|Day Two : Stratford Upon Avon|
|Because of the narrow entrance to the drive to Hothorpe, each day would find us walking down the drive to meet the coach, and each afternoon or evening would find us walking back up to the house. There was a herd of sheep quartered just outside the house, along the drive and several Pemberleans made a game of 'talking' back to the sheep as they "baahed" at us (a game which, needless to say, continued throughout our stay).|
|Stratford is an easy town to navigate, and because it was a Saturday in summer, it was crowded with visitors. Our first stop was the Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust, where Dr Paula Byrne, a world renowned Austen scholar, gave us an interesting and informative talk on Emma. Her focus was on the reactions to Emma from Jane Austen's friends and family.
Paula was an entertaining and informative speaker: it was clear she enjoyed listening to our ideas and comments as well, and graciously stayed to chat with us during lunch. We were very grateful to her for her kindness in agreeing to speak to us, particularly when she told us she had given birth to her third child only three weeks previously. Brava Paula.
|After lunch, we had free time to explore the town and find our own dinner before meeting up at The Courtyard Theatre. Some ladies shopped, (ok, Many ladies shopped), while some undertook some sightseeing, either by land or water. Everyone, I think it is safe to say, ate. Evening found us assembled at the Courtyard Theatre to see Shakespeare's Henry VI Part II. The cast was incredible, and we were amazed at the use of the small space of the theatre. Paula Byrne and her eldest son accompanied us too.
On our arrival back at Hothorpe we found a wedding party in full swing, and we were cordially invited to join in.