Showing posts with label Bath. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bath. Show all posts

Monday, 25 June 2012

Jane Austen- Mansfield Park

Mansfield ParkMansfield Park by Jane Austen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read all of Jane Austen novels and am in the middle of reading Northanger Abbey, Austen's last novel written and published posthumously.

I love Mansfield Park, I love the character of Fanny Price. She starts out a very humble girl, but has guts to stand up to her wealthy uncle in many ways. First, she opposes his profession as a Slave Trader in the West Indies and then when she refuses to marry the family friend, even though he’s wealthy, she infuriates her uncle. This is what I love about Fanny Price is that she’s completely independent and strong willed has a mind of her own, and refuses to be bought. She wants love like all women and wants to marry for love on top of it. She is in love with her life time cousin, who wants nothing more than to live a quiet life. But, he’s been her loyal friend and has loved her whole life, what more can one woman ask for. Secondly, she refuses to marry the man that she doesn’t love who is a bit of a philanderer. In the end, she ends up marrying and with the man she really loves who has always loved her.

Fanny Price is my hero and my favorite heroine of all the Jane Austen novels.

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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Windsor Castle- The Oldest Inhabited Castle in the World

One day in August 2009, I embarked on a guided bus Tour to Windsor CastleBath and Stonehenge. I thought it would be wise to do so to understand the in depth historical background of each town I visited, without refferring to my guide book every five minutes. Windsor Castle was our first stop, I decided I didn't want to go in, somehow following a tour guide on a very glib and fast tour of this amazing castle didn't appeal to me. So, I decided that because  I was not a tourist and I lived in London, I knew I could come back and see the castle in all it's splendor in my normal gingerly fashion that I am accustomed to. So, I let the tour guide know, I wasn't going to enter so she wouldn't think the poor American girl didn't dissappear, and got lost in the enormous castle grounds. After that,I proceeded  in my joful solitude to go to the local pastry shop for a pot of Earl Grey tea and crumpet. After that, I wandered to the closest church yard and took a nap on the bench, (since I had only slept 4 hours the night because of my excitement), which by the way had tombstones around. I was blissfully dozing off, when I began to hear raucous sounds coming vaguely from the periphery and then building up. I wasn't very happy to be woken up, but to my amazement as I woke up what I saw before my eyes was the most beautiful array of gorgeous English soldiers marching majestically in predictable pomp and circumstance right pass me. I jumped from my bench, shook my head in awe, grabbed my camera and like some reporter from the National Geographic I ran after them as if my life depended on it.

I followed them around the corner to the front entrance of Windsor Castle. To my amazement, it was the Changing of the Gaurds. I hadn't wanted to see the Changing of the Gaurd at Buckingham Palace, it was always very low on my list, or if I wanted to see it I never seem to be able to go to Buckingham Palace on a day they were scheduled.  And so here it was in plain sight, when I least expected it. I must add, it was a beauty to behold. The majesty. The pomp and circumstance that the English are famous for, and of course, the Catholic Church. It  made it an unforgettable experience, one I shall always remember.

Queen's Guard are the names given to contingents of infantry and cavalry soldiers charged with guarding the official royal residences in London and in Windsor

 .Sentries of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment being posted in Windsor.

So does everyone else. I know it's cheesy but I had to put this photo in here.
After all,  They all look like they
are from Kansas City.

Built by William the Conqueror within what was a royal hunting forest (now Windsor Great Park) after theNorman conquest of 1066, Windsor Castle has been successively enlarged, adapted and rebuilt by monarchs from Henry II to Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family continue to spend most of their private weekends at the Castle and it remains an important venue for ceremonial visits from heads of state from other countries. It is also home to some of the greatest paintings and works of art in the Royal Collection, which are displayed throughout the Castle’s splendid interiors. On your visit you will see the State Apartments, the Precincts, the Drawings Gallery, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St George’s Chapel (except on Sundays when the Chapel is closed to visitors). Please allow at least 2 hours for your visit

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Some Ways to Enjoy London if Your an Expat

The Expats:Katka,Check Republic,Frederico,Spain,Nacima,French via Morocco,and Sabrina,The American. Four friends,getting together for a day on London's Southbank to enjoy Shakespeare at The Globe.Katka and I used to work at the Rizzoli bookstore in Santa Monica together and would cause a bunch of mischievous havoc together. Now living back in Check Republic, she came to visit me in London with her posh American doctor boyfriend, who was really gracious and treated us to pizza after the show.It's a small world after all.

London is one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It's a virtual historical theme park. There are more free things to do per square feet. But apart from there being more free galleries and museums than anywhere in the world, London can be seen and enjoyed on any budget. If you are an Expat and you want to see more of London and you've seen British Museum 10 times and you are a bit bored by King Ramses, and you are tired of having tea with the Queen, here are some ideas that will give you some inspiration to delve a bit deeper in English and London culture.

1)Royal Historic Palaces. A membership for a whole year will cost you just £39 and you 'll be able to enjoy free entrance on all five historical palaces for a whole year. In addition be invited to exclusive parties and events for example concerts in Banqueting House. The five Historic Palaces are: Kensingston Palace. Tower of London. Hampton Court. Kew Palace and Gardens. Banqueting House.

The Tower of London

I know Disneyland was modeled after the castle in Germany, but
I can't help it, but The Tower reminds me of Disneyland.It's no Disneyland,for sure,it's filled with ghosts from England's torturous past. Anne Boleyn was decapitated here.Guy Fawkes and countless other poor victims punished for sometimes innocent crimes.Some, were fed to the eels in The Thames River.

Sabrina with the judges at the Anne Boleyn Trial.
Notice that the judge would not let me hold his hand, it had to be like so, very proper Elizabethan Court etiquette, mind you.What I really wanted was to hold the judge with with the dark brooding looks,I mean hold his hand that is.Isn't he gorgeous? I would like to get a job at The Tower of London just so I can look at him all day.

2. London Walks One of London's best kept secrets is The London Walks.Go on a specialized London Walks with the London Walks people.They have walks on Victorian London. Occult London.The London of Harry Potter.Da Vinci Code London. Shakespeare and Dickens London. Many are specialist in their chosen field, some are actors so the walk is not only educational, they can be quite funny and entertaining.

Oscar Wilde( Alan Titchard)- London Walk

3. Thames River Dinner Cruise. This is a great way to see the city and enjoy the architecture. For only about £7 you can get an all day pass. You can go up and down the river. Or, if you are feeling like you want to celebrate and paint the town, go on aRiver Boat Dinner Cruise.

Hey! Save some for me man! My American friend Chuck from Texas, that doesn't like to admit he's from Texas.Can you blame him(Lol!)

After a full day of site seeing, going to about 5 museums, the London Eye then we went on the Bateaux London River Boat Dinner Cruise. It included live music,full 7 course dinner, complimentary glass of champagne,vodka sorbet,desert, and then a bottle of wine to boot. Two crazy Americans in London, we were so happy, we ate, danced and drank and if that wasn't enough when the cruise ended,we hailed a cab to take us to Buddha Lounge to party more. We didn't realize it was just 2 blocks away,How stupid did we feel.Hilarious! This was one of my most memorable and MAGICAL days of many magical days in London!!

The riverboat tour is wonderful it meets at Embankment(across from the tube) and goes first West then makes a loop and at the Tower of London( all sorts of excited hoopla happens there for some reason) and then goes East towards Greenwich. Seeing London by boat is a first class superb way to see all the major London attractions and architecture without walking around or getting into a car.I really recommend the Bateaux Riverboat experience.

4.See Theater-London is perhaps best known for its first-class theater scene. From raucous musicals to serious Shakespearean dramas, there is a show for every taste. Go to a matinee. Matinees are always cheaper than night shows and are generally less crowded. Go to a show just before it starts. If the show is not sold out, leftover tickets are often sold at a lower rate. See shows in the middle of the week rather than on the weekend. Shows midweek are generally less crowded and you are more likely to get cheap tickets. Buy tickets online. Many online ticket agencies offer specials for as low as 10 pounds. But, the best thing to do is just head over to Leicester Square about an hour before the show and buy your tickets. Then, go to a pub, or the Theaters cocktail bar for a drink.

5. The best thing about living in London is that it's so close to so many fantastic English towns:Cambridge,Windsor, Oxford, Brighton,Stonehenge and
Bath just to name a few, and are just a few hours away on the train. You can also travel all over the United Kingdomo, Edinburgh, Scotland and Wales. Book online and in advance and you'll get a good offer. Book online with National Express, Virgin Trains, and Megabus. Megabus, like in America offers really cheap fares even for the same day.

Some Important Websites

More in Sabrina's London Diaries
Dating in London
London Fashion

Friday, 18 September 2009


Ten wonderful, splendorous days of celebrating Jane Austen in the Georgian city Bath. Jane Austen knew Bath as a thriving spa resort, popular with fashionable society. A selection of events taking place to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen including Europe's largest Regency costumed Promenade where a multitude of people will be parading along the grand Georgian terraces of 18th century Bath in costume of the period.

Some of the attractions at The Jane Austen Festival include Small soirees, theatre, concerts, walking tours, food, talks and of course dancing plus the opportunity to dress throughout the week, if you wish, in 18th century costume.The 9th Jane Austen Festival in Bath which is the biggest yet, with 44 events over ten days. During the Grand Regency Promenade there will be an attempt to breathe Guinness World RecordsTM record for the ‘Largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costumes’ plus a real wedding Regency style, Dandy Chargers at the Country Fair, world premiere of Lady Susan and that is just the first day.

If you have ever wanted to know how to dance, eat, drink or bathe or court like Jane Austen you will have an opportunity to find out. If you have ever wanaining ways to find out. Chawton Cottage in Hampshire is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Jane’s arrival n the village and we pay them a visit on Tuesday. I want to go the undressing Mr. Darcy class. Sounds nice !

Friday 18th September
12noon - 1.15pm Jane’s Fame: Claire Harman – book signing 4
6.15pm - 7.45pm Festival Get Together 4
Saturday 19th September
11am - 12.30 pm Grand Regency Promenade 5
12noon - 12.45pm Guinness World RecordsTM attempt 5
11am - 5pm Queen Square Traditional Country Fair 5
12noon - 1.30pm Jane Austen’s Bath - walking tour 5
4pm - 5pm Regency Wedding 5
8pm - 10pm Lady Susan – Theatrical 5
Sunday 20th September
9.45am - 11am Dance Extravaganza Workshop 1 – Youngsters 6
10am - 11.30am A Very Private Public Breakfast – food 6
11am - 12.30pm Jane Austen’s Bath – walking tour 6
11.30am - 1pm Dance Extravaganza Workshop 2 – Beginners 6
2pm - 4pm Dance Extravaganza Workshop 3 – Improvers 7
4pm - 5.30pm From China to Chintz – food 7
7pm - 9pm Baroque Dance Display – Bath Minuet 7
Monday 21st September
10am - 12noon Jane Austen’s men – walking tour 8
2pm - 3.30pm Knowing your Muslin – Regency talk 8
7pm - 9.15pm Entertaining at St Swithin’s - Performance 8
Tuesday 22nd September
8am - 6.30pm Visit to Chawton in Hampshire – coach trip 9
10am - 12.30pm ‘Our grand walk to Weston’ – walking tour 9
7.30pm - 9.30pm Guest Event – Jane Austen Fan Club from Canada 9
Wednesday 23rd September
10am - 12noon The streets of Jane Austen’s Bath – walking tour 12
2pm - 4pm Writing Jane – Creative writing workshop 12
4pm - 6pm Adapting Austen – talk 13
7.30pm - 9pm A dip in the sea with Jane Austen! – Performance 13
Thursday 24th September
8am - 8pm From Fans to Foghorns – day trip 14
10am - 11.45am ‘To be near Sydney Gardens’ – walking tour 14
11am - 1pm Costume Research – Festival Friends Event 14
2pm - 4.30pm Learn to Dance like Jane Austen – workshop 15
7pm - 10pm James Jolly’s invitation to Dine Regency style 15
Friday 25th September
10am - 12noon ‘I was at the play on Tuesday’ – walking tour 16
12noon - 1.15pm Undressing Mr Darcy – Theatre 16
2pm - 3.30pm Draw Back the Curtain – private tour and talk 16
7pm - 10pm A Country Dance 16
Saturday 26th September
10am - 11.30am A Very Private Public Breakfast – food 17
11am - 12.30pm Jane Austen’s Bath – walking tour 17
11.45am - 2pm Picnic on Crescent Fields - lunch 17
3pm - 4pm ‘My dear Cassandra’ – reading 17
4pm - 5.30pm From China to Chintz – food 17
7pm - 9.30pm At Home with the Austens – Soiree 17
Sunday 27th September
10am - 11.30am A Very Private Public Breakfast – food 18
11am - 12.30pm Jane Austen’s Bath – walking tour 18
2pm - 4pm Finale - ‘a Capital on the harp’ and ‘Pictures of Perfection’

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Jane Austen's Bath

Jane Austen set two of her six published novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, in Bath and made the city her home from 1801 to 1806. In Northanger Abbey Jane writes;'They arrived in Bath. Catherine was all eager delight; - her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already'.

With extracts from her letters and two of her novels (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion which are both set in Bath), the tour called 'In the Footsteps of Jane Austen', guides you around the main tourist sights and some more unusual ones, giving an interesting insight into the city as Jane Austen would have known it during the six years she spent here. Much of the Georgian architecture still remains the same as it was then, and the tour also describes how Bath has developed into the visitor-friendly, cosmopolitan destination it is today.

The main highlights of the tour include the Pump Room - the social heart of the city during Austen's time where people registered on arrival in the city and took the water; the Assembly Rooms - where people would gather to play cards, dance and take tea; the Royal Crescent - the most impressive address, where people enjoyed promenading and generally being seen; Queen Square - where Austen stayed for a period; Gravel Walk - the location of a touching love scne in the novel 'Persuasion'; and the Jane Austen Centre - the 'must see' exhibition celebrating the life and works of the great novelist.

The tour even guides visitors to the newly developed Thermae Bath Spa, explaining how the stunning, brand new complex that stands today was used in Georgian times to cure the sick, and telling the tale of Jane Austen's brother who took the water there to help ease his Gout. Today, the spa offers a different kind of well-being - the chance relax and bathe in the naturally warm water, alongside a range of complementary therapies and treatments.

The tour is completely free and can be easily downloaded from the new Jane Austen section of the destination website: onto any MP3 player - which is an essential piece of equipment these days for any independent traveller! The tour is the ideal tool for researching the city prior to visiting, or for finding your bearings when you first arrive in the city. It is very easy listening and very entertaining while being suitably informative - so it is suitable for anyone interested in the city, not just die-hard Austen fans.

Some Interesting Websites:

Jane Austen's Bath
To find out more about the connections between Jane Austen and the stunning city of Bath, see:
To find out about some classes that will take place at the Jane Austen Festival
The Pump Room
The Assembly Rooms
The Jane Austen Centre
Thermae Bath Spa

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Bath in August

Walking down the cobble stone streets of Bath,I am transported immediately to 1827 Regency,England.I imagine I am wearing an elegant, flowing Empire waist dress(made in the finest dupioni Italian silk in perhaps ecru or champagne )and I am sneaking away to meet my paramour on a clandestine riverboat down the River Avon, because I am supposed to be marrying my boring rich cousin.( He's probably hunting somewhere in the nearby woods or smoking a pipe in his drawing room).Such was the life of many a young girl in Cromwell's England , since women weren't allowed to work or inherit their father's property.

When I was Bath I sampled afternoon tea at Hands Tea House,(7a York Street,just a few minutes from Bath Abbey)and had my typical Earl Grey tea and vegan brownie.Bath in August was gorgeous with fluffy white clouds and blue skies (think baroque rococo paintings Fragonard or Boucheron)and abundant sunshine. People everywhere socializing and lolligagging on the verdant green.I discovered the famous Assembly Rooms where in Jane Austen's novels they held the very elegant balls where debutantes would do the rounds in order to find a husband.

Next time,will plan a trip back where I will go to Therma Hot Springs Sessions start at just £22 and there is a roof top pool,that sounds like fun. (I better go before it starts raining again.Yikes !)Also, a Jane Austen Walking Tour is de riguer which starts at the Bath Abbey on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.(only £5). I am planning my next trip already. Will have to go back to spend a few days, because being a Jane Austen fan I can't get enough of this Georgian city.

Bath,England, is a unique city; its hot springs, Roman Baths, splendid Abbey and Georgian stone crescents have attracted visitors for centuries. Bath,one of England's most beautiful places to visit. Bath is the only thermal hot spring in the UK. Set in rolling Somerset countryside, just over 100 miles west of London, it is a beautiful and unforgettable place to visit. Designated a World Heritage Site, Bath was the first city in England to receive this prestige and proudly stands on the slopes of the River Avon. On my tour of Bath, I took in the Bath Abbey, which saw the coronation of the first British King in 973AD. I marvelled at the famous Pulteney Bridge, modelled on the Florentine Ponte Vecchio. Both are consdiered to be one of the most romantic bridges in Europe.



Some Interesting Links:
The Assembly Rooms

The Jane Austen Centre

Thermae Bath Spa


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