I thought I would be able to update on here sooner than this, but I really have been terribly busy, and still am! I got back home from the UK in the evening of the 25th, and in the morning of the 27th I was off again. To Estonia this time where I was going with the choir that I’m in. So it was just a quick visit home, just enough time to throw a few things out of my suitcase and throw a few new things in and be off again. A few great days in Estonia and then back home and get started on re-arranging half the house and painting walls. So everything’s rather chaotic at home now, and soon I’m off again for a few days of traveling.
But I shouldn’t complain, I’m having a wonderful time really! 🙂
But back to what I was supposed to write about. My trip to Bath.
I arrived in Bath in the evening of the Friday the first day of the festival. Stepping off the train everything felt very familiar and in a way like ‘home’. I’ve been to Bath 6 times now (4 of those times for the festival) and it feels like I’m starting to get to know.
This year I was not going to stay at a grand house together with a whole big group of others, like I did the two previous years. Instead I would be staying at a B&B, but once again sharing with a group of other girls. It just makes it so much more fun staying together! And easier when you need assistance with buttoning up backs of dresses, doing your hair or tightening your corsets…
Next morning after a big breakfast it was time to get ready for the big day. Dressing for the promenade is always fun. This is one of the most (if not THE) important events of the festival, and so dressing with care for it is of course vital! 😉 I had made myself a new outfit for this years promenade, one that I confess I am very pleased with and which I shall do a more detailed post about further on.
All dressed up and ready we set off to the center of the city, to Queen’s Square where the promenade had its start this year. As always the sight on arriving, seeing all those hundreds of people dressed in costume gathered together, was very exciting. I do not know the exact number of participant in this years promenade, I heard different accounts ranging from 400 to 500, but it felt like it was bigger than ever!
The route we took this year was different from the previous times I have attended the festival. Instead of starting off outside the Pump Room and making our way to the Royal Crescent as has been the tradition this year we, as I said, started off in Queen’s Square and ended up in the Parade Gardens. And what was also a first for this year was that the trafic on Milsom Street (for anyone not familiar with Bath Milsom Street is the big shopping street in the center of the city) was completely closed off for us, so we could promenade right down the middle of the street!
Gathered together in Queen’s Square
And off we go! A long line of promenaders making their way through Bath
Walking down Milsom Street
The ‘paparazzi’… always an experience walking through the streets lined with tourists equipped with cameras snapping away 😉
These paparazzi at least seem to be interested in Jane Austen!
3 lovely ladies (Joanna, Isable and Claire) and 3 beautiful Spencers
Where the promenade ended, Parade Gardens
A fine looking group of soldiers
Me in my new outfit
Scott and Joanna, and in the backgroud you can see part of the big audience we all had!
I love this picture!
Andrew and me
I always think this promenade is such fun, it’s the time when you meet so many people, when everyone (nearly at least) there for the festival participates in the same event, and even after the actual promenade is over all day when you walk around the city everywhere you spot people in top hats or bonnets walking around, sitting at cafes or restaurants or going shopping. And even if you don’t know them, if you’ve never met them and have no idea who they are you feel a kind of connection to them. This is not limited to only this day, but throughout the whole festival whenever you see someone else in costume you instantly react, greet them and make some passing remark as you meet each other in the street. Because it doesn’t matter that you don’t know them, you know instantly from seeing the way they are dressed that there is at least something you have in common! It’s quite a wonderful thing actually!
After the promenade there is the traditional ‘Festival Fayre’ to attend where it is possible to find a lot of nice things to spend your money on…! Books, accessories, costumes and other very tempting things make up this nice little fair.
In the same room where the fair was held, the big beautiful room in the Guildhall, there was a theatre performance the same evening. It was a performance of a play entitled “The way to keep him”, and it was a play that Jane Austen herself apparently went to see back in her days! Of course this fact was highly in the plays favor!
My opinion of the actual play was a bit divided. The room was large and with no microphones the actors were difficult to be heard at times, and the dialogue was far from easy to follow (and I must point out that I was not the only one who thought so, so it can’t be blamed on me not having English as my first language!)! Half way through the play my friend Isabel and I were not overly entusiastic about it, but after having seen the whole show our opinion of it improved. So my final verdict would be that it was really a good play and I was glad I went to see it. But the actors were hard to hear at times and the dialogue was hard to follow. But maybe that’s what plays used to be like back then? I don’t know, I’ve never been to one like this before.
I didn’t manage to get many good pictures from the performance, this was the best I had…
So that was day one of a a very busy week! More to follow soon 🙂