Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Helllooooo, I'm back!!!!
After ages and ages away, I'm finally back again in the blogosphere. I know that isn't world shattering info for most of you but it's a huge step for me because I've been away so long. I've been doing other things like writing, mainly. But also helping to set up another blog of pocket novel writers called thepocketeers.blogspot.com.
I have really missed doing my own blog though, so here's a new post to start me off again and my mission is to blog regularly and hopefully about interesting stuff! So, here goes.... Over Easter, I visited Jane Austen's house at Chawton in Hampshire. It really is a fantastic small museum which has been beautifully looked after. The village it is in has barely changed since Austen's time and being inside that superbly proportioned house surrounded by things like a patchwork quilt which was worked by Jane's own hand really did make her era come alive. I was struck by how modest the house was in comparison to the people Jane often wrote about. Here was not a country estate, or even a small stately home. It was just a reasonably generous family home which she shared with her sister, mother and family friend. Even though she was earning something from her books, she still had to accept the loan of this house from her brother and moved many times in her life, being at the mercy of others to house her and her dearest relatives. There was no room for dances or grand dinners and Jane must have felt very much the poor relation compared to her brothers some of whom had done really exciting things around the world in the navy or had been given the advantages of a large country estate.
I often think that seeing where someone lives tells you so much about them. The thing I loved most was a tiny little wooden table at which Jane purportedly wrote. This was placed next to the window and it was lovely to think of her scribbling away and watching the world pass by her door - a world about which we still love reading today.
Here are two photos of such personal things that I thought they were rather touching. First of all some babies bonnets lovingly and delicately worked by ladies of the day, all the more poignant because Jane died unmarried and childless. Secondly a patchwork quilt, still vibrantly colourful with fabric that may have been worn by Jane herself.