Tag Archives: jane austen

Blue Mountains Winter Weekend – Part 2

The Blue Mountains has a wide range of accomodation to choose from, especially in the village of Leura. We stayed at The Greens B&B. It was set in one of the old houses just off the Mall, and each room was named after a classic author or poet. I chose Jane Austen, of course.

The Greens B&B

The rooms were luxurious, and so were the breakfasts. There was even muffins for afternoon tea.

The Greens B&B

The Greens B&B

I liked the little touches, like a set of Jane Austen novels in the room. It made for a very homely stay.

The Greens B&B

Twilight Walk at Lyme – Part 4

I tackled the walls of the Cobb next. It has two levels – one just above the beach/water-line, and an upper level.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

The lower level was nice and even, but the stairs to the upper level (of which there were several along the length of the Cobb) were a little trecherous.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

The upper-level also had a ‘nice’ incline to it. It looked a bit hairy to walk along in the high wind, rain, and low light. As it was, I just took my photos and descended.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

One could see how Louisa Musgrove in Persuasion got concussed after a fall from the upper level!

Twilight Walk at Lyme – Part 2

Night was falling fast, but I had to get one last walk in, to the Cobb – the old harbour area.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

To get there, we walked right along the beach from town.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

There were some pretty terraces along the way. This one was decorated with fossil ammonites, one of the more common species to be found in Lyme.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

Even the lamp posts were sculptured like ammonites. I guess fossil hunting is major tourist attraction in these parts.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

Soon we had a clear view of the old sea walls of the Cobb. Jane Austen used it well in her novel Persuasion – it is the place the main characters visited and the scene of a dreadful accident.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

I’m having a short blog break and will return in a week or so with more on Lyme Regis.

Twilight Walk at Lyme – Part 1

We headed south west to Dorset, and the seaside town of Lyme Regis. The weather was noticeably milder – there was no snow on the ground, only rain in the air. Lyme Regis has been a popular destination for holidaying Brits since the 18th Century. My favourite author, Jane Austen, holidayed here with her family, and hubby was excited to be in the area where the sciences of geology and paleontology was born.

Lyme is another one of those towns in England that has been wonderfully preserved. The old town contained the same narrow streets and terraces, mills and bridges, as two hundred years ago, albeit with a few alterations. We stayed at the cute Old Lyme Guest House, which in the early 1800’s was the town’s post office. Being a 17th Century building, the rooms were atmospheric, if very cosy, with sloping floors and ceilings. You can imagine Jane Austen coming here to post her letters.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

We took a walk at dusk down the canals that used to feed the old mill (now a cheesemonger and a brewery).

Lyme Regis at Dusk

It didn’t take long to reach the sea, and a view of that wonderful Dorset coastline they called the Jurassic Coast.

Lyme Regis at Dusk

Walk to Chatsworth House – Part 1

I’m back home, and I certainly have had a few adventures as well as taken a few photos. I probably have enough for posts for the rest of the year!

When we left off, we had just ventured through snowy Matlock and Bakewell in Derbyshire, but our destination for the day was Chatsworth. It’s the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been since Tudor times, but as a 19th Century literature and drama fan, Chatsworth is one of those places that come up regularly. It is mentioned by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice, and appears regularly in TV and film as either somewhere very grand, e.g. Mr Darcy’s house, Pemberley, or as itself (as in the film, The Duchess). I particularly visited Derbyshire to see it, and the day was a very big adventure indeed.

After walking to Matlock and catching a local bus to Bakewell, we took yet another bus that dropped us off at Baslow, on the northern edge of the estate – in the middle of a blizzard.

Walk to Chatsworth House

We crossed a bridge and ventured along the country lane to the entrance of the Chatsworth Park.

Walk to Chatsworth House

Walk to Chatsworth House

It really was as cold as it looks, especially with an icy wind blowing. But as we passed through the gates, the sun miraculously appeared, and what did we see? Sheep!

Walk to Chatsworth House

Lovely, black-faced, heritage sheep, grazing in the snow.

Walk to Chatsworth House

They didn’t seem to feel the cold at all. And the parkland with its old trees and pastures were so glittering in the sunlight and beautiful. As far away from dusty Australian paddocks as could be.

Victoria & Albert Museum – Part 2

The V&A is another one of those overwhelming museums with multiple floors and dozens of galleries. There were some wonderful Tudor and Stuart galleries recreating the lives from that era, but my favourite was the fashion gallery. There were some lovely clothes from the Regency and Victorian eras.

Mr Darcy and Miss Bennet.

Victoria & Albert Museum

A lady’s outfit.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Out for a night on the town clothes.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Mmm, makes me want to watch another Jane Austen period drama.

The Joy of Period Dramas

Watching snippets of the Story of the Costume Drama on youtube last night made me think about my favourites over the years. From my list you can see that I like a good romance though it doesn’t necessarily have to be the main component, that I like Jane Austen but also admire Elizabeth Gaskell, that each has its quota of fine leading men but I don’t need to swoon over them to like the story. But above all, each of these are compelling stories, beautifully acted and produced, that can be viewed again and again.

So in chronological order:

1. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

This was the first series I saw, the one that got me hooked. So much so that 15 years on I’m still able to anticipate all the dialogue. I no longer rewind Colin Firth diving into the pond over and over again, by the way, however you may watch it here.

2. Persuasion (1996)

This isn’t a series but a film, and although a Jane Austen story, very different to Pride and Prejudice. I loved it because it was more gentle, and in many ways, more real. The climax of the story is a beautiful, delicate proposal scene.

3. Our Mutual Friend (1998)

This series again opened my eyes, because Charles Dickens writes of a very different world to Jane Austen – a darker, more brutal world. This story encompasses all levels of London Society, and gives insight into how it ticks. 1850 isn’t very different from 2009 in that it still runs on money and power, and in the middle of it all are two poignant love stories.

4. North and South (2004)

There was a bit of a drought after Our Mutual Friend, but it was truly broken by this classic by Elizabeth Gaskell. Like Our Mutual Friend, it is a gritty story, this time set in the middle of Industrial Revolution Manchester, where our protagonists, from the north and south of England, meet…

5. Jane Eyre (2006)

I’ve been in love with this classic by Charlotte Bronte ever since I was 14, but my love for the story positively grew with this series – the characters of Jane and Rochester came to life in such a vibrant way.

6. Cranford (2007)

This series, based on stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, is different again, in that it focuses on a life in a small town. It’s also a huge ensemble piece, with so many well-known British actors that it’s bewildering. Consequently, there are many plot lines, but I loved the gentle humour running throughout. This sequence has got to be the funniest!

7. Sense and Sensibility (2008)

You might think that after watching 15 years worth of Jane Austen adaptations I would be sick of them. But one can never get enough of Jane Austen adaptations, even when they have been successfully adapted, such as this one. Well, ‘success’ is a relative term, because any costume drama with a foppish Hugh Grant in it, I think, is suspect. Ironically, the actor playing the Hugh Grant role here looks a lot like Hugh Grant – but thankfully he wasn’t acting like a complete git.

So there you have it, my current favourites. I’m sure I will add to this list as time goes on, but there won’t be any coming off the list. Search them out, watch them, you won’t be disappointed.