When Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s boatman Phil Marshall decided to ‘retire’ one of Stratford’s fleet of doubles, the call went out to local restaurants and pubs for a new home for Audrey, a beautiful wooden Sims built double: sadly Audrey was beyond repair after forty to fifty years of use at Stratford upon Avon but too beautiful just to demolish
Stratford upon Avon Boat Club name all their boats after ladies, sprites and spirits in Shakespeare’s plays: Audrey is ‘a homely and ignorant shepherd girl’ in ‘As You Like It’ and ‘a goatherd from the Forest of Arden’. She is also described ‘a country bumpkin-ette looking for love. When she’s not busy herding goats, she’s getting cozy with Touchstone!’ and also as ‘not particularly bright’! Audrey is also said to be ‘unlearned, honest, looks for honesty in others, does not consider herself good-looking, and is virtuous’.
After many offers to re-home Audrey, her ‘retirement’ home was found just a few metres away from Stratford Boat Club at The Boat House restaurant and her new colleagues from The Boat House joined with the boat repair crew at The Boat House restaurant to plan the operation. Commenting on the move, Phil Marshall said, “… and that’s when the fun began: moving a nearly ten metre double down the path from the Boat Club to The Boat House restaurant, through a window fifteen metres above the river and then onto the rafters in the restaurant!”
High level boat manoeuvring is not usually in the required skill set for chefs and boatmen but after much head-scratching and possibly the occasional expletive, the move was completed and Audrey settled into her new home in the rafters! Said Mat Faulkner, General Manager of The Boat House restaurant, “Audrey looks perfect in the rafters and will be a talking point for our diners: we’re very happy to have been able offer a new lease of life for Audrey now that her sculling days are over!”
For media coverage, see Stratford Herald front page and page fourteen and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-boat-club-rehomes-wooden-double-after-half-a-century-of-service