Thou crusty batch of nature…
Thou smell of mountain goat.
I was searching for a fool when I found you.

No one writes insults like Shakespeare! Very few people write anything like Shakespeare. He is the Immortal Bard, that rose by which any other name probably wouldn’t smell as sweet (although if you believe the conspiracy theorists, they would have you believe that Shakespeare isn’t the name of the author of all those plays). But whoever he is, that man is the ultimate master of the English language, the brilliant playwright who literally went from nothing to one of the richest and most well-known people of his time.

I won’t pretend to be a Shakespearean expert. I haven’t read (or seen) all of his plays, and I haven’t studied the linguistics of his writing. I can’t tell you if the conspiracy theories are true, that his plays were written by Marlowe or whoever else people claim to have written them. I can’t tell you which portrait of him is true, nor what clothes he wore. I can tell you, however, that I was able to visit the hometown of William Shakespeare, which is one thing people seem certain of.

William Shakespeare was born in the quaint little town of Stratford on the Avon river. His father was the mayor of the town, and also worked as a glove maker. His father made quite a bit of money, until he got into some risky business dealings and lost it all. Shakespeare married a girl named Anne Hathaway and had three children (two girls and a boy) before leaving for London to make his fortune. His first plan of action when he started making money? Pay off his father’s debts. Pretty soon though, Shakespeare was making over 200 pounds a year, and to put that in perspective, a teacher’s salary was 20 pounds a year. And that was enough to live comfortably.

I was able to visit three beautiful homes in Stratford that belonged to the Shakespeare family: the childhood home of William Shakespeare, and the homes of his daughter Susanna and his granddaughter Elizabeth. I don’t really think my words do these works of 16th century architecture justice, so here are some photos:

The home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna Hall.
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The home of Shakespeare’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Nash
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Shakespeare’s birthplace!!
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Of course, no British outing is complete without tea and scones.

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Gardens!!
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More gardens!!
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So in this completely tourist-y little town with more gift shops than cafes, how did I commemorate my visit? By buying a whole pack of magnets full of Shakespearean insults, of course! One never knows when they might be of use, at least for a good laugh on a gloomy day. I mean really, “Thou cream-faced loon. Where got’st that goose look?.” What on earth would you say to that??

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