Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Sizzling Stratford!

Fri 16th to Sat 17th June 2017

We had had a choice of moorings when we arrived on Thursday, but the basin soon filled up

making our decision to leave early on a good one. At times is was like Piccadilly Circus with boats queuing up to use the lock. 

It had been our intention to spend two nights in the basin (48 hours is the official limit) and then move down to the river and moor opposite the theatre.  However, our plans were to be thwarted as I discovered these signs all the way from the bridge to the first lock. 
NO MOORING on Sat 17th June due to the Regatta

Thursday afternoon we spent quietly apart from a good long Monty walk before heading to Prezzo for dinner, courtesy of Tesco Clubcard vouchers.

I have a friend from a crafting forum (mainly card making) that I have been 'saying' good morning to most days for quite a number of years.  She and her husband have a motor home and they were going to be on the race course at Stratford over the time we were there, so a meeting just had to be arranged. Pam and Brian walked in along the river on Friday and came to us for coffee and a lot of chat.  From there we headed to ‘Fourteas’ for lunch – a place recommended by Sue and Ken on nb Cleddau (Boatwif) and more chat.  

I failed to take a picture of the outside (it is in Sheep Street if you want to find it).  As you might expect everything is based on the Forties, from the ‘ration book menu’

To the d├ęcor

And the serving staff

Tea comes in a pot along with a timer, so you know when to take the container of loose leaves out of the pot to enjoy your cup of tea brewed to perfection.

Chris and I had Eggs Benedict which was really good.  Pam and Brian had a sandwich which were also good, but be warned they are very large and they could have done with one between the two of them.

As all good boaters do a visit to the ‘shore facilities’ was essential before leaving.  There is just one for each gender, but there is a lot of reading material in the corridor to keep you occupied while you queue.

And in the loo itself – well squares of newspaper in keeping with the period, but thankfully a ‘proper’ loo roll is also supplied

Then back to the boat for a couple of photos to mark the occasion – Chris, Pam and Brian

Pam and I

I guess it was a sort of bloggers meet, but between crafters.  It was great to meet you both and hopefully our paths will cross again one day.

The weather was a bit chillier Friday morning, but it did warm up that afternoon.  I walked back along the river with Pam and Brian and we parted company at the  footbridge as they wended their way back to the racecourse and Monty and I continued on along the river. 

There is one new edition to the park since our last visit

The park area around the river was empty and tranquil

24 hours later it was a different story all together and almost unrecognisable.  

What an excellent vantage point to watch the races - the RSC Cafe

I have no idea how many clubs were involved, but we heard many familiar names mentioned - Monmouth, Bedford, Worcester, Monkton Combe and not surprisingly Stratford-upon-Avon to name but a few.  The age range seemed to spread from pre-teens to well let’s just say those of more senior years!

Each team seemed to have set up their own encampment – shade was definitely needed

 I don’t think these guys were needed

The ‘boat parking’ (yes that what was on the sign) was extensive

Each race was hotly contested with a lot of shouted support from the crowd with very hot coaches running along adding their words of encouragement.  A truly great day with so many people enjoying themselves in the sun.

As we progressed on down towards the lock we came across some canoeists having some cooling fun in the weir.

When we came back some had deserted their canoes – I assumed they would slide down together

But no, one rolled

One slid and one jumped (I missed the first one!).

By the time we neared the basin again this boat was exiting the lock – definitely a day when you really do not want to get it wrong!

Back to the boat to cool down when sounds wafted across from the other side of the basin which I could not resist investigating.  A street artist plying his trade and very good he was too especially considering the heat.

He finished with a bit of escapology wincing as the hot chain was tied round him.  He certainly earned his money.

We had no idea the regatta was scheduled, but it was fun to be part of it – we have visited Stratford many times, so have done most of the major tourist things.  I had thought of joining the town walk, but it was just too hot – another time maybe.

And what did Monty think of it all – not a lot – he was made to suffer the indignity of his ‘cool coat’ – something he is not keen on and immediately tries to ‘rub it off’ by rolling in his bed.  It does, however, really keep him cool and after a while I think he realises that life is pleasanter with it on.  All in all it was a fabulous couple of days in Stratford.

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