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Avonian Willy 450 – part 4

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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014


For Mr and Mrs Eric Halvorsen of Toronto, Canada, their trip to England this summer produced a wealth of impressions they will always treasure.

Particularly memorable was ‘Shakespeare Country’ which included a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of the Bard.

-I just had no idea it was so small, says Mr Halvorsen.

-He almost had to bend double to get in the front door to Ann Hathaway’s Cottage!

Mrs Halvorsen laughs as she recalls her husband’s discomfort.

-What we found out, continues Mr Halvorsen, was that in those times people were a whole lot shorter than they are now, by anything up to a foot. That explains the size of the houses. And I’m only six-foot-two!

In one of Stratford’s many shops selling Shakespeare souvenirs, the Halvorsens bought a cotton table-cloth  printed with scenes and quotations from the most famous plays.

-We use it for when we drink tea, Mrs Halvorsen confides. It makes for a sort of old English atmosphere. It brings it all back to us.

As part of  ‘Shakespeare Country’ the Halvorsens spent the evening watching The Royal Shakespeare Company perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

-That night was the highlight of our trip, enthuses Mr Halvorsen. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw.

-And heard! adds Mrs Halvorsen.

-And heard, her husband agrees. The way those actors spoke those words… Shakespeare really is the English language at its best. There’s no more beautiful language in the world.

-And Eric of course has a little Norwegian, from his father.

-I don’t get a chance to speak it very often, though. But this – this was something else…

Asked if they would like to return some day, Mr Halvorsen does not hesitate.

-Oh yes, no question about it!

Mrs Halvorsen has a particular reason to want to revisit ‘Shakespeare Country’. She gets a dreamy look in her eyes.

-I always wanted to see ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Unfortunately it wasn’t showing this time. But that’s what I’d really go for. ‘Romeo and Juliet’…

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