My boyfriend and I took a detour past Anne Hathaway’s Cottage on the way home from a family event today. Run by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, it’s the childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife and young William would have gone there when he went a wooing.
If you haven’t been, it’s definitely worth a visit. Your ticket allows you entry to the house and gardens for the year, and if you lived locally then it would be worth going back frequently for the gardens alone, we arrived in the middle of the Sweet Pea Festival, which was beautiful but they have seasonal events throughout the year. There’s currently an exhibition of the language of flowers which talks about how Shakespeare used the hidden meaning of flowers in the play, though this seemed to be very much aimed at a school age audience (eg. when they talked about Ophelia handing out flowers to King Claudius’ court they didn’t mention that the rue Ophelia keeps for herself may be as an abortifacient as she is pregnant with Hamlet’s child).
I was especially excited to see the bed which may or may not be the second best bed that Shakespeare left to his wife in his will (as re-imagined in one of my favourite poems by Carol Ann Duffy) though apparently the teasel heads are used to discourage visitors from sitting on the bed rather than for any symbolic meaning, as related in this amusing video.
As much as I am looking forward to Christmas, once it’s over I miss the sunlight and the spring. I’m preparing for those dark winter months between Christmas and my garden sprouting for another year by preparing some book themed flowers in my house. I know that sounds a little crackers, but it’s all in the name. My flowers will have names which associate them with paper, books, stories… etc.
So far we have (sprouting) Amaryllis Novella and Narcissi Paperwhite… ta da!
Do you know of any plants with similarly bookish names? I am planning on making my garden a nature reserve but can see potential for extending a similar theme to my borders. William Shakespeare roses for example. I’d be really grateful for any suggestions and am willing to include fruit and veg.
I haven’t posted in a while and unfortunately, I’m doing it because I’ve got really sad news. This evening we had to have my best friend, Lettice the Rabbit, more commonly known as Rabbity put down as she had caught myxomatosis.
I know this isn’t my usual book or food related topic, but I thought that this was important news to share, as I had no idea that there is a massive outbreak of myxomatosis in the UK this summer, or that rabbits who aren’t in contact with wild animals can catch this. The vet tells me that this can be spread by insects such as fleas or mosquitoes. Even indoor rabbits aren’t safe. Rabbits can be vaccinated, and the vaccine should last a year, but they’ve had to euthanize animals who’ve had the booster as recently as six months ago, so if you have a rabbit please get it checked and vaccinated by your vet as soon as possible. I’m devastated to have lost my little friend, and I am hoping that by telling people I will be able to help keep their pets safe.
Please pass this message on to anyone you know who has a rabbit. Once they catch it there is nothing the vet can do to save them.
Rabbity Rabbit, you will be sorely missed. Who else will take as much interest in what I plant in the garden, cuddle me as I sunbathe and bite my ankles to let me know I’ve been reading too long and that it’s time to play?