Stratford HOHO Pt 1
Stratford Hop On Hop Off Bus – Part One
My birthday morning dawned and after cards and breakfast I settled to write the blogs about the Great Wall, feeling better with that step behind me, we went in the car to the town, parked and made our way past the ‘Welcome to Stratford-Upon-Avon’ sign to the Tourist Information Office to buy our Hop On Hop Off tickets. Between the Office and the pub, the Pen and Parchment the said red bus turned, we boarded and off we went to do a full loop intending to visit the ‘Shakespeare houses’ on the morrow.
The oldest house in town and shortly after, Shakespeare’s birthplace.
Places along the way.
A really pretty town.
We so enjoy the commentary as we ride HOHO buses. As we passed old and newer buildings we listened to:- 'worth one's salt' is to be worth one's pay. Our word salary derives from the Latin salarium, (sal is the Latin word for salt). There is some debate over the origin of the word salarium, but most scholars accept that it was the money allowed to Roman soldiers for the purchase of salt. Roman soldiers weren't actually paid in salt, as some suggest. They were obliged to buy their own food, weapons etc. and had the cost of these deducted from their wages in advance.
Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. The husband and wife of the house slept on their ‘second best bed’ as the first (costing a years salary was reserved for the use of guests only). A baby would sleep in a crib beside the mother and as soon as either the next baby was born or the toddler outgrew the crib - a son would go on a truckle bed - a small bed that pulled out from below the parents bed. That is, a son or sons would sleep on the truckle. Made from slats of wood held together by ropes that went from side to side and lengthways that had to be tightened when they went slack hence sleep tight. A mat rest made from hay or if very lucky sheep wool (later kapok) in a cotton cover became known as a mattress. Daughters on the other hand slept on a sort of shelf up fairly high in the master bedroom, accessed by a short ladder, there they slept until the day they married. Those who didn’t were said to be left on the shelf....
Next up on the commentary was Frog in the Throat. Dr John Hall (married Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, they moved into New Place after the bard died). Dr Hall prepared two notebooks of his case notes with the intention that they be published. They were purchased and translated from Latin by a surgeon called James Cooke (1614–1688). In 1657, 22 years after Hall's death, Cooke published Select observations on English bodies, or Cures both empericall and historicall performed upon very eminent persons in desperate diseases. The earliest case, in Stratford, dates from 1611, making it almost certain that Hall lived and worked in Stratford from at least the time of his marriage. The first notebook still survives, but the original manuscript of the second notebook has been lost. Ahead of his time but a long time until proof by modern techniques, Dr Hall dangled a small frog in the moth of those afflicted with sore throat, now we know that the frog spit holds antibiotic qualities and cured said soreness. Today, we still ask someone with a croaky voice if they have a frog in their throat......
Turning by the park, we were in front of the Swan Theatre. Later, we would here that this is where Martin asked Cecily (Bear’s sister) for her hand in marriage, from this day on we will call this Martin’s Tower.
The Swan Theatre as we passed by.
A pair of grand buildings and we were beside the river.
A very splendid lamp post.
Opposite, the pub used by actors slaking their thirst after a night of treading the boards. On one side, the sign is of The Dirty Duck – as nicknamed by the actors. On the other side, the real name of the pub – The Black Swan.
An odd shaped roof and The Other Place (RSC).