Special Moments from RoP2002 -- as Remembered by Kathleen (elder)
Meeting at the Anchor Restaurant on 25 July for pre-theater dinner. It was hot & humid, and the restaurant was under-staffed, but we enjoyed meeting and greeting and eating. Many thanks to Helen for arranging it. Then it was on to the Globe for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Linda Ann was holding her Darcy (The Look) poster, and she had the tickets ready. Our seats were wonderful - first row of the middle tier. The play was great fun, and I really enjoyed being able to look up at the sky. The fake moon hanging on wires above the groundlings almost looks like the real thing in my photo. Thanks to Linda Ann for this event.
Waiting for the coach at Victoria Coach Station was quite an experience. We were a large party, and no matter where we went, we were blocking somebody's path. More old friends and new acquaintance, and soon the coach appeared. I worried that my luggage wouldn't fit, but nothing was left behind.
Arriving at OAP to find a special tote bag, containing a hand-embroidered handkerchief no less. Most excellent creatures, these meeting committee members!
Introductions and laughing and talking - discussions about anything and everything - these times were the best part of the entire week. So glad that Anne P and Clare A were able to join us even for a short time that first weekend.
Steventon, Chawton House, Chawton Cottage - a wonderful way to immerse ourselves in JA history. And the special treatment from all the contact people made it even more special. The vicar at Steventon skipped over the basics of JA's life, as he realized that we already knew those bits. The detail of information about Chawton House and its renovation was incredible. And being allowed to see actual letters written by JA as well as her music books was a very moving touch. Certainly we could have each seen the houses/church individually, but only as a group would we be likely to get such attention.
Sunday was a lazy day for me. Breakfast, committee meeting, pictures, lunch, then off to Winchester Cathedral. The wreath-laying ceremony was very moving, and the assistant dean was very considerate of our mixed group. The bells were delightful, and the evensong service was also nice - I enjoyed singing along on the hymns (even if I only make a joyful noise!).
A very hot day in Lyme Regis, but the walk on the Cobb was (al)most refreshing! Many young ladies played at being Louisa Musgrove, but I am glad that none actually required the services of a surgeon - after all, we had no Captain Benwick (let alone Frederick Wentworth) amongst us. Tea for all ended our stay there, and then "We were for Bath." Dinner & coffee at the hotel, with much walking about and talking of both individual and shared experiences.
Our free day in Bath was great fun, ending with tea in the Pump Room. Then to the hotel, and for the evening a tour of the Baths and dinner also in the Pump Room. Even an inattentive waiter couldn't spoil the day for us. The music at the far end was quite beautiful, not so loud as to make conversation impossible but just enough to enhance the experience.
Lacock & Luckington in the rain - well, it had to rain one day in England, didn't it? I actually appreciated being cool for a change, and I enjoyed watching Cheryl play Anne Elliot to everybody's Mary Musgrove ("I'll move over so that you can have the dry place on the bench"!). And, we got to meet Lou and her entourage here. Lots of wandering about, with the 5 interviewees leaving at about 10:30 a.m. Lunch at the Red Lion was quite good, and we all dried off a bit (though Golda was the only one spotted drying her hair using the hand blower in the Ladies!). Being allowed inside Luckington was quite a surprise, and I only hope that we didn't track in too much mud from traipsing around the grounds (especially the prettyish sort of wilderness).
Then, the climax of our wonderful week was the Civic Reception in the Bath Assembly Rooms. From the tour of the Costume Exhibit, to the Lord Mayor ("Just Call Me Del"), to dinner in the Tea Rooms, and then Andrew Davies - I cannot imagine a nicer way to finish the "I Blame Jane" 2002 Tour.