Good Afternoon dear readers,
By now you probably know that I love travelling and sharing those travels with you when they pertain the JAFF universe, but I’ve been a bit lazy (I blame the difficulty in taking the pictures out of my phone and into my computer for that laziness), and I’ve failed to share with you my latest Jane Austen Road Trip.
Last February I visited England once more, and even if this is not exactly current news, I thought you might still like to see the places I visited, especially because this time I had the most wonderful host and tour guide who was writing a book that was published yesterday…can you guess who it was?
This is me, at her house, having a sneak peak at the initial chapters, and little did I know that this would be one of my favourite books of the year!! I have finished reading it today and will publish the review soon, so keep an eye on From Pemberley to Milton to know more about The Journey Home to Pemberley 🙂
Have you guessed the author’s name yet? Well, I’m sure you know I’m talking about Joana Starnes! This lovely lady welcomed me into her home and allowed me to have a sneak peak at The Journey Home to Pemberley and I couldn’t thank her enough for all the hospitality and patience with me 🙂 Ms. Starnes is a beautiful person and I’m very honoured to have had the pleasure of getting to know her a few years ago. She is also one of the most talented authors I know, so if you haven’t read all her books yet, I highly recommend them, especially this new one, which is also available on Kindle Unlimited.
About the trip, I could say that I went to the UK because of Jane Austen, but this time I flew across the channel for a different reason. You see, I love The X-Files as much as I love Pride and Prejudice and one of the stars of the show, Gillian Anderson, was doing a play called All About Eve in Noel Coward Theatre. I had met her in a Meet & Greet in 2017 in Brussels and again in 2018 in Orlando, but I had never seen her on a play, so I HAD to see this women live on a theatre. Luckily Mira from Obsessed with Mr. Darcy was a sweetheart and bought me a ticket to go with her and a friend, so this trip wasn’t due to Austen, but Austen was present everywhere! Plus, the play also stared Lily James, do you remember her? She played Elizabeth Bennet in Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, so in truth, my entire visit revolved around Jane Austen.
But I’m sure you’re not really interested in Gillian Anderson and her plays, even if Lily James was part of it, so we should just go straigh to Pemberley!!!
Do you see the small pieces of snow in the grass? And isn’t the frozen lake beautiful? The last time I visited Pemberley it was summer, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, so I loved visiting the property during the winter with new colours adorning it. This allows me to better imagine all the Pemberley scenes described in JAFF books because now I know how the house looks in different times of the year. And we know that lots of books have our couple meeting after a storm or getting stranded there because of bad weather, right 😉
Before setting out to THE POND and walking in the gardens, Joana and I met Glynis and that was one of the highlights of the day!!! Glynis is a wonderful lady and I love discussing books with her 🙂 We sat in the cafeteria, drank tea (probably coffee in my case) and talked, talked, talked about Darcy 🙂
But all good things come to an end, so we did have to say our goodbyes and head back to the pond which was also frozen! It was amazing! I think Joana was a little surprised about my excitment over a frozen pond… but God know why, I was amazed by it!
Before we left, Joana took some time to contemplate the house in “her tree” (a little bird told me she wrote a book sitting there, so now that’s Joana’s tree to me) and I walked around in a different part of the property I hadn’t discovered the first time I visited 2 years ago. This was one of my favourite strols in Pemberley because it made me feel home.
I feel at peace in Lyme Park, and walking around in that place brings me a feeling of happiness I cannot describe. It is so quiet and beautiful that I feel I would have been truly happy being mistress of it! I can’t imagine anything more wonderful then having an opportunity to walk around in these paths whenever I wanted, or picking up a book and reading while listening to the water falling, or the birds singing.
I filmed these videos while walking quite close to the house to show you how quiet and beautiful this place is. Usually people post lots of videos and pictures of the house, the gardens or the orangery, but I don’t see pictures of the wilderness surrounding the house very often, so I thought you might like to see how it is, especially because these places are really close to the house, and just a little after the gardens.
Can you imagine living in a place like this? No wonder Elizabeth gets lost on the grounds on so many variations! If she got lost during a storm, I don’t know how they would find her!
As the day came to an end we made our descend into the train station to head back south, were chased by several dears (that scared the hell out of me), and watched the Derbyshire sunset 🙂 It was stunning! I love to watch the sunset at the beach, but watching it in Derbyshire was just as beautiful. The green of the fields made an exquisite contrast with the orange in the sky, and once more, I envied Elizabeth Bennet!
And as we were in England, Joana took me to this incredible pub to have a truly English experience 🙂 Isn’t she the most wonderful host? This place was beautiful and if I am not mistaken it already existed in Jane Austen’s time 🙂 But Joana will be able to give you more details about the place 🙂
The following day Joana took me to Steventon which I had been wanting to visit for many years, so I was really happy to have a chance to visit it in this brief visit 🙂
There aren’t many things to see in Steventon. When we got there, I could only see a few houses and the church and that was NOT what I was expecting. Maybe I should have done some research, because in fact, even the church was different from what I expected, it was a small and cozy building, much smaller than I thought. When I got inside and noticed that no one could have any real privacy during the Sunday services I was able to better understand some scenes of many JAFF books I’ve read. If you imagine the Hunsford church was just like the one Jane Austen went to, then you can perfectly understand how Mr. Darcy was obliged to look at Elizabeth during Mr. Collins entire eulogy 🙂
One of the best things about these trips is that they show me how different Jane Austen’s world was from the one we live in. Seeing Steventon made me realized that live could have been romantic, but also quite boring and hard. Can you imagine living in a place where your only company was the one of 3 or 4 neighbors? Can you imagine having to go to the church on Sunday and meeting the same people every week? Having no escape and being forced to talk to them? No wonder regency ladies were so excited to go any place that was not their home, and no wonder they had to choose their husbands wisely!
Did you know the church was this small? Have you ever been there? Had you seen any pictures? I am really happy I had the opportunity to visit it this year 🙂
After the church, Joana showed me the place where Mr. Austen’s house must have been, and I confess it was a little disappointing because there is nothing there! I mean, the place is bucolic and beautiful, but there isn’t much to see apart from the landscape and what was probably a well. Wouldn’t you prefer to be able to visit the house Jane Austen lived in as a child?
We also stopped at the coaching inn where Jane used to take her letters. If I remember correctly this place is 4 miles away from her house, so it is quite a walk to make every day, but I imagine regency ladies were more used to walking then we do, and lets face it…they didn’t have much to do anyway, so this was probably a welcomed distraction.
As we were leaving this area we discovered a phone booth which was turned into a free library in honour of Jane Austen. Isn’t this a great idea? I have seen several of these libraries around the world, but this was by far the most beautiful I have ever seen!
After living the dream with Joana Starnes for a couple of days, I returned to London. There I still had time to have lunch with a colleague I used to work with, and walk an entire afternoon through Mayfair with another friend who was a sweetheart to put up with me and my insistence for searching places that could be remotely related to Jane Austen. But I think I better leave those pictures to another time. Today was all about Lyme Park and Steventon 🙂
If after this parade of pictures you are still interested in seeing my previous Jane Austen Road Trips, you can check them on the links below. They will show you different places and different adventures with lots of interesting people 🙂
I have now visited most places related to either Jane Austen’s life, her works, and the filming locations of film adaptations, but I hope to be able to visit a few more next year 🙂 Hopefully 2020 will bring another Jane Austen Road Trip, until then, I’ll leave you with the peace and quiet of the best place in the entire world!