Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stratford-upon-Avon

We haven't had a day out in a while so with a sunny Sunday before us, we decided to head out to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the famous bard, and a just a 45-minute drive from Oxford. I had been in Stratford once before when I was about 13 and on a UK tour with my older sister, Lann. For some reason I remembered it as a small village of thatched cottages, but in reality it is quite a sprawling, built-up town. Of course, everything pretty much revolves around Shakespeare and his life, but it is quite a picturesque place set along the banks of the Avon river.
It was interesting how like Stratford, Ontario it felt. Obviously there is a reason Stratford, Ontario was named Stratford. The girls liked this life-size nutcracker outside of the year-round Christmas shop - no kitchy tourist town is complete without a year-round Christmas shop!
Shakespeare's birthplace has been well-preserved. One can pay to have a wander around the inside but we decided to leave that for another day.

"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."



Mmmmm... chocolate and candy!

Here we are at the end of March and just past the half-way point of our life abroad. The weather here is improving, and with it our spirits as we look forward to many spring time visitors and travels. Stan's parents arrive at the end of this week and we have plans to show them around Oxford and visit some local gardens as well.
The girls are thriving. Hannah is turning into our little brainiac - she loves school and is doing very well, having met all her year end goals already. She recently won the weekly writing award, presented to one student in the school each week. She won the "best effort" award in her year for her work in literacy and maths. She has also been recognized at school assemblies for her thoughtfulness and helpfulness around the school. Needless to say, Stan and I are very proud! Hannah has also been working quite hard on her ballet and will be dancing her primary ballet exam in May.
Mira too is doing well and keeping me busy ferrying her to birthday parties on a weekly basis it seems! She informed us the other day, "I have six boyfriends Mommy, and they keep me very busy." If she were a few years older I'd be concerned :-) She has made some lovely friends and is enjoying her time at school. She is also loving her weekly swim lessons and continues to swim like a fish!
Me? I'm doing well. I've kept up with my gym schedule and have lost a few pounds. More importantly, back pain and migraines seem to be a thing of the past - that alone has kept me going. I fell a lot stronger and fitter, so hopefully I'll be able to maintain that lifestyle choice once we're back home.
I keep myself busy with my jewellery design, reading and a little shopping here and there - ah to be a lady of leisure :-)