Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels (Everything Austen II)

As part of my last item to check off for the Everything Austen II Challenge, I read some more in Dierdre Le Faye's book Jane Austen: The World of Her Novel. I qualified my EA II list by saying that I needed to "read some/part/skim" this book because I am not the greatest of non-fiction readers.  I don't do well at all with them.  Even when it's a subject I enjoy, my eyes still start to fall shut!  I thought that if I qualified it some I might accomplish what I set out to do.  Lo and behold, I did!

In July I read the P&P section of Le Faye's book and just last night I read the section about Persuasion. (One of the other items on my EA II list was to read Persuasion again.  I have started it but have not made it very far yet because I got sidetracked by other Christmas present books.  But I was inspired to read this section because I wanted to complete the EA II Challenge and I received the DVD to the 2007 BBC Masterpiece production of Persuasion for Christmas, so I was itching to watch it.)

With my free evening (hubby off with da boys/child sleeping), I charted my course of action--curled up on the couch reading the P section of said book and when finished a reward of a Christmas cookie with hot chocolate as the DVD started.

So let's review with a few insights: I am hardly two chapters into rereading the actual novel, having not read it in a year or two or maybe three.  It is my second favorite JA novel only to P&P.  While reading Le Faye's synopsis of P and her insights to it, I discovered several things:

1. I apparently have no memory about some of the characters and their connections.  Mrs. Clay was Mr. Shepherd's daughter? (Mr. Shepherd is Sir Walter's lawyer in the beginning of the novel.)  Yup, missed that the first reading or two.

2. My mental map of England's Somersetshire is lacking.  Erm...umm, and my mental map of southern England in general is also lacking.  Since the map Ms. Le Faye offers the reader is from the early 19th C and the writing is hard to read, I found that a quick perusal of the area from Google maps allowed me to actually recall the setting's actual locales. (IE:  approximate location of Kellynch Hall to Bath and to Lyme etc.)

3. What I really like about Le Faye's work is that it is quite accessible to most readers.  She gives just enough background information to explain some of the historical events happening during the writing/setting of the book as well as gives some explanation of common customs of the time while reading the detailed synopsis of the story that as a reader you don't get too lost to those details without losing the story. Granted, a simple background knowledge of JA, her writing, Regency/Georgian England does help.  Hmmm, maybe I'm a bit biased and maybe it's not so easy a read as I initially thought.

If I have a complaint about JA: The World of Her Novels it is that there are a few points where in order to offer better explanation of the time or custom, Le Faye quotes a journal/diary/memoir (some other source) and does not tell the reader where the information came from with a citation  or source etc. Gha!--A bit frustrating for the trained English teacher/librarian that I am...This work is said to be one of the books in terms of JA literature background and criticism.  I, of course, wanted to know where the more detailed account came from.

So to finish out my delightful JA evening, I watched the 2007 Persuasion.  Ok, I'm torn here.  I love the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds 1995 version.  LOVE IT!  But this one is pretty good, and Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth is a pretty good thing to look at.  But where I struggle is that both Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins (Anne) show such guarded emotions.  In the 1995 P, the viewer feels the pain Anne feels, they see Wentworth struggle and feel it, too.  I wasn't sure what I was seeing and was left with a rather disconnected feeling as I watched the 2007 version.  I think the 1995 P might simply be the better version.  But of course, I'll need to watch the 2007 one another half dozen times to figure this out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jane Austen in Manhattan (Everything Austen 2)

(The below little ditty is mostly from my previous blog post, but for EA posting purposes, I am reposting so I can submit to the EA Challenge.) 

I watched "Jane Austen in Manhattan", circa 1980, as one of my "things" in the Everything Austen challenge.  I have one word to say about it: BAD.  So bad I'm not sure what to say or write. I'm just speechless.  I really struggled with the premise, the idea and the well, just plain old strangeness of the story and characters.  Not really a whole lot of Jane Austen here. Ok, so the premise is that they are going to perform a play based on JA's Juvenilia--Sir Charles Grandison. But really it was so minimal and the story so very strange.  The one and only highlight:  A very, very young Sean Young.  I think it was her first movie--ever.  Overall, not worth my time.  Slightly regretting the time I spent watching it, although I think I got some laundry folded. (At least I can tick off an EA item?) Sigh.  Going to read some Persuasion now....

Friday, December 17, 2010

5 Jane-ish Things (of Some or Little Importance)

I think I might change the title of this blog to Jane Austen Slacker.  Where does the time go and where to my blog posts go that I write as I'm drifting off to dreamland?  Surely, Jane is finding them across the mist and is pleased by my thoughts, at least.

Here's a short recap of thoughts and ruminations Jane related since my last true post.  (Excluding birthday wishes.)

1. I watched "Jane Austen in Manhattan", circa 1980, as one of my "things" in the Everything Austen challenge.  I have one word to say about it: BAD.  So bad I'm not sure what to say or write. I'm just speechless.  I really struggled with the premise, the idea and the well, just plain old strangeness of the story and characters.  Not really a whole lot of Jane Austen here.  The one and only highlight:  A very, very young Sean Young.  I think it was her first movie--ever.  Overall, not worth my time.  Slightly regretting the time I spent watching it, although I think I got some laundry folded. (At least I can tick off an EA item?)

2.  As seen in the Janeite blogosphere:  From the website Single Minded Women...They are offering up a series of "What Would Jane Austen Do?"  to their blog/article post.  Priceless relationship advice from Jane's POV.  I suggest reading them.

3. Also as seen in the Janeite blogosphere:  Read this article:  "Colin, Go Jump in the Lake.  Wait, don't!" by Scott Herhold from the San Jose Mercury News.  If this article doesn't make you smile, nothing will.  (I've heard Colin Firth is up for some serious Oscar nods with "The King's Speech."  Must see this before the Oscars...!)

4. Why I Wish I Had A HECK OF A LOT OF CASH! Austen family china available at auction?!? AND some of Martha Lloyd's copies of Austen's books?  Drool! (And no that wasn't a zombie...)

5. Blush.  Awww shucks! I was mentioned on a blog:  Laurel Ann at Austenprose mentioned me in some of the JA Blogs in the blogosphere.  I'm flattered and blushing, but really.  This momofa2yrold, schoollibrarianwhoonlyreadsllamallamaredpajama, janeiteluciddreamingbloggerwhodoesn'thavetimetoshaveherlegsletanloneblog does not deserve the nod! (Again, I am contemplating changing the name of this blog to JA Slacker.  Any artists want to help make me a cute header to go with that thought?)  Sigh, blush and well, I'd better get my act together and try to work on writing inspiring thoughts (and maybe some new ones rather than just reporting what I see/read in the Janeite blogworld). (At least the librarian in my knows about copyright etc. and I don't steal content from others without citing my sources properly!)  Anyway, I guess I've just discovered what one of my new year's resolution needs to be:  write some fabulously witty thoughts regarding JA.  (Hmmmm.....does it count if I write them in my head and they never make it to paper/computer?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Day To You, Dear Jane!

Dear Jane,

Today (December 16) marks your 235th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Dear Jane!  Or, as I like to say to my friends and family, Happy Day To You!  (You don't mind if I liken you to friends and family, do you?)  I just wanted to make sure you know how much we're still enjoying your delightful wit and wry humor these days.  We know you didn't mean to be such a big deal, but you have this amazing ability to share day to day life regarding friends, family, & romance in ways that still speaks to so many of us today.  Well done, kind lady!  That's quite a talent that you've got there!  (Which must be why I've asked for yet another copy of P&P for Christmas this year.  It IS a different edition, I tell you!)

Granted, there have been a few set backs related to your works (Namely mashups--Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.  The zombie fighting duo of Darcy and Elizabeth seems to work for most.) Know that it's done out of love.  (Well, some love, and a lot of money making schemes....but I think as someone who worried about money and their livelihood throughout most of your life, you can understand.)

Either way, I digress.  Today, I raise a copy of P&P in your honor.  I will recite to my now sleeping 2 year old the first few paragraphs of the book just as I did to her as she slept in my arms in the hospital when she was born.  Whether she likes it or not, she's a Janeite in the making.   Happy Thought, indeed!

To you, dear Jane, to you!
Bloggin' BB
Delightful graphic from Adriana Zardini (JASBRA) to celebrate the day and to celebrate the online party!
Should you want to participate in Jane Austen's Birthday party online, go to My Jane Autsten Bookclub and checkout the links of great bloggers!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Miss Elizabeth Bennet's Inbox

Miss Elizabeth Bennet's Email Inbox

 Worth a great laugh!  The author has it spot on! From a marketing firm, but he's done it so well.  So very well.  (And he's got other Famous Inboxes that are worth checking out, too.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do You Know the Muffin (Wo)Man?

Needless to say, I like to bake.  I think it's somewhat therapeutic. (I also actually think this about doing this dishes, but not quite 100% of the time...) About a week ago Sunday, I decided to make some banana chocolate chip muffins (one of my signature recipes, or so I like to think).  Then I was inspired to make some raisin bran muffins.  Next thing I knew there were 3 dozen plus muffins sitting on my kitchen counter.

It's during this explosion of baked goods that I am reminded of Izzy from Grey's Anatomy.  Specifically, I am thinking of the episode where Izzy bakes.  And bakes and bakes and bakes and bakes.  And friends, what does she bake?  That's right muffins. She finds it therapeutic.  Hmmmm....does that mean I'm going a little crazy? 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Discovering Georgette Heyer

I stumbled upon author Georgette Heyer about a year ago as I was perusing my usual Janeite blogs.  As I was completely at a loss as to who Ms. Heyer was at the time, I was intrigued and took one of the blog's book recommendations and went with it--or rather it sat.  Dustily.  On my nightstand for something close to 6 or 9 months.  Sigh.  (Forgive me, Georgette?  Forgive me all other books sitting on said pile for what feels like eons as I repeat readings of Go, Do Go rather than your pages?) 
First, who was Georgette Heyer?  A prolific author (1902-1974) who published Regency romances, detective fiction and historical fiction novels that numbered fifty-six novels during her lifetime!  Her writing is witty, her characters a bit outlandish.  Both of which make her writing style memorable to a reader. A simple example is the title of this book, my first read of a Heyer romance--The Grand Sophy.  Not just Sophy, but the grand Sophy a girl who gets her nose into every other character's business and gets away with it during a time when she probably shouldn't have. Did I mention how everyone adores her?  At one point, one of her gentleman friends calls her "The Grand Sophy" as if nothing can compare to the incredible Sophy Stanton-Lacy.  Thus, a prime example of Heyer's delightful character's and writing style. (Also of note to some readers might be that Heyer's romance novels also of the family friendly romance category.)

Here is the description of the plot for The Grand Sophy (Ahem, from Amazon. I don't have it in me to write my own right now. And it is cleverly done. :)).
"Sophy sets everything right for her desperate family in one of Georgette Heyer's most popular Regency romances. When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the ton by storm. Sophy discovers that her aunt's family is in desperate need of her talent for setting everything right: Ceclia is in love with a poet, Charles has tyrannical tendencies that are being aggravated by his grim fiancee, her uncle is of no use at all, and the younger children are in desperate need of some fun and freedom. By the time she's done, Sophy has commandeered Charles's horses, his household, and finally, his heart."
I was prompted to pick up Heyer's book when I did because Laurel Ann at Austenprose was hosting a Celebrating Heyer month (August) and I followed along to some extent.  One of the guest blogger's noted this about Heyer, "Jane Austen seldom described her world in detail, but Georgette Heyer more than filled in those gaps." (Vic @ Jane Austen's World on Austenprose)  I thought this quote rather summed up my intrigue into Heyer's books.  Sophy is over the top fun.  It took me about 25-50 pages to get into Heyer's writing style. I'm not sure if it was me trying to read at night as school was getting into swing or if her sentence structure slowed me down at first. I also found myself writing down phrases and other colloquialisms that I needed to look up.  I was prepared for this step, having read that Heyer, even though she wrote in the 20th Century, she wrote historically accurate plots that included correct colloquialisms from the Regency time.  This style is quite different than Jane Austen, who did not use many of these colloquialisms in her writing.  And while different than Jane Austen, it was quite delightful--as a lover of all things JA or even simply just Regency or Georgian, I ate it up.  I know enough of my history to follow the historical accuracies and I relish the details that allow one to look into that time and into everyday life.  (Wow.  Think I just summed up why I was an English major, too.)

So, long-winded story short, I discovered Georgette Heyer and am looking forward to reading more books by her.  And much to my delight, I won a Heyer romance from the Austenprose celebration in August.  I am excited to try Friday's Child sometime soon.  :) That and I've discovered my next piece of non-fiction reading:  Georgette Heyer’s Regency World: The definitive guide for all fans of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the glittering Regency period, by Jennifer Kloeste. :) 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Abigail Reynolds' Books (Everything Austen Challenge)

One of my Everything Austen II items was to figure out what the scoop was with Abigail Reynold's Pride and Prejudice variations series.  Why is this such a big deal?  First, Ms. Reynold's books are pretty good and I've enjoyed them but...Second, her books have been self published and now they have been picked up by Sourcebooks and republished.  Under new titles.  It's next to impossible to figure out if you've read one of the books or not.  (Ok, admittedly, reading the synopsis helps some but if you read P&P variations or continuations of any kind, you know quite well--they all run together after a certain point!) So, I took a dive into Ms. Reynold's blog and found her blog post detailing the books. (Posted after I added this mission to my EAII list.)  Here's the lowdown:

The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice = Pemberley by the Sea (I read this one 3/09.)

To Conquer Mr. Darcy (August 2010) = Impulse & Initiative (I read this one 3/09, too.)

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World = The Last Man in the World (I read this one 2/10.)

What Would Mr. Darcy Do? (Coming Spring 2011) = From Lambton to Longbourn (I read this one 1/10.) 

She also adds,  "For the sake of completeness, there is also the unpublished POD book The Rule of Reason = Alternative version of Impulse & Initiative which is only available at lulu.com. Without Reserve and By Force of Instinct will eventually be released with new titles, but I don't yet know what they are." 

I'd also posted a comment on the blog post where Ms. Reynolds details these changes, asking about changes to the books.  Realizing that sometimes (often?) publishers ask authors to revise when they are picked up by publishing houses rather than the self-publishes editions.  Here is her response:

"So far there are no major edits planned for Without Reserve or By Force of Instinct. From Lambton to Longbourn has a new beginning and may have a couple of added scenes depending on the publication schedule (i.e. I'd like to add more but they may not let me). It's scheduled to come out Spring 2011 under the title What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, but I'm hoping that it'll be bumped back a bit in favor of the new Pemberley Variation I'm writing, since I'd rather do a new release than a re-release. I'll keep you posted!"

So here's what I've got to add to my reading list (which, essentially, was the purpose of me adding this to my EAII list).  The jury is still out to see if I'll pick up the "new" versions to look for new bits/edits.

Mr. Darcy's Obsession (New October 2010)
Without Reserve
By Force of Instinct

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mansfield Park (Everything Austen Challenge)

Jane Austen's Mansfield Park from Masterpiece/BBC 2007.

As part of Everything Austen II, I decided to watch the 2007 MP again.  I reserved a copy through the library and watched it during an afternoon in August. 

Thoughts and ruminations:  Billie Piper (Fanny) is prettier than Sylvestra Le Touzel (Fanny in the 1983 BBC version), which I appreciated because I feel like Fanny always gets the short end of the stick.  She's the heroine that seems to fall by the wayside (along with Catherine Morland) and it always irks me a bit.  That said, Sylvestra Le Touzel gives Fanny a bit more depth than Billie Piper.  (Is it the eyebrows?  Anyone else have thoughts on that?)  While depth is good, Sylvestra gives us the quiet mouse performance.  I have always envisioned Fanny somewhere between the two.   In Billie Piper's performance, it feels like you can see her biting her tongue at times--like there's more she wants to say but can't because she shouldn't or because it would be out of character.  I liked Blake Riston as Edmund, but there is nothing new to note.   Is Edmund that easy to portray in a film, meaning that there is not much depth to his character and he is easy to sum up?  I'm struggling on this one.  I think it's time for another read of MP.

One bit they did get right in this film version is Edmund's like (lust? love?) of Mary Crawford.  This bit always makes my stomach turn--for someone so likeable and smart, Edmund's pretty clueless about her character.  Haley Atwell's does a delightful job as Mary--she is as slimy and cold as ever.  Well done.  And let me just say--Mrs. Bertram and Pug are at least tolerable in this version.  This version, however, did seem to chop the plot into bits and leave one hanging or just wondering some.  Suddenly our characters are working on a play, Mrs. Norris' exits without much fanfare (implied and perhaps not as direct as I'd like), Mr. Bertram is back with Tom.   MP is good because it takes its sweet time to get to where it's going and here it rushed into the ending and left us all happy in just a few short minutes.  A bit too Hollywoodized for my taste of Jane.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Adieu, Sweet Summer.

Monday marked the return of full time work until mid-June and I'm not thrilled with this prospect. 

But nevertheless I am reflecting on the glory of summer and all of the wonderful relaxation that occurred this summer.  Miss L and I learned a new routine together--one of baking, going to the park, going to storytimes-a-plenty, one of dance parties to Hey Hippopotamus by Justin Roberts, one of learning to paint and color and discover kiddie pools and watering cans. One of farmer's markets and music classes, one of attempting to use the potty, repeating the word no constantly and finally--one of learning to say the word love and getting a squished up hug thereafter.

Ready to bike!  
We're biking and we're happy!
Making cookies with Mom.
First ear of corn on the cob!  YUM!
Hugging Teddy (teddy bear puppet) from storytime!
Watering can fun!
At the beach, impromptu swimming!
Reading with Mom.

Tutu, car and Elmo!
Lest you think I can't relate Jane to this blog post.  Miss L with my glasses, reading The Annotated P&P. 

At summer's end, I have shed many tears this week as work stress begins and we've sent Miss L to daycare.  My summer pilates/yoga straightened shoulders look pinched again.  I have taken ibuprofen too many times to count this week.  With a sigh and a gulp, I bid you adieu, sweet, dear summer. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jane Cooks (Everything Austen II Challenge)

As part of last year's Everything Austen Challenge, I'd put down that I was going to read and make something from The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black and Deirdre Le Faye (McClelland & Stewart, 2002.  128 pgs.) and a few other Jane cookbooks. (Here's that blog post.) I at last read them, but no baking occurred.

And so-- As part of the Everything Austen Challenge this go 'round, I'd put on my list that I was to actually bake something from The Jane Austen Cookbook (TJAC from now on.)

And bake I did, friends.  Let's begin.

When I'd read TJAC, I'd made some photocopies of about five recipes that I thought I could tackle.  Nothing too complicated and I mostly chose from recipes that were actually from Martha Lloyd's cookbook. (Who was Martha Lloyd?  A good friend of JA's that lived with the family at Chawton Cottage and after Jane's death married Jane's brother Frank after the death of his first wife during childbirth.) I chose recipes from her cookbook because while the recipes have been adapted for the modern kitchen, I thought it rather fun that JA might have eaten these recipes some 200 years ago.

In early June I made Martha Lloyd's Macaroni recipe from pg 49.  Think macaroni with a cream sauce.  Yes, real cream.  It was pretty good and tasted somewhat like a carbonara sauce less the egg that carbonara contains.  Freshly ground pepper to top the macaroni was a nice addition.  (Forgot to take pictures of this one.)

In early July, I made Martha's Ratafia Cakes recipe from pg. 125.  When read through, this recipe sounded something like the simple meringue cookies I am used to around Christmas-time.  The difference here being that there were ground almonds and a teaspoon of orange liqueur in them.  I purchased baker's sugar (superfine sugar) as the recipe suggested and began.  Essentially, one whips egg whites with the orange liqueur until stiff, adds the sugar and almonds and bakes.  I found that the liqueur made the egg whites not want to become stiff. Or maybe I didn't beat long enough, but I did beat for what felt like forever and I do know what stiff is....so, a little flat they were, but tasty nevertheless!  Next time, I will whip eggs to stiff and then add orange liqueur and beat in for a few seconds to see if this remedies the problem.  Pictures are of them going into the oven and coming out.  Rave reviews from Dear Hubby on this one!  They were a bit addicting--the almond is a nice touch to the meringue like texture.  They were light and hollow inside, and about as close to a 'cookie' as JA may have gotten (rather than a cake).

Last week I made Rout Drop Cakes.  This recipe noted as from Maria Rundell, the 1806 edition of her cookbook--a cookbook of the day etc.  TJAC says that these cakes are "pleasant with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee at mid-morning or in the evening.  They were easy-to-eat party cookies on a Georgian evening tea-table, too" (pg 125).

Essentially, these little ditties are raisin or currant scones.  They were easy to mix up. I used raisins rather than currants because I couldn't quite determine how old my currants were (they were thrown in the trash with a small shudder!).  Curious, too, the recipe contained 1/2 tsp. each of orange juice and rose-water.  (For the rose-water, I substituted plain old tap-water, not wanting to deal with trying to figure out where to find it or how to make it myself....) It also called for 1 tsp. white wine or sherry (I used some white zinfandel that was already open in my frig) and 1 tsp. brandy (I actually had that for baking, can you believe it?!?).   So, a lot of little flavor additions but really, they tasted like scones.  Plain and simple.  Delightful with some lemon curd or Devonshire cream.   (Of which I made for my bookclub's tea party, see blog entry here.)

And the question remains--would I make any of these recipes again?  Macaroni--no.  I'd rather have real cream, aka serious caloric intake, in another recipe not this one.  Ratafia Cakes--yes.  I'd like to see if I can get them a bit more round rather than flat and they were pretty tasty.  Rout Drop Cakes--maybe.  They were a bit dry.  The jury is still out on that one.

Are there JAC recipes in line for the future?  Maybe.  I have Martha Lloyd's bread budding recipe and her Gingerbread Cakes recipe.  The bread pudding is a might.  The Gingerbread Cakes recipe is a "probably not" given the review of the recipe from the lovely blogging ladies at Austentacious.  These ladies declared them to taste like "dried out cookie dough" and said they aren't worth the time if one has options like we do now (as opposed to JA's time).  (In other words, go for something much more tasty!!)

That said, if anyone would like the recipes, I'll gladly share them.  Do ask. And again, Check out the tea party picts, we went all out!

I Capture the Castle Tea Party

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
St. Martin's Griffin, 1948 (1998 republished), 343 pgs.

My bookclub read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith for the month of July.  While originally published in 1948, this book is truly timeless! There were times one wasn't sure what decade the story took place in, so much was this story and its characters timeless.   The characters are ones to fall in love over and over again and is a beautiful coming of age story.  (Can you say Hallmark Hall of Fame Classic?)

Here's the description from the back of the book: "I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"--and the heart of the reader--in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments."

Is there an I Capture the Castle's JA tie-in?   You bet your buttered scones!  At one point Cassandra refers to she and her sister as much like the Bennet girls, Elizabeth and Jane, as they realize that marriage is their only option of survival in this world.

Because the book takes place in England and in a ramshackled ruin of a castle, my fellow book friend and Anglophile, SarahA and I hosted a tea party for our fabulous bookclub friends.  Now, it should be noted that SarahA and I have been finding all of the places in the Twin Cities metro area that offer High Tea and each year to celebrate our birthdays we go to a new establishment.  So what I'm saying is that we do tea.  And we do it well. Or at least we know how to do tea.  Or something.  Did I mention both of us studied abroad in the British Isles during college?  We even met up in Oxford for a quick afternoon for...pizza.  Don't ask.  We're not sure why we did pizza now either.  I think it was more about timing and catching a bus for me, but you get the idea.  True Anglophiles are we.

And so, here are pictures of our menu from our delightful tea party.  I, as per my usual, forgot to start taking photos until we were in mid course just about every course.  So do excuse the presentations of half-picked food. :)

1st Course:  Assorted Mini-Quiche

Ahem, store bought.  (But quite tasty.  Thank you, Archer Farms.)

Course 2:  Cranberry Orange Scones & Rout Drop Cakes

Cranberry Orange Scones recipe from author Marilyn Brant's monthly newsletter.  They were fabu! The recipe made what felt like a zillion and they were extremely rich.  Rout Drop Cakes from The Jane Austen CookbookSee more details about them in my blog entry here.

Course 2: Easy Devonshire Cream, Lemon Curd and Strawberry-Rhubarb Preserves.
Easy Devonshire Cream--very tasty!  Adapted it from the recipe at AllRecipes.com. I've made this one before and added more sugar and some vanilla this time around.  Much better!  Lemon Curd recipe from an unknown internet source--it's a microwave recipe and was actually quite easy.  A bit granular from the sugar, but highly recommended.  Preserves, store bought.

Course 3: Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Sweet & Savory Ham Sandwiches
Chicken salad sandwiches--basic chicken salad, but quite delightful.  Sweet & Savory Ham Sandwiches---OHMYGOSH!  They were to die for!  The original name for this tea sandwich was Ham & Apricot Tea Sandwiches, but as we used Strawberry-Rhubarb and not Apricot, I thought one couldn't really call them their original name. Here's the gist:  raisin swirl bread, one slice spread with Dijon mustard, the other with preserves and a slice of ham in between.  Cut crusts off.  This tea sandwich is going in my "I am so making those again (very soon if I can help it)" recipe pile.  Sources unknown for all tea sandwiches as SarahA found and made them (although I did help with assembly). 

Course 3: Asparagus & Prosciutto Tea Sandwiches and Cucumber Sandwiches
Asparagus and prosciutto--very good, bread a bit much.  Even though the recipe called for hearty bread, I'd say a thinner slice would do next time.  And why the heck don't I made cucumber sandwiches more often??  These were such a refreshing bit of heaven.  I think SarahA says she uses whatever cream cheese the spirit moves her to purchase.  This time it was flavored with chives and a bit of fresh dill.

Course 4: Cinnamon Sugar Cookies, Mini Cherry Cheesecakes and Double Chocolate Cupcakes.

The cinnamon sugar cookie recipe is a recipe I grew up with.  I think it might be one of my all time favorite recipes.  These cookies are so very good with tea or coffee.  They are great dipping cookies!  Mini Cherry Cheesecakes--are much easier to make than they appear.  I halved the recipe this time to only make a dozen and it worked pretty well. I thought the cheesecake portions were a bit small but they were refreshing as always.  And double chocolate cupcakes.  SarahA bought these and I don't know where from.  I only know they were quite deadly and one my go into chocolate shock after eating even just one.
Fabulous bookclubber friends.  Love you!
Yes, there were actual people at bookclub.  It wasn't just food.  Surprised aren't you?  :)  Hope you're hungry now!  I'm not and it's Tuesday already....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice (Everything Austen II)

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, annotated and edited by David M. Shapard.
Anchor Books, 2007.  739 pgs.

During parts of June and July I read the AP&P while reading along with the online group read at Austenprose.  The group read was called "Pride and Prejudice without Zombies: Reclaiming the Classic."  Please see the delightful graphic used to highlight this event.  (If you've read P&P with Zombies, you will note the image and how absolutely perfect it is.)  It was a great event, with some great discussions about JA, some details into the plot and various movies etc.  (Did you know the dancing is all wrong in the various movie editions of P&P? As is some of the costuming--think P&P '05--but that we did at least know.  Did you know that there were books being written during JA's time about 'touring the countryside' and visiting the various great houses of England--it was what folks did for vacations.)

I also included/incorporated reading AP&P as part of my list for Everything Austen II at Stephanie's Written Word. (What is EA II?  Briefly:  Sign up by making a list of six Austen-themed somethings to do/read/watch--ie: books, movies, craft etc.  Blog about each one, link it to the main EA II page and see what others are reading/saying.)

Hooray for me!  It is with great pleasure and success that I can announce that my copy of The Annotated Pride and Prejudice has been moved from my nightstand (the JA' to read' pile) to one of the downstairs bookcases (on one of the many JA shelves).  Why such jubilation one might ask?  Oh, friends.  Friends. Really now.  Do you know how long this copy of P&P has sat on my nightstand?  Let's just stay quiet about that, ok? 

It was not my first attempt.  Nor my second.  Perhaps it was my third.  It's all very fuzzy which attempt this time was exactly.  What I've learned about myself is that I do not do well with footnotes on opposite pages.  The novel is entirely its own.  All original bits of P&P are on the left-hand side of the book, annotations are on the right.  Each chapter starts a new numbered sequence of annotations. 

The annotations are helpful and insightful.  At times.  For someone who has read P&P at least once a year since she was a junior in HS, I can honestly say that I didn't need the annotations.  Sure, I liked the illustrations that clarified a coach (pg. 55) , a low phaeton (pg. 291) and a chaise (pg. 397).  I can never quite recall the specific differences in them, but then again I can hardly today's versions--a Toyota, Honda or any other car--apart for that matter.  I struggled to gain momentum this time as the book started.  Do I read the whole page, then the annotations? The whole chapter, then all the annotations? Do I read, stopping at each annotation and jump across to the corresponding annotation and then jump back to the novel?  My eyes couldn't keep it straight and Mrs. Bennett was tiresome to say the least.  Finally, I settled on reading each page and then it's annotations.  Once I found a rhythm, I cruised through yet another reading of my dear P&P. 

This time, with the help of Mr. Shapard and the wonderful hostess Laurel Ann at Austenprose, I was introduced to the theme of the picturesque--a definition of what was considered "natural beauty" by William Gilpin, an author, during JA's time.  (In case you are curious, here is the link from the discussion at Austenprose about Mr. Gilpin.

During this reading, I also had the opportunity to delve into my copy of Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels by Austen Scholar Deirdre Le Faye.  Ahem.  Um.  Erm.  Right-o.  Let's not dwell on how long this delightful book has sat on my JA 'to read' pile either. And when I say delightful, I mean it.  Paperback with just the right tactile feel of glossy paper and perfect weight.  And color images inside!  I read the P&P chapter this go 'round and at least started the chapter titled, "A Sense of Place." 

Now I must pause and give myself a nice round of applause.  Did you catch that?  That's right---reading any part of, skimming or otherwise of JA: The World of Her Novels was another EA II item from my list!  HOOHAAA!--That's two down.  Sort of.  When I read Persuasion I will read that chapter and try again with "A Sense of Place."  I do struggle so with non-fiction even when it's JA or Regency related.

Until then, adieu.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Everything Austen II

Remember last summer about this same time when I joined the Everything Austen Challenge online?  Well, Ms. Stephanie at Stephanie's Written Word is at it again!! She's sponsoring Everything Austen II, starting July 1st and going through January 1.

Here's the blog post for exact details.  But here's what you do:
"Truly, the list can be endless! All you need to do is pick six Austen-themed items to read, watch or craft to participate. Note that you can mix it up a bit – maybe commit to watching three movies and reading three books – or if your TBR pile is huge, pick out six movies you would like to watch – YOU DECIDE!" (Quoted from Stephanie's blog post.)

So---da, da, dada, da, daaaaa (that was a drumroll) here is my list.  A bit longer than last year so I have some options to roll around.  (Remember how I didn't do very well with non-fiction?)

  • Read: Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford (currently sitting on my nightstand.)
  • Read: A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen edited by Susannah Carson (also currently sitting on my nightstand)
  •  Bake something from The Jane Austen Cookbook (remember last year's Everything Austen?  I did find the cookbooks. I read them, but didn't make anything.  Now is the time!)
  • Figure out Abigail Reynolds JA continuation books---what haven't I read and read one of them.  (I don't have the time to figure out what I've read etc right now.)
  • Read: Persuasion (got a pocket copy for Christmas and it's time to crack the spine, also sitting on nightstand.)
  • Watch: Northanger Abbey, some version or another.  (I don't own the newer BBC productions so this might be my impetus to purchase them.)
  • Read: The Annotated Pride and Prejudice (edited by David M. Shapard) by participating in my Pride and Prejudice Group Read online at Austenprose. (Hmm, that's too, was on my nightstand for eons until last week...)
  • Read some/skim/part of: Jane Austen's World by Dierdre LeFay (on nightstand, too.....qualifying this so I have a chance in Hades...)
  • Watch the film: "Jane Austen in Manhattan" (Stephanie suggested this one and it sounds interesting.)
  • Watch: Mansfield Park.  (Again, might be inspired to find one of the newer ones, as  I am not sure I can handle the horrific 1980's BBC version of Mrs. Bertram and Pug....)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Trio of Books

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo
Guideposts Publishing 2010, 268 pgs.
3 Bonnets.

First and foremost, a sincere thank you to Laurel Ann at Austenprose. I won this book in a giveaway from Austenprose in February and just got to it late last month.  Like I've said earlier here, I'm just getting back in the saddle and that includes getting back on the reading bandwagon.

I had the pleasure of reading this darling novel on a Saturday afternoon during my freetime (aka naptime).  It was a quick, delightful, fun read.  Albeit, I did bristle at the thought of the missing manuscript alluding to such a different story to P&P.   It irked me and didn't feel true to anything Dear Jane could ever have written.  Ever.  I also thought Claire's naivetee was a bit overdone.  She was just a bit too clueless about her own life and awareness for my taste, although that doesn't make her story and journey not true or realistic for others.

Summary:  Claire Prescott is a young woman who takes her sister's place at a summer seminar on P&P at Oxford University.  Claire doesn't get the Mr. Darcy thing that most P&P devotees seem to get so she's not that excited about the seminar.  In the meantime, between  finding herself befriending an elderly English woman who might just have a long lost Jane Austen manuscript hidden in her home, and meeting her own Mr. Darcy, Claire must come to terms with some personal problems of her own--her her American boyfriend showing up in Oxford unexpectedly.

According to Jane by Marilyn Brant
Kensington, 2009. 269 pgs.
4 Bonnets (No period costumes here, but some great 80's and 90's references and wit to make Jane proud!)

Now here's where it gets embarrassing:  another sincere thank you to Stephanie at Stephanie's Written Word & Marilyn Brant (author and blogger at Brant Flakes) for my copy of this book. It's even an autographed copy! I ummmm, errr, think I won this book late last fall.  I know.  Please don't say anything other than the look you are giving me right now.  I know.   If you only knew how deep my reading pile is and I don't blog about everything I read.  I need to take a course in speed-reading.
Le Sigh...

According to Jane begins in Ellie Barnett's sophomore English class.  Her teacher has just handed out P&P to read, the obnoxious Sam Blaine is ruthlessly teasing and snapping Ellie's bra and there it is--a "tsk" from out of nowhere.  It happens again.  And this is how Ellie comes to hear Jane Austen's voice inside her head.  Turns out Jane has been waiting quite a while to give advice to someone and Ellie is just the person.  Told from Ellie's perspective, with snippets of she and Jane's conversations, readers grow up and move from relationship to relationship with Ellie and Jane as Ellie searches for The One with Jane's guidance, all the while staying away from Ellie's Mr. Wickham, Sam Blaine. Or is he? 

Outlandish? Yes.  A bit strange at first?  Yes.  Delightful in it's originality? Yes.  This novel is an enjoyable read.  I enjoyed Ellie as she tries so hard to figure out relationships and find some kind of peace which seems always just out of reach.  It irritated me that Jane Austen was incredibly prejudiced against Sam Blaine, so much so that Ellie struggles to listen to her own voice.  It made the reader wonder what Ellie's relationships would have been like without Jane's ever present voice inside Ellie's head.  Would she have made different choices?  Would she have learned to follow her own heart and gut much earlier?  My only small hang-up with the novel was that it was a bit predictable (it's pretty clear that Sam Blaine is Ellie's Mr. Darcy), but it didn't detract from the novel for my taste.

The Season by Sarah MacLean
Orchard Books, 2009. 343 pgs.
Young Adult Fiction
2 Bonnets

Summary: Place--Regency England 1815.  17 year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford is about to take part in her first "social whirlwind of a London season."  Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi are engaged in balls, dinner parties, dress fittings and weekends in the country.  All the while they are trying to figure out how the marriage market of a season works.  Amidst it all the hustle and bustle of the season, they get involved in the Earl of Blackmoor's death by helping his son, Gavin, with the mystery of his father's death.  

This novel was more than predictable for me.  Alex and her girlfriends dread the London season and the ton.   They do everything in their power to escape dreadful suitors.  They get into some trouble with their mother's because they are avoiding suitors.  They get involved in a murder plot.  One could see the next point in the plot before the next chapter.  I had the plot of the book laid out in my head with just a few chapters in.  MacLean does a good job of explaining the season, high English society and customs of Regency England, but for this reader it was nothing new and bordered on a boring.  Granted, it is a young adult fiction novel and it a good romance novel without inappropriate content for younger audiences.  And so it receives 2 Bonnets for being a bit bland for my taste, but also hints and mentions of Jane Austen.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I keep singing Gene Autry's song, "Back in the Saddle Again."  I can't get this song out of my head lately.  It's just stuck there.  And it might be because I'm feeling Back in the Saddle Again for several reasons...

1. Literally, I am back in the saddle. My bike saddle that is.  My bike has been taken down from it hanging space in our garage and has been dusted off.  After a hiatus (a pregnant summer and well, no real excuse last summer other than no free time), we've attempted to ride again. On Memorial Day we did our annual Memorial Day ride.  Rather than go for what had become our annual excursion to Elm Creek Park Reserve and do a nice long ride complete with DQ  (because we'd earned it!), we changed our tune this year.  We added a Burley bike trailer (thank you, Craigslist!) and a toddler to the mix.  We rode a whopping four miles along the Rice Creek  and had a break at the playground and it was quite delightful.  And hilarious as said toddler had to keep lifting her helmet up to look out and then she fell asleep a block and half from home.

There have been several other attempts at this biking business since then.  My computer got an update (um, errr, I made have needed to update a setting starting with the letter W, um, errrr....), the toddler hasn't fallen asleep any other time and now when we say let's go for a bike ride, she points to the yellow Burley trailer hanging from our garage rafters. And let's just say that my saddle can tell that we are back in the saddle again.  Ouch!

2. I tried on some pants that were packed in a galaxy far, far away just before school got our for the year and lo and behold--they fit.  I knew there was a reason to keep them for two years...Back in the saddle--need I say more?

3.You can tell summer is here.  I am attempting to read blogs again and read and read and read (both for work and for pleasure).  Can you say back in the saddle again?

4. I am also excited about 2 fabulous online Janeite opportunities.

The first: An online read of Pride and Prejudice sans zombies hosted by Laurel Ann at Austenprose.
I offer you the reading and event schedule here--do be sure to check out her clever image for this group read.  If you know the zombie cover, then you should appreciate the image. 

The second, Stephanie at Stephanie's Written Word has done it again!---Everything Austen II Challenge!  Second verse, same as the first.  Maybe this time 'round I'll actually read some non-fiction like I'd challenged myself to do for the first go 'round.  Now I must go read some P&P, naptime is almost over and I've got a schedule to keep for this group read thing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison.
Warner Books, 2000. 222 pages.

I was introduced to Katrina Kenison via an email forward of this fabulous poem/reflection. 

The poem resonated with me.  Our fleeting lives.  Our fast paced, breakneck lives.  How fast our children grow and change. After investigating a bit further about the author of the poem, I was pleased to discover she’d written a series of reflections about motherhood.  I found her writing easily accessible and captivating—transported to a simple, easier time. I laughed out loud (always a treat when reading a book, a laugh out loud moment means the author has done his or her job at humor— very well indeed!) and cried a bit when I could relate to her yearning to slow down and one story about trying to get dinner ready while trying to deal with her then 2 and 4 year olds. (She resorted to putting the little one in the sink to play. I have yet to do that…But these are daily questions, tensions, and issues in my family due to working full time, although we only have just one little sprite to follow around.)  Kenison is a part stay at home mother, part time editor; a believer in simplicity, and Waldorf education.  She mentions and quotes the writings of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Louise Erdrich, & Mother Teresa.  Virginia Wolf’s soft whispers were there, too, but not directly quoted.

Her writing resonated with me so much that I came up with seven pages of typed notes and quotes from her book.  Here are a few passages that spoke to me:
“I have learned to quick speeding through life, always trying to do too many things too quickly, without taking the time to enjoy each day’s doings. I think I always thought of real living as being high.  I don’t mean on drugs—I mean real living was falling in love, or when I got my first job, or when I was able to help somebody, or watch my baby get born, or have a good morning of really good writing. In between the highs I was impatient—you know how it is—life seemed so Daily.  Now I love the dailiness.  I enjoy washing dishes.  I enjoy cooking, I see my father’s roses out the kitchen window, I like picking beans.  I notice everything—birdsongs, the clouds, the sound of wind, the glory of sunshine after two weeks of rain.  These things I took for granted before.” –pg 10-11 from friend Olive Ann
On Healing:
“To an adult, a Band-Aid may be nothing but a sticky plastic strip; but to a child it is a badge of honor, imbued with magical healing properties.  Be grateful, and stock up.” Pg 101
☺ Need I say more on that quote?

On Nurturing:
"In the moment my first son was delivered out of my body and into my arms, the world tilted.  Miraculous life!  How fiercely I loved him, and how urgently I plunged into my new vocation, this career of the heart called motherhood.  At the time, I had no idea how I would nurture this tiny infant through his journey into manhood.  Don’t spank? Spend quality time? Build self-esteem?  Buy organic food? These were the themes of the parenting books I had poured over through nine months of pregnancy.  But how little I really knew, as we embarked on our new life together.  And how quickly, it seemed, the days were eaten up by the details of parenthood—feeding, diapers, ear infections, housework…It took a long time for me to begin to develop anything that might be called a philosophy of mothering.  Most night I felt it had been all I could do to get through the day. “ pg 171
On spirit:
“Over and over again, I am reminded that most of what I know of God, I have learned from my children. From the instant they arrived on this earth, squashed and bloody and astonishingly alert, they have been my teachers, messengers sent from beyond who force me to confront my own deepest questions and beliefs.  Surely in those first moments after birth, when we come face-to-face with these diminutive souls entrusted to our care, we do catch a glimpse of God. We know what it is to be blessed.  Our children arrive, as Wordsworth wrote, ‘Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory…from God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!’ Life as we know it is suddenly transformed—by the arrival of six new pounds of humanity.  Few would deny the presence of spirit then, for in giving birth, we experience a profound awakening ourselves, perhaps even a heightened consciousness.  But is there a way to sustain that spiritual connection as we set about our tasks as parents? How do we nourish our children’s souls as they grow and begin to challenge us?  Where, in our complex lives, does spirit live and flourish?” pg 181
On balance:
“The sweetest memories are right here, in the moments we create and share with one another.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote Gift from the Sea….she said she “went away in search of answers to the question of ‘how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center.” Pg 195
“I suppose I think of Gift from the Sea as a kind of mother’s fairy tale—a fantasy of peace and quiet that I could only dream of.” Pg 196
I love this realistic view of AML’s time at the sea.  While her writing resonates a cord within me, I see the fantastical elements in her work.  How did she get away for such a long time (2 weeks is long)?  How’s did she manage?  But then I think, the Lindbergh’s probably had a nanny.  I should do a little research to solidify my guess here, but seriously.  How’s she pull that off?

On Choices:
“As Louise Erdrich wrote in her memoir, The Blue Jay’s Dance: A Birth Year, ‘Mothering is a subtle art whose rhythm we collect and learn, as much from one another as from instinct.  Taking shape, we shape each other, with subtle pressures and sudden knocks.  The challenges shape us, approvals refine, the wear and tear of small abrasions transform, until we’re slowly made up of one another and yet wholly ourselves.” Pg 204
“And, at some point, we may begin to ask ourselves: Just whose standards am I living by, anyway?  An advertiser’s? A neighbor’s? A parent’s? A corporation’s? A culture’s? Only when we stop long enough to figure out what we really care about, and begin to make our choices accordingly, can we create lives that are authentic expressions of our inner selves.” Pg 207
Oh, the people we are amidst the chaos of life and the people or moms we want to be or dream of being.

As I started this blog entry I kept singing a certain song I learned around the 5th grade.  That year we students learned what we called ‘the groovy song,’ a classic rock song that we often asked to sing.  We thought it was a bit silly, but nevertheless fun.  “Hello lamppost, whatcha knowin’?” Strange, but strangely appealing to a ten or eleven year old.  As an adult, I amazed my own husband, who incidentally, did not know all of the lyrics to this song, when I could sing the song in its entirety.  I was shocked & amazed that he did not know it and immediately determined that he should learn it.  My daughter things it’s a pretty happy tune that she smiles and dances to. It is, after all, classic Simon and Garfunkel.  The “59th Street Bridge Song” sings a kind of harmony with Mitten Strings For God. I'll close with it.
Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobblestones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.
Ba da, Ba da, Ba da, Ba da...Feelin' Groovy.

Hello lamp-post,
What cha knowin'?
I've come to watch your flowers growin'.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,
Feelin' groovy.

I've got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Love/Hate Part 2

A T-Shirt worn my one of my 8th grade students:  "Stop texting me, I'm right next 2U."

Love it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lyme Park on Easter Sunday

Ten years ago on Easter weekend I took a long train ride across the Scottish and English countryside all to catch a glimpse of Mr. Darcy and his esteemed estate, Pemberley.  Ahem, I mean, to see the beautiful grounds of Pemberley.  (Ahem...) Sorry, that's not right either, I mean, Lyme Park, the location of P&P '95's Pemberley.

The 6 hour journey from Aberdeen went through Edinburgh to Carlisle and then to Stockport and finally to the small city of Disley in Cheshire.  Along the way there were beautiful hills full of green grass and sheep.  Because it was spring, there were also lambs. Lots of lambs with their mamas.  I distinctly remember seeing a lamb stand up and immediately topple over onto a brother or a sister.  Could it have been its first time standing?

I traveled with my American friend, Ellie, who was also very excited to visit Lyme Park.  Our Saturday arrival was met with torrents of rain as our taxi dropped us off at the main entrance.  (Rather than walk from the train station in a downpour a la Marianne Dashwood and catching a horrific fever, we opted for the taxi.)

We did the best we could on such a rainy day--we toured every inch of the house!  Lyme Park is part of the National Trust in England, much like our Nat'l Historic Register etc.  It is well maintained and hosts a variety of local functions throughout the year.  No pictures were allowed inside the house, so all I have are postcards of beautifully ornate rooms in a scrapbook.  It was beautiful, and I swear I saw Mr. Darcy run down a set of stairs but then I blinked and the moment was gone.  Sigh. 

By the time we were ready to head to our B&B, it was only lightly raining.  The picture to the right shows the road we walked down to get from the park to Disley and our B&B.  It had a very English country walk feel to it. It was there that I saw what I kept looking for and had never actually seen.  An honest to goodness English countryside footbridge!  So, of course, I had to pose for a photo opp.  (See below.)  After the mile walk from the park to The Grey Cottage,  our wonderful beyond compare B&B!, we had a quiet evening watching British TV and reading a horribly ill written Dawson's Creak spinoff novel.  (Note my enthusiasm about our B&B.  In other words, should you make a trek to Lyme Park, I highly recommend this place!) 
The Grey Cottage
Looking out on a beautiful Easter Sunday morning from Grey Cottage.

On Easter Sunday, the sun came out and we took an early morning walk to Lyme Park one more time before catching the train back to Stockport etc.  An Easter tradition on the grounds of the park is that local families bring their children for an Easter Egg hunt.  We saw tons of children in their Easter Sunday attire running around by the garden finding eggs.  Of course, did I take photos of this event.  No.  So, just imagine children hunting eggs.   It was also delightful to see the park in the sunshine.  We were able to walk outsite and catch that (in)famous glimpse that Elizabeth sees as she approaches Pemberley!

A few more for kicks...

The 'back' of Lyme Park, what visitors see first upon entering from the main gate.

Walking to Lyme Park from Disley/Grey Cottage.  Building in the background is the Cage.  A hunting tower that women would go to in order to watch men hunt.
The Cage a bit closer.

But wait!, there's more!

10 years ago Easter Sunday.... (This is the foot bridge photo I mentioned earlier.)

2010 Easter Sunday.