Thursday, 1 October 2015

Jane Austen country - a day in Bath

I am starting to wonder if everywhere in the UK could actually be linked
The Pulteney Bridge in Bath 
to an author - if I knew about enough of them. What do you think? After being reminded in Dorset that I really must read some Thomas Hardy, we spent an afternoon in Bath over the weekend and I realised that I have not yet read a single Jane Austen novel either. I have seen several filmed adaptations of Pride And Prejudice but that doesn't really count!

Austen lived in Bath for five years, from 1801 to 1806 and there are several themed attractions for fans as well as an annual festival. We spent our time wandering the streets and lanes admiring fabulous architecture including the Pulteney Bridge which was designed by Robert Adam in 1768 and apparently initially thought to be a bit of an eyesore. Other complaints were that it was too narrow and would, in time, be frequently overcrowded. In fact, we thought the whole town was overcrowded! We had inadvertently chosen to visit at the same time as the Morris Dancing Federation's AGM and I wondered if having troupes of Morris Dancers on practically every street corner was to blame. Our guides, Dave's daughters Gemma and Carrie, said no. Bath is always popular and heaving! At least we had taken the bus from Bristol so didn't have to struggle with parking too.

Away from the main shopping areas, the streets were calmer. I was
Royal Crescent, Bath 
pleased to see the iconic Circus and Royal Crescent. The Royal Crescent especially felt familiar from having seen it many times in the past on television.

Lunch was a picnic in the pretty Parade Gardens where we were able to ignore yet more Morris Dancers. I liked the rugby player topiary, but forgot to get a photograph. The Guildhall Delicatessen at The Guildhall Market had a good selection of hot and cold foods. My vegetable samosa was perfectly spiced but Dave wasn't so impressed with his spinach and feta pie. He did love another not-so-little shop we discovered in the back streets. Vintage 'n' Rare Guitars has three floors of vintage instruments ranging in price from a few hundred to ten thousand pounds. Some were even models that Dave had owned himself back in the 1960s. I was surprised that he didn't stay put in the shop for the rest of the weekend!

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