My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter IV

Hello dear readers,

Today one of the most wonderful weeks that I have ever lived comes to an end. As you know we have celebrated Jane Austen’s live and work throughout this past week due to the 200th anniversary of her death on the 18th of July, and as most events were taking place in England, that’s where I chose to be this last week.

I’ve been in England many times and I had visited several places related to Jane Austen, but this was the first big road trip completely dedicated to Jane Austen that I have done. I’ve met lots of amazing people, reconnected with old acquaintances and participated in some ceremonies that inspired me to write a few posts Austen related (bear with me for a while, I’ll be posting more than reviews in the upcoming weeks).

My trip started in Milton, er…sorry, Manchester.I would have loved to visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s home there, but as it is only open a few days a week, I didn’t have that chance. I was sad about it, but it means I have another reason to return to the area, so I have to look at the bright side of it. From Manchester I took the train to Stockport to meet for the first time author Lory Lilian, Andreea Catana and Ellen Pickels. These lovely ladies were my travel companions for several days and with them I visited Lyme Park, Chatsworth House and traveled south across the country to attend the religious ceremony in Winchester on the 18th of July. I’ll tell you all about our adventures in the North, but for now, I would like to share with you how it was to be in Winchester on such a memorable date.

We got to Winchester on the 17th, but the 18th was the big day! After breakfast we headed straight into the garden in front of Winchester Cathedral, took some pictures and were even interviewed by BBC radio, but the real fun started when our dear friends Joana Starnes and Mira Magdo from Obsessed with Mr. Darcy joined us for the day. With them we attended a recital in the Cathedral, and travelled the streets of Winchester to find the house where Jane Austen spent the last weeks of her life, and where she eventually died on the 18th of July.

The house is on 8 College Street but it is now a private house and can not be visited. It bears an oval plaque over the front door, placed there in 1956 and designed and executed by Esmond Burton.It is nowadays the only sign that tells us this is a very special house. In front of it lies a small garden with an Austen quote, and even if some people may miss it, we surely didn’t.

Jane Austen wrote to her nephew, James Edward Austen, “our Lodgings are very comfortable. We have a neat little Drawing room with a Bow-window overlooking D’ Gabell’s garden”, and even if this is not what people may see from the bow-window nowadays, I like to imagine Jane looking over this window.

After this walk, we headed back to the Winchester Cathedral where I met Cassandra Grafton author of A Fair Prospect trilogy and the recently released A Quest for Mr. Darcy. Together we attended to the unveil of the 10£ bank note with the presence of the 120th Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney.

Mr. Carney demonstrated a true knowledge of Austen’s life and work, making a charming and captivating speech, but he also shared some interesting aspects about the new 10 £ note. For example, on the front of the £10 polymer note there are two clusters of raised dots in the top left hand corner, this tactile feature will help blind and partially sighted people identify the value of the note. I also learned about a few details the new note will have, such as a finely detailed metallic image of Winchester Cathedral positioned over a see-through window, and a book-shaped copper foil patch which contains the letters JA. But the most controversial detail on the note is the quote “ I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”.

I have nothing against it, I know it was pronounced by Miss Bingley and that it was said in an ironic tone, but it remains a true statement nonetheless, and I find it appropriate for a note with the picture of a writer. What do you think? I know many people do not agree with this quote on the note, is that your case?

The bank note will only enter circulation in September, so I couldn’t come home with one, but thanks to Sophie Andrews, I did come home with a 2 £ coin :)) Do you have it already?

The coin was launched in locations that have a close connection to Jane Austen’s life but the design will only be released into wider circulation later this year. The coin is already being sold on Amazon, but the prices are excessive and the coin can be found at reduced prices in any Jane Austen related place, so if you visit places such as the Jane Austen House in Chawton, don’t miss the opportunity to have one of the first coins out there.

With this ceremony over it was time to eat something, get some rest and be prepared for the religious ceremony that took most of us there.

It was a beautiful ceremony fully dedicated to one of the greatest authors in England and I feel particularly honored to have been there to pay my tribute.

The entire day was wonderful with a beautiful weather, but once the ceremony was over, as if crying for Austen, the sky started pouring rain and we had to leave Winchester.

We ended up eating pizza, drinking god knows what and teaching eachother how to speak our native languages. I don’t think the day could have ended in a better way and I want to thank all these lovely ladies for putting up with me and my photos the entire day! Being in Winchester for Jane was absolutely unforgettable but it wouldn’t have been as special if I hadn’t shared all these moments with people who, just like me, were touched by Jane in so many ways 🙂

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I know that not everybody got a chance to go to Winchester to Jane Austen’s life, so I bring some tokens of the 200th anniversary to offer to one of my readers. As Persuasion was released in 1817, I thought it would be fitting to offer it along with a keyring, rubber and pencil commemorative of the date. I’ve also added an I love Jane pin, and  a bag of lavender I made at Jane Austen’s House in Chawton.

The giveaway is international, and all you have to do to be eligible for it is to leave your share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post. It will run until the 4th of August and the winner will be announced shortly after.

Good Luck everyone!

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39 Comments

Filed under giveaway, JAFF, jane austen

39 responses to “My Jane Austen Road Trip – Chapter IV

  1. J. W. Garrett

    OMG! Rita, the pictures are lovely. It added so much to what you were telling us. I was so excited to see the authors you met… and then, you were able to travel with them… what fun. Thank you for sharing with us. Have a blessed day and hopefully you can make it to Gaskell’s house next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jeanne 🙂 It was really a priviledge to be spend so much time with these authors and to learn from them. I also met some readers with whom I usually talk on this blog and I have to say that it was one of the highlights of the trip! I wouldn’t mind meeting all of you 🙂 Can you imagine a gathering with all of us? We would talk for hours!

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  2. evamedmonds

    What a perfect ending for your road trip. The quote on the ten pound note was taken out of context and, and it does bother me; however, Jane Austen would probably see much irony in it. Miss Bingley continues to try to be noticed! I am sure the service at Winchester Cathedral was moving. Thank you for the giveaway, and I look forward to future postings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are quite correct Eva! I hadn’t thought about it that way…But yes, Jane Austen would definitely think it is funny how Miss Bingley is still trying to get noticed nowadays 🙂 Thank you for your words, and speak to you soon 🙂

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  3. Oh how I wish I could have been there with you all, both in the North and in Winchester! As things happened, though, I had to endure my busiest working week of the whole year so far. To make things worse, on the 18th the place I was working in had no mobile phone or data signal so I couldn’t even keep up with the events in my breaks. It had to wait till I got home to catch up with the news and to start reading all of the lovely blog posts that are appearing, just like yours Rita. Thanks so much for sharing all of your lovely photos with us and for writing such a beautiful post.

    I already have my own £2 coin, bought direct from the Royal Mint in a special presentation pack. It cost quite a bit more than it’s face value though! I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the £10 note in September. Given the nature of my work, in community pharmacies where money is handled daily, I’ll be seeing Jane just about every day once the notes enter general circulation. Regarding the quote they chose for the note, I can understand why some people are complaining as Miss Bingley didn’t mean what she was saying, just trying to attract Darcy’s attention but as a quote from an author about reading, I think it’s pretty good. Many of the alternative quotes suggested wouldn’t have fitted into the space allotted on the note.

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I’m planning my own trip to Hampshire at the end of next month. An unexpected change in my work schedule has given me enough time to make the trip from Yorkshire and to spend three full days visiting and revisiting places associated with Miss Austen. I even have my own lavender bag sitting on the bookcase in my study!

    Looking forward to the forthcoming posts about your trip.

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    • Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that your week was so busy Anji 😦
      But 3 days in Hampshire will be more than enough compensation, I’m sure!! I hope you have lots of fun and that you share pictures and stories with us too. I wouldn’t mind having one entire month to travel across all the Jane Austen related places… But who would, right?
      Anyway, I hope you have lots of fun on your trip and that we have a chance to meet the next time I’m in the UK 🙂

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      • Oh yes, please do let me know when you’re going to be over here, Rita. Especially if you’re paying another visit to Lyme. It’s only two hours drive away from me! I had hoped to join you and Lory and the others when you were there but we had pre-existing plans that couldn’t be changed on the Sunday and I was working on the Monday.

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  4. Karylee Marin

    Rita, I have been (and will continue to do so) savoring your photos and your reflections. Oh, to have been there! I am awash with complex emotions, one of them gratitude for you, Cass, the others, so gracefully sharing the 200 with those of us pining at home. It has been a cornucopia of Jane, for which I am most grateful. Of course I would be THRILLED to win! Your thoughtful – tender – the lavender! – offerings really touch me. Thank you for all, Karylee (like Carolee)

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    • Thank you for your hearfelt words Karylee!!! It makes me feel much more confidente to continue writing these posts. I never know if you’ll find them interesting or boring, and your feedback really made me feel good 🙂 Thank you!! And good luck in the giveaway 🙂

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  5. Glynis

    I’m really enjoying your posts and photos Rita. It was such a pleasure to meet you along with Lory, Ellen and Andreea. I usually struggle meeting people I don’t know personally but with you it was just like meeting old friends and I had a wonderful evening.
    I couldn’t go to Winchester so it is especially great to share your experiences there.
    I look forward to more posts. Thanks again 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was so, so nice meeting you too Glynis!! One of the highlights of my trip :)))
      I know, we have so much in common than when we actually meet it is like meeting old friends, no awkwardness and only little time to share everything we want to share 🙂
      My next post regarding this trip will be the visit to the North, and you’ll be in it 🙂

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  6. What a wonderful post, Rita! Thank you for sharing with us all the details! I look forward to going to England and doing all these Jane Austen things! About the quote in the note, I would probably have preferred if it was a quote from Elizabeth Bennet or Darcy and not Miss Bingley but it doesn’t bother me that much.
    Looking forward to more posts about this wonderful trip! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Daniela! Like you I would prefer for the quote to be from Elizabeth or Darcy but it doesn’t really bother me either. I’ll try to write about about our trips to Pemberley next :))

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  7. Kim P.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your post on this fantastic experience. Thanks for sharing all these photos, too. As for the quote, anything from Jane’s pen would be fine with me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Preston

    A road trip I would love to take myself. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sally Cline

    Oh how I would love to go and visit some of the places you have! Thank you and all the authors for keeping Jane Austen’s writing alive with your books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you will be able to visit all these palces one day Sally 🙂 It is not as easy for me as for someone living on the UK, but I am lucky I’m not that distant from England 🙂 It is all for Jane 🙂

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  10. What a fantastic trip you have made!! So wonderful to feel a small part of it by this post 🙂 It really must have been a dream come true. So wish to go there one day myself. To walk where Jane has been, to see the special places… Heavenly I imagine!

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  11. Mary

    Rita,

    What a wonderful way to commemorate Jane’s death than by attending a service in Winchester Cathedral with friends.

    And to think that Jane will be further commemorated by placing her image on the £10 is really quite unique!

    I’m glad a lovely time was had by all. Your photos are so precious!
    Thank you for sharing! 😌

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words as always Mary! I was really happy to have the opportunity to fly to the UK and to be with so many wonderful people in such an important day 🙂

      Like

  12. The pictures are lovely. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and impressions of this wonderful event. Even though Caroline is quoted I think it is a good choice. I am fortunate to have the £2 coin in the presentation pack. I am looking forward to, one day, visiting some of the places you have been to. Thank you for the generous giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I really enjoyed reading your account of your trip to commemorate to Jane’s death. You are so lucky to have been able to be in England and especially in Winchester at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a beautiful post, Rita!! It was such a joy to share this day with you and the wonderful friends who could attend. I wish all our absent friends could have been there at that special time but fingers crossed, one day…

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, just popping by to say thanks for everything you do and for being such great company and a fabulous friend!!

    OMG I just realised we haven’t drunk that Darcy champagne!!! Now you’ve GOT to come back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, no Darcy champagne… Just another reason to go back ;))
      Thank you for everything joana! You are he most amazing host someone could have on the U.K. and it is always a huge pleasure to spend time with you 🙂

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  15. Lovely, heart-felt summary of your special day, Rita!

    Thank you so much for meeting up with me during such a busy day. I really enjoyed connecting with you in person! ❤

    I think including the lavender bag you made on this trip at JAHM is a lovely idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cass, I loved meeting you too! It was something I had been looking forward for quite a while 🙂
      The lavender bag was actually a suggestion from Mira, but I thought it was a really sweet thing to add to the giveaway 🙂 A little bit of Jane’s house travelling to someone far away 🙂

      Like

  16. OMG! you are giving away “Persuasion”!! I need to participate on this giveaway 🙂
    Great trip you had 🙂 I am glad I was able to see you for a bit!

    Like

  17. BeckyC

    Thank you so much for sharing! Love the pics!

    Like

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us! I love reading about your trips and looking at the photos. I agree with you about the quote from Miss Bingley; regardless of how it was said and the context within the novel, it’s a true quote! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. sounds like you had a wonderful trip; thanks for sharing it with us

    denise

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  20. Pingback: My Jane Austen Roadtrip – Chapter V – Pemberley dream & Giveaway | From Pemberley to Milton

  21. Thank you for sharing the wonderful experience with us, Rita. It is my fondest wish to visit England some day and visit all the sites that are associated with Jane Austen. I must get my hands on the coin and banknote if I was ever in UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Unfortunately in coming to read this blog late I find that the photos are missing. But I did enjoy reading about the trip and those you met. Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Pingback: And the giveaway winners are… | From Pemberley to Milton

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