Roadtrippin’, Stratford Upon Avon

Last Friday the weather finally decided to be appropriate for the time of year.
Glorious sunshine, with just the right amount of breeze and a full day off for both of us, it was a no brainer we were going on a micro-road trip, the only thing was working out where

Trying to agree on a city to visit wasn’t working, we’d been up early again (the advantages of the sun waking up before 6am) so time wasn’t necessarily a problem, as ever, it’s location, location, location.
We had to be back for bingo – double date with Lorna and Andy – but other than that the day was ours.
Where? Where? Where?
By way of pseudo agreement we went to the gym for a quick leg sesh and somehow by the time we were slurping our post-workout protein shakes we’d decided to pack a picnic and head to Stratford.

Borrowing Dad’s sat nav we haphazardly plugged in a postcode for Stratford and headed off on our micro-adventure.
It’s strange; I was so used to driving up to an hour to get from my house to Zac’s when we lived in Melbourne, I didn’t think anything of it, it was a fair commute, but driving an hour in England feels like you’re so far away from home!
Realistically, you are. We’d passed through 3 different counties (although that’s relatively easy to do from Ashby) and goodness knows how many accent changes passed us by, even in that short stretch of land.

Arriving in Stratford Zac was adamant about enjoying our picnic along the river, I wasn’t going to complain. We parked up in the marina and headed in what I thought was the wrong direction.

Spring blossom makes for gorgeous summer walks

We soon found a row of stunning houses that probably cost a disgusting amount and pitched camp, fantasising about what we’d do if we had that much money.
Unanimously it mostly centred around travel and a visa, with a little left over for a house and a pooch – the dream.
Within seconds of us sitting down, a rather curious goose we decided to name Jennifer swam over to see if there were any scraps for her. Zac decided she looked like she wanted some popcorn chicken and tore of a chunk, throwing it just in front of our picnic.
It took him about a minute to regret the decision and retreat with his camera while I was left, staring in Jennifer’s eyes, sat in a Mexican standoff over the salad.
At least he got his close up.

Riverside picnic with Jennifer lurking

We did good with the picnic spot though. It was so peaceful. Despite being just off a public footpath, there were hardly any passersby and it was funny to watch couples rowing along the Avon with varying degrees of success.
It was calm.
There’s always something about the sound of water that does that though. Butterflies danced in the fields behind us and Jennifer lurked just beyond the bank, waiting for some final offerings, pretending she didn’t really care.
We were quiet.
It didn’t last long though, Zac got ants in his pants (not literally) and I’d been staring at a branch the whole picnic that, quite frankly, was begging for me to climb it.

Dingle dangle

Dangling my legs over the water, not quite sure if I had enough balance or core stability to not get wet I had flash backs to the last time I trusted a branch – spoiler: it ended with me falling into what felt like a ravine, but in reality was more like a brook leaving Dawson with a distinct lack of trust in my judgements of ‘safe’.
They’re all stories though.

Safely back ‘on shore’, we dumped the picnic basket and headed in to Stratford itself.
As we crossed the lights we both clocked an ice cream boat, with a glance and smile we headed off in the direction of ice cream because ‘we’ve never had ice cream from an ice cream boat before’. Besides, it was summer!

I guess I knew that a spontaneous trip to Stratford was never quite going to be enough, and as we walked past The Tudor Museum, with flyers for a walking tour I might enough pouty noises that we stopped to have a look. I really do think it’s one of my favourite periods of history and I’m a sucker for a museum.
Zac reminded me I also wanted to have a scone with clotted cream and jam and some cloudy lemonade (my warm weather cravings are terribly English) so we went on in search of tea rooms that ‘felt right’, sadly picking up a flyer and promising to walk back this way if we had time.
We didn’t have time.
I didn’t find that scone, or the cloudy lemonade, either. We did get a penny pressed with Shakespeare’s head and the quote:

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”

It seemed fitting.

We wandered around, taking photos, revelling in the weather and our first real taste of summer together.
“If we can make it through double winter, think how great finally getting a summer together will be!”
In between light hearted conversation and more in depth discussion, laughing at Zac vs. old English architecture – I don’t think that’s ever going to get old when we see a door, raised slightly from the pavement that only comes to his shoulder height.

Ice cream from the ice cream boat

As we sat and licked our ice creams in the park outside the theatre, we watched a kaleidoscope of people enjoyed the weather and decided we’d simply have to come back, with another picnic, and have scones, and cloudy lemonade, and more ice cream boat ice cream.

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