Bancroft Basin to The Red Lion
It’s true what we’ve heard about the Japanese tourists here. As we were having breakfast this morning we could hear voices and Oleanna dipped just slightly to one side. On opening the hatch to see what had caused this we could see a lady posing to have her photo taken, one foot on our gunnel and a hand on the grab rail, at least the RSC would be in the background! Mick had left the cratch cover rolled up after going for a newspaper this morning which gave the lady somewhere to put her foot. Yesterday morning there had been a photo opportunity for someone to stand on the stern of our nearest neighbour, we’d thought being moored bow in that we’d avoid being a photo opp, but no. There’s no point in saying anything as it won’t stop the next person from doing the same.
Our 48hrs on the pontoons would be up at lunchtime, so Mick walked up to have a look behind the Red Lion after the next bridge, there was plenty of space so before the trip boats started for the day we pushed off and moved so that we could stay another night in Stratford. As we pulled up we both noticed an open gateway into the pubs car park, a perfect place for a Sainsburys delivery. No delivery slots today, but there were some for the morning, perfect, I added a couple of boxes of wine to secure our slot and checked out, leaving the rest of the shopping until later in the day.
I wanted to have a look around the market and my great narrow broom that I got for Christmas needed returning to Lakeland as the handle had stopped being extendable, it packs away nicely under the gunnel in the bathroom. We both went into Lakeland, but without a proof of purchase they couldn’t do anything. Six months later, a receipt for a broom! Mick returned to the boat to hunt out his credit card statement from December whilst I headed to the market hoping to pick up some fresh veg and the like.
Stratford has a Farmers market twice a month and Antiques the other Saturdays, today sadly there was not one fresh fruit and veg stall, just old plates, lamps and books, only olives nuts and fudge were edible. More to add to the internet shopping list.
At lunch time we were joined by Ian and Liz this time with their two daughters, Martha and Florence. Both of the girls wanted to meet Tilly and Florence was impressed by our cat steps to get inside the boat. Tilly obliged for a while but then found some piece and quiet behind our mattress and under the duvet, only for me to have a request to see if I could get Mrs Tilly to come back out. I quite liked being called Mrs Tilly, I shall only respond to this from now on.
Once the girls had seen the boat we walked up into town for lunch. Fourteas is a 1940’s tearoom which was set up by an ex-stage manager from the RSC. It is decorated suitably and stuffed full of period props, the waitresses are costumed and the menus are ration books, although what is on the menu certainly doesn’t keep to WW2 rations. The place was packed, a table became free for us outside after ten minutes. Cake stands were everywhere with cakes and sandwiches piled high. We all made suitable choices, lots of scrambled egg with choices of muffins or toast. Mick and I opted for the GI breakfast which was extremely tasty with bananas, pancakes, bacon, poached eggs, maple syrup and some fresh fruit all accompanied with a cuppa and a tea timer to let you know when it had brewed long enough. It’s a very good job we hadn’t know about here earlier as we’d have been tempted most mornings!
After we’d had our fill and looked at the Anderson shelter we walked up to The Other Place where Liz gave us a tour round. The whole of the rusty box next to the original Courtyard Theatre had been built as a 1000 seat theatre space which was used as a temporary home when the major works were being carried out on the RST. Once the refurbished theatre was reopened this temporary building was meant to be taken down, but locals had grown to like it, so it was adapted to what it is now. The studio space takes up very little of the building, two large rehearsal spaces and masses of costume storage. Areas that were once toilets for the thousand punters each night have been repurposed into presentation areas. The whole building has more of a heart to it than The Swan and the RST. Up the road when there are no shows on it consists of a shop and cafes surrounded by empty corridors that lead to the theatres. But here plenty is going on all the time, there was an impromptu mask making session going on front of house which had kept the kids occupied whilst we walked round the rails of costumes.
We parted ways with Liz and Ian as there was a birthday party to get ready for. It’s been lovely to see them again after so long and very good of Liz to have organised tickets and tours for us. Hopefully we might get chance to see them again later in the year.
Once the remainder of our shopping had been ordered, a bit more wine for under the steps (it’s empty down there you know) and plenty of food we headed out for dinner. I’ve been fancying a Chinese for quite sometime and we took pot luck on a restaurant near the station. As soon as we walked in we both knew that it wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for, but it would do. A poor relation to those Chinese Buffets in Manchester, but they did have aromatic duck with pancakes so it was okay. Just not quite what we’d thought of to mark our fourth anniversary of the start to our narrowboat journey.
0 locks, 0.13 miles, 1 finally successful replacement of a narrowboat narrow broom after two attempts, 0 fruit and veg, 0 wine on board, 1 bottle purchased, 2 new friends, 1 new name, 4t’s, 2 coffees, 2 eggs, 3 pancakes, 2 rashers, 2 GI breakfasts, 2 mini Wainwrights, 2 big Wainwrights, 2nd tour, 1 photo allowed, 1 big shop, 3 trees claimed, 1 car park too, 2 slightly disappointing buffets, 4 aromatic duck pancakes with plenty of Hoi Sin sauce, 1 family of extinguishers, 4 years that was going to be 1, 1 more year planned, at least!