’s festival.

Stratford’s Motoring Festival is organised by the town’s Stratforward (www.stratforward.co.uk/events/stratford-festival-of-motoring) and sponsored by Listers (www.listers.co.uk/events).  Keep an eye on their websites if you’re thinking of joining in the next lap of motoring fun.

Maybe see you at the Festival of Motoring 2019?? Actually, no, don’t wait that long.  Pay Stratford upon Avon a visit soon!!

Stratford for the Weekend x

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Friday 13th, a Wheel and Brexit

 

Stratford upon Avon has a new wheel

Stratford's New WheelIt’s not quite the London Eye but, love it or loathe it, it’s definitely a wheel.  A Ferris Wheel to be exact. The second Ferris Wheel for Stratford upon Avon. Last year’s caused a Brexit sized fuss around the town.  I don’t remember anything dividing this town like the wheel did when it first popped up a few metres from the Ruver Avon.

Ferris Wheels

But given that the London Eye has been carrying a multitude of passengers since 2000, and given that Ferris Wheels first appeared in Chicago, USA in the 19th century, then they must have something to keep their popularity turning.  But they may have been around for even more years than that. Way before Ferris Wheels, there were Pleasure Wheels that are said to have been used in Bulgaria in the 17th century. Not sure why, but I’m happy George Ferris Jr. came along and reinvented them so that we can call them Ferris Wheels.

Which side of the river am I?

Stratford's Wheel 2017

Anyway, returning to Stratford, a bigger wheel has arrived for summer 2018.  Hold on, summer?? Ok, maybe we’re going to bypass spring and go straight to summer this year.  But back to the wheel debate.  Which side of the river am I on this?   Well, I liked the wheel last year (looking pretty with blue sky and 2017’s sunshine in the picture) and I like it this year. Although even I’m not convinced it needs the fairground style flashing lights that attracted bundles of attention when wheel mk. 2 was first put up and tested. To say the lights were bright is like saying this winter has been fairly long. But I’ve heard on the wheel grapevine that the lights may have to be a little less flashy when the wheel starts taking passengers.  I think local people were concerned Stratford would be visible from space.  And that doesn’t really go with the image this little artsy theatre town wants to send out.  So the wheel’s spangliness will be toned down a little.  Phew …

A view from the top

View from the WheelOk, so you won’t come to Stratford and find the biggest or flashiest wheel you’ve ever seen. But a Ferris Wheel is a Ferris Wheel and size doesn’t really matter. When you’re at the top you’re quite high up even on a Stratford sized wheel. I did nine circuits on last year’s and I’m looking forward to a few circuits this time around. I’ve always been fascinated by views from very  high up structures (of the Eiffel, Empire and Shard variety I mean) and seeing where landmarks are in relation to each other. The wheel will be once again brilliant for taking photos from a new perspective and the view across the lovely RSC, the River Avon and Stratford town is just a bit different when it’s from the top of a wheel.

Friday, 13th

Stratford's MarinaApparently the new wheel will be open for passengers from Friday, 13th April.  Not the best date to choose a trip if you’re a little jittery about heights.  Also, please don’t head down to the riverbank to try the wheel this Friday on my say so.  I checked earlier and it seems the opening date is still not certain.

But open it will.  The plan is to bring lots more visitors to Stratford upon Avon so they can take a trip on this very controversial tourist attraction. That’s good news. Stratford is so much lovelier when it’s full of visitors (picture is from last summer). So, when you’ve been to Stratford, and seen for yourself what the fuss is all about, get in touch and let me know what you think of our wheel. And whether you enjoyed your ride!

Stratford for the Weekend x

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Pink Coats, Brogues and Swishy Hair

“. . . if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”   Roald Dahl

What makes a successful blogger?

Successful Bloggers

Surely all successful bloggers own a fuchsia pink coat, wear leather brogues and have shiny, swishy hair, yes?  Well, that is often how it seems. They seem to ooze perfection. And that’s why I have put off opening my shiny new blog until now. I do have a pink coat but it’s a pale shade of rose rather than fuchsia. I do own leather brogues (love brogues). But my hair is more swashy than swishy (although mostly shiny depending on the weather).  Even so, I didn’t think I could come up to a proper blogger’s standards if I score only one and a bit out of three on the blogger requirements board.

Ok, why not?  For me, writing is a delight, never a chore, I love crafting words and having the satisfaction of completing a story or an article. I’m happy with my camera and take zillions of photos. I see social media in a positive light. So I could put them all together and be a blogger, surely. Ah, but there’s something missing.

Passionate is the only thing to be 

Passion.  That’s what is missing.  I’m sure all good and successful bloggers are super passionate about their subject otherwise they wouldn’t be motivated to get together with the laptop and create inspiring blog posts on a regular basis. And they wouldn’t have the drive to create those beautifully colour co-ordinated social media pages that make you hover over them with envy. Ok, so to up my score from one and a bit, what am I passionate about?  Well, a number of things to be truthful. But one of those things is the little market town I live in. Stratford upon Avon.  A town made very famous by a proper word nerd a huge number of years ago.

Stratford upon Avon

Ice Cream BoatEveryone has heard of Stratford upon Avon even if they haven’t visited the town (why ever not??). I love the town with its everlasting Shakespeare theme. I love the town’s history and architecture.  I love Stratford’s riverside walks and surrounding countryside. I love the town’s famous theatres. And I love the town’s touristy vibe. Do you spot a little bit of passion going on there?  I did. Many other people spotted it too and asked why I don’t add words to my many pictures to share with others. And that’s why I realised I have a passion that I could write about. Or about which I could write if the old preposition thingy bothers you. Anyway, enough of the grammar. Back to blogging.

Weekend inspiration

Rowing Boats on the AvonStratford for the Weekend was created with weekend visitors in mind (clue is in the title I guess!).  When I’m visiting somewhere new, I do my research in advance. When I say research, I really mean I check out where to go for coffee and croissants, where to eat lunch and dinner and what to do in between. I’m sure others do the same when they are planning their weekend getaway.  Ok, a weekend away also needs somewhere to stay but, let’s face it, that problem is well covered already by the very big sites. What my very little blog will be looking at are the things you do outside of the hotel during your weekend away.  The fun, relaxing and cultural bits. I want my blog to give a little what-to-do-in-between inspiration to people visiting Stratford for the weekend.

There’s lots of stories to tell so I hope to see you back here soon.  Click the blue follow button on the left so you don’t miss the new blog posts.

In the meantime, have fun making happy weekend memories.

Stratford for the Weekend x

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