Category Archives: Holidays

Henry and Eliza on Eliza Doolittle Day

Henry and Eliza on Eliza Doolittle Day

  Forgive me if I take this occasion to celebrate a few different Elizas than just Miss Bennet, for today is Eliza Doolittle Day. For those unfamiliar with this often overlooked holiday, it is a reference to the musical My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, which in turn is based on… more goodness …

Where my JAFF heart is

Where my JAFF heart is

I thought I’d finish the country house tour, for the time being at least, where my JAFF heart is: in Derbyshire – to me, the most beautiful place in the world. There is majesty and beauty in the High Peak, with its unspoilt views over rust-coloured hills that turn purple when heather is in bloom,… more goodness …

Easter at Rosings

Easter at Rosings

The following foolishness was inspired by chapter VIII of volume II of Pride & Prejudice, which takes place on Easter Sunday, and the British accumulative rhyme This is the House that Jack Built. My apologies to Anne de Bourgh, Mrs. Jenkins, and Maria Lucas for their neglect. This is the drawing room at Rosings. This is the fireplace… more goodness …

Netherfield, Longbourn rooftops, Downton, & Basildon

Netherfield, Longbourn rooftops, Downton, & Basildon

Sometimes the life of a house is as full of twists and turns as an angsty novel that follows a beleaguered heroine from riches to rags and back again. Basildon Park in Berkshire is a house with such an adventurous history. An eminently Regency house, it was built in the late 1700s for Sir Francis… more goodness …

The Country House Tour (Hughenden) and the Country House Party

The Country House Tour (Hughenden) and the Country House Party

  Deep into the heart of Buckinghamshire there is a beautiful red brick house that was once the home of Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria’s flamboyant and controversial Prime Minister. He was many things to many people. An outsider. A ladies’ man. A shrewd politician. A royal favourite. Much was said and written about him in… more goodness …

An Austen Valentine

An Austen Valentine

Yesterday was that annual love-fest of St. Valentine’s Day. Did you want to be done with it, to let it go so soon? Well, I hope not, because today we’re going to talk about a Valentine, a written one, from none other than Jane Austen herself. My husband was surprised to learn that Valentine’s Day… more goodness …

The Feast of St Agnes

The Feast of St Agnes

During my trip to Devon earlier this year I had great hopes of adding to my National Trust Houses tour. Exquisite Saltram was nearby – a wonderful Georgian mansion I have long wanted to visit – and also the romantic Buckland Abbey, with its fascinating connection to Sir Francis Drake. But it was the wrong… more goodness …

The Country House Tour – Christmas at Osterley

The Country House Tour – Christmas at Osterley

The Great Bath Road is prosaically known as the A4 these days. Driving along it through the outskirts of London is equally unromantic: there is the odd office block towering above a long row of unremarkable two-storied houses, the ground floor of which is occupied by launderettes, ethnic shops, newsagents, fish-and-chips, Chinese and pizza takeaways.… more goodness …

Forgotten Carols of Jane Austen’s Time

Because of laws restricting festivites at Christmastime, Christmas carols weren’t as common in the Regency Era as they are now. However, country people continued to sing carols in their homes and sometimes in churches. In 1822, shortly after Jane Austen’s death, Davies Gilbert, a native of Cornwall, published a collection of carols from his childhood in… more goodness …