Tag Archives: Bath
September 30, 2012

Yes, I’ll finish up the blog soon!

Well, I’ve been home for quite a while now, but it has taken time to nurse the dead laptop back to life and attend to the business of “catch-up.” ;) I’m hoping to dump all my photos this week and organize them so I can finish posting (and share some larger versions of ones people have requested). Until then, here are a couple of shots taken for a Bath newspaper the Saturday we were there. We sure had a grand time!

Our group after the Grand Costumed Promenade. I am always so proud of our group’s incredible costumes–this year’s were stunning all ’round!

 

And here’s one he shot of me walking with my wee girlie (who had undone my bonnet ties!). Fun, fun day with gorgeous sunshine through most of it.

September 20, 2010

Beautiful Bath…

I turned on the weather forecast Friday night after someone in our hotel mentioned “frost,” and there I found predictions for chilly weather, intermittent rain, and wind. We always pray for good weather, especially for the days we’ll be outdoors, so we sure did pray this time! We awoke Saturday morning to a slight overcast haze but no frost and no rain. So far, so good! Some of us had still been sewing the night before to complete bonnets and accessories, but we all managed to be at the coach pick-up point on time and ready to go. Above you see the group of us staying at Rudloe. We were ready for our day!

Thirty minutes after joining the rest of our group on the coach, we arrived in Bath. We drove in an hour early to give people the chance to wander around a bit and see things before the Grand Costumed Promenade. Dozens and dozens of costumed participants began to trickle in as we walked around. Before long, the entire Abbey churchyard was crammed with ladies and gents ready to walk up to the Crescent! During this time, the sun came out in full and began to warm everything up for a perfect day in Bath. Here is a little photo journal of the Promenade:

Part of our group walking through the churchyard to the Pump Room...

Ladies entering the Pump Room

My mother with my youngest daughter, waiting for the Promenade...

Some of our ladies at the front of the Pump Room.

It's almost time to start!

Isn't she adorable? Expectant Regency mama in a maternity pelisse!

Looking back along the column as we march up toward the Crescent...

Jenny and Karen look splendid!

Here I am with my girls, all decked out for Bath...

Stephanie and Nancy pause on the way for a quick snap...

We've arrived at the Royal Crescent!

A dance demonstation by Steps in Time -- and this year they have a boy!

Folks watching the dancing...

So many beautiful outfits to admire!

This gent was willing to pose for us in his Naval uniform...

Don't Carol and Elisabeth look amazing?

Dawn just radiates authenticity. I love, love, love her ensemble!

I couldn't resist begging a shot of the back of this gal's Spencer. Such beautiful lines!

After the Promenade, we all walked back down to the city center for lunch. A few of us ran back to the coach to grab things we couldn’t carry during our walk, then divided up to eat. I had the amazing joy of meeting a friend I haven’t seen in 15 years for lunch in Bath. She and I happened to be in England at the same time and found out through Facebook! It was really great to catch up and see how the years have treated us. :) I spent the rest of the afternoon just window shopping with my girls, looking in on several favorite spots (Cath Kidston, anyone?), and, of course, snapping lots of photos of flowers and other lovelies in the gorgeous sunshine.

Five o’clock rolled around to find us back at the coach and ready to head “home” for the night. It was a simply amazing day–from the weather to all the costumes and everything in between. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did! I thought it was just ideal, especially with such great company to be had! After arriving back at our hotel, I asked at the desk if Box Hill was within walking distance. The chap at the desk informed me it was a “goodish stretch” up the road and to the right. So three other ladies and I set out with my two oldest daughters, determined to find Emma Woodhouse’s beautiful Box Hill. Well, I can tell you it was more than a “goodish stretch!” We went at least two miles before coming to a view that looked like Box Hill…but we weren’t sure, so we walked a bit further and stopped to ask a couple where Box Hill might be. They smiled and said, “You’re standing on it!” So we ran back to photograph the view with us in it!

From this vantage point, you can see all the way to Bath...

Two sisters and a friend enjoying Box Hill...

These two benches were placed here by the Great Western Railway, which built a tunnel through Box Hill--the longest tunnel in the UK.

Here I am with my daughter on Box Hill -- in Emma land!

All in all, it was a fantastic Saturday. Sunday we checked out of our B&Bs and headed to Lacock Village for the afternoon before pushing on to London. I’ll write about that soon!

September 18, 2010

Saturday Preview

Well, readers, it has been an absolutely stellar day in Bath. We are all done in from a day of walking, so I am going to turn in early. But I’ll share a couple of photos to give you a taste of things to come!

Loaded up on the coach, dressed for the promenade, and ready for Bath!

Gathered as a group at the end of the day...and we still look fabulous--LOL!

I’ll share more tomorrow. Suffice it to say, we got utterly gorgeous weather (despite forecasts for frost and drizzles), and we all enjoyed the delights of the golden city of Bath. Until later, good night!

September 17, 2010

Friday in Bath

Our faithful driver, Jon, waits for us as we make a quick stop on a street in Bath. We have come to love our blue coach!

We didn’t have to get such an early start today, as Bath is only 30-40 minutes away from us, so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and sauntered down the drive to meet our coach. To our surprise, our driver and everyone else from Lacock were already there. They beat us this morning and seemed very proud of having done so (they have to get going 15 minutes earlier than the rest of us!). We made it to Bath in record time and were a tad early for our appointment at the Jane Austen Centre. We listened to the introductory talk about Jane in Bath, then browsed through the exhibit downstairs. Here are some highlights:

Lovely silhouettes like these grace the walls of the waiting room outside the exhibition and contain witty sayings about Jane Austen.

A jaunty naval officer on display with some military paraphernalia.

My daughter admires the doll in the "Dressing Elizabeth Bennet" display, which you can enjoy at http://www.janeausten.co.uk/magazine/page.ihtml?pid=170&step=4!

Our ladies begin to settle in for the delightful "Tea with Mr. Darcy" in the Jane Austen Centre's Tea Rooms.

A happy quartet of ladies awaits the delicious repast...

Here I am with my younger daughter, who was very excited about "high" tea--three storeys up!

Beautiful Claverton Hall...

After tea, we boarded our coach for the short drive to Claverton Hall, which is home to the American Museum in Britain. This museum was designed by two American businessmen in the 1950s who wanted to provide a true history of the Colonies for Brits. ;) The museum is made up of rooms set up to replicate American homes from the 1690s through 1860s and has thousands of artifacts, including furniture, silverware, historical clothing, and one of the premier collections of American quilts in the world. Many of the quilts are displayed in the rooms as they would have been used during the time. There is also a second building with quilts hanging on all the walls (art gallery style!), plus a quilted 18th-century petticoat and quilted 19th-century stays. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to photograph anything inside the museum buildings, but I took a lot of pictures outside, as the grounds are simply breathtaking. Our ladies enjoyed wandering through the perfectly manicured “Mount Vernon” garden, exploring the walking trail, and just sitting on the terrace to take in the incredible view:

My girls especially appreciated the children’s play area and all the wonderful overhanging trees and secret nooks just begging to be explored. This is an ideal outing for families, and I have to say the museum displays were just as authentic as anything I’ve seen in Massachusetts, Colonial Williamsburg, or the Smithsonian. The docents very obviously enjoy talking about American history and showing off what each room holds. It was such fun to walk through. I wish I could have photographed an 18th-century gown on display, as it was nearly identical to my new Ladies’ 1780s’ Portrait Dress pattern (coming soon!), down to the armholes, seam lines and neckline. I was tickled pink to see it!

Here is a little visual tour of our afternoon:

Plenty of space for little folks to run!

Another view of the mansion, this one from the side facing the garden...

Miss Elisabeth takes in the gorgeous scenery...

The "Mount Vernon" Garden

The adorable summer house. If you look hard, you can see an English robin perched on the top corner of the left door. He sang his heart out to us!

My oldest daughter enjoyed the allee of trees above the garden...

Roses climbed the wall next to the Orangery...

Herbs and flowers for sale at the Claverton Herb shop...

We had such a lovely, leisurely afternoon at Claverton–a nice break from the pace we’ve been keeping all week! We made our way back to our B&Bs around 4:30, and lots of us spent our afternoon trying to finish up trimming bonnets or ironing things for tomorrow’s Regency Promenade to kick off the Jane Austen Festival. I couldn’t resist taking a few more shots of our lovely inn, Rudloe Hall:

This is the back of the inn, covered in ivy....

Looking out from beneath the grape arbor next to the dining room...

Peeking in at the dining room window -- looks like everything's laid out for supper!

I can't resist hydrangeas! These are massed beneath the dining room windows. Ahhh!

Walking back into the Lounge, I found my mother playing marbles with my daughter. Fun!

My other daughter decided to cut out paper dolls Suzi gave her today....

A drowsy corner of the lounge, just begging for someone to come and sit...

It’s now bedtime, so I’ll sign off. We start for Bath around 9:15 in the morning, all dressed up for the Grand Costumed Promenade and hoping there’s no morning frost! I’ll report back tomorrow evening if all goes well. Cheers!

October 15, 2009

Okay, I just have to share some festival video links!

Several of our ladies got into these videos, though you have to know where to look to find them. You’ll enjoy the clips anyway!

BBC News story on World Record for Most People in Regency Dress (Click to view.)

Video on YouTube about the Promenade:

Video of Bath Minuet performing!

October 13, 2009

The Baroque Dance Demonstration

The members of Bath Minuet pause for a photo.

The members of Bath Minuet pause for a photo.

I hadn’t planned originally to attend this event, but I am glad several ladies talked me into it. Bath Minuet (a group of vintage dance enthusiasts) was scheduled to perform several 17th-18th-century dances at the Pavilion across the Avon, followed by a one-hour English Country dance that anyone could join in. Since I had no plans to dance, I didn’t dress up, but the other ladies put on their ballroom finery, which was gorgeous! We asked the front desk to call us a couple of taxis, as no one wanted to walk the full mile down to the Pavilion. We then sat in the parlor for a while, watching for the cab before finally deciding to go out and sit on the front steps. Time marched on, but no taxis arrived. At five ’til seven, we were sure something dire had happened, so someone went back inside to ask the front desk gal what had become of the cabs. With a horrified look, she said that she’d thought we wanted cabs for 6:45 the following morning! Eek! She promptly called to correct her mistake, but it still took the cabs ten minutes to reach us. We arrived at the Pavilion 20 minutes late, missing the first two dances. Boo hoo! The group was just finishing up “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot” (A&E “Pride & Prejudice” fans know exactly which dance that is!).

Three ladies from Bath Minuet demonstrate dainty steps.

Three ladies from Bath Minuet demonstrate dainty steps.

During the break, I had a lengthy talk with one of the members of Bath Minuet, who dances with his wife. He said he had never danced a single step until joining the group five years ago. His wife saw the group on television and asked him to go with her to one of their meetings. They are now devotees of historical dance and absolutely love to share it with others. The gent hand-made his entire outfit and says he cherishes an original 18th-century waistcoat that he saves for very special occasions. One thing we noticed was the shocking lack of gentlemen — the group was mostly made up of ladies. This seems to be fairly common in the US as well and is such a shame. The gentleman with whom I spoke mentioned how they have tried to get young people hooked on historical dance and how much they love it once they try it. But many are afraid to try. Our group wasn’t! Of course, we had Aylwen with us, who is a historical dance expert and loves to help others join in. And many of our ladies had either tried English country dancing before or were eager to learn, so we had a very willing group! Here are photos from our delightful evening (all taken by yours truly, so pardon the lack of expertise!):

It was wonderful to see all the scrumptious historical costumes during the demonstration!

It was wonderful to see all the scrumptious historical costumes during the demonstration!

A nice back view of a gorgeous gown.

A nice back view of a gorgeous gown.

Now the real fun begins! Participants line up to learn their steps for the first dance.

Now the real fun begins! Participants line up to learn their steps for the first dance.

Lots of lovely Regency finery...

Lots of lovely Regency finery...

Katrina (white dress) joins hands with her set.

Katrina (white dress) joins hands with her set.

Another shot of a beautiful 18th-century costume...

Another shot of a beautiful 18th-century costume...

Aylwen's gown (right) was made of a lovely embroidered silk in fall colors.

Aylwen's gown (right) was made of a lovely embroidered silk in fall colors. You can also see the back of Rebecca's lovely white muslin gown in the center.

That's Catherine in the light blue and the back of Molly in the copper silk.

That's Catherine in the light blue and the back of Molly in the copper silk.

Catherine and Molly going 'round...

Catherine and Molly going 'round...

Sarah in her lovely sari silk gown (very popular during the Regency) and Aylwen in the background.

Sarah in her lovely sari silk gown (very popular during the Regency) and Aylwen in the background.

Now you get the back view of Sarah's gown and the front view of Aylwen's.

Now you get the back view of Sarah's gown and the front view of Aylwen's.

Isn't Sarah graceful?

Isn't Sarah graceful?

I kept trying to capture Cahterine and Molly when they weren't spinning around!

I kept trying to capture Cahterine and Molly when they weren't spinning around!

Getting closer...

Getting closer...

Ah ha! Caught Catherine this time in her lovely crossover gown with silk ribbon embroidery.

Ah ha! Caught Catherine this time in her lovely crossover gown with silk ribbon embroidery.

And I finally catch a side view of Molly!

And I finally catch a side view of Molly!

A front view of Rebecca's dress and a back view of Ana. The lighting was so poor on this end of the room that all my shots turned out way too dark. :(

A front view of Rebecca's dress and a back view of Ana. The lighting was so poor on this end of the room that all my shots turned out way too dark. :-(

Katrina and another participant discuss the next step.

Katrina and another participant practice the next step.

Sarah and Aylwen again -- I just loved the fabrics under the lights!

Sarah and Aylwen again -- I just loved the fabrics under the lights!

I wish I’d managed to get a group shot of everyone. It was really hard to grab pictures of people moving in and out of sets and lines during the hour-long dance. And by the time we all made it outside to head back to the B&B, it was pitch dark. Sorry about that! I hope these at least give you a little glimpse into a lovely evening!

One more post left to go: Our stop in Lacock Village on the way back to Heathrow. :-)

October 12, 2009

Sunday in Bath

chapelSeveral of us headed to Bradford-on-Avon to attend the Old Baptist Chapel there, where we know the pastor’s family and have visited before. It was a beautiful morning. Unfortunately, the train line was down, so we had to hop the bus, which took a while wending its way through the tiny streets of this adorable village. However, we made it on time and enjoyed a lovely service. At the end, a man from the congregation offered to find out when the return bus headed back to Bath, as our driver hadn’t been able to tell us. He came rushing back to say the bus was leaving in five minutes! We said hurried farewells, then dashed back across the street, only to see the bus pulling out. There wouldn’t be another for several hours. A family from the church was kind enough to immediately offer us transportation back to Bath–much faster by car than by bus! We arrived in time to make a couple of stops before our group was scheduled to meet at the Pump Room and Roman Baths.

img_2386Several street performers were in the Abbey yard next to the Pump Room, including a one-man band, two “living statues,” and a gent doing stunts with a unicycle and juggling flaming torches! We watched for a while as we waited for our group to gather. At the last minute, my husband realized he’d left his hat in a vintage clothing shop several blocks away, so I offered to go back for it while everyone else went through the Roman Baths (I got to see them in March). Here you see our group gathered in the upper hall next to the Pump Room, which affords a bird’s-eye view of the Baths. Several opted to take the audio tour, which is fascinating to listen to. Below are Lindsay’s shots from the tour:

Looking down into the main Bath (the water is bubbling and warm).

Looking down into the main Bath (the water is bubbling and warm).

Ana is enjoying herself!

Ana is enjoying herself!

Looking up at the Abbey from inside the Roman Baths

Looking up at the Abbey from inside the Roman Baths

Two of the historical interpreters wanted my mother-in-law, who is a Latin tutor, to teach them some useful Roman phrases to use on the job!

Two of the historical interpreters wanted my mother-in-law, who is a Latin tutor, to teach them some useful Roman phrases to use on the job!

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What a glorious day!

What a glorious day!

Someone managed to snap our photographer in front of the main bath.

Someone managed to snap our photographer in front of the main bath.

Beautiful Miss Cassie...

Beautiful Miss Cassie...

After retrieving the hat, I treated myself to tea and scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves in the elegant Pump Room. Ah, bliss!

After retrieving the hat, I treated myself to tea and scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves in the elegant Pump Room. Ah, bliss!

Lovely Miss Molly joins me at my table to drink in the trio's music.

Lovely Miss Molly joins me at my table to drink in the trio's music.

Master Chancey decides to "take the waters" in the Pump Room. (Hint: the water tastes like sulfur and iron and comes out of the fountain warm. Not my cup of tea, thanks!)

Master Chancey decides to "take the waters" in the Pump Room. (Hint: the water tastes like sulfur and iron and comes out of the fountain warm. Not my cup of tea, thanks!)

We had time after the Baths to stroll around some more and get some last shots of beautiful places:

Looking into the River Avon from above. That's Pultney Bridge on the far left.

Looking into the River Avon from above. That's Pultney Bridge on the far left.

A flower stall on Pultney Bridge. Heavenly!

A flower stall on Pultney Bridge. Heavenly!

Several ladies decided to attend the Baroque Dance demonstration at the Pavilion later that night, and I’ll share photos from that next time!

October 11, 2009

At the Fashion Museum in Bath

18th-century gown of silk with silver trimmings.

18th-century gown of silk with silver trimmings.

Now, at the outset, I have to apologize for how dark most of these photos are. It’s not Lindsay’s fault at all. The Bath Fashion Museum has a fabulous collection, but, unfortunately, its displays are just about the worst when it comes to overall layout and, most especially, good lighting. You spend most of your time squinting into glass cases that reflect your own image back better than they showcase what’s inside. Yet some displays have lighting so bright that you have problems with overexposure. Suzi has refused on principle to visit the museum for years–LOL! But, all griping aside, the collection is lovely, and I hope in future they improve the layout and design. There’s such amazing potential in the Assembly Rooms for gorgeous display; it’s bound to happen one of these days. In the meantime, here’s a peek at what Lindsay captured.

A selection of ladies' underthings through the centuries. The ornate slips (teddies) are from the 1920s.

A selection of ladies' underthings through the centuries. The ornate slips (teddies) are from the 1920s.

These incredibly ornate men's gauntlets are from the 1600s.

These incredibly detailed men's gauntlets are from the 1600s.

Gorgeous 18th-century saque-back gown, surrounded, oddly enough, by wine glasses. Go figure...

Gorgeous 18th-century saque-back gown, surrounded, oddly enough, by wine glasses. Go figure...

Sleeve detail from another 18th-century gown...

Sleeve detail from another 18th-century gown...

This Regency gown is absolutely covered in silvery beads.

This Regency gown is absolutely covered in silvery beads.

Early 1830s gown with sheer sleeves over the trademark wide, puffed sleeves of the Romantic era.

Early 1830s gown with sheer sleeves over the trademark wide, puffed sleeves of the Romantic era.

Mourning dress that belonged to Queen Victoria. She was incredibly short-statured.

Mourning dress that belonged to Queen Victoria. She was incredibly short-statured.

Ornate bustle gown from the 1880s.

Ornate bustle gown from the 1880s.

Stunning ballgown from the 1890s.

Stunning ballgown from the 1890s.

And a close-up of the luscious bodice!

And a close-up of the luscious bodice!

Wish I could show you more, but the lighting just didn’t give Lindsay enough help. :P Next time I’ll share pictures from our gorgeous Sunday in Bath!

October 10, 2009

Saturday in Bath: Jane Austen Everywhere!

img_2166After the overcast, chilly Friday, I didn’t have high hopes for good weather on Saturday, but I sure prayed for it! Lo and behold, we awoke Saturday morning to streaming sunshine and warming temperatures! As the day went on, we were treated to bright blue skies, gorgeous white clouds, and balmy temps in the 70s. It was amazing–a perfect day for the opening of the Jane Austen Festival and Grand Costumed Promenade. We ate a delicious breakfast at our B&B and dressed in all our Regency finery. What a beautiful group our ladies made as they walked to the starting point of the promenade! I may be a little biased, but I believe we had the most authentic and elegantly dressed group of ladies. It was such a delight to see them all. Above you see several of our ladies walking to the Pump Room, where the promenade would assemble. I did not walk in the parade but sat at a booth in Queen’s Square, where the promenade would end around 12:30pm. I had the pleasure of meeting over two dozen of my customers from all over the world, which was a great treat.

Without further ado, here are pictures from the promenade for your enjoyment!

Abby has the most incredible natural grace and beauty. Isn't she photogenic?

Abbe has the most incredible natural grace and beauty. Isn't she photogenic? Love the bonnet!

A bunch of our ladies (and my eldest son) gather for the promenade...

A bunch of our ladies (and my eldest son) gather for the official world record count at the Assembly Rooms. From left: Lindsay, Abbe, Catherine, Courtney, Molly, Katrina, and Cassie (with Master Chancey in front).

Courtney and Molly stop for a snap...

Courtney and Molly stop for a snap...

Another shot of our ladies--so many gorgeous outfits!

Another shot of our ladies--so many gorgeous outfits!

And another, this time adding Aylwen and Wendy on the right.

And another, this time adding my mother-in-law on the left and Aylwen and Wendy on the right.

Aha! We managed to capture Suzi with Aylwen and Wendy. Isn't her turban smashing? She got stopped for photos all day.

Aha! We managed to capture Suzi with Aylwen and Wendy. Isn't her turban smashing? She got stopped for photos all day.

The well-dressed Regency gent on his cell phone...

The well-dressed Regency gent on his cell phone...

Looks like they're ready to get moving!

Looks like they're ready to get moving!

The gent on the left made the outfits for everyone in his family!

The gent on the left made the outfits for everyone in his family!

All costumed participants gather at the Royal Crescent--409 in all, breaking the world's record for most people in Regency dress in one place at one time!

All costumed participants gather at the Royal Crescent--409 in all, breaking the world's record for most people in Regency dress in one place at one time!

My wonderful husband and sweet mother-in-law pose for a shot at the Royal Crescent.

My wonderful husband and sweet mother-in-law pose for a shot at the Royal Crescent.

Back in Queen's Square, several ladies relax to enjoy the lovely weather. From left: Becca, Ana, Bethany, and Sarah.

Back in Queen's Square, several ladies relax to enjoy the lovely weather. From left: Becca, Ana, Bethany, and Sarah.

My son thoroughly enjoyed his day as a Regency boy, including climbing trees in Queen's Square!

My son thoroughly enjoyed his day as a Regency boy, including climbing trees in Queen's Square!

And leaping down!

And leaping down!

Cassie, Wendy, Katrina, and Catherine enjoy "Tea with Mr. Darcy" in the Jane Austen Centre's Tea Rooms. Yum!

Cassie, Wendy, Katrina, and Catherine enjoy "Tea with Mr. Darcy" in the Jane Austen Centre's Tea Rooms. Yum!

Karen and Lily have a sunny spot next to the window.

Karen and Lily have a sunny spot next to the window.

I wish you could see Lily's amazing outfits in person. She and Karen had the most stunning hand-blocked fabrics and created beautiful garments.

I wish you could see Lily's amazing outfits in person. She and Karen had the most stunning hand-blocked fabrics and created beautiful garments.

All in all, we had a fantastic morning. It was just a perfect day for walking around Bath (which is such a walkable city). Next time I’ll share the photos Lindsay took Saturday afternoon in the Fashion Museum at the Assembly Rooms. :)

WHOOPS! Here are pictures I took that I forgot to post the first time around!

The S&S Patterns booth in Queen's Square, complete with my demi-mannequin and her outfits!

The S&S Patterns booth in Queen's Square, complete with my demi-mannequin and her outfits!

The bonnet/hat booth next to me. They had some fabulous bonnet forms that we have a hard time finding in the States.

The bonnet/hat booth next to me. They had some fabulous bonnet forms that we have a hard time finding in the States.

My son, mother-in-law, and husband. Nope, doesn't seem we managed to remember to get a picture with all of us in it! Fiddle-dee-dee!

My son, mother-in-law, and husband. Nope, doesn't seem we managed to remember to get a picture with all of us in it! Fiddle-dee-dee!

I had to grab a few shots of Constance's (Suzi's friend, who came with us) fantastic Spencer jacket. It was my favorite out of all I saw.

I had to grab a few shots of Constance's (Suzi's friend, who came with us) fantastic Spencer jacket. It was my favorite out of all I saw.

Full-length view...

Full-length view...

Sleeve detail. Yummy!

Sleeve detail. Yummy!

October 8, 2009

Friday Trip to Bath – Part II

102_1283thAfter our delightful tour of Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, we boarded our coach for the short drive to Winchester, where Jane is buried in the cathedral. The sky still looked fairly ominous, but no rain fell as we pulled into town. At left you see the imposing town hall with its central clock tower and Gothic architecture. The cathedral is directly behind this building, and just a short walk up the street, the bustling shops of Winchester await. Because we were already behind schedule, we asked everyone to grab a quick lunch at meet back at the cathedral by 2:30. It was really hard to just rush through the town center, though! Winchester is charming and really fun to browse. There are antiques shops, bookstores, cute boutiques, and all kinds of goodies. But we tried to hustle. My son and I grabbed a quick sandwich at a coffee shop and  began our walk toward the cathedral, meeting up with my husband and mother-in-law on the way. I couldn’t resist popping into one more shop before heading to the church, so they went on without me to wait for the rest of our group. We finally had everyone together around 2:40 and entered the cathedral.

Winchester Cathedral towers above us.

Winchester Cathedral towers above us.

Looking down the side of the cathedral toward the tower.

Looking down the side of the cathedral toward the tower.

A head-on view of the cathedral with its massive stained glass window.

A head-on view of the cathedral with its massive stained glass window.

The stained glass window seen from the inside.

The stained glass window seen from the inside.

From the nave, looking down toward the altar.

From the nave, looking down toward the altar.

Karen and Lily take a closer look into one of the side chambers.

Karen and Lily take a closer look into one of the side chambers.

Looking up at some very early frescoes adorning the ceiling of one of the side chambers.

Looking up at some very early frescoes adorning the ceiling of one of the side chambers.

And a close-up...

And a close-up...

And we find Jane's grave beneath her memorial window...

And we find Jane's grave beneath her memorial window...

Here’s the text of Jane’s Grave in case you can’t read the photo:

In memory of
JANE AUSTEN,
youngest daughter of the late
Revd. GEORGE AUSTEN,
formerly Rector of Steventon in this County.
She departed this Life on the 18th July 1817,
aged 41, after a long illness supported with
the patience and the hopes of a Christian.

The benevolence of her heart,
the sweetness of her temper, and
the extraordinary endowments of her mind
obtained the regard of all who knew her, and
the warmest love of her intimate connections.

Their grief is in proportion to their affection
they know their loss to be irreparable,
but in the deepest affliction they are consoled
by a firm though humble hope that her charity,
devotion, faith and purity have rendered
her soul acceptable in the sight of her
REDEEMER.

Plaque beneath the memorial window...

Plaque beneath the memorial window...

102_1281We spent quite a bit of time in the cathedral, as it has a lot to see. I only wished the choir had been singing during our time there so everyone could enjoy the amazing acoustics in this place. They are incredible. The cathedral is well worth seeing if you are a history buff. King Alfred the Great (he of the English Common Law) ordered the building of the original Winchester Cathedral (the foundations of which you can see right next to this cathedral). He is buried a short distance away in another spot. My son got the children’s map guide to do a scavenger hunt around the whole cathedral, finding out-of-the-way things you wouldn’t notice unless someone pointed them out. We finally tore ourselves away to re-board our coach and get underway for Bath. I snapped the pictures below of the Abbey Gardens, which are so lovely.

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Final view of the town hall...

Final view of the town hall...

We drove off toward Somerset, passing Stonehenge on the way. Unfortunately, they now charge you ten pounds just to stop and park, so we didn’t stop. Everyone with cameras pulled them out and took flying snaps as we passed by!

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My husband tests our group with Jane Austen film trivia questions as we make our way to Bath. It was a close contest!

My husband tests our group with Jane Austen trivia questions as we make our way to Bath. It was a close contest!

img_2154At last we pulled into Bath, two hours behind schedule but glad to have made it. We were already late for our supper reservations, so we just dumped our bags at our beautiful B&B before jumping into taxis to head for Tilley’s Bistro and Sally Lunn’s. The proprietors at Tilley’s were kind enough to give us our special “early dinner” rate, even though we were five minutes past the cut-off time. At left you see half our group “below stairs” at Tilley’s. One of our group decided to go to the pre-festival gathering at the Jane Austen Centre, while the rest opted to eat at the wonderful Sally Lunn’s next door to Tilley’s:

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We all enjoyed a leisurely (and delicious) dinner before heading back to Brooks Guest House for the night. We had much to anticipate, as the Grand Costumed Promenade would kick off the Jane Austen Festival on the morrow! Next time I’ll share photos from our Saturday in Bath!

Bath Abbey, its splendor gloriously lit up at night.

Bath Abbey, its splendor gloriously lit up at night.

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