Janie and I talk about our short trip to Venice in December 1992 as the first holiday we took together, which is sort-of true.
But before that, only a couple of months after getting it together, we took in some theatre and dining on a long weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
My diary is not terribly helpful with the details:
In those days, bookings and arrangements would have been made by telephone, so there is no electronic trail to speak of. But I did save programmes and started retro-logging theatre visits a bit later in the 1990s. That, combined with our memories, gets us quite a long way towards remembering this trip, even as I write 25 years later.
29 October 1992
We drove up from London to Stratford-Upon-Avon, probably in quite good time (if Janie was already hopeless at packing she would have hidden this from me back then and been ready with her bags, even if had taken her hours to pack).
We would have driven up in Red Noddy, my (or I should say, at that time, still Binder Hamlyn’s) Honda Civic.
We checked in to The Shakespeare Hotel in Chapel Street and went to see a preview of The Changeling at The Swan – written up here – in the evening. We probably ate in Fatty Arbunkle’s that evening, one of the few places in Stratford that offered decent, Bistro-style food after theatre in those days. No photos from this trip, but Fatty’s (now long gone) looked like this wonderful watercolour from the outside. Inside were lots of pictures of silent movie stars, including Fatty Arbunkle himself, of course.
30 October 1992
I think we did a bit of gentle sightseeing during the day. Both of us had been to Stratford-Upon-Avon several times before, but neither of us had done much of the “Shakespeare trail” sightseeing stuff. So much so, that I recall we left some sightseeing stuff over for a future visit.
We weren’t going to the theatre this evening, so we booked a “top notch” place to eat; Lamb’s in Sheep Street. We had a very good meal on that visit and at the time of writing (October 2017) if TripAdvisor is to be believed it has become top notch again. But I do recall a subsequent visit (perhaps late 1990’s or more likely during the twenty-noughties) when the place was in dingy decline. Anyway, top notch it was for our first long weekend together.
31 October 1992
I think we chose to hold back on the sightseeing today (deferring to a future visit) to avoid the weekend crowds. So we mooched around and had a light lunch, ahead of a marathon effort to see a preview of Antony and Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, where Janie recalls we ate and drank in situ, before during and after the performance.
1 November 1992
We drove home. The diary suggests that we went to see NewsRevue at the Canal Cafe Theatre that evening. I suppose I was hopeful to see some of my stuff in the show and I don’t suppose I was disappointed at that time. It might have been Janie;s first visit, although we shall do some archaeology into Janie’s old diaries in the fullness of time. Janie’s diary appointment notes might reveal more details about her NewsRevue experiences and perhaps also about our very first long weekend away together in Stratford-Upon Avon.