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England 2015

May 22, 2015 – Day 4

COTS101 – the orientation tour, Bourton-on-the-Water, and an evening at the RSC watching “The Merchant of Venice”

Here are all of today’s photos

I could wake up like this every dayA fabulous start with a Charingworth breakfast (amazing we can even think of food after last night!) and a great morning breeze.

John picks the three of us up and we head out for LeAnn’s Cotswolds Orientation Tour (i.e., COTS101).

We drive in John’s Jeep through the hills behind Charingworth, stopping for a spectacular view of the Cotswolds unfolding below us.

This is the first time that Kathy and I have been here in the springtime. I’ve been in the winter, and Kathy and I have been twice in the summer.

Cotswolds sheep and lambsEVERYTHING is so incredibly green and vibrant. The fields and trees have so many emerald shades, the flowers are blooming, it’s truly a sight to see.

Lots of sheep in the meadows have their lambs alongside them, as they’re just a few weeks old!

John picks some great back roads as we drive through numerous Cotswolds villages, each as scenic and as beautiful as I remember.

Bourton-on-the-Water is our primary stop, though, as it’s time for lunch!

LeAnn and Kathy in the Model VillageAfter some sandwiches and sodas for the girls and a pint of cider each for me and John, we stroll through the Model Village – a complete and fully accurate miniature representation of Bourton-on-the-Water, including a Model Village in the Model Village, that contains yet another Model Village.

Kathy and LeAnn love exploring this little village.

It’s an amazingly well-manicured representation of Bourton-on-the-Water, down to some of the iconic trees along the rivers and in the gardens. They even make sure to match the business signs along High Street!

John and the girls - Bourton-on-the-WaterThe low stone bridges over the River Windrush have led to Bourton-on-the-Water being called the “Venice of the Cotswolds“, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a great destination for the Cotswolds experience.

After an ice cream cone and a little shopping, we’re off again!

This time to Upper and Lower Slaughter and the scenic trout run on the River Eye and the old mill.

Lots of photos here, some more driving through the Cotswolds, and we’re back at Charingworth!

It’s time to get cleaned up for the evening, as we’re heading into Stratford-upon-Avon for an evening at the Royal Shakespeare Company and their production of “The Merchant of Venice”!

View from the RSC TowerAs we park and walk across the old stone bridge, LeAnn gets her first views of the Avon and Stratford. Walking up the the RSC Theatre, I remark about a new Tower that has been built next to the building since we were there last. John and Marianne exchange a grin, as we walk right to the tower and take a guided tour to the top!

The views across Stratford and the surrounding countryside are lovely and provide a view that we’ve not seen before. Coincidentally, it was John and Marianne’s first time up the Tower as well, so a treat for all of us!

After our Tower views, we walk over to “The Dirty Duck” pub (formally, “The Black Swan”) for drinks and placing our dinner orders that we’ll eat after the show! The pub is one of Stratford’s most famous, attracting actors from the RSC Theatre since the 1700s. The informal name was given to the pub by American GIs stationed near Stratford in WWII.

Merchant of Venice - final stage settingThe performance of “Merchant of Venice” was unique.

It was performed in the classic Shakespearean text, but the actors were in modern and extremely informal clothing, and the stage was, essentially, sheets of polished/mirrored stainless steel on both the floor and back wall of the stage area.

There was also an unusual and very large steel ball suspended at the end of a very long cable.

Midway through the first act, one of the characters pushed the ball gently to one extent and let it swing, not only unencumbered but completely ignored by the entire cast, for the rest of the performance.

It was odd… but oddly interesting.

Still – it was Shakespeare, and it was awesome.

RSC Theatre reflections on the River AvonAfter the performance, we stepped back across the street to “The Dirty Duck” and our previously-ordered dinners! Great laughs about the day, the performance, and pretty much everything else were had.

We were in the company of celebrities, too, as David Bradley, who played “Walder Frey” (boooo!) in “Game of Thrones” and “Argus Filch” from the Harry Potter movie series, was at the next table with his entourage. I didn’t recognize him as Walder Frey, or I would have asked for an autograph/photo. Feh!

Walking back across the footbridge gives this lovely evening shot of the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre reflecting in the River Avon.

Fun times, but a long day, gets us back to Charingworth!

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