Saturday, October 29, 2011

Feeling Austen

This one's going to be a bit short; sorry about that.

The last day of our trip started with a trip to Stourhead Gardens.  It's a garden made to look like one of the garden paintings from Italy.  They made the pond and everything. They've got grottos, temples, and lots and lots of trees from all over.  And yes, one of those temples is related to Pride and Prejudice again--the first proposal was filmed there.  (Yep, freak out.  Most of the girls on the trip did.  I felt rather required to go as the token Elizabeth--oddly enough, although we've got 2 Sara(h)s, 2 Lauras and a Lauren and a Laurel and a Laurie, I'm the only Elizabeth.)  I think we went at the best time; it was just opened, so everything was dappled in morning, with a bit of mist still rising off from the lake.  I rather liked the grotto; there were two fountain statues--not quite fountains themselves, the statues were surrounded by water.  And there was a beautiful view out of one onto the lake through a "ruined wall."  Constructed ruins, aren't they fun?  I also may have gone up a little ways into some of the trees.  What can I say?  I've got climbing fever. You could say I'm attempting to compensate for a height deficiency, but I lay no credit to such claims.  Also you'd just be wrong.  To conclude: Stourhead is pretty cool and if you go, go in the morning.  Or the evening; I think it'd be nice in the sunset.  But that's when the bugs come out.

We then took a hop and skip further back to visit...wait for it...Stonehenge!  (After the impressiveness-disappointment of Men an Tol and Lanyon Quoit, I'd had a dream about Stonehenge where the rocks came up to about my forehead and I was ready to be on the warpath about that.)  Fortunately, it lived up to its name and was really very impressive.  ...Unfortunately, there's not an awful lot to say about Stonehenge, either.  You can't really go up to it, so you go, take pictures, sketch it, and then you're pretty much done.  (I hear the neo-pagans got permission to go and do some sort of something or other there that evening.  We weren't there.  And I only saw one person who may have been a neo-pagan.  Either that or she has a propensity for dressing oddly and going to big stone monolithic monuments.  I won't comment too much on that because I think it'd be hilarious to, for example, get a group of Latin scholars to dress in togas and wander around the Roman baths looking at these strange individuals who have invaded their baths extremely skeptically and speaking nothing but Latin.  Besides, she wasn't even all that strangely dressed.  I also toyed with the thought of going to various castles in full garb.  It'd be great.)

After this, we jumped straight back through time to where we'd been before (Wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, you wouldn't understand) and landed at the Jane Austen house where she'd lived when she published most of her books, if not all.  Had a few people playing piano there again, delighting the people who were there again, then looked at all of the things and artifacts from her life.  I always feel kind of awkward doing that--I mean, it's kind of weird looking at stuff that people lived with, that was part of their daily lives, with signs that say "Don't touch" and describe exactly what it is.  Interesting, though.  The writing table she used was there, and let me tell you, I'm surprised she managed to do anything on a table that size.  There was a bit of an emphasis on Sense and Sensibility at the time; I think it's their book of the year or something.  They had dresses and so on from the movies, pages of manuscript and original copies--you get the idea.  There was also a gentleman there who was very concerned that we make it to the movie--he reminded me every time he saw me for a good 15 minutes leading up, even though I told him I was waiting for a friend to catch up.

We then headed back to the center, arriving at about 6 in the afternoon.  And so concludes that trip.

Incidentally, would you do me a favor?  I just want to know how many people read this--could you comment with your name?  Thanks!


  1. Squee! I squealed when I read that YOU WENT TO JANE AUSTEN'S HOUSE!!!! You cannot know how jealous you are making me. I feel like passing out. You have gone and done it, not only have you lived my dream by going to Europe, but you have gone to the two specific spots I wanted to go. I am a huge messy puddle of envy right now. Wow!
    K, now I'm speechless, I just keep thinking Jane Austen. House. Wow!...Wow!

  2. I'm sure we're not the only two who read your post! Sounds like you are having a great time in England.

    Aunt Martha

  3. Just keep writing even if we don't all read your blog! I got out of order and just found this one :)

  4. Hey, I'm just curious, like I said. I like knowing my audience. Although it probably wouldn't change much in what I write.