Sunday, February 5, 2012

Austensibly* in Bath!

OR Phylly's Bath time (part 2).  *Title explanation.
On a previous post (which I began in September!), I reported that I had taken a bus tour in July 2010 and visited the Roman Baths Museum in Bath, UK.  However, there is another reason why visiting Bath is so interesting, especially if you are a fan of the novels of Jane Austen, as I am.  Jane Austen lived for a time in Bath and also used the location as a setting in her novels, particularly Persuasion.

Bath is a very picturesque small city, situated in the Avon Valley. The steep streets rise from the river up to the Cotswald Hills. It is a place I hope to return to because I certainly didn't have enough time to take in all the beauty of its vistas, its architecture and its historical sites. 

My Bus Tour Guide
Our bus trip was to visit the Roman Baths Museum.  When we arrived at our stop beside Bath Abbey, with the Museum right around the corner, our guide explained that our guided tour would begin in a half an hour.  So we had that much time to explore the area on foot before the tour started.  My goal was to find the Jane Austen Centre.  Luckily there were well labelled street signs everywhere but I had no idea how far away it would be.  I gave myself 15 minutes to find it so that I knew I could get back on time.  I started in the direction the street sign gave me.  The street inclined steadily upward so it was a bit of a workout but I was in  better walking shape from my previous jaunts than I had been since I arrived on England's shores.
After 15 minutes of hiking uphill following the signs I still hadn't reached my goal.  I stopped to consider my options.  I decided it couldn't be very far off (this was complete optimistic conjecture), but as the way back was all downhill it would be a quicker return trip.  The clincher was I was in dire need of a toilet!  Less than five minutes later I reached my goal!

I was met at the entrance by a life-sized statue of a lady in Regency costume whom I assumed was supposed to represent the authoress, or at least one of her characters!   After nodding respectfully at my greeter I crossed the threshold.  The first room to the right of the door was a Book shop and while my brain was clamouring to examine that space, my bladder was much more insistent.  A sign on the stairway in front of me beckoned to the basement where I was able to find relief in the usual offices.  In that  room I was amused to find a little shrine to Colin Firth's Darcy on the wall.
Powder Room Portrait

After quickly perusing the gift store for any easily portable Austen memorabilia, I realized that books were the only items for sale.  Normally a book would be the perfect thing, but because of luggage weight restrictions I knew I should restrain myself.
Down the hall from the entrance was a roped off section which appeared to be the museum.  It looked very intriguing and as no one was around, I pondered stepping over the rope to have a better look at what I would be missing. However, my manners and morality forbade me doing so and also I should admit, my fear of being caught!
The top of the stairs had a waiting room where some people were watching an introductory video before the next museum tour started.  Down the hall there was a little Tea Room which I deeply regretted not being able to visit, but it was absolutely time to be getting back!

I had less than 10 minutes to hoof it back to the Roman Bath Museum but I am proud to say I made it back precisely on time. Good thing, or I would have been in trouble with my husband!  I had to let him have a few choices in our tours as I had dragged him off to every literary tour I could find!  The Roman Baths were really a very worthwhile place to visit.  It satisfied both my historical and my husband's technological interests.

After our very interesting tour we had a few more minutes to spare before boarding the bus back to London.  I couldn't leave without having a peek at the Pump Room which was right next door to the Baths.  It was a large room full of many tables glittering with fancy place settings and the lively chatter of many customers enjoying their afternoon tea.  Right by the entrance to the room was the actual "Pump" where we were encouraged to sample the water which was free for the asking.  So I did have a sample which was tepid and mineral tasting, but not as bad as I might have thought.  I have also drunk the water from a Glacier in the ice fields of the Canadian Rocky Mountains so it was interesting to have that comparison.  The young lady who gave me the drink kindly consented to having her picture taken.  She seemed surprised that I was interested, but I knew it would be a good picture.

As the bus climbed the hills on its way out of town our guide pointed out a row of houses, one of which was where Jane Austen had lived with her parents when her father retired from the clergy in 1800.  I almost missed it, but I think this was the right photo. Some day I must return to Bath to enjoy the place in a more leisurely manner!

And what does Jane Austen have to do with Richard Armitage?  Just that I am not the only fan of both that author and that actor. Many Austen fans yearn to see Richard Armitage chosen to star in a remake of Persuasion.  Here is a mashup trailer with Richard's character of John Thornton in  a movie with Kate Winslet.

Richard Armitage stars in Persuasion / by Elizzybrigth

Austen's most cherished hero was Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.  So here is another fan's creative way to make Mr. Armitage into Mr. Darcy.

Pride and Prejudice Trailer / by beccybubb

Last but not least, feast your eyes on this graphic artist's
portrayal of Mr. Darcy.

Don't we wish it were true!


bccmee said...

I have many times wanted to visit Bath, but never did when I was in the UK. Thanks for sharing your images and impressions! :D "Images and Impressions" could be the title of a long-lost Austen novel, LOL!

Gratiana Lovelace said...

Hi Phyllys,
"Persuasion" is one of my faves--especialy the film version with Ciaran Hinds at Wentworth. Richard Armitage would definitely give that version a run for its money. Ha! It's so neat that you were able to visit Bath.

And I loved the "Pride and Prejudice" Sir Guy Trailer! And the graphic of RA as Darcy is heartstopping!

Cheers! Grati ;->

Maria Grazia said...

Phylly, dear, you've beaten me! ;-) I've never been in Bath, you know? And long to go sooner or later. Thanks for sharing :D

Anonymous said...

Phylly, you are such a sponge on your travels! Photos gorgeous, as are the vids. We had a far too brief trip to Bath - combined with Wells and Glastonbury. It is a perfect Gem of a city.

Anonymous said...

I've been to London and Oxford, but would love to go to Bath! Love your stories and pictures. That "Pride and Prejudice" trailer had me in stitches, so hilarious. It would be nice to see RA do another period piece.

Jonia's cut said...

YAY!!! WOnderful!

ElizzyB said...

What a lovely visit! My friend Maich sent me your link, because you linked my Persuasion video. And, well,this entry has been a nice surprise. I hope someday, I'll go to Bath too. And Richard will be Wentworth :)

Phylly3 said...

I am so happy you don't mind me using your wonderful Persuasion video. I should have asked permission first, as I usually do, but I guess I'm getting lazy. I am glad your friend sent you the link to my blog. Thanks for commenting! I have subscribed to your Youtube channel.

Phylly3 said...

Tee-hee! Thanks Jonia. :)

Phylly3 said...

I didn't get to Oxford, and had only a brief stop in London so there are many reasons to return to England! I find that trailer pretty funny too. You know, there are many other versions of it to quite a few other movies. Pretty creative how people can do these mash-ups!

Phylly3 said...

Well, it was quite a rush as we did Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath all in one day! Crazy, eh? But time was of the essence, as they say, Or, make hay while the sun shines -- or more likely -- try to see it all at once!

Phylly3 said...

I couldn't possibly have beaten you! You went to Dibley!! Plus you had a much better tour of Nottingham. (But I would never "beat you", you know!) ;)

Phylly3 said...

Yes. I love Ciaran Hinds as Wentworth too! I would love to see RA in that role, but alas! Me thinks it is too late!

Phylly3 said...

That DOES sounds like a legitimate Austen title! Especially since Pride and Prejudice was first entitled: First Impressions. Perhaps a modern version of one of the novels...about a photographer?