In 3 weeks time the new Swan company will quite literally replace us in our beds. Here are some nuggets gathered over the last 6 months I wish to pass on.
Eat the bacon butties from Box Brownie. They taste MUCH better than they look. They are the perfect bacon buttie.
Brunch at Boston Tea Party. Find a sofa on show call days, take your computer and feel like you are doing important life admin/line learning/imdb trawling.
Revital health food shop on Church Street sells rye bread.
Get a picnic from Marks and Spencer and eat it by the river. Not a groundbreaking new idea but one of the best.
Mandia on Church Street does top notch tapas, Giggling Squid has a cheap and delicious lunch menu. The Church Street Townhouse has a very nice pregnant bar manager who will serve you a mean fish finger sandwich and chips most times of the day. The Encore has fruity pancakes on their breakfast menu that destroy a hangover.
The canteen staff in the Green Room will save your life on various occasions. Make friends.
Go to other pubs apart from the Dirty Duck or you will end up hating it. It's hard when everything shuts so early but get to the Keys and Kitchen or One Elm as much as you can, they have great vibes and sun trap gardens. The Weatherspoon's (the Bee) actually isn't that bad for a post midnight drink if you go to the tables at the back where the lights are less bright. Still bright, but less bright.
Run along the Greenway, you are suddenly running through the beautiful rolling countryside. Wild swim at the Stour. It's after the second bridge along the Greenway. It's glorious.
Sign up to the gym and do all the classes. Body combat is good if you want to sweat and you think you would enjoy a highly strung exercise teacher shouting at you to imagine punching your ex's face over and over again. Get to the classes on time though. They won't let you in after the class has started and you may find yourself letting out your rage you had reserved for your ex on the girl just doing her job at the desk because the computer says no.
There's a 5k walk though a fairy forest. Walk away from the bridge at Avonside on the other side of the river. Go up through the trees where magic definitely happens, drop down through the sweeping fields and cross the river back to town after the first bridge. It takes an hour and it frees your soul.
Do a whip round the women's department of Marks and Spencer's every now and again. The trendy clothes don't get bought here so you can snap up some good Alexa Chung vibes. The charity shops have some beauties in them even if the prices are a bit dear. The antiques arcade has some right quirky treasures in it. Get rummaging. Never underestimate the joy of internet shopping. Order boring or cheap things just to have something waiting for you at stage door. Blitz online sales. They work as a fantastically uplifting pigeon hole present for oneself.
Unleash yourself on the Bullring in Birmingham for some heart-racing, shiny, capitalist choice. Eat at the Yo Sushi at the entrance and have your mind instantly blown with the choice you didn't even realise you were being denied.
Leamington has TALL buildings and better, cheaper charity shops. Charlecote has a cute garden centre with a jungle of flowers and a cafe at the back. Bourton-on-the-Water has a model village. Weird but cool.
If you can handle the dark side of small town life, the last place to get a drink on the weekend is Kazbar but last entry is 3am. Make sure you are in by then or else you may end up waiting outside in the hope they let you in, smoking when you don't smoke, people-watching some mind boggling characters and questioning every life choice you ever made that has brought you to this point.
Don't walk along Henley Street at the height of cabin fever. The hoards of tourists blocking your way taking photographs will only make you feel worse.
When the sun is out the river can do no wrong. Sit down on the grass or a bench for a minute and enjoy the ridiculousness of the picturesqueness.
There are some great conversations to be had with the elderly folk round town. Zeus has made this possible on our early morning strolls and it has shamed my prejudice that all old people here are Brexiteers. I have enjoyed guffawing away to the dirty jokes in Ab Fab at the cinema 'silver screenings' and I would like to say a huge thank you to the elderly lady who pressed this tote bag into my hand as I passed with Zeus and then walked off without a word, just a wave and a smile. You made my day. Perhaps even my stay here.
And then there's the RSC itself. I mean, it's huge. The theatres are astoundingly beautiful, the people incredibly nice. It's full of thousands of people making theatre, seeing theatre, buying fridge magnets about theatre, passionate about the theatre we are a part of here.
I am jealous of you new Swan company. I am relieved to have survived the season. I hope you do too. Right now I'm going to rinse this town for everything it's got in our last push. And perhaps leave one of you an encouraging note under my mattress.