Just three weeks ago, I did my annual migration to Florida for the winter. Having grown up in New Jersey, I should be accustomed to the horrible weather. But I’m not. And, the more time I spend in Florida, the more I love it. Not just the weather, either.
In many ways, my winter life in Florida reminds me of life during the Regency Era.
To begin with, there is a slower pace of life in our rural community outside of Gainesville. Time seems to move slower. People enjoy visiting with each other. Manners are an absolute must. And meals are leisurely gatherings, not just something to be rushed through, with good conversation and discussions. There’s something to be said for that!
After supper, I love to play games. Canasta is a new favorite of mine. I also enjoy Bananagrams (basically Scrabble without the board). Back in New Jersey, the fast speed of the Internet and bazillion channels on the television is far too enticing to my brood and they forego the games. But down in Florida where I have banished the television and our Internet crawls at a snail’s pace, the excuses dry up and games are often the only thing left to do.
See why I love Florida? 🙂
During the Regency period, games were often played after supper, especially during the winter months. Young women might be asked to entertain everyone by singing or playing a musical instrument. Cards might be played if the size of the group permitted it. Something I was unaware of was the love of Regency era people for word games, games that challenged the mind and memory.
Reading was another activity enjoyed by the family after supper. All of us remember the dreadful scene in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Collins thrilled the Bennets with his reading aloud (sarcasm intended). Elizabeth’s reaction was a far cry different from Marianne’s when Mr. Willoughby read her Shakespeare’s sonnets while she nursed her injured ankle. While I’d love to read aloud to my family, I do believe they would rebel if I suggested it. So, instead, I often curl up with a good book and read, quietly, to myself.
Frankly, I think that, deep down, I’m a Southerner at heart. I enjoy the easy-going nature of life during my seven months at our farm. In many ways, part of my love for this area is the fact that it reminds me of life during Jane Austen’s time. Perhaps not gentry, mind you. I much prefer working in the paddocks and pastures with the horses than sitting inside embroidering linens.