Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bath, Lacock, and Stonehenge

(First of all, don't miss yesterday's post below this!)

Today was quite cool, except when I woke up to Katie asking, "Do you remember talking to me in the middle of the night last night?" It's so embarrassing to be sleep-talker, especially when you haven't even known the person for a day.

Anyway, after a delicious breakfast, we hopped into the van and were off by 8:30, heading for Bath. I haven't mentioned that the vehicle we took held the whole tour of sixteen people. That was a good number because it's much less people a) to walk around with and b) to wait for when you need to leave.

As you know, I've already been to Bath- I visited with Megan when she came to visit. The big part of this visit, just like mine and Megan's, was to see the Roman baths. While I know that they're impressive and historical... I'd already seen them and I was pretty sure they hadn't changed. However, I didn't want to waste my entry into them, so I spent about fifteen to twenty minutes listening to all of Bill Bryson's (who is an author I like- he's American but lives in England and is very famous here) commentary, and then got out of there. My goal being in Bath this time was to go to the Jane Austen Centre, which I did.

Me in front of the Regent's Crescent

I'm going to be honest- I've never finished an Austen novel. Not for lack of interest, I just... haven't (well, there may have been some lack of interest in Emma. I can't even get through the movie version.) However, I do like the stories, and I was in luck- this year is the 200th anniversary of my favorite Austen story, Sense and Sensibility! I was a little disappointed with it, to be honest. I didn't mind that it was small, but I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. It was cool to see the call sheets and parts of the script from the filming of Persuasion (2007) and a hand-written letter from Emma Thompson (she's so wonderful), but I just wasn't incredibly impressed with the centre at all.

A new portrait of Jane Austen based on what her friends and family wrote about her appearance.

Emma Thompson's letter!

Most disappointing was the gift shop. I figured I could pick up some cool Jane Austen stuff as well as some S&S peraphernalia... but there wasn't really any. They're really into Pride and Prejudice there, and while I like that, my love for S&S is much, much greater. I thought perhaps I could get a book about the making of one of the movies, but they only had one, and I already have it at home. I ended getting a cool book about Austen heroines and a magnet with all of the books on it.

I walked down to the house where Jane, her mother, and her sister lived for a few months after her father died (it's now a dentist. Way to fail, Bath.) I also managed to snap a picture of her more long-term residence at number 4 Sidney Place.

#4 Sidney Place

Temporary residence/contemporary dentist fail

Off to Lacock (the "La" is pronounced "Lay") we went, which was a small village that was very picturesque, even if that doesn't really show up in pictures well. There's not a terrible lot to say about Lacock, but it was pretty.

After that was our last stop, Stonehenge. I've already been here, too, but the conditions were so much different than last time. You'll remember that my last visit involved rain, freezing temperatures, and all-around greyness. Today was bright, hot, and sunny, so my pictures are pretty different!

Must go pack for France tomorrow! I'm not bringing my computer, as I've said, so I probably won't update until I get back.

(Oh, and I also started and finished another Maggie O'Farrell book on the trip. She's a great author. Read her.)

(Also, I may have said this already, but I am SO glad that I'm not going to be in London for the next few days. The wedding- and don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about because even if you're less interested in it than I am, you can only be unaware of it if you live under a rock- isn't until Thursday but London is slowly being taken over by tourists. Tourists who are under the impression that they were invited to this event. Tourists who don't know how to use the tube. Or navigate the city. Or walk in general. As I am no longer a tourist, this is annoying to me. I do not wish to be around as their numbers swell. I plan on barricading myself in my room on the 28th.)


Captain Stennous said...

I find myself somewhat amused by the irony of the British replacing a historical landmark with a dentist.

Mrs. Flury said...

Oh, Rachel! I've taken a personal day off on Friday so that I can watch the wedding on television. I got up early to watch William's mother get married, too. I just loved her. And, as soon as my $8.95 replica of "the" ring arrives from eBay, I'll be wearing that, too. And, here I've been thinking how thrilled you must be to BE THERE! So much pretty! So much romance! So many tiaras! Surely, I should belong to the Princess Club! I'm surprised you're not a member! You're not into? Really? Not even a tiny bit? ; D

Rachel said...

@Stuart- yes, it is rather ironic, isn't it?

@Mrs. Flury- No, I'm not really into the wedding... as most of the residents of London don't seem to be. I've never known much about the royal family, so I guess it's just a result of that (and the influx of tourists jamming the tube :p)
I will admit, I *did* watch a documentary on Will and Kate today (how they met, their relationship, etc.) so I guess I'm not completely immune. They seem like nice people. But I'm too wary of crazy crowds to even get on the tube at all tomorrow, let alone go to the wedding.

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