Some people go on vacations. Some people go on staycations. I prefer to wander. Not completely wander without a destination in mind, or a place to lay my head at night. But I do enjoy unwinding in a sort of mixed pattern of wander-for-a-bit, rest-for-a-bit. And lucky me, I have a trusted friend (Sandra) and a lovely mother (Mary Lou) who like to do the same thing.
Wandering with Mum
My visits with mum consist of a bit of duty-visiting with my relatives from back home, a visit to Stratford Shakespeare Festival to see some plays (awesome!), and me trying to keep up with my very in shape and healthy mother.
I’m not kidding about my mother. A bunch of years ago, I’m thinking maybe fifteen, my mother took up Tai Chi. She loved it and did so well she decided to share her knowledge. She started out with just a few people at first. Fast forward to now. Her students are leading their own classes and Tai Chi has spread and grown in her little town improving the health and well being of everyone.
But that’s not all she does. Three years ago she started up with a very excellent Fitness Trainer. Again dedication has paid off. She has the strength and gait of a twenty-year-old.
Me? Not so much.
The reason? Excuses and time constraints. Yep. That about sums it up. I’m not going to detail all of the excuses or time constraints for you. Mine are just like everyone else’s. It wouldn’t take much imagination to figure them out.
I noticed something this year. My kids are older. I actually have time once again. So with all the determination of a new year’s resolution before the fall, I have decided to pick up weight training once again. I did it when I was young before the kids . . . so . . .yeah . . . I know what I’m doing. At least I’m pretty sure I do.
Anyway here are some pics of Stratford, a place I absolutely love and home of the famous Stratford Shakespeare Festival and Avon Theatre. You’ll also see some signs that I thought were interesting. As a writer I’m always interested in names and signs. Some people put a lot of thought into them.
We saw two plays: As You Like it (Festival Theatre); and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Avon Theatre).
'AS YOU LIKE IT' at the Festival Theatre
I couldn’t get you any pictures of the actors as it is frowned upon to take pictures during a performance but I did snap an awesome picture of the Stratford Festival’s famous THRUST STAGE.
And to think the first season of Stratford Festival, in 1953, was performed UNDER A TENT!
It was Tyrone Guthrie’s idea to build a THRUST stage with the intent of recreating the actor-audience closeness of Shakespeare’s time.
Even before I decided to become a writer I have always loved stories. In any media whether it be through books, poems, movies, art, or plays. The first time I went to Stratford was when I was eight years old. I was hooked immediately! There is something special about live theatre.
This year’s production of ‘As You Like It’ did not disappoint. It always amazes me how each year they strive to put a fresh take on each play and it’s always good. For this show ‘As You Like It’ was set in 1980’s Newfoundland with lively music, dance and audience participation. It was a delight!
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Front entrance and balcony above.
‘THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE’ at the Avon Theatre.
Again, I could not take pictures during the performance but I did snap a few pics before and during intermission.
As before, live theatre did not disappoint. I was pulled in immediately and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
History Bit: The Avon Theatre used to be a vaudeville theatre many years ago!
The Avon Theatre.
After the plays . . . we wandered.
Me at the Theatre store. I did not get the mask. Where would I wear it? But I did get a few t-shirts.
One for my husband and one for me. That is the t-shirt and an accompanying booklet telling you which play each symbol comes from. I didn’t have to get the booklet but I found it very cute and I loved her explanations so I got it anyway.
Follow @stratfest and share your selfie! This sign was on the mirror in the Theatre store. What a good idea!
The geese and swans on the Avon river. A regular thing in Stratford. They actually bring the swans in for the winter and take care of them. Swans can live up to 20 or 30 years.
In the spring the Swans are released to Lake Victoria and the Avon River. The actual release is a town event called “March of the Swans”. People line up on either side of the street to watch the Swans as they waddle down the road. Directly behind them a group of bagpipe players follow pumping out a mighty sound that is both regal and captivating. TOTALLY WORTH THE WATCH!
Now that we’re all smiling . . . here are a few more pics and then we move on to more wandering.
Yep, I was ‘thatclose’ to this guy. He seemed to take it all in stride. I really think he posed for me here. He actually waited for me to finish taking his picture before he moved.
Genius name! See what I mean about signs?
Another beauty. Any person who willing and confidently advertises to rid your pet of skunk spray or fleas can be trusted with all else. Enough said.
Minstrels of all kinds can be found outside any one of the four theatres in Stratford.
Stratford even has it’s own mini ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ in front of the Avon Theatre. It’s not as large as ‘Canada’s Walk of Fame’ in Toronto but it’s still fun to see.
Remember Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars trilogy? Yep, that’s him.
Not only was he in the Festival’s first play he also spoke the first lines of the first play produced in Stratford, Shakespeare’s Richard III.
Or better known as any one of the following: Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek; T. J. Hooker; the “Big Giant Head” in 3rd Rock from the Sun; Denny Crane from Boston Legal. And a host of other roles too numerous to list.
Wandering with Mum and Sandra at the Sunfest
I love to go to fairs. There is so much going on. Food vendors. Tents full of merchandise. Live bands playing on and off all day. Sunshine. Warm breezes. People to watch. Dogs to pet.
My mum accompanied my friend Sandra and I to the Sunfest in London, Ontario (that’s in Canada for my American friends). I was in heaven. We wandered for at least four hours. As I’ve said before my definition of wandering is: walk a bit; rest a bit; walk a bit; eat and drink something; walk a bit; rest a bit. It’s a pattern I would recommend to anyone. You don’t get too tired. You see everything. And you enjoy the day.
Yummy treats and savory foods.
My mum. I told you she’s IN shape. It’s all that Tai Chi and weight training. Don’t let that skinny looking figure fool you. She’s as strong as an ox. The woman can do 60 pound reps.
Tents of clothing were everywhere. Also in this picture: the back of my friend Sandra. She always dresses well. And you can see her owl yin yang tattoo peeking out from under the lace of her top.
I took hundreds of pics. Too many to put up here. So I’ve selected a few to show the variety of merchandise.
Very cool, handcrafted wind instruments.
Hand carved masks
Owls statues carved out of wood. Just love them. The owl is one of my spirit animals and my friend Sandra’s too.
More fantastic carvings.
Sandra looked at this ‘Tree of Life’ carving and fell in love with it. She called me over to take a picture of it. Then when I was snapping pics of other items she said, “I’m going to get it.” And she did. It now hangs on the wall of her bedroom above the head of her bed.
And then we happened upon a tent that appealed to the fantasy writer in me--The Fairies Pyjamas!
What stopped me in my tracks was this manikin all dressed up in her woodland garb.
How cool is that? Checkout the furry ears and the headband jewelry. Since I love anything to do with fantasy (fairies, witches, elves, etc.) I HAD to go in.
The woman who runs ‘The Fairies Pyjamas’ was a delight. She was dressed in full on fairy garb.
She was such a good sport letting me snap picture after picture.
Then my friend got in on the act and started trying on clothing. I got the two of them to pose for me.
Don't they look awesome! We had such a blast.
This lovely lady kept bring things out for my friend to try on. One of the items that we both really loved were the hooded cloaks.
Sandra is modeling it here.
The Fairies Pyjamas is an online store with associate stores in different cities who carry their clothing. If you don’t have a store in your area that carries these gems you can order and purchase your items online at http://www.thefairiespyjamas.com/
Clothing options are for men, women, fairies, pixies, elves and wizards. Sizes range from XS to XL and some plus sizes up to 4X. Awesome stuff for fun, cosplay or everyday.
Contact info: Just in case any of you want to get your fairy fix on. :)
We saw Henna Tattoo tents everywhere. So we had to indulge.
Sandra got a butterfly because she resonates with them.
I got a dragon. I was looking at a fairy pic but when I saw the dragon it really pulled me in.
I also picked up some sage so that I could learn how to smudge. I was lucky to find a vendor who creates his smudge sticks in the old fashioned way—with prayers.
I chose the one wrapped in purple string because it appealed to me. My friend reminded me that purple is the color of the Crown Chakra. It represents spiritual fulfillment, creativity, awareness and wisdom.
Spirit Earth Holistics Inc., actually sell natural products and he just happened to have some sage there as well as their shampoos, lotions, salves, bath salts and deodorants. My friend loves their deodorants as they don’t leave a burn or irritation mark on her skin as regular store bought deodorants do. I’ve tried their bath salts and they are just heaven to soak in.
Well, that's about it for this blog. I will have more summer wanderings in my next blog. Hope y'all had an awesome summer and did some wandering of your own.
Until next time,
Kay Latour :)
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Kay Latour -> Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Author of WITCH ON PAROLE series.