I would not wish any companion in the world but you…
A post close to my heart, sharing my own love story, getting engaged in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon.
When you think of a weekend break you tend to think of warmer climates or bustling around an exciting city, taking in different cultures. Us Brits often take our own beautiful countryside for granted, myself included, choosing to visit other countries rather than spending a weekend in the U.K, where let’s face it we cannot guarantee the weather will be on our side.
One place in the U.K that is a firm favourite of mine is Stratford-upon-Avon and since our seven year anniversary (eight years prior), Adam and I try to go once or twice a year.
What’s not to love about Stratford, it’s quintessentially British and is heaped in culture. The birthplace of William Shakespeare with beautiful Tudor architecture and not only that, it is less than an hour and a half’s drive from Milton Keynes.
With the promise of a warm weekend, Adam suggested we take our picnic hamper, filled with our favourite M&S snacks to Stratford-upon-Avon for the day and soak up the sunshine in the picturesque gardens.
We got the bunnies organised in their hutch and observed two Robins in the garden, which always reminds me of my Nanny & Grandad. It was going to be a good day, I could feel it.
The setting couldn’t have been any more beautiful for a picnic, with our blanket spread out and surrounded by an array of flowers and statues of Shakespearian characters.
The hours drifted by as we enjoyed some drinks and tucked into our M&S picnic. As with any sunny day in Stratford, the town was filled with hordes of tourists, but that didn’t bother us while we were basking in the sunshine and enjoying each other’s company.
In keeping with the tone of our romantic day, we decided to take one of the rowboats out on the River Avon (£12 for the two of us). It brought back memories of going on the rowboats for our seven year anniversary eight years earlier ( fresh-faced Adam shown below…)
The sun was setting as Adam rowed the boat along the water and with it being fairly late in the day, we pretty much found ourselves alone out on the river.
Adam rowed the boat to a halt close to a willow tree and to my bewilderment slipped a ring out of his pocket. I was stunned as my man of fifteen years asked me to marry him.
Of course, I said yes, but I honestly couldn’t believe it. When you’ve dated as long as we have, visited the Caribbean for our ten year anniversary, New York the year after, you can understand why I hadn’t anticipated a proposal fifteen years into our relationship.
Elated, though the sheer shock prevented any tears of happiness as I was (and still am) so stunned. Anyone who knows me knows that I literally cry at anything, therefore it’s a given the tears will come out at some point!
We got engaged in one of the prettiest towns, the birthplace of the most popular playwright in England and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was on cloud nine as we glided along the water surrounded by paired swans, baby ducks and watched my diamond ring glisten in the light of the setting sun.
It was perfect and we couldn’t stop smiling. We paid £10 to go on the big wheel, which looked like a smaller version of the London Eye and smooched our way around like lovesick teenagers.
After milling around for a while, holding hands and getting pictures of my ring sparkling in the twilight, we went to The Opposition, located on Sheep Street for a meal.
Sheep Street has the best restaurants with pre/after theatre offers to serve the most delicious food, many in original sixteenth-century buildings.
Coincidently, The Opposition or Oppo as we call it was the first restaurant we dined in at Stratford-upon-Avon when we visited for our seven year anniversary, therefore, it was lovely to go back and spend the day exactly as we had eight years before.
We had some bubbles, though found all the excitement had affected our appetites. I chose Monkfish wrapped in Parma ham, which was the perfect choice not being too heavy.
I love monkfish, it’s a real meaty fish and it tasted great with the salty-sweet taste of the parma ham. Definitely a recipe I want to try at home. Adam had the Pork Fillet & Slow Roasted Pork Belly, which had a crispy crackling top and this tasted delicious with the sweetness of the pork.
We had both decided against puddings until we saw the raspberry and rhubarb Eton Mess. Eton Mess is my favourite summer pudding and we’d only regret not getting it, so we decided to share.
The Eton Mess and beautiful setting of The Oppo restaurant provided the sweetest ending to our day in Stratford-upon-Avon.
It was amazing to spend the day as we had eight years before, transcending the years back to the early days of our relationship.
Stratford-upon-Avon is one of those places that takes you back in time and really is one of the most beautiful areas in England. It will always have my heart as it now holds our love story as well as those written by its famous resident William Shakespeare.
As Adam and I walked hand in hand back to the car, we left with the memories of the day, which had truly been perfect.
I hope you enjoyed reading my little love story 😘