Sunday, 9 October 2011

RNA Regency Day

I would like to nominate Hermione Granger as an associate member of the Romantic Novelists's Association so that she can come with me to RNA events like the Regency Day held on Saturday. Her skills would remove the need for decision making. A panel discussion on Sense and Sensibility or a talk on Regency clothing? Regency Dancing or Regency Scents? A talk about Sex and the Georgians or Parlour Games? No problem. With Hermione and her magic medallion, I could have attended them all.

The Regency Celebration took place at the Royal Overseas League just off St James's Street, and another choice item on the agenda was the chance to go on a guided walk of the area to discover what it was like in that period. In the afternoon I, along with 50 others, plumped for Afternoon Tea at the East India Club (pictured below).

It is in this building, indeed in the room below, that the Prince Regent received the despatch sent by the Duke of Wellington announcing the allied victory over Bonaparte at Waterloo.

The story of how that despatch reached London was given in readings by novelists Sophie Page and Elizabeth Hawksley. Entering into the fray in his regimentals was despatch rider Major Percy aka Miles Barden. Below Sophie Page starts off proceedings.

For me this was the highlight of the day, and there was more than one historical novelist present who, witnessing the re-enactment, experienced a lightbulb moment regarding a certain eagle!

The day was organised to celebrate Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and their work. In an afternoon discussion the question was asked if there was something we could change about a book by either of them, what would it be? I couldn't think of anything at the time, but on the way home on the train from Paddington, the answer where Heyer is concerned was obvious - ditch the exclamation marks! I was reading 'Bath Tangle' and there were so many of them that by the time I arrived at Westbury Station I had a headache from all that 'shouting'.

For a detailed report of the events and some fantastic photos of the day, do pop over to the Romantic Novelists' Association blog. A real treat.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Georgian Bath

The historic city of Bath is beautiful and if you can get there early in the morning, before the shops open, you can really get a feel for its Georgian past. Here are some of the photos from a week ago when I managed to do just that. The lovely building below is in Abbey Street, just off Abbey Green.

Below is the colonnade in Bath Street. The photo was taken outside the Cross Bath (rebuilt about 1789) and looking towards the entrance of the Georgian bath in Stall Street.

Below is curving Hot Bath Street. The Cross Bath is on the right.

And here is Stall Street, looking towards the colonnade which forms one side of the Abbey square.

Bath Abbey is facing you. On the right are the entrances to the Roman Baths and the Pump Room.

The viewpoint for this was in the Roman Baths. An arched window looks out over the Georgian Bath and up to the window of the Pump Room where the thermal drinking fountain is located.

My next post will feature the Roman Baths.

Monday, 3 October 2011

RNA Regency Celebration 8 October 2011

On Saturday the Romantic Novelists' Association is holding a Regency Day to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the publication of 'Sense and Sensibility'. It coincides with the launch of a new biography of that other wonderful writer of Regency romances Georgette Heyer. As so many scenes in their books were set in Bath, and I live only eight miles away from the city and visit frequently, I thought that all this week I'd make it the subject of my blogs. Below is the colonnade at the end of Bath Street, opposite the Cross Bath.

Back in August, on rather a wet day, I visited No.1 Royal Crescent, the Holburn Museum, and the Assembly Rooms. Built in the latter half of the 18th Century, the Assembly Rooms is a splendid series of interconnecting function areas - ballroom, tea room, card room and the Octagon.

Also on the premises is the Fashion Museum and that day the ballroom was housing an exhibition of costumes worn in some major films, one of which was the Emma Thompson version of 'Sense and Sensibility'. Above are the costumes worn by Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman, and below those of Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant.

Another stand featured outfits from "The Duchess" (below) and there were those worn by Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.

This exhibition, marvellous though it was, did not detract from the Georgian elegance of the ballroom, or from the glitter of the chandeliers.

To see some splendid photos of the Assembly Rooms, log on to the Bath Venues website.