Thursday, 4 December 2014

House-hunting in South West England - June 2011

Castle Combe, Wiltshire

September 2012. Castle Combe in Wiltshire is so pretty and looks untouched. It was used as location to some films/TV programmes – Stardust comes to mind.

In the summer of 2011, we went to the country for a week to view some houses, mostly cottages, in Bath and Wiltshire.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Ladybird umbrellas, Jane Austen and the Chawton House Library

Chawton House Library in Hampshire, England
Chawton House Library in Hampshire, England
At 22 months or so we took her to Birdworld but as it was drizzling at first, she seemed to be more interested in the umbrella than the cute penguins. So I got her this ladybird umbrella (later a friend gave her a similar one so now she has two ladybird umbrellas) and she absolutely loved it.

I couldn’t remember now whether the photo above was her first day out with that umbrella. It was a rainy visit to the Chawton House Library, not an uncommon day in England. We thought that with a toddler enjoying her new umbrella it was not really ideal to view the library. Still, we went inside the house to buy tickets to access the gardens.

Jane Austen's brother Edward was adopted by the Knights who owned the house and Edward eventually took over management of the estate. Parts of the house were derelict towards the end of the 20th century. Thankfully, the decline was halted in 1993 with the sale of a 125 year lease to a new charity, Chawton House Library, founded by an American entrepreneur and philanthropist. The Library is now The Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing, 1600-1830.

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Monday, 1 December 2014

84 Charing Cross Road, London, England

84 Charing Cross Road, London, England
At 84 Charing Cross Road, London. Thank you, Helene Hanff.
I read the book many, many years ago, the copy of which I still have in my library in the Philippines. One New Year's Eve in England, we finally saw the film and it made me fall in love with London, antiquarian books (that peculiar taste) and Helene Hanff’s writing all over again. The film left me very sad but made me appreciate the fact that what I’ve always longed for, I now have. In 2006, a year after I first came to England, we went on a trip to Charing Cross to look for number 84. All that will make you recognise the place is the plaque. It reads, “84 Charing Cross Road the booksellers Marks & Co. were on this site which became world renowned through the book by Helene Hanff.” I remember that Helene died poor, I guess, owing to her generosity, but she had found what our kind would go looking for: “the England of English literature.”

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