Away from the tourist honeypots- meaning the theatre and the birthplace- it's a surprisingly sleepy town out of season. We went into a tea shop off the main drag a little after four and it was on the point of closing. The recession is hitting here as everywhere. A couple of ladies in a health food shop were grouching about the high street businesses that are going under. A clothes shop across the road had shut its doors for the last time the day before. They agreed to blame internet shopping. "Technology has sold us down the river," said one of them. I demurred, inwardly.
Did you know Barrett's the shoe people had gone bust? I didn't. That's almost as iconic a loss as Woolworths.
We keep not visiting the birthplace. I assume it's a frost. I take the line that if you want to know more about Shakespeare you're better off picking up a book- preferably one of the ones he wrote himself.
We bought chips for tea and ate them down by the canal basin, sharing them with the pigeons and ducks. Outside the public toilet is where the youth of the town gather of an evening, with their footballs and skateboards. The meanest looking youth- the one in charge- ordered his cohorts out of the way of Ailz's wheelchair- which just goes to show you shouldn't judge by appearances.