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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

the further adventures of Nigel (Thursday and Friday)

Thursday was a day of recovery from the Bataan death march of a round trip to London on Wednesday. Nigel and I spent most of the day working in the wifi-enabled McKechnies coffeeshop, which is pretty boring for a Charity Pig. But in the evening we went to dinner at Lamb’s of Sheep Street with Bonnie as well as Martin and Ellen, who run the Adelphi Guest House, where we’re all staying. While there, we met Peter, a retired pig farmer:


Friday was a bit more exciting. We drove to Coventry — where Clive Owen is from! — to see the ruins of the cathedral that was famously bombed to bits by the Germans in 1940: The tower still stands:

And the walls still stand:

But only that shell remains. The cathedral became a symbol of peace and stuff when the people of Coventry officially forgave the Nazis, or something, and so the ruins have been maintained as ruins. (There’s a new cathedral right next door now, too.) And that’s why the ruins are being “repaired”:

There are all sorts of art and memorials and things around the inside of the still-standing walls, like this dead bishop, who predates the bombing and is holding a model of the church (and now Nigel, too):

This piece of art is fairly recently (1970s or 80s, if I remember correctly):

Outside the cathedral, we liked this sculpture, in otherwise depressingly industrial downtown Coventry, even if we didn’t know what it was meant to be:

But since it was near the Transport Museum, we figured they looked like propellers.

Oh, look! The Transport Museum is hosting that Doctor Who exhibition Bonnie and I saw in Cardiff last year!

More transportation wonders: In the car park, Nigel marvels at one of those weird English three-wheeled cars:

After we leave Coventry, we get a bit lost attempting to take the long scenic roundabout route back to Stratford, but Nigel is on the case:

Back in Stratford, we catch a few of the local sites, including Shakespeare’s birthplace:

And the Museum of Witchcraft and Wizardology (which I suspect wasn’t really a museum at all):

Then it was round to the Garrick Inn, the oldest pub in Stratford, for a meal and a pint of cider:

Nigel wants to tweet:

After the performance of Julius Caesar we attended, it was back to the Dirty Duck, of course:

With our new friend Rhian, a friend of Rosie and Janine’s (who came along for some of the trouble we all got into last week):

Also in the photo, though he doesn’t know it, is actor Sam Troughton (yes, grandson of Doctor Who No. 2 Patrick Troughton), right over Rhian’s left shoulder in the stripey shirt. He was Brutus in Julius Caesar, and he was awesome. (I’ll write about my reactions to the RSC productions soon.)

Nigel’s adventures continue…



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  • Lisa

    yeah Sam Troughton’s also in Robin Hood

    Meant to tell you – you can go and watch old videos of Tennant’s RSC perfromances in Shakespeare’s Birthplace – you may already now that – can I recommend Comedy of Errors?

  • Aww. Peter looks nice. Can I have him?

    Could someone explain to me why, in England, when you are not speaking to someone, you’re sending them to Coventry? Looks like a nice place to me!

  • RogerBW
  • Grinebiter

    Funny, I thought the Reliants had been banned as unsafe, as they had a tendency to roll in a high wind. Either I am thinking of a different car, or a different country.

    The picture of the birthplace inspires me to ask: are you at all into theories of whether Shakespeare wrote the plays or not? I myself am only mildly interested, have no particular axe to grind, but quite like Jasper Fforde’s take, which makes S. or whoever seem like a modern Hollywood hack recycling his formulaic rom-coms for the ruffs.

  • RogerBW

    Reliants haven’t been manufactured for a while and they’re fairly rare now, but they’re still entirely legal to use in the UK. When they’re raced, they do roll quite often, but they’re light enough that the driver can just get out and right them again.

  • nigel is a terrible navigator… we wound up in Solihull and back on the road to Coventry THREE times!

    also, have to tell you, Weimlady, that Peter is already taken for the last 25 years or so by the very nice and jolly Barbara…

  • @ Bronxbee–figures. All the good ones are! :D

  • Oh, and RogerBW–thanks.

    Sorry for the double post.

  • Jan Willem

    The idea that Shakespeare is not the real author developed relatively late, in the 19th century, and some alternative auteur advocates are downright loony. There’s an excellently researched – if rather big – and very amusing book about Shakespeare biographies and biographers through the ages, Shakespeare’s Lives by S. Schoenbaum. After reading this, I can’t take any of these conspiracy theories seriously…

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