Journal Excerpts from CarolineJH and KarenG
At Victoria station we moved from site to site but ended with a blond lady with Mr Darcy and the Pemberley logo (JulieW)
After dinner there is dancing! Mr Beveridge's Maggot. We rolled up the carpet and Hanne and Michelle L. where our dance teachers. After an hour or so (could have been longer) we got the hang of it and got more confident.
At Chawton Cottage, we were welcomed by Tom Carpenter, director of the museum. He gave as a short introduction and was laughing a lot, only we couldn't understand his jokes.
It was an "old-fashioned" cosy museum where it seemed everything was put up in random. For example the crosses of Jane and Cassandra where in a vitrine in the first room where they also sold some memorabilia, so it looked like a shop. Peggy had almost missed them!
After dinner a troop of us (Amy, Tineke, Cos, Cinthia, Barbara and Hanne) walked into Alresford to discover the English nightlife at the Globe on the Lake. It was a nice pub in reality really located next to a lake. With the help of Hanne's little light fortunately we could return home safely. The path back was very dark and we had no torch with us. We kept courage through singing songs and holding hands to not loose someone on the way.
After breakfast a group of us joined for walk through the Alresford country. The landscapes in Hampshire are very beautiful, we saw some watercress farms and other herbs we couldn't quite place and large cornfields. Do you remember Lizzie jumping into mud resulting in six inches of mud? We saw that kind of step over a fence and couldn't resist to take a picture.
After Sunday lunch we left for Winchester cathedral, where Jane Austen is buried. We were welcomed by the Canon, who read the text on Jane's grave in the left path in the cathedral and said a prayer. Myretta than placed a flower wreath on her grave. It was quite an emotional moment that I hadn't expected.
The notable contents of Chawton Cottage (now a museum) for me on this trip were 1) Jane's writing table - small and round, no more than 3 foot in diameter), 2) the creaking door (still creaks today! - said to have clued Jane in to when someone entered the room so she could cover her manuscript) 3) Jane's room (unfortunately the bed wasn't there, but there was a quilt stitched by her and her mother and a delicately sewed lace collar by her) and a brown dress said to have been hers. She was supposed to be mid-height (5'3" - 5'5".)
Quite a few of us decided to go on a "long, long walk" in the opposite direction of New Alresford. We walked between wheat fields on dirt roads bordered by very dense hedgerows, and we had to be careful about stinging nettles (many of us were wearing shorts.) It was a very warm day!
At Winchester Cathedral, we were all gathered 'round the grave, and it was tremendously moving. It really is amazing how one woman's fictional works, written in the early 19th century, can bring almost 50 women from around the world together into a community and a pilgrimage to England together for her. Cheryl's face was red after crying, and Myretta likewise buried her face on the shoulder of a fellow Pemberlean. I had tears on my face as many others did (took out tissues.) Darlene mentioned she is still struck by how powerful the scene was there. During the service, I looked up at the Cathedral ceiling and then at the mortuary trunks of the ancient English kings, just imagining the centuries over the people who have sat or stood in this place trying to find peace in their lives. Tears again came to my eyes when thinking of Jane Austen bringing us all together.
At Lyme Regis, we walked to the "Granny's Teeth" stairs where Jane Austen wrote in Persuasion about Louisa Musgrove falling unconscious on the ground. Most of our group tried to walk up and down them and got a picture taken pretending to jump. As I watched Candace in the jumping off pose, the thought occurred to me that it would be very funny if someone pretended to jump then had a picture taken of her lying face down on the ground. As no one else tried it, I did, and we were all laughing hysterically about it (particularly me lying on the ground with Darlene pretending to feel my pulse, etc.) I can't wait to see the pictures. I hope my face wasn't too red (well, it was but no matter…)
At one point on the beach in Lyme , there was a tug-o-war between some little boys and little girls. Ann2, Jen K, and myself were watching and rooting for the girls (of course) and they won! It was funny to watch.
Bollywood Sense and Sensibility Report:
Linda Ann, Elizabeth, Jen K and I met Laura up in Jen and Laura's room. The preview didn't look remotely like S&S. In fact there were war scenes in it, and we were wisecracking about how S&S could fit into that. I heard from Laura that night and from Kate next morning at breakfast that Bollywood is the Indian film industry - a bigger market than Hollywood even and the movies are often musicals and low budget. The premise of the movie ended up being like S&S when examined closely. Edward Ferrars was an Indian film director in the States whose parents didn't approve of his occupation. Elinor was the older daughter of a family who felt she was unlucky (she had a fiancé commit suicide, etc.) Marianne was the singer and dancer and talked of love and poetry. Colonel Brandon was a store owner who lost his foot in combat (hence the war scene in the beginning!) Willoughby was the head of a company whose stocks plummet leaving him in financial straights. At around 2am, I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I said goodnight. Linda Ann left shortly after, but the others stayed up until the end at 3am or so. I'd never watched a Bollywood film before. It was pretty funny.
At Luckington Court, we were all giddy (a "gaggle of giddies" as we joked on-line prior to the trip), going here, there, everywhere on the property. We found the "prettyish little wilderness" where Lady Catherine DeBourgh confronts Elizabeth Bennet about being engaged to Mr. Darcy, the tree where Mr. Bennet read Mr. Gardiner's letter regarding finding Lydia and Wickham, and so on. We took a group picture on the side yard of the house. One lady (or two) from inside the house came out to observe us. We all headed off to the bus again when a message came through the ranks that we were invited inside the house! We all hurried back. The ladies inside were much amused by our group and let us in for a treat! There was more modern furniture (to be sure), but one could clearly recognize the rooms: Mr. Bennet's study, the living room, the parlor, the library. This turn of events completely exceeded our expectations!
At the Costume Museum in the Bath Assembly Rooms, the guide she showed us 17 dresses that Queen Elizabeth II wore between 1950 and 1970 - an exhibit for the Jubilee - her 50th year of reign this year. Some of the colors (orange on white, turquoise and white) weren't particularly pretty IMO (very 70s.)
The Freakin' Lord Mayor welcomed us to Bath, made a joke about not understanding why he wasn't asked to be cast as Mr. Darcy, although he had been told he'd be best as Mr. Bennet which suited him just fine, since Mr. B. was his favorite character.
Once Andrew Davies sat down, a line of Pemberleans formed to get his autograph. I succumbed and got in line, too. As the dinner started, we not at the center table were keenly jealous of those at the center table
What a great trip! Highlights for me included Chawton Cottage, Winchester Cathedral, the Cobb at Lyme, Luckington Court (inside and out), Bath Assembly Rooms, catching up with old friends (and new!) Everything was wonderful!