A Weekend for Theater and Authors

Trip Start May 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oxford celebrates Alice Day each July, named for the title character in Alice in Wonderland.  There are many events in the city throughout the day, but we decided to start the day with a walk along the Thames footpath to Binsey, which is most likely the stretch of river Lewis Carroll rowed Alice along.  It is possible to walk the Thames footpath from the river's origins in the Cotswolds all the way to the sea.
We decided to walk our local stretch, which meant finding our way through new parts of Oxford, finding the footpath, and then enjoying the stroll along the river.  There are many houseboats on the Thames--it's a nearly still river because it's so flat.  Some houseboats are indeed moored homes, but others are weekend party boats--men call their bachelor parties stag parties and women call theirs hen parties.  Anyway, we found Binsey in good time, and made out way to the treacle well in the Binsey churchyard.  We happened to meet a wonderful church member, who not only showed the boys the well (it's not really treacle, which is the name for syrup, but the well is so dark that it looks like it) but also showed them the grave of Mary Prickett--Alice Liddell's governess and the Red Queen from the book.
We capped the morning with a berry-picking time at a nearby farm--the last of the strawberries and the beginning of the raspberries.  Liam and I filled a tub with strawberries while Andy went off by himself and picked the raspberries.  Then we had lunch outdoors under the trees at the back of a pub along the river--all in all a wonderful local day!
But there was one more thing!  The Alice Day events in town were still going on when we returned, so before we went home for berries and cream (and there is no comparison to berries with Devon cream!), we followed a deck of cards to the Oxford castle area where they split, cut, shuffled, and did other tricks cards do.  What fun!
Sunday we arose bright and early and hustled for the train to Stratford-upon-Avon.  Mom had gone to Stratford Thursday afternoon and evening to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform, and Andy didn't want to miss out on anything.  I hadn't allotted enough time for a queue at the ticket window, but with a dash through the station, a run over the quay to the other tracks, and in the door, we were on our way!  I don't think Andy or Liam will forget the crazy train station experience!
Stratford was pleasant though crowded, as it was a summer weekend.  We joined the hop-on, hop-off bus tour and saw Shakespeare's birth house and Anne Hathaway's house--we planned to go to Mary Arden (his mother)'s house, but the choices for Sunday return trains meant we left just at dinner time or at midnight--so we passed on Mary Arden's house.

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