September Trails

September Trails

Saltram, National Trust (Photo J Starnes)

The beginning of September found me in Devon, at the tail end of the school holidays, and although I’ve started to have rather mixed feelings about camping lately, especially in autumn weather, it was well worth it because it allowed me to see a house that was on my ‘To Do’ list for at least 8 years.

Saltram is Regency through and through, which is why I wanted to get there for so long, and it didn’t disappoint.


This is the exquisite drawing room where, as the room steward told me, some scenes of Sense and Sensibility were filmed. “Can’t tell you which ones,” the gentleman added with a grin, “because Bruce Willis wasn’t given a part.”

Saltram, Drawing Room (Photo J Starnes)

This is the beautiful and ever-so-Regency dining room, with graceful urns and delicate ornaments (and the rather less than graceful and delicate items concealed in the urn’s plinth, which the same room steward kindly pointed out for a laugh). Much as we know it was the norm for gentlemen to make liberal use of such items when left to their own devices, modern sensibilities can’t help but trigger the instinctive reaction ‘Right, fine when it comes to the uncouth early Georgians, but surely not Mr Darcy!!’

Saltram, Dining Room (Photos J Starnes)

The library was gorgeous too – I’ve yet to find a library that isn’t – but the greatest surprise was in one of the bedrooms, where the charcoal sketch of a handsome gentleman of ‘naval appearance’ caught my eye (in fact it was the uniform of the local militia, nothing naval about it; I got the wrong idea from the bicorne hat).

Saltram, National Trust (Photos J Starnes)

I love it when I go to National Trust houses to discover that they belonged to people I’ve heard about in all my squirreling through titbits of juicy Regency gossip. And this was juicy indeed. The sketch depicted the first Earl of Morley (then Lord Boringdon), who made the headlines in 1808 for instituting proceedings for ‘criminal conversation’ against Arthur Paget, who eloped with his first wife, Lady Augusta Fane. You can read more here, especially the outcome: “The jury, after some consideration, found damages Ten Thousand Pounds.”

No such scandals at nearby Antony, just a gem of a home ensconced in beautiful countryside, and a lovely message carved into a bench – which is exactly what we wish for our dear Elizabeth and Mr Darcy.

Antony, National Trust (Photos J Starnes)

As always, I look for traces of their lifestyle wherever I go, and it’s such a joy to find them! The dining room at No 1 Royal Crescent in Bath could so easily be the dining room of their London townhouse.

Dining Room at No 1 Royal Crescent, Bath (Photo J Starnes)

This morning parlour could be theirs too. It was commonly used as a breakfast parlour and then as an informal morning room, where the master or mistress of the house would go about the daily business and perhaps entertain close acquaintances.

Morning Parlour at No 1 Royal Crescent, Bath (Photos J Starnes)

The more formal visitors were received in a more formal setting, and asked to have tea in the drawing room.

Drawing Room, No 1 Royal Crescent, Bath (Photo J Starnes)

But what I found most appealing was the kitchen, the most Georgian kitchen I’ve ever seen, with no Victorian embellishments and no AGA cooker either, but full of all manner of ‘mod-cons’ that Mr Darcy’s maids might have used, from a coffee beans roaster to spinach and cabbage pressers, sugar clippers, moulds of all shapes and sizes and a particularly heavy iron in the laundry room (20lb or more) which I could barely lift. It would have been a very bad idea indeed to get on the wrong side of the washerwoman used to handling that particular piece of equipment 🙂

Kitchen and Laundry Room cum Scullery and Larder, No 1 Royal Crescent, Bath (Photos J Starnes)


The delights of Bath are many, and in September the greatest delight of all is the Jane Austen Festival, to meet up with old friends and make new ones, do a spot of Regency shopping, listen to wonderful talks, be hugely entertained by performances, gamble the night away (or at least pretend to), have fun with murder mysteries and of course wear one’s finery at balls.


It was wonderful to meet Alexa Adams face to face at last – hope we can meet in Bath again, Alexa! – and party with friends who would happily go for holidays in the time machine, if one is ever invented.


It was so hard to leave beautiful Bath behind, and it’s so much harder now to say goodbye.

Sadly, I must, and this is my last post at Austen Authors, where I’ve been so happy for a couple of great years. It will be a pleasure to keep supporting the group and the wonderful friends I made here, but supporting my kids through their upcoming exam years is likely to keep me offline for longer stretches every now and then.

I can’t stop dreaming up stories and scenarios for Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s Happily Ever After – with any luck, if I stay on track, the next one will be released in November – but I’ll definitely spend less time gallivanting to National Trust places 🙂 If I manage to sneak out to a couple, I’ll be sure to post about them on my website ( or share them on Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by to read my posts here at Austen Authors and for coming with me on virtual trips, your wonderful company was hugely appreciated, and so was your wonderful support! I wish all authors and readers at Austen Authors Happy Trails, and I’ll finish not with Farewell, but with See you again very soon in this JAFF world of ours. Have fun, take care, and all the best!

Autumn Sunrise (Photo J Starnes)




26 Responses to September Trails

  1. Joana, Thank you for all your hard work on novels, photos, postcards and adventures you shared with me! Thank you for all the information about England and your visits around your beautiful country. I will cherish your friendship forever! Thank you for being on this great journey with me as I explore through books, etc about what I love of reading and learning! I am so glad that we both love many things in common. Enjoy your family and travels and do stay in touch!
    God Bless you and yours and always keep you safe as you travel and strive in this busy world we live in today!
    With much admiration,
    Your American friend sending love and hugs your way!
    MaryAnn Nagy

  2. Oh, Saltram! That house will always hold a special place in my heart as I went there at a time when I had really lost my travel mojo, and Saltram totally brought it back. I loved how casual it felt — that you were allowed to just wander through the rooms without so many rope barriers. They even let a visitor play the pianoforte while I was there!

    Such a bittersweet post, though — I wish you all the best in this next phase of your life, but you will be very much missed here.

  3. Joana, I am sorry to see you go; however, this next phase in your life is important and it needs you full time. Years from now…you want to look back and know that you gave your children the best of your time and attention. This is a crucial period in their lives and cannot be retrieved. Their well being is too important. These school years are vital and you are making the best choice for your family. I applaud your efforts to make the most of your choices.

    The post today, along with pictures, was awesome. Thank you for taking us on your many advnetures, they have been marvelous. Bless you and many blessings to your future. We shall see you again my friend. We are here for you and support your efforts.

    • Thanks so much, Leenie, for coming on the virtual trips, for the kind words and all the support! It was such a pleasure to be on the read-along team with you and a joy to know you! Hope we stay in touch and all the best to you and yours!

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re leaving, but I understand completely. Family always comes first. You will be very much missed. Looking forward to your next book!

    Lovely photos!

  5. Beautiful photos. You will be sadly missed Joana but I will be looking out for your books and wish your children every success in their exams. Thank you for sharing your journeys with us I have enjoyed them all ??

    • Many thanks, Glynis, I’m so glad you liked the photos and the journeys! I’ll keep posting pics on Facebook whenever I get to visit pretty places, and maybe we’ll run into one another at some of them. We’ve GOT to meet at Lyme Park one day!!!! Hugs and all the best,

    • Wonderful to get to know you too, Rebecca! I really enjoyed the read-along chats and it was great being on the same team as you! Best wishes to you and your family and see you again soon on the www!

  6. Hi Joana,

    I’m so sad to read that you’re leaving, and I only just ‘met’ you. I was enjoying your post tremendously up to that part. Thank you so much for sharing those wonderful pictures and insights. I can’t imagine a better glimpse into the world Jane Austen wrote about. I shall refer back to your post repeatedly when adding descriptions into scenes.

    Have a happy time, and may we someday meet again.


    • Hi, Summer
      I’m so glad you liked the post and so sorry that the last bit spoiled it. It’s great that we’ve ‘met’ and I’m sure we’ll meet again here, there and everywhere in the JAFF world. Thanks ever so much for the kind words, it’s wonderful to hear you liked the glimpses. I’ll keep posting pics on Facebook and I hope you’ll like them, I can’t go for too long without my country-house fix 😀
      Have a happy time too and many thanks for leaving this lovely comment!

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