Thursday, March 6th, 1997 Bath, England
Up this morning to bright sunshine. Wonderful day. We packed the car and then set out for the bus tour. Randy and Patti went to the clock shop first and we met them at the bus stop; clock shop was still closed. On to the Bus we all sat up top again. We toured all the Shakespeare homes as well as the town. John, the guide, was exceptionally good and told us the Coltswold is named after the Colts family who owned it and the wold is a word that refers to the type of hills in the area.
As we went to Anne Hathaway’s home we hit high speeds on the open highway and it became quite windy. They told us to button up or go downstairs before we went out of town. We all stayed on top as the view and the sunshine were both great! Saw lots of baby sheep with their mothers! Back in town we departed the bus and walked to the church where Shakespeare and his family are buried. (Going past the clock shop which was still closed but a note said it would open at 12:30.) Very interesting church with a gentlemen who works four hours a week for the church. He told us what a priest’s hole is…when the King changed the church this was a place that the Catholics hid the priest when they were in their homes if someone arrived who would have reported them to the authorities.
Then on to the Black Swan Restaurant & Pub…also known as the Dirty Duck by the locals. The front of the restaurant has the real name and the pub entrance in back (nearest the theater) has the common name on the sign. All the actors eat and drink at this pub when performing in the theaters. Many well known actors/actresses have their photos on the wall. Had a great lunch there; it was smoky but tolerable.
Back to the clock shop which was open by now. Everyone shopped in the clock shop but only Barbara ended up purchasing anything (a miniature clock for Palm Springs). Then off to a local Antique Faire which ended up to be a glorified garage sale. Walked to the hotel and used the toilets before heading out on the road for the town of Bath. On the windshield of the van we found a package with Barbara’s white turtleneck shirt that she’d left in her room. Later we learned that it was Randy’s shirt; not Barbara’s.
Patti did copilot for Jim and we had an enjoyable trip which lasted about two hours. Mostly back country roads so we saw more country manors, and a lot more baby sheep than before. Jim thinks that this is the birthing season and they’re all newly born. We’d seen some calves (very tiny) this morning on the bus tour along with our first baby lambs.
We found the St. Francis Hotel without too many mistakes. Barbara had called ahead and made reservations for the next two nights. It took several calls as most of the hotels were already booked for Friday night. We got some of the last rooms in this hotel. It is an old, large hotel which sits on the site of four homes which were converted to a hotel but were destroyed by bombs during WW2. The hotel appears older than 1953; because they’ve recreated the old Georgian style. It reminds me of the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego. Queens Square is directly across the street from the entrance.
As soon as we were checked in (only Patti and Randy changed their rooms this time…I almost did when I couldn’t get into the telephone connection; but we are able to use the one in Barbara’s room); Barbara and I connected to AOL and sent and received messages. Barbara’s grandson has been accepted into the private school he wanted….she is elated!
Jim is a happy camper since he finally has a remote control for the TV and is happily surfing the four stations and he also has a pants presser again! Randy and Patti made reservations for a massage. Not an easy task as they were booked solid. Finally got one to come to the hotel tonight. The masseuse recommended an Italian place near the hotel for us to have a light supper.
It was just around the corner. The wine Randy chose was an especially good Italian bottle. Returning to the hotel, Jim and Randy went for a walk while Patti went up for her massage. Barbara and I returned to work on Barbara’s letters and a successful call to Aunt Claska’s friend Dennis who lives in Bath. He will be meeting us at 11:30 am tomorrow. He has promised a guided walking tour and lunch at his favorite pub. We then read part of the journal. The first public exposure!!!
Jim and Randy found all the great sites…Pump Room Restaurant next to the Roman Baths. The Cathedral…a really big one. A theater where they witnessed a car being put on a flat bed and taken away for illegal parking. The owner was there but unable to stop them. Then they had some fun with the theater people as they played a “couple”. Home to the hotel and a drink at the bar for Randy and Jim plus a glass of Chivis Regal for me.
But when Jim brought my drink up to the room Barbara and I kidnapped him for another walk. This time to a McDonalds for carmel sundaes. Jim and I thought that Barbara knew where she was going…after walking about five blocks we asked her how far and she said there wasn’t one on her last trip but she KNEW that there had to be one nearby. Meantime, Jim showed us the Roman Bath, Pump Room and the Cathedral. We stopped and asked for directions. Finally found it nearly down to the river. But, we did so enjoy them on our walk back to the hotel. I enjoyed my scotch that was waiting for me while I edited the journal. Then off to bed about 11:30 PM.