Friday, April 04, 2003

I have a lot of things to talk about. Sorry about the total lack of updates in the past few weeks--it’s That Time round this university. No, not final exams, not just yet. I’m talking about (eurgh) mid-terms. You would not believe the amount of work I had due yesterday. Actually, some of you might. At any rate, the only thing I have left to do is a take-home test, due next Thursday, that should be easy enough. Famous last words, right? And I have THREE WEEKS without any classes! WOOOOHOOO!

I still haven’t uploaded pictures yet. They’ve grown to an incredible volume. It could be an all-day project.

To get y’all up to speed on the events of the past few weeks:

Two weeks ago, I went to Winchester, home of the Cathedral. It was a nice little day trip--I was going to spend the night there, but my friend didn’t really want to, and I decided to come home with her. Good thing, too, as there’s not terribly much in Winchester. The Cathedral is nice, yes, and there’s some really great charity shops (woohoo charity shops!), but other than that not much. I had a mini-adventure in Winchester Cathedral. I was walking along, glancing down every so often to read the tombstones I was tromping over, when I saw “JANE AUSTEN”. My mouth fell right open. I’d completely forgotten that she was buried in Winchester Cathedral!! I had to get photos. Only one came out--my fault, I guess, for taking pictures when I wasn’t supposed to. Tsk tsk!

The following Friday, I went back to Winchester and took a bus out to Chawton to see JA’s cottage. The bus dropped me off at a roundabout, and I dodged through the cars to the other side of the road, and followed the brown signs. Chawton is not at all touristy. The only evidence they have of their famous connection is the cottage itself, which is now a museum with as much original stuff preserved as possible, plus a little resturantlet called “Cassandra’s Cup”. Other than that, it’s your typical small English village, probably not that much changed from when she lived there. The houses even have thatched roofs. REAL thatch, made from real straw.

The cottage was very nice, but I was bowled over by how small it was. There really wasn’t that much to it, and JA’s bedroom was the smallest family bedroom in the place, with a tiny little window that looked out on the granary in the backyard. She wrote on a tiny table, about a foot to a foot and a half across, that sat in the parlour. The table sat underneath a window, probably so she could get the most light possible and not waste candles, and it wobbled. The door squeaked and she refused to let it be oiled so she would have warning when someone was about to intrude on her, so she could hide her writing away. Nobody but her brother and her sister knew about it, even after she was published.

And yet . . . think what she wrote there.


I now have three weeks all to myself, as I’ve said. I’m not going to spend them sitting around, though! Tomorrow, I’m going to Stratford-upon-Avon for two days. Then on Tuesday, I’m going to the Netherlands and Belgium with friends for a week. Then I have a few days to putz around here before some friends visit me here. Then I’m going to Madrid for three days, then Sevilla. It’s going to be a whirlwind few weeks for me! I’ll try to blog, but my internet access will probably be sporadic at best.

Book for Today: Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. You may have seen the movie. That was a good movie, but the book is way better. Bridget is the most scatterbrained, crazy, goofy Everywoman you could ever come across. I don’t think she’s supposed to be real--the scrapes she gets into are the kind of things that everyone does from time to time, but blown up huge and hilarious. Also it’s based, very loosely, on Pride and Prejudice. Well! Now you know why I like it, don’t you? Go read it! What are you waiting for?

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