My Journey With Austen (so far) continued

In the autumn of 2006 my family was planning a trip to England. Or rather, I planned a trip to England. I had come to the conclusion that I really, really wanted to visit Jane Austen’s House, Chawton Cottage, and so convinced the rest of my family that it was absolutely necessary for us to go for a week long trip to the country where the greatest author in history lived.
We drove down from London to Hampshire, until we saw this sign!

Jane Austen's House sign

Finally!

The for a lot of Janeites well known house soon came into view. Chawton Cottage (or the Jane Austen House Museum) where Jane lived for the last eight years of her life and where, as far as we know, she was very happy!

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Here we are; Chawton Cottage!

Unfortunately you were not allowed to take any pictures inside the house, otherwise I would have! It was an amazing experience for me to be there! To be at the very place where Jane lived, where she wrote most of her work, to see the table at which she sat and worked, where all her six novels were either written or edited! I think that was perhaps the most special thing to see!
As I said you couldn’t take any photos, but I found this one on the internet and thought I’d add it here.

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Jane's writing desk!

We spent several hours at the museum, looking at everything in great detail. And before we left we had to visit the gift shop, which we enjoyed browsing for quite some time! Admiring everything they have (so many books that I should like to get some day!) and talking to the lady who worked there.

Then we slowly made our way into the garden. We were there in November, so not a lot of flowers at that time. And there you were allowed to take photos! =)

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The Austen's, at the moment very flower-less, garden

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Me outside the house

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My whole family outside the house

As the museum closed we made our way to the nearby town of Winchester, where the next important place on my list was. It is there, in Winchester Cathedral, that Jane Austen is buried. The cathedral is supposed to be a most lovely one, but I am afraid we didn’t see any other than the most important part of it (Jane’ grave, if you hadn’t guessed) as it was getting pretty late and we were all slightly worn and tired by this time.  But we saw what we had come there to see. And it was a very special thing for me to experience!
Once again my own photos fail me and I am bound to rely on the internet to illustrate this.

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Jane's grave

And as we exited the cathedral there was just one more stop left on our list for that day; the house where Jane Austen died. The house is not at all far from the cathedral. It is not possible to go inside to visit it as it is privately owned. Jane lived here for the last few days of her life. She had come in to Winchester in order so that she could be close to a doctor, but unfortunately that didn’t make much of a difference.

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A not so good picture of me outside the house where Jane died (but the only one I had)

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This is so sad!

It was a most lovely day and I should very much like to go back again for another visit (not least because of the gift store with all those books! 😉 )!

This is a link to Jane Austen’s House Museum’s website for those who are interested: HERE

Regency World Awards 2009

The Jane Austen Center in Bath is having the second annual Jane Austen’s Regency World Awards. And they invite everyone to join in and vote for who and what should win. There are seven awards, and people are nominated for things they have done over the last couple of years.The various categories are:

– Best Actor
– Best Actress
– Best Supporting Actor
-Best New Adaptation
– Best New Fiction
– Best New Non-Fiction
And…. Best Ever Mr. Darcy!

I have voted already, and I thought that there might be someone else out there who’d like to express their opinion about who should win! So I thought I’d post it here. http://www.janeausten.co.uk/awardsurvey.ihtml

It is also possible to purchase tickets to the actual awards ceremony that will take place in England, Bath (where else?) on the 8th of July. I want to go…!

Quoting Jane 2

I have had a rather busy day today and it’s getting late as I am writing this. So I’m off to bed soon, I just thought I’d post this quote that I came across as I was reading Northanger Abbey (again). I thought it was a really good quote, even though we, of course, already knew that novels can be what they are described as here! 😉

It is only a novel!… in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humor are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.

(Northager Abbey)

There is always an opportunity for wearing a nice dress!

Yesterday we celebrated Sweden’s national day here. Now, this celebration is not for most people a particularly big one, nowhere near the size the 4th of July is in the USA for example. But eager for any chance to dress in nice and special clothes, I decided to wear my national costume as we went to a town not far from where I live to attend some small festivity there. It is not often I have the chance really to wear a national costume, but even so it is in many ways a very practical outfit. Because it can be worn at any time! It’s just not so common. It is a dress that you can use for more “everyday” occurrences as well as parties, weddings and even the Nobel Prize banquet, if one happens to be there.

There wasn’t a great number of people about in national costumes, but at least my mom, my grandmother and I wore them. Here is a picture of us; three generations in traditional Swedish dress.

National costume

There are many different variations of these costumes in Sweden. Every area has its own. The one I wore is from the area of Sundborn. My mom wore one from the area of Värend, and my grandmother’s is from Norrbotten (the very north of Sweden!).

We all received several positive comments on our outfits, which is always fun!

Georgette Heyer

As we know Jane unfortunately did not live to a very rip old age. She died at the age of 41 and had “only” time to write six complete novels. But, since the six novels that she wrote are all of them classified as some of the greatest literary pieces ever written that’s not really anything to call “only”. But still, when you have read all of those books (and all of her shorter and unfinished work that you have been able to get hold of) and still haven’t had enough, then what do you do? In my case the answer appeared in many different forms. Of course there are all the films to be watched (again and again and again), places to be visited and other books to be read. Books about her, about the time when she lived and books by authors that have been inspired by her.

One such author is Georgette Heyer. Ms Heyer lived between 1902 and 1974 and she has written over 30 Regency novels. She has not only written books set in that era, but those are the only once I have read. I came across her books for the first time when I was in a bookstore in Switzerland; the covers with their Empire line dresses caught my eye at once. I have only read a minority of her books so far, but the ones I have read have all been more than usually delightful. She writes with a great sense of humor and a lot of knowledge of the era she is writing about. In a way I would probably have to say that I have learnt more about the details of Regency life from her books than I have from Jane Austen’s novels. Because Jane’s books are well known for not containing much detail on such matters as fashion, politics and in general what was going on at that time. Ms Heyer’s books do though.

They are all romances and are all filled with amusing and likable characters. I would highly recommend them to all those who like me can’t get enough of the world of evening balls, long elegant dresses, gentlemen in top hats, wonderful letters, exquisite language such as you never encounter nowadays and everything else which we love about the world Jane Austen lived in.

Here are a few of the books I have read. The first one Cotillion is my favourite. It is a lovely story, and the hero is one of the most charming ones I’ve ever encountered!

A few of the other books that I have read are: The Reluctant Widow, The Grand Sophy and April Lady. All of them most delightful and charming.

Happy Birthday Miss L!

I am writing this post in honor of my very dear friend Miss L. who on this day is turning 18 years of age! I met my friend for the first time 7 1/2 years ago now, and ever since the first day we have been great friends! We have shared many fun (and sometimes less fun) experiences over the years!

Like me, my friend is a fan of classics, costume dramas, beautiful old-fashioned clothes and everything else in that field, and we often have long delightful conversations on these topics! And not only conversations by the way, here is a picture of the two of us dressed up in our Regency dresses enjoying a delicious afternoon tea!

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Enjoying a delicious Regency afternoon tea!

So, I wanted to take the opportunity here of wishing you a marvelously happy birthday my dear! Your friendship means so much to me!

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