Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 3 in Portland at the JASNA AGM

Reproduction costumes from the Georgian era
 There was a lovely display of reproduction gowns at one end of the "Milsom Street Regency Emporium" which was set up all during the gathering so that if you had a few minutes to spend, you could browse the gowns, or shop from some of the vendors.

More gowns....

...and more gowns...

...and more gowns.  Lots of eye candy here.

Reticules for sale, amongst other fripperies

A bit of antique china for sale, if you have room in your luggage

One gown for sale, the other seeming to be worn by Charlotte Palmer

I really didn't have to sew those damned reticules after all!!!

Gorgeous gown but it was over $300, so I'm happy with my eBay buy.

This photo doesn't do justice to the cute spencer jacket.

Lovely handmade cards done in watercolours.

Display of books for sale from Jane Austen Books
 Jane Austen Books has a lovely website if you want to visit.  Here it is : Jane Austen Books

Many JASNA chapters had their own items for sale for fund raising.

Yes, I quite agree.

Cards and T-shirts for sale all over- and cute too!

Care for some jewelry?

This was taken at the end of our first breakout session today.  Susan Jones and Kathleen Anderson on the left, did a very entertaining dramatic presentation by Mrs. Allen and Catherine Morland respectively, on "Avoiding Mayhem on your First Trip to Bath".

Rebecca Morrison-Peck and friend (looks like Sir Walter Elliot to me).  Rebecca owns The Thatched Cottage, a vintage and reproduction clothing store.  I got a fan from her to go with my gown.
My fan from Rebecca's store (The Thatched Cottage) which she got from Versailles on a trip to France to buy vintage clothing and a pin made out of an ivory counting chip (used for genteel gambling!).
Two other great breakout sessions today were firstly one by Sarah Parry of Chawton House Library, touring some more outrageous English Country Houses and converted  Abbeys.  The second of the afternoon and last of the gathering for us was our friend from yesterday, Allison Thompson, on the "Rules of the Assemblies".  What a great presentation with people from the audience demonstrating how a few of the more popular English Country Dances were performed.  Much better idea of the real thing than you get from the films.  Well done Allison!

Well, must iron my dress and yes, my shoes arrived at last, so my shopping at Nordstrom's was just for fun, and not out of neccessity.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the photos from the Bal Masque tonight.  I hope I can blog from the airport...

Day 2 in Portland at the JASNA AGM

Rev Henry Tilney at the Team Tilney event.
"Look at Darcy.  Now look at me.  Look at Knightley.  Now look back at me."  You know an event is going to be fun when it starts out with an English actor with a very posh accent, doing a hilarious parody of the Old Spice Man a la Jane Austen.  The first event of the day for us was a panel discussion called "Team Tilney explains it all" and was very funny and quite persuasive.  I am now quite willing to at least put Henry Tilney up there amongst Darcy et al although I may not rank him at the top of the list.  He would need a wet shirt for that methinks.

After this we spent some time outside in the glorious Portland sunshine, which I understand is quite rare.  Mount Hood and it's snow-capped peak was visible in the distance and the trees are just starting to change color.  We had a great lunch and then sauntered back (slowly) for the afternoon sessions.

The first lecture was Stephanie Barron, a writer of Jane Austen mysteries, speaking about "Elements of Mystery in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey".  Made me want to buy her new book Jane and The Madness of Lord Byron.

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being A Jane Austen Mystery
Then we all went to different breakout sessions.  Our first was on Magic and Muslin, a very entertaining presentation by an unlikely speaker, James Ashley of the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State.  A thoroughly intriguing subject, even if the Austen connection was a stretch.  Didn't matter a whit.  Lots of lively ladies ready for some fun, including the one of whom I took a photo, as her dress was so pretty (her own design).
Sherrean Rundberg, of San Mateo, CA
The next session was by James Nagle, a Washington lawyer, on Regency England's rules on succession and inheritance of property (entail, jointure etc.) which was highly entertaining as the speaker was so good.  He certainly made it clear where some family friction came from in Regency times!

We then went out in the gorgeous sunshine on a special mission for my niece, to get photos of Beverly Cleary's neighborhood in Portland where she set her Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby books.  Photos will follow in a special "Why I now love Portland" blog.

Finished the day with a trip to the famous Powell's book store, where I found this lovely lady on sale for only 10 dollars.  Who knew there was a Jane Austen action figure.  Only in Portland.  Keep it weird Portland!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 1 in Portland at the JASNA AGM

We are back in our hotel room, after a full first day at the JASNA AGM in Portland.  After a long flight from Toronto and waking up with a pillow on my head (due to my dear sister's snoring!), we took a day long bus tour of the Oregon Coast.  We learned more about Lewis and Clark than we ever thought possible.  Apparently they were really tired and ticked off by the time they reached the coast as the places they named at the end of their 4,000 mile trip bear witness: Point Distress, Dismal Nitch and Cape Disappointment!!!  I am not making this up.

Thankfully, our day was much better.  Although the weather was a little bit Sense and Sensibility-like (great for tumbling down hills), we walked on Cannon Beach, shopped for hats and candy in the rather Carmel-like town, and had lunch with two charming men from Philly with great taste in literature.

Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast-misty and gorgeous

After returning to the hotel fairly late, finally registering for the gathering and getting our badges, swag, etc. we ran off for a wee bit of supper at a lovely Portland restaurant called Mother's Bistro.  Very appropriate name for two mothers on the lam, away from their families to become rabid Janites for the weekend.

Made it back to the hotel just in time to hear the theatrical keynote address by English actress Angela Barlow- "Jane Austen & Character: An Actor's View".  She was highly entertaining with voice characterizations that brought a host of Austen characters to life and discussed Jane Austen's genius for creating memorable people in her stories.  She ended her talk with one of my favorite scenes from Pride and Prejudice, where Lizzy comes upstairs to inform her mother of her engagement to Mr. Darcy.

"Good gracious! Lord bless me! only think! dear me! Mr. Darcy! Who would have thought it! And is it really true? Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have! Jane's is nothing to it -- nothing at all. I am so pleased -- so happy. Such a charming man! -- so handsome! so tall! -- Oh, my dear Lizzy! pray apologise for my having disliked him so much before. I hope he will overlook it. Dear, dear Lizzy. A house in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me. I shall go distracted.''

After leaving the Grand Ballroom, we proceeded to the front desk to collect two packages.  I had ordered a few items from eBay to complete our costumes for the Bal Masque, and had them delivered to the hotel, as it was much faster than shipping to Canada, and I had left it too late, as usual, the great procrastinator that I am.

Great idea, however, as it is sooooo much fun to get packages at a hotel.  My pashmina shawl was waiting for me upon check-in, and today it was hairbands and our lovely gloves modeled above.  I got the shorter gloves which end just below the elbow to avoid "snausaging" of the upper arm, which would undoubtedly have occurred with the longer version.
My lovely ballet slippers better arrive tomorrow, or it will be off to the Payless Shoe store up the street for me.  Cinderella with no slippers......

See you tomorrow for more fun at JASNA!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pride and Prejudice Location- My afternoon at Pemberley

OK, now that I have got your attention with the breathtaking view of Pemberley (AKA Lyme Park, Cheshire), I will take you there.  It was last summer and we had just driven down from the Lakes District and through busy Manchester (yes the same city where Beckham used to play for Manchester United) and found our way to Disley, Cheshire, just on the east side of England's seventh largest city.
At the gate, they gave us a CD to pop into the player in the car which gave an audio tour of the park, with music from P&P, as we drove in.  Very nice touch and I am sick to think that we left it in the rental car!!!
After a torrential downpour (unusual for England-usually a drizzle) during which we had lunch and browsed the gift shop, the sky finally cleared.  It was a Wednesday, and the interior of the house was not open, but I really just wanted to see the grounds and all the outdoor locations of the beloved miniseries as they used a different house for the interiors (I'll blog about that one another day).
The first view you get is not the one above, which is the back of the house, but this:
"I hope you are not displeased with Pemberley."
Excitement building? It was for me.  This drive, of course, is where the Gardiner's carriage was parked when Lizzy was trying to hurry them away.  Maybe this next shot will help to visualize.

Did your heart just skip a beat?  Notice that the sun came out just as we approached the courtyard and peeked through the arch.  Then we walked through and...
I swear I could actually see Mr. Darcy running down those steps in those boots (oh those boots) and buttoning his jacket.  I couldn't believe I was actually there.  Then we walked through to the rear of the building and my husband (The Squire as I affectionately call him) got the beautiful sunny shot which I use for my main blog photo.
"I confess I had no idea Pemberley was such a great estate."
 We had to hurry now, as all the rain delay meant that we were nearing closing time.  We saw the sunken gardens which are just to the left of the walk in the view above.
And then we walked past that glorious rear facade to the stairs...

"Do I ask too much to introduce my sister to you during your stay at Lambton?"

And then at the top of those steps, you turn back for the gorgeous view below.
"We must leave here at once.  Oh I wish we had never come."
We kept walking down this path and around the lake for the shot that everyone remembers as Lizzy's first view of Pemberley.
"I think one would be willing to put up with a good deal to be mistress of Pemberley."
And then the bell rang and we were hurried out of the grounds, back through the courtyard and onto the drive in front of the house again.  So off we drove to the Peaks district and to the next Pemberley (AKA Chatsworth).  But that is a blog for another day...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Costume for JASNA Portland -Trying for the "Regency Look"

Regency dress for the Bal Masque
Amethyst cross
White ballet shoes

I am very excited and slightly apprehensive about attending my first gathering of the Jane Austen Society of North America next Wednesday in Portland Oregon.  I am excited because I will be away with my sister and among people with similar interests, all intent on having fun.  I am slightly apprehensive because I don't know quite what to expect.  So I am rather obsessing about being ready for the Bal Masque on Saturday Oct 30.  I am trying to get my costume as period as possible without paying too much.  Huzzah for Ebay.
As well as what you see above, all purchased from Ebay, the crowning jewel being the dress ordered from Marion May in the UK, who I can highly recommend.  I got a real steal on it as she seemed to be clearing it out on Ebay, and it just happened to be the right size.
I got very cute masks from the dollar store for $1.25 each, so I got three to chose from (we can give one away to someone who needs a mask at the Ball).

I have also been sewing evening bags for my sister and I (called reticules), which meant breaking out my sewing machine for the first time in years.  The results are above.  I tried to emulate ones from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England as they were so pretty.
And the hair situation was an issue as neither my sister or I fuss with our hair too much, so I got fabric covered hair bands, white for me and black for my sis.  She is dressing up a regular black dress to look Period by adding a shawl, gloves, etc.  Oh, yes, I found us some long white gloves, 8 bucks a pair, to add the finishing touches.
Well, what do you think?  Will we pass muster?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What would your fantasy week in London include? Please post comments!

I have a friend who is heading to London in two weeks with her best friend.  This is her first time in London and I have made a few suggestions, but I would love input from readers and friends.  She is already planning to see Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, a show-Billy Elliot, and they are going to go to Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen.

I suggested either the Victoria and Albert Museum above, which looks so cool (or the British Museum or Museum of London), and possibly either the National Gallery or the Portrait Gallery-(but maybe only briefly to get a taste).

I think hopping on the train at Waterloo Station and going to Hampton Court Palace is definitely worth the time.  And a trip down the Thames to Greenwich on one of the tour boats is a great way to spend an afternoon if they have the time.

And because she and her friend are way thinner and cooler than I am, I suggested a shopping trip to Stella McCartney's store on Bruton St. in Mayfair which is just north of Berkeley Square and then continue shopping up New Bond St. and via Grosvener Square to Oxford Street.  If they hit a Monsoon store, a French Connection and a Top Shop, with a stop at Selfridges and Debenham's on Oxford street, that would be fun.  She already has Harrod's on her list, so she may also want to stop in at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge.  She is a big shopper (see the cool/thin comment), so this number of stores may actually be possible for her especially if she skips some of the museums.

Anyhow, if you have any other suggestions please post below and I will pass them on.  I might also suggest that hitting a pub in the Shepherd Market would be great, as would tea or a drink at The Ritz (photo above).  A stroll down Piccadilly after said tea or drink at the Ritz, with a poke into the Burlington Arcade, Fortnum & Mason's and then possibly Hatchard's, -see below-(the oldest bookshop in London) would round things out nicely.

OK, if she sees even a fraction of those things, she won't have time to sleep, but it's always better to have a long list and see which ones fit into your plans.  You never know where you might find yourself.

Well, you can tell what I will be dreaming about tonight. Yes, actually fitting into a Stella McCartney creation.  Oh, well...a girl can dream can't she?  The rest of the trip is a real possibility!



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