Tuesday, June 3, 2008

England Trip Part 2 - Hampshire and Jane Austen's House

So, to continue the journey, I got up bright and early on Monday morning to pick up my rental car at the airport. That's right! I drove in England! On the right hand side of the car! On the left side of the road! And I lived to tell the tale! It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I got used to it pretty quickly.

Anyway, after a short hiccup at the rental desk I was off in a cute little sliver VW hatchback. It was an automatic, so luckily I didn't have to worry about anything other than getting used to driving "backwards". I actually didn't have a map (maybe a bad idea and I found out later that the rental company had one I could have borrowed, why they didn't tell me that at the time...) but I had printed directions from Google which worked just fine. I headed first to... Jane Austen's House!

Oh man, I wish I had someone there to share the excitement with, but at the same time it was great to be able to go through at my own pace. I was really lucky because I love fashion and costuming from this time and they were having an exhibit throughout the museum of dresses from the new adaptation of Sense & Sensibility that just aired on Masterpiece (which you should all watch, because although it's not as great as the Emma Thompson version, is still a nice long adaptation).

So onto the pictures!

This dress was in the entrance to the museum. Elinor Dashwood wears it throughout the movie. So fun to see it up close!

This is Jane Austen's writing desk. It's in the same place it was in her lifetime. In the breakfast room under the window. It's actually really small and I can't imagine her sitting and writing six novels here!

This was in the same room as the desk and was worn by Fanny Dashwood, the evil step-sister-in-law, in the movie. It's accordingly a "finer" dress.

One of my favorite dresses, worn by Marianne Dashwood, this was upstairs in Jane and Cassandra's room, which was actually quite small!

I'm pretty sure this was another one of Elinor's dresses.

I believe this was an original copy (couldn't be sure as it was in the back of case) of one of JA's first "novels", "Love and Friendship". The illustrations were done by her sister. I actually ended up talking the with curator of the museum for some time about who they have doing conservation work on their objects because there were many, like this one, that I wanted to cradle like a little baby and fix myself! I got a contact and might be able to do some work for them when I get over there...

This is an actual quilt made by Jane, her mother and sister. It's actually so amazing and this picture doesn't do it justice! Can you imagine piecing all these together by hand?!

This was worn by Edward Ferras in the movie... swoon... man, I love Regency Men!

This is JA's donkey cart. At the end of her life she was very sick and it was hard for her to move around, so she would get out in this little cart which was pulled by a donkey.

A view of the pump and behind it the bake house where the bread was made.

A view of the entrance gate on the side of the house.

Jane Austen's House!

After getting my fill of her gardens and house I went on to Winchester where she died and was buried. There's a memorial to her in Winchester Cathedral. This is the only place I actually got lost. The directions I had were hard to follow as they don't like to post the name of roads in England (so it seems), have a million one way streets and the directions only told me to stay on roads for about 200 yards before I was supposed to make another turn! I was just going to park and find my way on foot, but I was out of cash and so I got in a catch-22, I couldn't park without cash, but I couldn't stop to get cash without parking! So eventually I stopped at a petrol station and a really nice bloke (see I'm picking up the lingo already!) helped me find an ATM and gave me directions to the cathedral, so eventually I made it! I wish I had more time to explore this quaint little city. It had some fun shops on the High Street too. I ate lunch then made my way to the Cathedral for pictures.

The entrance to Winchester Cathedral. There has actually been a church on this site since like the late 1100's, can you believe it?

This is the stone in the floor that marks Jane Austen's death. It was placed here by her family. It actually doesn't mention anything about her being a writer.

This plaque was placed here later above the stone on the floor and refers to her writing. There was also a stained glass window above it which also commemorate her as a writer.

Unfortunately after this the battery on my camera died so I didn't get any pictures of the rest of my adventures on Monday. But after walking around the church a bit more I decided I wanted to try to get to Brighton before going to the school. I figured I had the car, why not take advantage of it! Brighton was about a two hour drive from Winchester so I didn't spend any more time in the town and just took off on the motorway. I kept thinking the whole drive down there "But I want to go to Brighton!", like how Lydia Bennet says it in the A&E version of Pride & Prejudice! Fun times.

Again, I didn't have a map, and although I knew where it was, I hadn't printed any directions from Winchester to Brighton, so I just decided to wing it by following signs on the motorways! It turned out fine and I made it there in no time at all!

When I got to Brighton I found a parking garage and followed signs to the Royal Pavilion. Since it was a bank holiday Brighton seemed pretty busy! There were tons of people out walking around, and while this was fun, I felt a little conspicuous walking around by myself. So I did the tour of the Royal Pavilion and then walked down along the Victorian Boardwalk, which has an amusement park on it. Again, I didn't linger long at many things, but bought some cotton candy (or floss as they call it) and played one of the booth games they had where you compete against a lot of other people. It was pretty fun!

The Royal Pavilion (this picture was not taken by me, my camera had broken but I wanted you to see what it looked like). This is one amazing place!

Again, not my picture (obviously) but this is a shot of Brighton Pier from the air. It's a pretty big place!

From the Beach. The white building had a huge arcade inside.

I decided I'd get some dinner before driving to the school, so I walked around The Lanes, which are little alleyways that have been turned into a shopping district, and found a little Italian restaurant that didn't look too uncomfortable for sitting by myself.

After dinner I drove back along the coastal road to West Dean and was astonished when passing this castle, which I found out later was Arundel Castle! Wish I'd had time to stop!!

So amazing! I could see this off in the distance sitting above a little village and I can't wait to go back and explore more!

Well, that brings me to the end of that leg of the journey. Next up, West Dean! I made it in at about 8:30 that night and went right to sleep in my beautiful old room!


Derick & Becky said...

I love this! Keep it coming! You are making me want to go soooo bad! Oh, and how were the nutter butter ones you made? What did you use for coating?

Brad & Robin said...

CaRlY!* Love the long posts! Afterall, you can't describe an awesome trip like that in one paragraph. I'm so jealous of your adventures! I'm so excited for you about grad school. What a great opportunity. Keep the posts coming :-)