I thought it was about time I made an effort. That I girded my loins. That I forced a smile upon my face and put my mind to being positive. Easier than I thought, here are 10 reasons why living in Stratford upon Avon is OK. In no particular order…
There’s something about living near a river that is really fantastic. Personally, I think it’s something to do with the fact that we too are made almost entirely from the wet stuff. It is for this reason that the river ‘talks’ to us. It’s our brother/sister. Its very flow mimics the way we are going through our lives. Rough with the Smooth. Flood and Drought. Dangerous and Docile.
No wonder it’s called ‘Leafy Warwickshire’. Lots of green fields to take walks in. An abundance of trees that on a good day you can almost hear pumping out the oxygen.
It’s still a Market Town.
Although Stratford upon Avon has obviously expanded over the years it is still a size that is manageable. It doesn’t take very long to walk from one end to the other and there are still some quiet areas where you can get away from it all.
Public houses seem to come and go and that is certainly true of Stratford upon Avon. When I first arrived I couldn’t believe how many places there were to buy a drink. Ok, the number of public houses has fallen but there are still loads to choose from. Each distinctive in their own way, prices, location, style etc, so everyone is certain to find somewhere that suits them.
A contentious one this. However, in my own experience I have had over the years some interesting conversations with complete strangers who have arrived in Stratford upon Avon just for the day. I have made friends, some for life and been invited (but never gone-sad) to places world-wide. At the height of the tourist season when I have ventured out on my own, I have never been bored, always finding someone to talk to.
Stratford’s own, Irish Astronaut and Swan-Keeper. What more could you want?
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
I ought to say here that I am not a Shakespeare nut. However, I do enjoy theatre and most times anything that is not Shakespeare, that the RSC puts on. What I do like more than anything is the ambience, the feeling that having a creative place nearby brings. Whether it’s having a coffee at The Other Place or just reading the paper on a bench in the RSC gardens, even recognising a well-known actor (I know). There is (for me) something about having a theatrical presence close, that relaxes me and makes me feel part of a different world.
This is something very personal to me and since the lockdown began, just having a coffee, something I miss tremendously. My favourite place is the Vintner. A place where it is OK to have just the one. I can have a chat with my favourite waiter/waitress, read a newspaper or magazine for free, take the kids and various others of my family or just be left alone, totally undisturbed. If I want to arrange a meet with someone the Vintner is where it happens. Where we can talk undisturbed and if we want to change the drink for something a little more alcoholic, no problem. A special place.
Stratford upon Avon allows me to get lost in myself. Knowing it as well as I do, I can just wander. In the words of Chuck Berry, ‘No particular place to go’ is very possible in Stratford upon Avon.
An abundance of Public Toilets.
I’m led to believe that the Public Convenience is rapidly disappearing. Luckily, Stratford upon Avon still has a few but more than that, an interesting few. From the ‘standing male only’ of Ely Street, to the Royal Shakespeare’s well-kept bog opposite The Other Place. The visitor or the resident who can still get a move on between watering stations, there is no reason why he or she should ever be caught, short.
So there you have it. 10 reasons why living in Stratford upon Avon is OK. A list that surprised me in how easy it was to compile. If you think I have missed something let me know in the comments beneath this post.