Friday 25th May; Stratford
We awoke to the gentle sound of steady rain on the roof. I could hear a slight drip as I made the tea; water was dropping from the top of the window frame onto the dinette table. Opening the hopper stopped the water coming inside, but we’ll have to find out where the water is getting in. It is directly in line with a mushroom, which may or may not be a coincidence.
After Meg’s morning excursion there was no need to move. The forecast is not for heavy rain in the area so we will stay on the river today. But the weather didn’t stop everybody going about their normal business.
The rain lessened a bit and I had some shopping to do. I went via the theatre to see if I could get a ticket for King Lear tonight. Outside, under the shelter of the roof, a gent in costume was pretending to be Shakespeare and telling the tourists how he wrote a couple of the history plays (he sounded a bit dreary to me, I’d rather have the one in Shakespeare in Love, thank you very much).
And yes, I could get a ticket; a £60 seat in the stalls, at the standby price of £25! Great. I steamed my wet way round Sainsbury’s and M&S (the £10 dine in offer was on, blackcurrant profiteroles for pudding, yum!) and on my way back to the boat said goodbye to Cathy and Michael who were just setting off on their journey back to the hire base at Wootton Wawen. The rain had eased enough to take some pictures of the wonderful flowerbeds by the basin.
The pink and white one is Dicentra, also called Dutchman’s Breeches and Lady in the Bath, though you need to be quite close and turn a flower upside-down to see why.
In the afternoon Dave took Meg for her walk, visiting the Boathouse chandlery on the way, managing to get the red Toplac paint he needed for touching up the red handrails. They got quite wet though. I stayed inside, trying to get a photo of the blackbird in the rain collecting food for his babies in the nest nearby.
It was ages before I managed a snap at the very moment he turned with a worm in his beak.
We ate early as I had to leave before 7. Dave had decided this one wasn’t for him. The play was hard work – I didn’t really know more than the roughest outline of the story, and with a large number of the mostly male characters wearing black it was quite hard to tell them apart, especially as I didn’t really know anything about most of the characters or their allegiances. The excellent Anthony Sher was Lear. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it went on till 10.30!
As I walked back over the bridge, I could hear loud music from the café/bar near the bridge, and there were blue lights flashing along by the river. Trouble at the gig? No, groups of hi-vis clad people with super-strong torches were walking up and down on both sides of the river, looking for something in the water. Dave had returned from walking Meg an hour earlier and discovered what had happened from a passer-by; the police had been following someone along the other bank, but he jumped in the river to get away. There was a strong flow from the recent rain, he would have been fully clothed, and they were very concerned for his safety. Twice there was a knock on the roof, and Dave told two different officers what he had seen, which was nothing. They both took his name and the boat’s details. After the second knock it was midnight, so we went to bed hoping there would be no more. The search and rescue boat that had been going up and down for some time gave up a little while later, but the gig, or whatever it was, carried on noisily till 1.
The police search continued on Saturday morning, and there was no more information on the local paper’s website when we looked on Sunday. Sadly, in the end it was not good news. The poor man’s body was discovered in the early evening of 30th May by a police diver. The video online showed that the search had concluded opposite our mooring. It shows how dangerous rivers can be especially if you go in fully clothed.