Hello readers,

I must apologise for not having posted anything for so many weeks. The summer holidays were marvellous and somehow I just didn’t manage to find the time. I’ve been meaning to tell you all about a family visit to Jane Austen’s House at the start of the summer holidays.

It was by pure chance that, whilst driving around North Hampshire, we spotted signposts to Jane Austen’s House. I must confess that until that day I knew very little about Jane Austen’s Life. I did worry that Super Tiddles and Duracell Bunny would find it very boring but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

As soon as we arrived there the boys were given a ‘bird trail’ sheet to fill in. This involved searching for laminated pictures of birds which were strategically placed around the garden. The boys loved looking around the garden for them and it gave us a chance to look around too. In the garden we also discovered an Austen themed Snakes and Ladders game as well as a mini theatre where children (and adults) could use figures to act out scenes from Austen books. We spent a long time in the garden and the boys had a whale of a time.

Similarly, in the house there was a ‘picture trail’, this was not quite as popular as the ‘bird trail’, but it did give the boys something to look for. In the house there was also a dressing up room. The house offered fascinating insight into the Austen family and the way they lived. We discovered that the house was given to her by her brother and she lived there with her mother, sister and a close family friend. It becomes clear that she knew only too well what it was like to be a ‘poor relation’. The house is fairly austere and not decadent at all. Jane Austen’s writing table is there, a small round table at which she penned her works of art. In another room there are quill pens and ink so we spent some time practising using them and there are also lavender pouches to make.

On the way out of the museum, I had a quick look in the museum shop as I was being dragged away by one of the boys (who had by then had enough). I did manage to find a book of recipes inspired by Jane Austen’s novels as well as a copy of Emma.

I’m off to bake something from that book while I read Emma…. I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

© Jane Gill 2016