My father's cousin N Kaka lives in Walsall with his family. He and his wife are a wonderful doctor couple, and they have three very nice, and I mean really very nice sons. The hospitality in their home is that excellent blend that makes you feel welcome and wanted, yet doesn't suffocate you with it. We visited them twice, once with my aunt and her family, and the second time, after S~ joined us, on our way to Scotland.
Music and conversation with a liberal dose of laughter and comfort - that is what I remember from both the visits, along with a hilarious encounter with the police. N Kaka shares both his name and some distinct personality traits with my father, and Puttachi, who dotes upon my father, took to N Kaka as if she'd known him all her life.
We visited Stratford-upon-Avon from there. It is a beautiful, but ordinary town, by English standards. The Avon river is lovely, and the town is all about Shakespeare. But of course.
My cousin V and I went into Shakespeare's house. It is like stepping into a book. The house has been furnished just like it was in Shakespeare's time, with some original furniture, and some replicas. A man dressed as Shakespeare's father talked to the visitors, giving us trivia and laughter. When we stood in the room in which Shakespeare was born, this man told us that people are very often overwhelmed there. Some weep, some hug, and many of them drop down on their knees and kiss the floor. Wow.
Another interesting thing in the house is a glass window where distinguished visitors have signed their names. There is a guide next to it, pointing to the interesting ones.
Excavations are happening at New Place, where Shakespeare lived later. They hope to find something nice - a lock of his hair or a handwritten manuscript.
A walk through the town, a small picnic on the banks of Avon, and we were ready to get back home.