Friday morning, our group gathered in the hotel lobby to wait for our private coach to Bath, by way of Chawton (J. Austen's house), Winchester Cathedral (where she is buried), and Stonehenge. Due to heavy traffic, we waited for an hour until the coach made it. It was so nice to be out of London! London was very pleasant, but by the last couple of days, I was longing for some nice cornfields. There were no cornfields on the way to Chawton, but there were rolling pastures dotted with sheep and trees and fenced in by stone walls. Also acceptable! ;-)
We pulled up at Jane's house and all watched a short movie about her before wandering around the lovely gardens, the house, and the gift shop. While we were in London, we went in many very good gift shops, but nothing ever jumped out at me. Different story here! I think I can safely say that I was their target audience... ;-D
Arriving at Jane's house!
Notice how low the doorway is!
This cottage was given to the Austen women (Jane, her mother, and her sister Cassandra) after Mr. Austen's death by Jane's elder brother Edward who had an estate nearby. Edward had been adopted by childless relatives and inherited a fortune of £20,000!! That's twice Mr. Darcy's immense fortune, and he was the "richest man in Derbyshire"!!
Around the back of the house
And pictures of my dress for those interested... It's made from a hand block-printed Indian muslin from heritagetrading. The hat was made by Mom using a Timely Tresses pattern.
The top edge of the "bib front" is gathered with strings pulled through casings and Mom made the dorset buttons for me! True love! :-)
I used Jennie Chancey's Elegant Lady's Closet pattern for the back and sleeves, but made up the front using "Patterns of Fashion" and "Costume in Detail" for help.
After enjoying ourselves in Chawton, we hopped back on the coach and made our way to Winchester. We split up for lunch (Mom and I had our leftover cheese and bread in a very charming and peaceful park) and then met up at the Cathedral. Ironically, even though we went mainly to see Jane Austen's grave, we didn't get a picture of it! Oh well, next time... ;-)
The cathedral yard
Some of the needlework cushions in the quire. They each had different designs.
Mom's favorite: acorns :-)
12th and 13th century paintings! They also had medieval floor tiles still intact that you could walk on!
Ceiling in the North Transept
Near Jane Austen's grave. A kind English gentleman inquired why we were dressed up, and when we told him, he wanted to take our picture. By the time we were finally done with the picture, the whole experience reminded me of the book "If You give a Mouse a Cookie".
If You Wear Regency Clothing to Historical Sites
If you wear regency clothing to historical sites, a gentleman will come up and talk to you.
And when he talks to you, he'll find out that you're dressed up because you're at Jane Austen's grave.
And when he finds that out, he'll think you need a picture of yourself.
When he gets the camera, he'll take a picture.
But when he looks at the picture, he'll realize he needs to zoom in.
And when he's taken another picture, he'll decide the flash needs to be off.
When he's found the flash button and taken a picture, he'll see that it's too blurry.
So he'll take another picture.
When he is finally satisfied, he'll start talking about Jane Austen.
While he is talking, Matt will come up and say that we need to leave.
In the bus, you'll get to whittle the pictures down to this one.
On our way back to the coach, we were stop by 2 backpackers who were befuddled as to our appearance. When we explained, they asked us where we were from. After our answer, they asked if everyone dressed like us in our town (LOL!!). After our negative answer, their faces became even more perplexed and you could tell as they were walking away that they thought we were the wackiest people EVER! :-)
Due to our late start in the morning, we were only able to drive past Stonehenge, but I think we got a very decent picture, notwithstanding! In order to go "close" to the stones, there is an entry fee, so we really wouldn't have gained much by getting out anyway...
I do have to say that this is NOT what it looked like in real life. There were TONS of tourists all over, but somehow we managed to get this great picture!
During the rest of our trip to Bath, Matt entertained us all with a few rounds of "BBC Trivia" as we all competed to see who could get the most correct answers to become "Queen of the BBC". :-) When we made it to Bath, Mom and I lugged our bags to our Bed & Breakfast (we had made reservations before we knew the rest of the group was staying somewhere else, but we decided to keep ours, anyway). The only catch was that our B&B was uphill. The entire way. If you'll remember, we were wearing regency clothing! So, I guess the upside to that experience was that we have now proved that it IS possible to lug 30-40 lb. suitcases half a mile uphill in regency dresses! Oh, and then our room was up two full flights of stairs! We went straight to Sally Lunn's after getting our bags in the room as it was already 7:00.
Sally Lunn's is a restaurant that claims the title of "Bath's Oldest House" since it was built in 1482. Roman and Medieval foundations have also been found in the cellars! It's age is readily apparent, the rooms all feature quaintly crooked doorways, floors, and window casings. (Why is it that crooked doorways are so cute in 500 year old buildings?!?) While enjoying our candlelit dinner, the couple next to us struck up a conversation with us (we've noticed that wearing historical clothing makes people much more apt to start talking to you, for whatever reason...) and we soon found out that we had common interests as they were also Christians and ended up having a delightful evening!
In Sally Lunn's. And yes, Mom is overheated. And yes, I had her permission to post this picture. ;-)
Next up: Bath and the Jane Austen Festival!