That worked out quite well, as it transpired; I had intended to get my hair cut before going to Denise's on Saturday but I was too knackered, so I got it cut on Wednesday morning instead. Supercuts advised there would be a 45 minute wait but I was in and out within 20 minutes!
The farmers market was on New Street that day, so I had a very nice pulled pork bap for my lunch. Also there were owls! The photographs can be viewed here. :)
We finally managed to get to Stratford for about 2.30 (about an hour later than we initially thought due to doing washing up / laundry and other stuff before leaving the house) and found our B&B with no trouble whatsoever, as it was very close to the station. The landlady (Christine) was very accommodating - if you are ever in Stratford I can recommend Cherry Blossom House. We booked via Hotels.Com and it was £60 for one night in an en-suite double room, with a very nice breakfast in the morning.
After unpacking, we went for a wander, scouting out a couple of museums we wanted to do on the Thursday and locating the restaurant for later on. The weather on Wednesday was really lovely, which was fortuitous - we decided to go to Shakespeare's Birthplace as I'd never been (at least as far as I could remember), and spent some time just sitting in the gardens watching the players.
Talking of which - they were very impressive! There was a chalkboard notice stating that they would do "songs, sonnets and scenes" on request, so their Shakespeare knowledge must be pretty astounding! The only annoying thing was that there were a LOT of tourists about - we went into the house during a lull and were immediately followed inside by about 30 American students (some of whom got bored halfway around and left again), so waited until everyone had moved past before attempting to take any pictures.
I always think it must be a really strange experience for Americans when visiting English heritage sites which are several centuries older than their own country's history...
Anyway, yes - very interesting. If we'd known, however, we would have booked the ticket for all five Shakespeare sites even if we didn't visit them all (as we didn't, it turned out) because you get free entry for the whole year and it worked out much cheaper than buying them separately.
For some reason, Stratford has a year-round Christmas shop. :) I had a look in there both for birthday presents for my grandmother and a silver / white star for the tree, and failed on both counts. The stuff in there is not particularly spectacular - nothing you wouldn't get in, say, Notcutts or similar - but the fact that it's open all year round amused me.
We spent the rest of Wednesday mostly in pubs, including the Garrick Inn which is the oldest pub in Stratford (dating back to 1414 I think?).
We had dinner at Lambs (a pre-booked table) which was very nice indeed. We both had the pig-cheek croquettes with pork belly for starters, then I had the lambs liver for main whilst Paul had the skate. I couldn't finish my creme brulee for dessert but it was all very good, and came in at just under £80 even with a bottle of wine. :)
On Thursday morning I did have a slight hangover/migraine (it's been ages since I had wine) but thankfully Migraleve killed it off for the majority of the day. We left our bag in the dining room and then went for a wander again. I didn't bother taking my coat as the weather on Thursday morning was glorious, except after lunch it went overcast and quite chilly, so I soon regretted that decision. :P
We started off by visiting the MAD (Mechanical Art and Design) Museum, which I can highly recommend if you like that sort of thing. Some of the exhibits are a bit temperamental, but it's good fun.
We then went to Magic Alley, which initially looked like a Harry Potter rip-off but included "magical artefacts" from other stuff too (such as the Northern Lights books) and much of the "history" was based on some other children's books I've not heard of before but which seem themselves to be dubiously similar to popular fantasy novels. It was silly but also fun. They also had a butterbeer bar but I completely forgot to try any. :(
We were going to have lunch in Stratford but instead ended up having a cream tea at around 11.00am that kept us going until we got home.
On the way home we very nearly didn't get our bag back, as we said to the landlady that we'd come to collect it between 5.00 and 6.00pm, and at about 4.45 she didn't seem to be in. Thankfully some other residents were leaving and were kind enough to let us in to retrieve it.
Overall it was a lovely couple of days - a bit tiring but nice to get away for a bit nonetheless.
As for Easter... on Good Friday we did barely anything, then on Saturday we popped into Birmingham to go to the markets for stuff for our Easter Sunday dinner of rolled pork loin (plus some additional bits for a stir-fry). For future reference, the Chinese grocer in the food market sells lots of interesting things (fennel and celeriac and reasonably-priced jars of spices, including about five whole nutmegs).
I also got some stuffing as I intended to make cushions, but then spent Easter Sunday mostly reading POTO fanfiction before cooking dinner, and then on Monday suffered with a persistent migraine.
Oh, and on the Sunday before I did a bit more on my embroidery:
Mostly border and a bit of pattern. That border is slow going; thank goodness it's in half cross-stitch or it would take twice as long!
Apologies if that picture is still showing up massive; it takes a while for Photobucket to react sometimes.
Anyway, I think that's everything. My next leave is on 6th May (the week after the bank holiday), following which I will hopefully be sharing before/after pictures of our newly-decorated lounge. :)