Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Best

What must it be like to be the best writer the world has ever seen?  Of course he didn't know it at the time but he became wealthy on the back of his talent and was also an astute businessman. I like to think there were many sides to William Shakespeare as there are to all of us. He was a big family man, he directed what he left to his children. He like the rest of us had his horrors. His son died young and there are many twins in his stories. You use what you have, except that you are the best wordsmith the world will ever know. You don't carry that on your back but the world is left with your legacy and it is rich beyond our dreams.
Stratford was bliss to me. I went there with my lovely daughter who did English Literature at uni and adores the stage and everything to do with it. Her husband takes her to Stratford for her birthday each year and they stay in a gorgeous hotel and dine in good restaurants and enjoy what Will has left us.
One of the things which struck me was that because his father had a business, he made gloves and helped to run the town council, that William went to grammar school and studied Greek and Latin.
I'm not with Michael Gove on such matters, I think it helps if a child and read English before she's eleven before moving on to such things but for writers Greek and Latin are a huge help. I only wish I had had the kind of brain which takes on such things. Latin was good while I could see the connection with English but I couldn't do it, I kept getting left behind.
In the little house where William was born there is a big window where many writers have scratched their names and it made me feel so humble that writers, who are not usually known for being generous to one another, had gone there in homage to him and enjoyed it.
William's birthplace is the same kind of dreadful little house as Wordsworth's house in the lake district and makes you glad you weren't around when there was no electric, no loos, well, nothing really, tiny rooms and too many people. Ghastly.
I did like Nash's house and the garden  but Anne Hathaway's cottage was one of the saddest places I have ever been. It didn't help that the rain poured down on the lovely garden or that we had a wonderful guide who told it like it was but to me it seemed that Will and Anne's lust got the better of them and that house is full of sorrow.
We stayed in the Falcon Crest, very old and had afternoon tea at the Shakespeare. We saw A Mad World My Masters, a Jacobean play by Thomas Middleton which was wonderful and we had dinner at Oppo's and best of all I had my kid with me. Thanks, Will.

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