I consider Jane Austin to be nothing short of a literary genius and Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favourite reads. When I shared a house in (very) rural Nottinghamshire with six other girls (a mad story for another time), the TV serialisation with Colin Firth was staple Sunday Night fodder. We would ooh and ahh over Mr Darcy and giggle at some of the lines (my favourite: Elizabeth- "Oh yes, I'm excessively diverted," which we used all the time).
The entrance to the house at Chawton is stuffed full of pictures of Colin Firth, which reminded me of a funny story....
Some years ago Colin's parents lived next door to a friend of a friend in Winchester. She'd had a hell of a day with her children (you know the sort- you just about manage to get dressed by lunchtime but don't notice that you've put on odd socks or that your jeans haven't been cleaned in a month and your tee-shirt is on backwards and has baby sick all down one shoulder; you have no chance of even vaguely introducing a brush to your hair so you scrape it out the way in an untidy straggly fashion with a frayed scrunchy, and you can completely forget about any chance of even thinking about cleaning your teeth). She had just put them to bed when there was a knock on the door. It was a foul, stormy, rainy night, and all she wanted was to put her feet up, pour a large glass of wine and have done with the day, but she answered the door and there stood Colin Firth.
He apologised for disturbing her, explained he was staying with his mum and that one of his children was ill and they had no calpol, so please could he borrow some?
Suddenly horribly aware of her unbrushed hair, her lack of make-up, her scruffy clothes and unwashed teeth (?) and by now completely fed up with the day (how dare a handsome actor turn up at her door now?) she blushed scarlet, muttered something inarticulate about having to fetch the calpol from wherever she'd last left it, turned round too quickly and went straight into the open door of a kitchen cupboard.
She said it was so Bridget Jones it was ridiculous.
There weren't any handsome actors in Chawton today so I was in no danger of walking in to anything. M and I reckoned we had lowered the average age of the visitors by about thirty years. It's a lovely place and worth a visit if you're ever in that neck of the woods. Here are some snaps...
Jane Austin's Donkey Carriage
Beautiful Ceiling Bricks and Beams
No idea what this is?
A Blackbird's Child
The oak in the middle of the seat is the child of an oak planted by JA and her
beloved sister Cassandra.
A letter written by JA. She had the neatest most tiniest hand writing.
A baby's cap.
If I had put this on L as an infant and taken photographic evidence
he would have disowned me as a teenager
Lace collar made by JA.
I've seen lace being made - very clever and intricate.
Original wallpaper discovered upstairs from the time JA lived here
There is fierce academic debate raging about this picture.
Some hold that it is JA, others furiously deny it.
The beautiful house next door
After pretending to be a Regency Lord and Lady for an hour, and walking through some pretty woods to work up an appetite we hopped across the road for a Cheese Platter and a pint at the Greyfriar pub.
The Sparrows thought so too
All in all a Top Day Out (and another place I can tick off my list).
I'll leave you with some pics of the Blue Tit's Child, first seen this morning.
He is rather fluffy and adorable (and extremely noisy).
And finally one of Teddy, modelling his latest haircut.
He hopes Daisy in particular approves.
Crikey! He does have eyes!
M says he looks like a Gremlin.