As a child I loved nothing more than running through the fields near my home, hair streaming in the breeze, a fistful of wildflowers in hand imagining myself a fair and gentle princess. On any given day I could be seen riding my strawberry roan mare bareback through the thousands of acres near our country home. The scent of dry grass and sight of giant ancient oaks taking me in my mind to a space and time where I was a maiden warrior riding the vast expanse of my kingdom.
Although life, marriage, five children, the years and my surroundings have changed me outwardly, that romantic imaginative spirit lives on.
I love all things Jane Austin. I love the drama, the strong female characters. I love the settings of charming villages and dark mysterious estates. I fancy myself to be Jane at times- living and breathing through the words she penned so eloquently years ago.
Last summer I had the good fortune to visit England while my daughter and son-in-law lived there to complete their Masters degrees at Cambridge University. I spent many days "banging" around the charming historic city of Cambridge.
|King's College Chapel at Cambridge University|
|Punting on the Cam a peaceful and historical event....drifting through time.|
|My grandson and I riding along while Daddy punts.|
Punting on the river, running through 1000 year old gardens, standing in the shadow of Kings College and attending evensong at Pembroke.
|Pembroke College chapel where we attended evensong.|
The crowning event of my sojourn to the Queens country took place during one particular day. My daughter and son-in-law arranged for a days' journey to Jane's home. We traveled the winding picturesque country roads through Nottingham forest...
|The ancient oak. Thought to be the home of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. The diameter of this tree is about 16 feet across!|
|An amazing thatched roof cottage in Chatham. This home stands just down the road from Jane Austin's.|
The gardens surrounding the home she lived in with her mother and sister are a bit different from when she cared for them. However, a beautiful antique, pink rose, planted during the time Jane lived there, still clambers over the entrance to the home. As I walked under it's ancient canes the scent filled my mind and heart. I imagined Jane and Cassandra there to greet me.
|Jane's beautiful clambering rose.|
|Me enjoying my dream destination.|
The very desk at which Jane wrote and the ink well she dipped remain near the garden window. Her inspiration and thoughts must have flown much as mine do, imaging herself beautiful, strong and brave.
|The very desk and chair at which Jane wrote.|
I set about restyling the room. Fabrics purchased in Cambridge became pillows and a bedskirt.
|Fabrics "harvested" in merry olde England. My favorite are from Cath Kidson. Check out their online store.|
...share space in an antique hutch with treasured teacups collected by a cherished grandmother.
|Some of my cherished tea cup collection.|
Small lithographs of pastoral scenes, images of what I imagine Jane's life to have been like, adorn one wall. My treasured watercolor of Jane's Chatham home hangs nearby.
A beautiful hand crafted porcelain bride rests atop an antique dresser(a wedding gift to my mother).
Every inch of this room fills my heart and soul feeding the romantic that dwells within. When I am sad, thoughtful, filled with a longing for fantasy or a life like Jane's, I step into "my" space, softly close the door, lie down on the matelassé' coverlet and dream. Sometimes awake and sometimes with my eyes closed.