While the Pemberley Committee held its annual business meeting, the others enjoyed a free morning in a variety of pursuits: reading the newspapers, needlework, chatting. The more intrepid decided upon a long walk. A very long walk.

Linda: Meeting Jenny Scott, the author of AFTER JANE, a summary of all the published sequels. We have been corresponding for more than 4 years.

The afternoon was spent at Winchester Cathedral. The bells were pealing as we arrived, a very good omen, and the start of an incredibly moving visit. Canon Charles Stuart led us in a wreath laying ceremony at Jane's tomb inside the cathedral. He was most sensitive to our different beliefs and immediately grasped that we were on a pilgrimage. The ceremony was unexpectedly moving and there were more than a few tears shed as we reflected on all Jane Austen had given to us, not only in the enjoyment of her writing, but the very real bonds of love forged among our very diverse group.
This was followed by the Evensong Service during which the Dean of Winchester Cathedral mentioned Pemberley from the pulpit and a special prayer was said for Jane Austen and all writers. The choir singing the service was on tour from Ft. Worth, Texas, of all places. We thought it a quite felicitous meeting of the old and new worlds. After the service, some people rushed off to see the house where Jane died, while others spent their time in the cathedral and the gift shop.
MicheleS: Winchester Cathedral - visiting Jane's grave, and the whole experience altogether, was far more moving than I'd prepared myself for. Something I will never forget.

The Bells of Winchester Cathedral (MPEG)

JulieW: Canon Charles Stuart, a very gentle bear of a man - realising just how special it was for us to stand by JA's grave, and announcing to a copiously weeping Myretta "You look as if you need a hug" and enclosing her in a mammoth embrace. Who says we Brits are not emotional! LOL

Ann2: It was a very special ceremony, both sincere and solemn, which brought tears to my eyes and I was by no means alone to react like that.

Our last evening in Hampshire saw the vicar who led the morning services at the Arlesford Church next door tending the bar at OAP (you gotta love the Church of England!), and thus fortified, some ladies were moved to polish their Maggot Technique.

MicheleS: my first really great memory has to be Dancing the Maggot. ;) Aside of the serious rush when it started to really look like we were dancing the Maggot....I think that's when the ice really broke.

They actually became very good before Cheryl absolutely refused to play it one more time, though they did talk her into doing The Shrewsbury Lasses, aka the Other Way Mr. Collins Song. This was not quite as successful as the Maggot, but points were given for effort.

Linda: Our own Anne Elliot (Cheryl: how her fingers flew across the keyboard) was such a good sport. She played the same sections over and over and over and over again as a large group of Mr Collins' tried and tried.

Meanwhile, the dining room had been taken over by a boisterous group playing Austenopoly, a Monopoly-type game invented by Julie W and realized by Nan in which Austen heroines moved about the board gathering property and being entertained by Delights and Diversions and Longbourn Lottery cards, instead of Chance and Community Chest. There was a great hue and cry when Fanny Price (in the guise of Carolyn) became Mistress of Pemberley.

OAP was a delightful place for our meeting. The ambience was wonderful, the old Georgian-era building beautiful, the staff incredibly kind and helpful. It was hard to leave, but more delights awaited us in Bath!


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