Bath part 6 – Dancing and playing games

Finally on the Thursday it was time for some dancing! There really is something special about dancing, it’s fun and makes you feel good!

This event was called “As danced in 1812” and it was the Jane Austen Dancers of Bath who taught this workshop. They did a similar workshop last year which I attended and which was very fun, if terribly, terribly hot due to the fact that it was then held in a far too small room (for the number of people who were attending) in the basement of an old church. The ventilation in this room was rubbish and consequently it was very hot. This year however we were dancing in a lovely room in the Guildhall, much better!

It was good to be dancing again, and the atmosphere in the room was great as everyone seemed to be having such fun and really enjoying themselves. It did of course get rather warm in this room too, but a little break where you could go out on the steps of the building and get some fresh air (and be stared at by all the people passing by) and a few refreshments kept you going just fine. A plate of biscuits conveniently located just next to where I was dancing meant both me and my partner could steal a few now and then as we were passing by during the dance… 😉 (Alas I have no pictures of the dance as I was too busy dancing to take any)

Going back to the B&B for a little rest and a change of clothes it was then soon time to be off again, to the Jane Austen Center for an evening of games. “A noisy game of lottery tickets” was the title of this event, and noisy certainly was a suitable word! As we stepped into the room at the top floor (what is usually the tea rooms) where tables were set out with games of all sorts laid out on them the noise level was pretty high with people chatting and laughing all around. So what this event was was an evening of many different games that would have been popular during the time Jane Austen lived, games such as whist, loo, lottery tickets, teetotum as well as those that require more physical movement such as badminton (not sure that’s what it was called back then..), ring throwing (most probably officially called something else..) and so on.

I will admit that I’m not usually much for games. Every now and then I like to play something, but it’s definitely not a big interest of mine. So I wasn’t initially going to go to this event, I only ended up doing so because a friend who couldn’t go had a ticket and very kindly gave it to me.


Playing the game of “Loo”

Here playing “lottery tickets”

What these ladies are playing I have no clue of, since the sign unfortunately is turned the other way… 😛

And over all the players Mr Darcy kept his watchful eye from his position of honor on the wall

It was a lovely event! I didn’t get the chance to try out so many of the different games, I mostly played the, if I’m honest, not so exciting game of teetotum which I think my brother would not much approve of simply because this game is 100% luck and 0% strategy. But playing with good friends whom I haven’t seen for a year, gossiping and eating cakes (which a kind and attentive gentleman continously brought to our table) made it very entertaining and pleasant. Trying every tactic we could think of to attempt stealing the marbles we were playing with from each other (these tactics mostly included distracting the other players and the use of fans…) made it ever so much more amusing and exciting.

The game did last pretty much forever though and in the end we did get slightly bored and I had to content myself with almost winning since we all wanted to have a go at some of the other games.

Me, Marit, Myrrhis and Marloes playing our never ending game of teetotum (picture by Judith van Amelsvoort)

Lovely Ali who volunteers for the Jane Austen festival

Some form of Regency era table-bowling?

This was something I was actually rather excited to try, since I’ve heard about it quite a few times but never had a chance to try it before.

“Cup & Ball”

Me and Claire trying it out. It’s not easy!! 

Me trying the ring throwing thing. I can at least say I didn’t miss ALL of them… 

Me and Claire playing badminton. We had so much fun, but were rather a menace to the other people in the room… (picture belongs to Claire Violet Hanley)

It was a really lovely and fun evening, with lots of laughter and giggling. A definite highlight was when it was almost time to go home and some people had gathered around the piano (a rather modern looking piano I have to say) and were singing some songs. More and more people started to gather around and the whole thing ended with someone bursting out singing “Rule Britannia”, before long everyone joined in! We sang verse after verse (some people knew it better than others, but we could all join in on the chorus at least) and even if I’m not British myself I couldn’t help but feel rather patriotic anyway!

Here is a youtube video of it. It doesn’t sound perfect here, somewhat more impressing in real life, standing in the midst of it singing at the top of your voice together with everyone else (in costume!! Why does everything become so much more fun when it’s done in costume?) was an experience! (youtube video thanks to Judith van Amelsvoort)

Coming up after this post will be the balls. So keep an eye out for that in the coming week 🙂

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