blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

With our flying friends to Stratford

With four of our friends, we spent the Easter weekend in Stratford. We've been to Stratford before, each time getting there in our own 'planes; the last time was in 2005 when we witnessed William Hutt's extraordinary farewell performance as Prospero in The Tempest. Mr Hutt has died since. A bridge across the lake in Stratford is named after him.

When we took off on Friday there wasn't a cloud in the sky all the way to our destination, but windy conditions made the air turbulent over the hilly areas and even at 8000ft asl the Cherokee we were flying ("Yankee Sierra Zulu") wallowed rather in the invisible, long, smooth waves. We flew along a new IFR route (T616) north of the Toronto airspace, skirting the southern edge of Lake Simcoe, before being allowed to change our heading towards the airport known as Stratford Muni. Our Flight Plan was very simple: Direct YOW T616 ARTHR Direct. A clump of trees displaced the threshold of Runway 35 which was long enough but disconcertingly narrow in the gusty conditions. Never mind; our three pilots landed safely and had time to inspect the small scale Herc parked on the ramp.
Wellington Street, Stratford

Carol with me and her new suitcase
Carol had booked rooms for us at the Best Western "Historic Inn and Suites" on Wellington Street. From there we could walk to everything of interest including the Samsonite luggage factory and outlet on Ontario Street, where next morning Carol bought a new suitcase that she trundled 3km back to the hotel through the streets and parks. We kept stopping to admire Stratford's Foursquare, Edwardian houses and their gardens, where the flowers were half a month ahead of those in Ottawa, and the swans, geese and ducks on Lake Victoria. We had missed the famous Swan Parade––when the swans are released from their winter incarceration and led down to the lake––by only one week. (Timothy Findley described this annual ritual at the end of his last novel, Spadework.)

We're missing the start of the Stratford Festival too, which will be next week. The town is relatively quiet and uncrowded until then, so we had no trouble finding a table for supper at Fellini's (lavishly decorated with film stills and posters) on Friday or Bentley's on Saturday. Features for breakfast was a different story with a 20 minute wait for a table there: good food, though, eventually.

The weather stayed so fine that some of us were sunburned. Stratford is a pleasant town to stroll around, its original prosperity, so Carol tells me, coming from agriculture and furniture production. The Shakespearean theatre festival wasn't established until the 1950s, but that's what gives the town its fame, wealth and character now, with references to Shakespeare all over the place.

"The Parlour" where we spent 2 nights (professional photo)
All the acting we saw, I'm afraid, was on TV in the sitting room of the suite shared by four of us where we watched some of The Ten Commandments (1956, and not originally meant to be so funny) with Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner and company, interspersed with adverts for osteoporosis medications, mobility aids for the arthritic, hospice care and fast cars. Anyway we enjoyed the scene with the Burning Bush and its Voice of God (spoken in a deep bass with an English accent) and its aftermath, where Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai shocking his family with a brand new hairstyle and turns his staff into a mighty powerful serpent at the Pharoah's court. After that we chose to retire to bed.

The return flight, from grey skies over Perth County into sunshine again north of Toronto, was far less choppy until the last half hour as we descended towards Rockcliffe, homing in for another crosswind landing but a successful return. This time Chris was flying VFR like the others to avoid having to take the preferred, new IFR route that transits the Toronto area right across the middle of Lake Ontario.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything surprising about God speaking with an English accent. How else would he speak?