Day 22 – further south, to meet the Bard.

I left the odd hotel at Broughton – near Cockermouth – after another hearty breakfast and a comfortable night in a time warp from 1960s. The room I was in and indeed, the hotel, had received little style upgrade since then but the VIEW from the front window!! As I departed I noted the two peahens and a peacock I’d heard in the morning.

I had 4 hours to drive today, about my limit really, so I set my GPS and went for it. To my surprise the scenery was made up of a long dark lake with rising mountains (like sleeping mammoths) overlapping the landscape behind them. Closer up the tufty vegetation on them proved to be purple heather. I don’t know where I got the idea that the land was flattish in the Lake District; I was very wrong. And to make matters more spectacular the sun was out, the sky was blue and the day grew warmer the further south I went. It was a heatwave in Stratford-Upon-Avon!

I stopped twice at those service centres and was very pleased to find my B&B on one of the main streets of the town. First things first: my Kingsize bed is incredibly comfortable and soft! Thank the Lord!

There was a moment of near panic when I couldn’t find my passport and thought I’d left it in a drawer in Edinburgh but no, a rummage through small bag revealed it! The relief!!!!

After a cuppa and nap I set off on foot in some nice clothes to find Royal Shakespeare Theatre. I felt like I was pinching myself a lot as I basked in the sun, the gala atmosphere, the rooftop restaurant (already paid for) and finally the play ‘As You Like It’. Even walking home late it is as humid as midday and the Tudor architecture adds an exquisite pattern to the night sky. I can’t wait to explore tomorrow. It’s not the best Shakespeare I’ve seen, either the play or the director’s modern vision, but hey, it’s Shakespeare in his home town. Pinch me.

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