We had a long weekend away to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary on October 10th. Before that, two other events deserve a mention.
On Friday 3rd we walked the next stage of the Thames Path – we are getting hooked on it all over again! This time it was Staines to Kingston, about 13 miles. We intended to stop at Hampton Court, but by the time we arrived there, the late afternoon sun was so beautiful we decided to continue.
On Thursday 9th we attended the Harvest Festival at Charlie’s school. The children sang several songs about food. Charlie was in the back row, so we caught only occasional glimpses. We were standing at the back of the hall, so Claire held Oscar up, and he fell asleep in her arms!
Off to Stratford
We had decided to celebrate our anniversary with a visit to Stratford, for the first time in many years. We were then invited to spend a weekend with our friends Roger and Jacqui in Loughborough, so we decided to combine the two. On Friday morning we hired a car and drove to Stratford. It happened to be the weekend of their ‘Mop Fair’, and there were many rides and other amusements in the town centre; the roads were closed to traffic and it took us some time to find our hotel.
In the afternoon we did a 4-mile circular walk we’d found in one of our books. The sun was shining and it was very pleasant. About half way round the circuit we came to the attractive village of Clifford Chambers, and stopped at the village pub for a drink. Coming back into Stratford we passed the church where Shakespeare was buried, and stopped to look at his tomb.
In the evening we went (of course!) to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. We had dinner in their Rooftop Restaurant and then saw a performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost, a play we didn’t already know. The interior of the theatre has been completely restructured since we were last there (as we said, it was a very long while ago!) and there is now a large apron stage, with seating on three sides, giving good views. Being the RSC it was of course a wonderful production. Many years ago, we vowed not to see Shakespeare performed by any other company. We’ve long since broken that vow, and enjoyed other very good productions, but seeing the RSC again made us realise why we once felt that way: no other company can quite compare.
After the play we adjourned to a nearby pub for some celebration bubbly. We intended to walk through the fair and take pictures of the lights, but unfortunately it closed down earlier than we expected. Next morning we explored the town, and stopped to watch some morris dancers.
On to Loughborough
From Stratford we headed east, but there was time to spare before we were due in Loughborough, so we stopped for a while in Coventry. We visited the city several times when Sandie’s aunt and uncle lived there, but that was many years ago. Our anniversary weekend was turning into a real nostalgia trip!
On Saturday evening we went with Roger and Jacqui to the Little Theatre in Leicester, to see Singin’ in the Rain performed by an amateur company. A complete contrast to the RSC, but enjoyable in a very different way.
On Sunday our friends had other commitments, so we took ourselves first to an art exhibition in Rothley, and then for an 8-mile circular walk from Barrow-on Soar. It was a scenic walk, especially the first part when the sun was shining and we followed the river. We stopped at a pub by Mountsorrel Lock for lunch, before continuing to Swithland Reservoir and returning via Quorn. There was more nostalgia, as we knew these villages well when we lived in Loughborough (1977-86). The only problem was that Sandie slipped and fell in some mud – she was unhurt but very dirty!
On Monday we returned home to High Wycombe, but stopped on the way at Chorleywood – for a screen test! We have applied to be on A Place in the Sun, the TV programme which helps househunters find their ideal property abroad. They wanted people who were aiming to buy in Florida, so we decided to have a go. The ‘test’ involved just chatting to an interviewer, so it was not difficult, but we wait to hear whether or not we have been successful.