Jane published most of her mature work while living in the lovely village of Chawton only a few miles from her birthplace, Steventon. She was born December 16, 1775, and died July 18, 1817. Most people are aware of her major works that, to this day, are read worldwide - books like "Sense and Sensibility," "Pride and Prejudice," "Mansfield Park," "Emma," "Persuasion," and "Northanger Abbey."
In 1997, I visited England for the first time and my hostess took me to Blickling Hall where the movie "Sense and Sensibility" had been filmed. It was while wandering the gardens there that I had an overwhelming feeling that I belonged there - in the country of England. I've since returned many times and always feel that I should have been born there, even though my grandparents felt the urge to immigrate to the "new world " of Canada.
Last year, 2016, I was so pleased to visit the museum which had been Jane's home and where she wrote many, if not most, of her books. It was almost eerie to wander inside the house, peeking into rooms where she had not only written, but had taken her meals and where she had slept. I wanted to try out her bed, but thought it wouldn't be very genteel to do so. Instead I took a photo but it didn't turn out well. Here are a few of my photos from that day.
Outside, at the back of the house were several outbuildings where there was an antique donkey cart, which probably took Jane and her family to friends or relatives to visit. Also, there was an old brick oven and cooking area where the hired help would prepare their meals.
The best part of my visit, though, was the gardens! Like all English country gardens, they took my breath away. I sat on a bench where Jane might have sat contemplating how her characters would develop while she breathed in the gentle English breezes.
After my own private contemplations, I began to wander around taking photos of various flowers and plants. I was in my glory and my hosts finally came looking for me. All they were concerned about was that I was enjoying my visit.
And if you are ever in England and are a Jane Austen fan, I'd highly recommend a visit to the museum. There is a lovely pub called The Greyfriars immediately across the street where you can get a nice lunch either before or after your visit. Here's a photo of it:Jane Austen Museum and may you have a jolly week!