stratford-upon-avon, the place shakespeare called home

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The other day I went to Stratford-upon-Avon. It was like having tea with Shakespeare (1564-1616) and his family. Replete with gossip and a walk around the house to see the gardens. 🙂 I met his wife and his daughters, sons-in-law, and his last descendant Elizabeth, his granddaughter. I was shown the room where he was born, and the workroom where his father made and sold gloves through a window overlooking the street. I sat on the courting settle which according to legend is where William too used to sit when wooing Anne Hathaway, and peeked into the bedrooms of the Hathaway farmhouse with its lopsided floors, crooked roofs and minuscule beds. Apparently they used to sleep half-seated during Tudor times and that is why their beds were so tiny. Continue reading

of verulamium, romans and saints

Once upon a time, a long time ago, 1959 years ago to be exact, there was a Roman town by the name of Verulamium. It was the third largest town in Roman Britain and had been granted the rank of municipium which meant that it could collect its own taxes and administer itself.

It was complete with all the trappings of Roman civilized life—a theatre, temples, an arch, roman baths, basilica, and a forum for its population of nearly 15,000. Trade flourished and its people lived in fine town houses equipped with underfloor heating systems. This town was my stop for today. Continue reading

it is pronounced ‘greenich’, my dear

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Greenwich has always been inexorably bound to the sea and all things maritime; right from King Henry VIII’s time when he lived in the Royal Palace of Placentia that used to stand here and oversaw his naval fleet from it. Came the 18th Century, and along with it Queen Mary and Christopher Wren. The Queen decided to build a naval almshouse at the site of the Old Palace. Known as the Royal Naval Hospital (1752), it provided lodging and meals to the disabled and retired seamen of the Napoleonic Wars. Wren’s grand edifices later became the Royal Naval College in 1873 and were finally leased to the University of Greenwich, in 1999, and the Trinity College of Music.

The connection with the sea doesn’t end there. Greenwich is home to the National Maritime Museum which pulsates with the trade, exploration and colonization ties that the seas have had with England. And then there’s what everyone comes to look at. The Royal Observatory where John Harrison invented his famous sea clocks, and THE Greenwich Meridian Line, Longitude 0 degrees 0’ 0”, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Continue reading