Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Day at the Jane Austen Festival 2014!

Leaving for Bath!

Better late than never, but here is my post about the Jane Austen Festival! And what a fantastic day it was! For those of you who follow my Facebook page you will have seen all the millions - and I mean millions! - of photos I have posted, but I will give a bit more detail about the day, and as it has been a while maybe you won't mind seeing the photos again! I did a post about how I put my outfit together (thanks to Marion May Designs) a few weeks ago. To read about that go here.

The lovely Míra!

10am: I arrived at the Assembly Rooms, where we were all to meet in the hopes to break the world record. No more than 5 minutes after I had arrived and was busily searching for Joana Starnes, who I was to meet there, the lovely Míra Magdó came rushing towards me and then absolutely made my day - which was an achievement given that I was already on cloud 9 anyway! - by coming up to me and saying 'I follow you!'! I cannot tell you how exciting it was to be recognised by a blog follower! And what a lovely lady she is!

The lovely Joana!
It was crowded!

10.30am: We got in the queue to head into the Assembly Rooms and signed the list for the world record - I was number 207! - and then we found the delightful Joana Starnes and we hovered in the Assembly Rooms waiting for the big moment when we would try and get our record back!

While we waited for everyone to arrive, we had some lovely entertainment from some very sweet children performing some regency dances, accompanied by a brilliant authentic music group!

The lute player was charming and played some lovely pieces recognisable from the adaptations between the dances.

I also was able to take in the wide variety of outfits everyone wore!

While the majority were ladies, there were more gentleman than I expected and some looked very dashing indeed! One in particular was very Darcy looking in my opinion! (Apart from the fact that he smiled more!)

(This was before I plucked up courage to ask him for a photo and was just trying to sneak a photo of him! He isn't wearing it in this photo but he had a very long, billowy coat as well!)

10:50am: We were all getting rather hot and bothered as there were a lot of people gathering in that one room! It really made you imagine what it would have felt like 200 years ago! But, our discomfort was quickly forgotten as the recently appointed patron of the Jane Austen Festival, Adrian Lukis (aka Mr Wickham from the BBC series!), came out onto the gallery above us to say hello and open the festival!

And what can I say, all my deep hatred I had had for this man ever since seeing him as Wickham was banished... he was absolutely charming! But more on him later!


                                 I'm right at the front!

11am: The count down begun! To break the record, we needed to have more than 491 people dressed in Regency Costume in one place for 5 minutes. And so, the stop watch begun and we waited!

There I am!                                                                            

And 5 minutes later it was announced that we had beaten the 'uppity colonials' (not my words, watch the video below!) and achieved a nice, Englishly-round number of 550!

Watch the video below to see the moment when we broke the record. They also show the entire room filled with all 550 of us - you can see me and Míra down at the front; I'm in blue and Míra in pink, and Joana can be seen even further forward in her purple-y dress with a lovely bonnet with two large feathers!

As I said, I was number 207 of 550, and you'll never guess, but the Limited Edition Jane Austen Festival 2014 mug that was sold, I bought one of the 75 that were made and I got number 27 - what a great link as I was number 207!

(oh, funny story - after we broke the record Adrian Lukis came out again and started taking some photos on his phone, and he was looking in Míra and I's direction and waving at people, so we started waving as well, and then he looked directly at us and waved back, and then he took a photo of us on his phone! So, Míra and I can claim to be on Wickham's phone!)

What do you think? A Mr. Knightley behind me?

11.30am: We finally escaped the heat of the Assembly Rooms and we all set off on the promenade! 


Photo taken while we held up the promenade!

We liked to think of ourselves as Catherine Morland (me), Eleanor Tilney (Míra) and Mrs Allen (Joana)!

Below is a video taken of the entire gathering heading out on our promenade around Bath. You can see Míra, Joana and myself holding up the entire promenade for my mother to take a photo at about 3 minutes into this video! Whoops!

Rachel from Regency History in the red!

We met the lovely Rachel Knowles from Regency History and her charming daughter and brilliant photographer Mirabelle Knowles, who took some amazing photos! (Have a look at her page Chou-Fleur Photography), and we walked around the first half of the promenade with them.

There is Mirabelle - she wasn't dressed up,
but she was a fantastic photographer!


We walked from the Assembly Rooms through the Circus and to the Royal Crescent.

Love this - a photo of a photo being taken!
Nice one Mirabelle!

I couldn't have got my reticule
better lined up to cover Joana's face if I tried!

Whilst walking through the Circus I noticed a photographer on the floor...


..and imagine my surprise and delight when one of the photos he had taken started to appear in a few newspapers and in many articles online - very exciting to become one of the faces of the festival! 

I managed to contact the photographer and get hold of the other photos he took while I walked past him, as I remembered his camera going 'click click click' many times as we walked past!

As we were coming around the corner and heading to the Crescent guess who we ran into, (almost literally!)? Adrian Lukis! He had come out to watch some of the promenade, and of course he was going to be pounced on!

And he was, Míra and I being the first! Míra spotted him at the side of the road and she grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him/onto him! Poor man! Again, he was charming and so friendly - not Wickham like at all! (I wonder why? Perhaps something to do with the fact that he is an actor?) He kept telling us and the others who wanted a photo to keep walking as he didn't mean to hold up the promenade, but really, if he was going to come and watch where he could be seen, then of course we were going to want to meet him!

'I just met Adrian Lukis!'

Eventually we let him go and we made our way back towards the Assembly Rooms.

This was my 'I just met Adrian Lukis!' face, as I walked past and told my mother!

12.15pm: We landed back at the Assembly Rooms and there was a short interlude while we waited for part two of the promenade to begin. During this break, we bumped into the lovely Jane Odiwe! We had a nice chat with her until the crowds started moving again as we began to head towards our final destination, the beautiful Parade Gardens.

A lovely (American) Mr Bennet!

Almost at the Parade Gardens!

I think Míra and I were trying to come to terms
with the fact the we had just met Wickham!

On our way you'll never guess who we bumped into again! Yes, Wickham! And we couldn't resist pouncing on him again! We all got better, individual photos with him and it was less rushed! Again, he was very charming when I spoke to him, and - I don't know what possessed me - I told him that up until now I had hated him, because all I could associate him was Wickham, but having met him my opinion had completely changed and that I now liked him! (what was I thinking!? He found it funny though!)

We dragged ourselves away from Wickham, again - I wouldn't be surprised if Míra and I receive a restraining order to keep us away from poor Adrian Lukis in the future! - but as a result of our... distraction, we had sort of lost the rest of the promenade! We walked and realised we had got a bit lost, but we did come across them again, even if we had sort of cut out part of the route! At least we were back on track, and it was worth getting lost to properly speak to Wickham!

I couldn't resist this comparison! I didn't realise how tall he was!
(Lydia is sitting on a wall next to Wickham in the photo - I am not that short!)

1pm: We arrived at the Parade Gardens! They were really lovely, not to mention that the weather was perfect on the day!

Regency deck chairs ;)

A lovely Regency picnic!

We caught up with Rachel again at the Gardens!

Can you see me?

When we got there, Joana, Míra and I strolled around the grounds taking in the gardens and all the beautiful outfits, and I went on a mission to get as many photos with as many different gentleman as I possibly could! And I think I did quite well, don't you?

I have to say in the presence of soldiers I turned into a little bit of a Lydia as apposed to Catherine Morland! ;)

The Greeter from the Jane Austen Centre!


After completing my 'mission' I met with the lovely Hazel Mills and her husband Keith. I had been talking to Hazel for a long while on facebook and I was thrilled to be able to meet her properly. We had a lovely long chat about a variety of different topics and it was so nice! (And imagine my delight when I was invited to go and stay with them for a few days, which, in fact, I am going to do this Friday! I am very excited!)

2.30pm: We said goodbye to the lovely Míra, and then Joana, Hazel and I headed to the Guild Hall to have a look around the Regency Fayre.

The dancers and musicians had made their way there as well and were providing a lovely atmosphere as we browsed the various stalls of jewellery and clothing for sale. I met the publisher of the Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine, who earlier in the year was kind enough to print a letter I sent into the magazine (see the post here!)

Also, there were various cameras around as we learnt that Japanese television were there and also a German filming company who were making a documentary!

This gentleman was part of the German filming company!

The man kneeling down in front was from the Japanese TV company - there were quite a few of them around!

(Any German and Japanese fans watch out for me on your television! ;) )

3.30pm: After browsing all the stalls, I came across a stall where silhouettes were being taken! I couldn't resist! The Roving Artist Charles Burns was unbelievably clever! I don't know how he did it!

I had a full length taken, and all I had to do was stand in front of him for 5 minutes and he cut my silhouette out with the tiniest scissors I have ever seen!

The detail is astounding! You can see my ringlets, and the buttons on my spencer!  

(Someone suggested I compare it Jane's own silhouette!)

And I cannot wait until Christmas as my mother bought my a fancy new bonnet! It is so pretty! And now I will need a new dress to match it - what a shame ;)

But I haven't got a photo with me wearing it as my mother quickly hid it away as it is for Christmas!

I also bumped into the lovely Katy Stockwell from Regency Regalia who I purchased my reticule from. It was lovely to meet her!  

Whilst we were talking we had about 3 or 4 different random people ask if they could have a photo with us! You really are famous when in Bath during the Jane Austen Festival if you are dressed up!

The final photo I took
before I had to head off home!

4.30pm: After an absolutely wonderful day, I had to drag myself away to head home, and back to boring reality! As you can probably tell, I had the most amazing day and I have vowed to at least attend the promenade every year!

I can't tell you how amazing the buzz and the atmosphere is! Everyone is so friendly and you happily talk to complete strangers as everyone is there for the same reason, a love of Jane Austen! It really is impossible to describe how much of a wonderful day it was!

Below is a video I took as soon as I got home from Bath as I thought it would be an easier way to try and express how unbelievably brilliant it was!  

I believe next year when I would love to be able to stay and attend more of the festival, I would like to stay at 4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen's own house!

I must say a special thank you here to both Cassandra Grafton who was so kind as to take a few of my new calling cards and to Bath Boutique Stays for displaying them for me!

(My calling cards!)

It really was amazing and while this post has been very late, it has been really enjoyable for me, reliving it all as I have written this post, and I have realised just how this day has impacted on me as I could remember every single little detail!

Your affectionate friend,
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  1. What a wonderful wonderful post!!!
    I'll come back to read it again and again to relive that perfect day.
    It was such a treat to spend the day with your lovely cheerful self, to meet Hazel and Myra and so many other wonderful people who love the same things as I do.
    Fabulous day, Sophie, and I hope we get to do it again next year!

    1. Thank you very much! it was a wonderful wonderful day!

  2. This is great - I hope we get to meet up next year!

  3. I love the way you put your post together Sophie, all the photos and the video's worked very well. No way am I disappointed, not with your lovely voice or anything. I really enjoyed it and all the pics on your blog along the way. I hope to go one day myself :)
    Julie Rakowski

    1. Thank you very much! I am glad it all worked for you! I hope you go one day as well!

  4. It sounds and looks like an amazing day Sophie and the pictures are wonderful - thanks for sharing :-)

    1. It really was wonderful! I am glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. This is so great!! XD
    Maybe next year I will get to Bath and we can meet up finally! :-)

  6. What a great post, Sophie! It was almost like being there with you. I don't suppose I'll ever get to the Festival but as long as you keep posting about it, we can all live vicariously through you.

    1. Thank you very much! I am so glad you enjoyed it :)

  7. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this post, Sophie dear! Lydia, indeed! HA HA HA HA! You are truly gorgeous and glowing with happiness in these photos. You must have a new Regency dress in a lovely sort of peachy colour to go with that fab new bonnet your mum has bought you! ;) And that silhouette is SO amazing! I hope you have framed it, as it is truly a work of art! Anyway, I so enjoyed this. Many thanks!

    1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed it! It was such a wonderful day! Everyone has some Lydia in them when red coats are around! I am certainly going to buy a new dress and I can't wait to get my silhouette framed!

  8. I felt like I was there with you ladies. Thanks for putting together such a nice post so I could attend vicariously.

    1. Thank you and you're welcome! I am glad you enjoyed it!

  9. The Festival looks like so much fun! Id' love to go one year, but I live in the southern hemisphere which complicates things...

    I hope you are enjoying your Christmas bonnet - it reminds me of one of Eleanor Tilney's bonnets from the 2007 adaption of Northanger Abbey, it's just reversed the colour scheme:

    1. Yes I hope you get there one year! It is very good fun! And yes I am enjoying it very much thank you :) oh yes, it does look like hers with the colours reversed! Thanks for pointing that out to me!


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