Today we took the train (about 70 minutes, £16.80) up to Birmingham airport and rented a car for the next 26 days. This will take us through our current pet-sit, a four-day inter-sit period, the next sit, and another three-day interval before we arrive in west London, where we know a car will not be a desirable thing.
On the way back to Stratford, we drove out to the Mary Arden farm in the village of Wilmcote, about 3 miles outside of Stratford. Mary was born there in 1537, the youngest of 8 daughters.
Mary’s family were considered a wealthy farming family. John’s family was one of their tenant farmers. But John was a clever businessman and a glove marker. He had managed to purchased a house (Shakepeare’s birth place) in the town of Stratford on Avon before they married. John Shakespeare and Mary Arden were married in 1557 when she was 20 years old. They had eight children together, including the eldest son William Shakespeare, the playwright.
The good news for us is that the Arden’s family farm and home was lived in until 1930 when the The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust purchased it .
Today, the Trust keeps it and the Palmer’s farm ( the close neighbor’s farm) as a working Tudor farm. The farm keeps many rare breeds of animals including this black and pink pig who can jump over fences when he feels like it.He and a pal did this while we were watching. It was pretty amazing and not very graceful . A beautiful white farm horse. A plucky goat who was willing to do almost anything for food. But the real show was the birds of prey show that was performed by the master of the falconry and his precious bird friends. Here he is with one of the majestic birds.These birds are well cared for and beautiful. Here is a barn owl. And here is my favorite, a big eagle owl named Wesley. It was just my kind of a fun day of history and wonderful animals. We may have to go back because the long horned cow was supposed to give birth tonight and I would love to see a new calf.