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Published: September 5th 2019
With a spring on my feet, I dashed to catch the bus from Swindon city centre to Stratford Upon Avon. The bus was full of senior citizens and indeed, it left 5-10 mins ahead of schedule because everyone had arrived on time Perhaps, punctuality is a special quality of the older generation. Maybe age is truly catching up with me and I am finally in the right age group 😊
We first stopped at the Wellsborough market
which is an old airfield converted into a Saturday market. It had all sorts of expired supermarket food items, clothing, pillows, DIY items and couple of big vans selling fresh meat through auction. Everybody was in for a bargain. I took 2-3 rounds but nothing excited me when 15 years back, I was always at Wembley Sunday market looking for knick knacks. Even mini doughnuts (10 for 1 GBP) in 2008 was now selling 3 normal doughnuts for 5 GBP. With time, perspective and interests change.
I walked about with a long, bored face matching that of the many dog. It started to drizzle. I identified a clean food van and bought hot dog with dollops of English mustard
to add some
zing. Took a few more rounds and knew all the stalls by heart; being fully saturated; decided to return to the peace of the bus.
My co-passengers had a field day as they bought loads of pillows, shoes, clothes etc which were neatly put away in the luggage space. The driver distributed lozenges along with free commentaries and the old women were having a jolly good time!
It was certainly better to have them over children crying in the bus with their helpless, apologetic parents.
We passed the beautiful Cotswold countryside. It was fascinating to see, honey stoned cottages, neatly lining the roads, as pretty as a picture
. The countryside would have been rich with tall trees and immense wild life, "once upon a time"
. Now it was all cleared for farming.
We reached Stratford Upon Avon. The town was decked with flowers and well meaning signs to different places of interest. The birthplace of William Shakespeare was a timber thatched-white and chocolate coloured house not far from the river, Avon. There were some shops and lots of bakeries selling afternoon tea. I explored the guild chapel which had rich stories of saints painted on the walls
which were all white washed as per the orders of Elizabeth following protestant reformation. Apparently, William's father, John Shakespeare was a Councillor of this town. I heard that photography is banned in the birthplace because people had advertised the household goods.Then thieves had stolen and sold them.Theft to order!
I admired the statue of the dancing fool, a jester in active stance. Inscription read- The fool doth think he is wise, But the wise man knows himself to be a fool.(Shakespeare- As you like it)
The river side had a ferris wheel, a boat house
(converted from a warehouse) where tourists could rent motor/manual boats and riverside parks
. I peeped into a plain newly built Shakespeare theatre. Our Nandan theatre in Calcutta is much more artistic and better looking.
There was a market by young people selling candles, plants etc with idealistic price tags matching their youthful aspirations. There was another weekly street market with leather goods etc which was excellent for window shopping and surpassed the young traders market only marginally in cost.
I spent on a McDonald latte and wrap of the day which I ate on a bench by the river. Took a boat ride for 7 GBP. The audio explained the name of another famous writer, Marie Corelli who authored romantic novels which sold more copies than H.G Wells, Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle combined. She never
married. Apparently, she said that she did not need a husband as she had three pets-"A dog which groans in the morning, a parrot which swears in the afternoon and a cat which comes late at night." Being a renowned author, she wanted to ensure that Shakespeare theater runs efficiently but the male chauvinist society were not very cooperative.
Shakespeare is buried in a church by the river, a bit on the outskirts. It seems Shakespeare had to pay to buy a place as the church was dead against the acting profession. A witty man, he preserved his own tombstone by saying as follows:
Good friend for Jesus sake forebearer, To dig the dust enclosed here, Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.
It was time to return to the bus. Everyone was there on time and we started off back to Swindon. My heart was singing with all the fine quotes liberally sprinkled all over the town. Shakespeare knew how to woo women and make fun of people in authority without causing the slightest offence. No wonder his plays are famous all over the world even today. Joy delights in joy to this day. "Time travels in diverse paces in diverse persons.."(As you like it).
I bid thee Adieu!
With the following sweet quote from Romeo and Juliet.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
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