Monday, May 18, 2009

England Part 4

It has been a while since I updated on England. Life is busy, I have been enjoying my patio garden, books and the gym in my downtime and the computer just seemed to take a lower priority. But its a cloudy holiday Monday, I am in my PJs and intend to stay there for the rest of the day and I have some spare time....

Right, where were we? Oh yes, Stratford upon Avon. The morning of April 7th, Rob and I took the boat through the bottom lock of the Stratford Canal and out onto the River Avon so we could fill up with water. We actually toyed with tying up on the river bank for the night, but the sheer width of the river made me nervous, so we opted to return to the Stratford Basin and tie up at the public docks for the next two nights. There was a lot of construction going on, but it was still bearable...
Anyway, safely tied up, we ventured out for some grocery shopping and then some sightseeing. Rob was amazed by the town.
"it looks like a movie set." he said to me. "I can't believe that this is all real..." That was the payoff for me. I knew Rob had been skeptical of my obsession with seeing the history of England, but once he experienced it for himself, he was hooked. HE even said it would be neat to go to Italy or maybe Greece just to see the history of those countries in person. (Yesss!!)

We walked to the train station where we met Lorna and Louise, my friends from high school. They had come down to spend a couple nights with us on the boat and I was so excited to see them.
Heading back to the boat was all about catching up on each others lives for the last couple years. We dropped their bags and then went to find lunch. We ended up at a pub that made us wait 30 minutes before we were allowed to place our order for food!
After lunch, we wandered some more stopping at Marks and Spencers for an easy dinner of pizza and salad.
After dinner, Louise, Lorna and I went to a few pubs for a few drinks before crashing far too early. The sleeping didn't last long for me as a storm blew in and I spent the night peering out the window every 15 minutes to see what the strange noises were, if we were sinking or if the dock had detached itself from land and we were free floating in the Stratford Basin. What can I say, I can be a bit of a worrier. Of course everything was fine...
The next day, April 8th, was my 30th birthday. I was treated to some sparkly gifts from my friends and then we took the boat back on to the river for more water and a very short cruise

before we walked out of town to Anne Hathaway's Cottage, looked at the outside and walked back to town. (We saw the inside the last time we were there, about 15 years ago). Lunch in the sun, more sightseeing then back to the boat to commence celebrations. Rob prepared an amazing dinner of lamb shanks, minty potatoes and purple sprouting.

Another walk was decided on after the meal as we were too full to do the Champagne (50% off at M&S) and trifle justice. It was a beautiful evening and the riverfront around Stratford was so idyllic. Much laughter was enjoyed over the brass rubbing center (don't ask).

Trifle, chocolates, Champagne.. it was all so decadent and over the top. It felt strange to turn 30, but I am glad I did it in style and was able to celebrate it with friends.

Next time...down the river, dealing with scary new locks, the best pub meal ever and reaching Tewkesbury (and very nearly reaching our breaking points)

Oh and Rob got me a little surprise for my birthday (the trip was the main gift). A little shoe to add to my collection....

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