Last post for this years Jane Austen Festival.
The Friday dawned and there was excitement in the air, the ball day had arrived! Last year, some of you may remember, the Farthingale ball in the Assembly Rooms was on the first day of the festival, the same day as the promenade, and then the masked ball in the Pump Room was towards the end of the week. This year they were both at the end of the week, one after the other.
On Friday evening first was the masked ball in the Pump Room. I really loved this ball last year so I had greatly been looking forward to going again this time. Just like last year first there was a reception by the Roman Baths. The Master of Cermonies announced everyone as they arrived (with some rather amusing twists on where people were from, to make it sound more appropriate for the time period we were in).
Much as I love the dancing and the beautiful ballroom I have to say what makes this particular ball special in my eyes is primarily this reception. To walk around by that ancient old pool, everything only lit up by torches, everyone dressed up in beautiful clothes and creative colorful masks, with Bath Abbey towering above you is a magical feeling. I love it!
Seeing Bath Abbey towering above certainly adds to the atmosphere!
I love Aylwen’s wonderful mask!
Me and Andrew
I love this picture, Jackie getting help having his shoes tied. Made me laugh
After about an hour spent there we were told to make our way to the ballroom, where the dancing soon commenced. After just a couple of dances though dinner was served and we all sat down to a rather lengthy, if very delicious, dinner. Comparing this ball with others I’ve been to now when I’ve had the chance to experience it twice, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is less dancing here than is usually the case. The dinner is finer than you often get at balls, and like I said the reception at the baths is magical, but there is definitely less dancing that “normally”. That said of course there is dancing, and very nice it is too! Lovely dances and a brilliant caller, who unfortuately didn’t seem to be having the greatest day this evening…
Ready to begin dancing
My table at dinner
Claire and me gossiping (photo by Owen Benson)
All too soon the last dance was announced, and after the Master of Cermonies had thanked us all for coming (and everyone had sung “happy birthday” to a gentleman present who happened to have his birthday this day) it was all over.
Getting back to the B&B I instantly collapsed on my bed, accompanied by a nasty cold that was just beginning to make it’s presence known.
Next day the cold was worse. A great deal worse. So bad that I even contemplated not going to the Assembly Room ball that evening. It is not like me to consider giving up a ball, and in the end I couldn’t bear to do so. I mean, I was in Bath, I had payed a small fortune for my ball ticket, I couldn’t just not go! So with a runny nose and a bad headache I made my way together with my friends to another beautiful venue.
Yes, we had alot of fun together…
…as I just said…
Isabel and Claire walking through that well-known passage into the Assembly Rooms (and looking rather splendid in the process I must say!)
I have to say I enjoyed this ball a great deal more than I had thought I would. Despite not feeling well I had a great time! I took it easy, sat and played cards for a while, stayed talking on the side during some of the dances rather than getting up and joining in, things I usually don’t do! I’m usually trying to dance as many dances as I possibly can during a ball, sitting and playing cards is completely out of the question!
So it was a new experience. And I had a lovely time. I did also dance quite a few of the dances, me and Isabel giggled our way down the set making everyone else laugh as we came near them. All great fun!
As I wasn’t dancing all the time for once I got some pictures of the dancers!
The ballroom is just too beautiful for words!
Me and Isabel having fun, as we usually do (photo Claire Violet Hanley)
Dinner here was very nice, not quite as glamorous as the evening before, but still very nice. And the little marzipan fruits at the end of the meal were just the thing.
Everything ready for dinner
What do you use a mantlepiece for if not to keep hats on?
Me and my lovely ladies! Aylwen, Claire and Isabel. I have to say we made a rather fantastic group! Miss those girls! (photo belongs to Claire Violet Hanley)
After hours of dancing, and after a long but wonderful week, we were all rather exhausted…
And yes, that actually concludes my report of the years Jane Austen festival. As always it has taken me some time to get it all written out and posted, but my thanks to anyone who has stayed with me through it and read them all. I hope I was able to convey a little bit of what it was like, but of course, nothing beats actually experiencing it for yourself! So next year, I’ll see you there…? 🙂