>Stonehenge, Bath, Shakespeare’s Home


The cottage at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Matthew and I bought paninis and he bought a cheese and onion pasty at Victoria station. Paul the hairy-eared Irish tour guide took the head count and yelled at us for having “malodorous” food and was stern about speaking loudly but he was pleased that we were attentive to his Stonehenge and Bath lectures and softened and befriended us by day’s end.

Stonehenge’s sky was low and the rolling green plain spread before the north wind. There was a sense of the sacred and the artistic and the epic and the journeying nature of primitive man in the 5,000 year old megaton stones. The audio guide had a quote from the last lines of classic literature master Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles describing the sullen stones. It is silly to go to world famous sites and pose in front of them so I decided to turn this idea on its head – literally (photos on Facebook to come).

The Georgian architecture of Bath surrounded us as we spotted the locals. Matthew sought out dogs and an old couple warned him that their grey Jack Russell bit but he thought it would not and we all had a laugh when the animal snapped at his too-close fingers.

Then the Bard’s home and O my brothers it was like a Meccan pilgrimmage. The Tudor cottage was still intact after years of refurbishment and Matty asked a young blonde guide whether Shakespeare had written all his plays. She said we know that he didn’t write all of the later stuff including Henry VIII and I interjected – but no one reads that play anyway – and she said but we know he wrote all of the major works, i.e. Hamlet, of which the soliloquies alone are enough to guarantee a man eternal fame. And she mentioned how he took these stories from sources and reinvented them and we said yes, interesting how art is all about borrowing and reinvention and this reminds me of a certain post postmodern blog.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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