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Showing posts from August, 2009

The Assembly Rooms at Lyme

Here I am standing in front of the spot where the former Assembly Rooms at Lyme stood. Very sadly, they were demolished in 1927 to make way for the car park - a move I am not sure I shall ever forgive the council of the time for making. Fortunately, we have a lovely description left by the writer Constance Hill in her book, Jane Austen, Her Homes and her friends. This delightful book can be perused online and has wonderful illustrations by Constance's sister Ellen. Constance is writing about Lyme around 1900, the book was first published in 1901 after the sisters made a tour of all the places of interest connected with Jane Austen: At the town end of this "Walk" some thatched cottages nestle under the sheltering hill, and just beyond them stand the Assembly Rooms perched upon the eastern promontory of the bay. The scene in its principal features is the same as in Miss Austen's day; a sea wall being the only marked addition. A stretch of firm sands, lying between the

Eloping with Lydia Bennet and Mr Wickham!

If we are lucky, August is a time for holidays! In Regency times Brighton was a very popular and fashionable destination. Lydia is thrilled when she is invited by her friend Harriet to accompany the regiment to the seaside. Romances 'abroad' were just as likely then as they are now - Lydia falls hook, line and sinker for that most unsuitable of officers, the charming Mr Wickham who leads her completely astray... In this extract from Lydia Bennet's Story, we learn what happens when she decides to take the plunge and run away with the man of her dreams! She ran to her room, retrieved her bundle, and was about to go when she was taken by the idea that she could not disappear without leaving Harriet with a hint of where she had gone. She sat down at the desk in front of the window to compose her letter. As she reached for her pen and dipped the quill in the black ink, she was overwhelmed by a desire for mirth. She tried to steady her nerves, breathing the salt tang coming in o

On Weddings and Anniversaries!

Tomorrow is a very special day for me - my silver wedding anniversary! I thought it might be fun to post a few of Jane Austen's comments on the married state. As for me, 25 years have just flown by - I am so fortunate to have met and married and spent 25 years with the most wonderful man in the entire universe! Happy Anniversary Romanus! A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her, and can write a tolerable letter. Emma Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor - which is one very strong argument in favour of Matrimony... Letter to Fanny Knight, 1817 It was a very proper wedding. The bride was elegantly dressed - the two bridesmaids were duly inferior - her father gave her away - her mother stood with salts in her hand, expecting to be agitated - her aunt tried to cry - and the service was impressively read... Mansfield Park Till it does come, you know, we women never mean to have anybody. It is a thing of course among us

Prior Park - A Beautiful Palladian Bridge

When I go to Bath I love to go to Prior Park - we usually walk from the city centre climbing ever higher with the occasional stop to take in the surroundings. You don't have to go far before you feel as if you are almost in countryside. There are lovely walks here and spectacular views over the city of Bath. From the National Trust: One of only four Palladian bridges in the world can be crossed at Prior Park, which was created in the 18th century by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen, with advice from 'Capability' Brown and the poet Alexander Pope. The garden is set in a sweeping valley where visitors can enjoy magnificent views of Bath. Recent restoration of the 'Wilderness' has reinstated the Serpentine Lake, Cascade and Cabinet. A five-minute walk leads to the Bath Skyline, a six-mile circular route encompassing beautiful woodlands and meadows, an Iron Age hill fort, Roman settlements, 18th-century follies and spectacular views.