July 27th, 2005

Bitte gib mir nur ein Wort


That was a good weekend. I’m just going to launch straight into it with a warning that this is long, though I can’t imagine that’ll surprise anyone...

Friday: had day off. Claire copied me a couple of albums, one a band called Wir Sind Helden, and one singer called Annett Louisan, and I’ve had them on the MP3 player all weekend, and am now singing to myself in German. Window cleaner didn’t turn up, furniture turned up at 2pm so yay. Is still in boxes in room. Trotted off to station after this and made my way to Euston. Got there early and wandered round shops looking for food and stuff. Bought 2 slices of FLAN NATURE, YES, THAT’S THE FLAN I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR OVER HERE SINCE I GOT BACK FROM PARIS, YES THAT IS SINCE JUNE LAST YEAR. Yes, it’s that exciting. Me/Cake OTP. Except not, because me/chocolate is the real OTP. Spent loads of money in Chocology because, um, it’s Chocology. Have box of Leonidas at home :D

First part of journey was lovely, ate and read and relaxed. Got to Birmingham. Ha.

1. Jesus, it’s big
2. Wtf is up with the signage at the station? Went the wrong way twice.
3. Wow, shops.

I went to Moor Street station as instructed by my travel plan things, and oh bugger. As far as I could tell, there’d been a bomb scare of some sort at Snow Hill, which had then been closed. However, for some reason they’d decided to reroute everything from Snow Hill through Moor Street. For some other reason, there was a total lack of organisation involved.

So I sat around for ages, and then got told to get on the first train to Leamington Spa, where I could get a shuttle service to Stratford.


Got to Leamington to be told the next train was about 3 hours away *sigh*. Luckily, Stationbloke was getting used to people being directed incorrectly, and got me a taxi, so woo.

B&B was bout 15 minutes walk from the station, which was another lie as the website said 5 minutes. Didn’t really matter, though. Got there, collapsed in room, then went out to the massive Safeways/Morrisons down the road. I do love supermarkets.

Came back to room and waited for El to arrive, which she did about 10pm. Yay! Talked for a while, roughly planned the next day and then went to bed.

Saturday was lovely, we got up and had croissants etc for breakfast (2 croissants for breakfast every morning :D). then we walked into town going oooh shops and trying to find our way to the river, and the tour bus thing. Did so. Got bus tickets for tour and three of the Shakespeare houses, and got on bus.

‘Twas a tour bus, and the commentary type thing was done by a lady in her fifties (as these things usually are) who kept trying to plug some books she and a friend had written about where phrases come from *rolleyes*. Was quite entertaining, but what with them and the Shakespeare houses, there was a lot of repetition over the weekend.

The first house we got off at was Mary Arden’s house (MAH), because it also had a farm area and Anne Hathaway’s cottage (AHC) was in walking distance of the B&B so we did that last. I think this one was quite interesting, and it had the most consistent interpretation of the lot, which is a shame, really.

There were lots of birds of prey and pigs and stuff in the farm bit, which made El happy (she does love her pigs), and there was quite a lot to explore, but it was probably more suitable for families. Oh, and I got a yummy baumkuchen in the cake shop.

Then we got back on the bus to go back into town and we went to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace (SB), which is attached to some museum thing that we, er, failed to go into (though probably should have done for interpretation/analysis purposes). This house was probably my favourite visually, but again suffered on the interpretation front. It’s such a waste of all this history, to have these buildings open to the public and not tell the public anything about them.

There were volunteers, fair enough, but usually only in one or two rooms out of eight. And the best interpretation in SB was in a room that talked about the history of the house and who owned it, and how it came to be bought for the nation, not actually anything to do with Shakespeare.

Also, it was PACKED. Just PACKED with European tourists. And all the teenagers all weekend kept making funny animal noises.

Lovely garden, though.

After that, we went off to get back on the bus (oh, and have ice cream). We considered going to Warwick Castle on Sunday, but given the stupid bus times and the weather report, we decided against it. Different lady this time, still saying the same sort of stuff. We were both a bit tired at this point so we dozed a bit :)

AHC. Oh dear. Gorgeous, gorgeous garden, sadly we got there too late for the maze to be open (damn). Got corralled into the house very quickly and lectured at by some woman who was basically saying stuff we’d heard. Then we went off through the rest of the house and surprise surprise, no interpretation. Also, over all three houses, merely empty rooms. The whole house took us about ten minutes. Then we went to the shop, which was nice, and then we wandered back to the B&B.

The problem with the Shakspeare houses is that they are run, as far as I can tell, to be open to the public and that’s it. And that’s all they need to d, obviously, because they’re always packed out. However, when you have something like eight rooms, two with volunteers talking, two (usually the buttery and pantry) with a random collection of objects (the stuff in MAH kitchen was Edwardian, for Christ’s sake, with no explanation as to why), one or two upstairs rooms with bedframes/beds, and then two or three empty rooms, you have to ask yourself why they can’t be bothered.

In MAH, for example, above the doorframe in one of the bedrooms, there were two nightdresses in glass cases. No explanation. No label, saying the era, cloth, patten, who donated them, anything. What’s the point of having them there, exactly?

Even the saddest, oldest, most neglected local museums have more interpretation than this. Museums that bring in a lot less money make a lot more effort than this.

Anyway, back to the weekend (I may extend that into a proper essay). After changing etc, we decided to go out for dinner, and had a lovely wander around Stratford until settling on Ash, where I had ravioli with crayfish, crab and smoked salmon. It was lush. also wine. I can’t remember if we had dessert.

We walked back (we did a lot of walking, which was probably a good thing) and once again, collapsed on the beds and talked before going to bed. I finished one of the books I’d brought (Trailers, by Kate LeVann. Good book, weird title, made no sense). I brought three books with me and read two, which is pretty good.

Sunday, it rained. *sigh* we went into town, wandered around the shops and the market, got some lovely smelling soaps for people, and then went to *BOMBOMBOM* Shakespearience. Which is a really stupid name.

Got, it’s bizarre. Act 1 (as they called it) was a video documentary with some history bloke (Quentin...Wilson?), which was quite interesting, and then we all got moved into another room for Act 2, which had a fake theatre setup, and then this screen came down and woo, it was all transparent projections of people and this actor bloke talking to Shakespeare’s ghost and stuff.

And yes, it made about as much sense as that paragraph.

Then we were going to go on the boat trip, but the rain made it a bit pointless, so we went off to look at the chapel and analyse what period of ecclesiastical architecture it came from. El said Dec, I said Perp. Must remember to look it up and check. That kept us nice and dry for a little while, and then we came out and saw that the King Edward VI school was open to visitors. As this was 1) a lovely timber framed building and 2) Shakespeare’s school, we thought oh what the hell.

And it was really good!! There were 4 rooms, and four boys from the chool (one of whom was quite cute) talked us through the history of the school, and answered all sorts of questions about, well, everything. El was trying to plan a way to get her kids there, I could tell :D. plus, they had old wooden desks with old old old graffiti scratched into them, and old graffiti is one of my favourite things ever.

So we had a nice wander around there (so much better than AHC) and then came out and decided that food would be good. So we went to Pizza Hut. YUM. Potato wedges, pepperoni pizza, chocolate fudge cake which almost killed me dead.

After that, we walked back to the B&B, quite solely as it happens and as we got back, Chris was pulling up to pick Ellie up. So after a bit of a rest, off they went, and thus commenced my lazy evening :D

Then the fabulousness of Claire: Claire was in Stoke-On-Trent and I had presumed she was coming back Sunday, but OMG NO she texted me and asked if I would like a lift home. DUDE.

This, I was saved from having to brave the trains. Thank GOD.

So, Monday I basically shopped, walked around the whole of Stratford town centre about five times, bought loads of stuff including presents, got a load of stuff for cardmaking, bought loads of chocolate but somehow not enough, got El and Chris’ anniversary present, picked up a form for a provisional driving licence, went down every little alleyway I could find (and found a really cool shop that sold funky pictures but was closed for refurbishment), had lunch in a tres posh bistro type place, bought books as I was being picked up, aaaand then came back to pay my bill at the B&B and tried to reorganise my stuff.

And then Claire and I had a fun drive home, singing along to Modern Talking, having ice cream, having to go back because I’d left my purse behind (luckily we were still trying to get out of Stratford at this point), having yummy chocolates, and chatting about our weekends. Her was weirder, mine involved more sugar.

Then I got home, got nonplussed looks from Dad and Lesley when Claire appeared as well *snigger* Apparently, Claire’s mum didn’t even mention it when she said she was going to pick me up on the way back :D.

Tuesday was fine, spent the whole day on one task, wanted to smash my own head in by the end of the day. Holby was good (well, in the ew-i-can’t-watch way it always is) and Bad Girls was ace. Sadly it’s the end of the series so no more FPL for me. Bah. Oh, and Eastenders was really funny too.

And today, I had a Thai Green Chicken baguette for lunch, and the green was GREEN. It was luminous. Kate was looking at it like it might grow legs and start walking.

I don’t think there’s anything on tonight, so I might recap Spooks 104. I thought I’d got over the Spooks obsession a little bit, what with Firefly and all, but it’s come back with a vengeance. Oh dear. And yet I’m probably going to have to steel myself for disappointment :(.

I’m sure there are many things I have forgotten. Ah well. Ha, 2000 words.

Oh, and checked my flist yesterday. 560 entries since I last checked (Thursday afternoon) :D

Also, dear colleagues: stop funking whinging. Oh no, you have trouble parking in the morning!!!! Do you really need to drive in? Don’t you actually live in the same place as me, which while being a bit of a sprawl, is not that big. Couldn’t you just as easily get the bus, or, in fact, the train, saving yourself a lot of money and hassle?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, STOP MOANING. Thanks.

LTC2 is back off holiday, btw. Has it stopped her moaning? Not one little funking tiny bit. *headdesk*