Sunday, 14 August 2016

Day 1 - How far?!?

Well the day finally came for me to start my Bard Walk.

The previous day I had been given exclusive access to Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford before the public arrived, to film for documentary I am making for our education department.

To be given completely free access around the Birthplace was incredible...and on my own! What were they thinking! It is funny to think of the family Shakespeare going about their business in their home now that the building is museum with millions of tourists pouring around the rooms from all over the world.

By the time Shakespeare was 18 there were 10 people living in the house, which must have been incredibly cramped. And we must always remember that the house was a place of work too with the gloving workshop attached...and the smells that went with gloving too!!

Enormous thanks to Dr Anjna Chouhan who gave up her time to allow me to interview her for the film, and everyone at the Birthplace Trust for being so supportive.

The rest of the day was spent at mum and dad's in Worcester, with my feet up thinking about the next 9 days....

So Saturday 13 August dawned and we made our way to Stratford. After picking up a few extra shots for the film which I missed yesterday, I made my way to my starting point, and Shakespeare's finishing line - Holy Trinity Church.

Shakespeare's School Room

The site of his home, New Place

There to see me off were my folks, my best friend and his wife (Alex also happens to be Chair of our Trustees), and the sister of one of our GSC Friends who lives in Stratford.


There have been so many incredibly kind and  generous messages of support for this walk, which have inspired me to do this, and this morning was no exception....and so with the sun shining I set off...

...and within the first 10 mins I missed my first field gate!!! Possibly down to trying to respond to everyone's tweets and comments! No damage done tho, I was quickly back on track.

Todays's 17 miles took me past Clifford Chambers, Atherstone-on-Stour, Alderminster, Halford and Honington.

The church of St Mary's that I popped into in Preston-on-Stour had an amazing stained glass window which reminded me of the window in Holy Trinity in Guildford in the Queen's of my favourite parts of the church....the incredibly vivid dragon lying at the feet of St George.

A helpful 72 year old in Halford gave me a short cut and told me the secret of his youth...I'm afraid
I've been sworn to secrecy! And an equally lovely lady in a garage in Halford gave me a jam donut for free when she learnt of my walk:

You look like you're on a bit of a walk today...
Yes, to London
Yes...(explanation followed)
Here you must have this jam donut to keep up your energy!

And with that she filled up my water bottle and I was on my way.

I think the main thing I got from today was the enormity of the journey Elizabethans were undertaking in their journeys around the capital. By foot I had only done 6 miles and I already felt like Stratford was a long way away. I know Will probably did most of this journey by cart so hardly walked as I am, but nevertheless, the act of moving slower than we are used to in the modern age really emphasises the distance you are travelling. Cars and trains really have made the country smaller!

The above are two pictures from a church in Halford. The doorway is of Norman origin and the the misericord is the only one in the church and dates from 16th century.

Finally I reached my destination of Shipston and Holly End BnB. The welcome could not have been warmer. Steve and Yvette made me feel incredibly welcome and I recommend it to anyone wishing to stay in the Cotswolds.

I did get lost in the final field of wheat, tantalisingly close but Yvette reassured me everyone gets lost there! The day ended with a lovely dinner the George Town House.

Today's favourite sign:

Day 1 stats:

18.6 miles - 6 hours, 7 mins - 1400 calories - 41,300 steps - 1 jam donut

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