Monday, November 7, 2016

The Founding Betties in Bath (and Lesser Environs)

 The Founding Betties returned from London and Paris (and just the smallest slice of Iceland comprising the tarmac and the terminal and some pretty swanky toilets) a couple of weeks ago and I have been meaning to post a little about our time there for you.

To begin with I must comment on a subject of intense interest: the weather. It was glorious in England. Our umbrellas came out for 30 seconds in Trafalgar Square before we popped under a colonnade. In Paris the rain was more like four good hours (and much colder). But if you consider that we were there for two weeks in October, this is astonishingly good luck.

Betty Keira is behind the camera.
Betty Debbie and her Mijnheer, Pledge Two
and Doting Aunt are in front of it.
Pledge Two and I landed and went straight to Bath to meet Betty Debbie and her Mijnheer. My favorite thing about Bath was seeing all the places Captain Wentworth had snogged or gazed with RDD-like intensity at Aramin--uh...I mean, Anne Elliot.

The scene of the snogging
Landing in Bath was lovely but there was all that jetlag to work out and the Marks & Spencer Cafe was just the place. Cheap, plain food that any Neels-ian heroine would recognize at once. Chicken and leek pie, jacket potatoes, massive mugs of hot chocolate...

No undies were purchased at this time.
My other favorite thing was Roland the Tour Guide Who Became Justifiably Agitated Over 70s Architecture.
In my head, Roland populates a small village with a really beautiful Norman church. His role is to pester everyone about funds to replace the roof or the bell and to offer one knowing comment to Araminta about her interest in the new doctor. Because he was so helpful, the RBD coughs up the money and the church is restored to its former glory just in time for the wedding.

We stayed in a cottage in a village called Midsomer Norton and the roads were shocking. I mean it. I could handle the driving on the left side of the road (not me driving, thank heavens. I was busy praying.) much better than roundabouts that looked nothing like roundabouts and roads going through small towns that just turned into one lane affairs. Dear England, you convinced me that I am not up for driving on your surfaces. Kudos to all who are.

From Bath we went to Chawton, last home of Jane Austen. The most precious things I took from that location are the belief that Jane was a genius, this gif of Pledge Two in the Regency dress-up clothes,
"Mr. Darcy is worth HOW many pounds per annum?"

..., and this view. I dare anyone not to think romantic thoughts while tucked in the little wilderness at the side of the house.
Lizzie discovered the yew hedge at her back.
Darcy's look told her he wasn't going to extricate her.
Indeed, he seemed intent on pressing her into it.

I was determined to purchase a Tatler and a Daily Mail while in England (not knowing yet that in London they hand out really basic newspapers morning and evening at the Metro) and was not disappointed. British tabloid/news writing is better than American writing hands down (The Great Betty would not be surprised to hear). It's dishy without being idiotic. The Tatler, in particular, was fantastic and I wish I had discovered a huge stack of back issues in the corner of a musty Oxfam shop to squirrel away in my luggage.
Louisa was asked by the photographer to "think of something serious".
So she tried to remember that time she almost poisoned the Twins.

More installments to follow...


  1. Thank you for sharing! The Royal Crescent in Bath in front of the camera?
    I ❤️ the gif of Pledge Two.

    Re.: Midsomer Norton - you stopped where no Betty heroine has stopped before...

    ALL ELSE CONFUSIONtypo alert
    They drove via Frome and Radstock and Midsummer Norton, through a soft grey morning with a hint of frost in the air, and Bath, as they approached it, looked delightful, its grey stone houses clinging to the hills. Annis made her way through the town[...]

    He drove on, keeping to the A303 until he came to the fork, when he turned on to the A37, going north now to Midsomer Norton and then, by a series of country roads, to Bradford-on-Avon. Just short of the town he turned into a lane leading into a wooded valley and a half-hidden village.

    Just past Taunton he stopped for coffee and then turned off the motorway to drive across country—Midsomer Norton, Bath and then onwards towards Cirencester—to turn off presently into a country road which led them deep into the Cotswolds.

  2. Make sure you get a copy of The Nursing Times and The Lady!! XO Betty Ilana

  3. SomeBetty needs to write a fanfic about RBD/Araminta and Roland! I've deeply enjoyed all the pictures posted by Betty Keira and Betty Debbie on their FB pages.

  4. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing some of your travel's moments.
    I visited Chawton in 2011 and I'll never forget it. I absolutely see what you mean by shocking roads... welcome to Europe!
    Next time I get a chance to fly or drive to England, I'll try and visit Bath. Well, my husband has already agreed he would drive me there, although he isn't particularly touched by Jane Austen's writing, but he loves English countryside and afternoon teas.

  5. Today, I took another look at the cover of that TATLER. Great headlines:

    NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS – Oh, never mind, dear TATLER, Prince Harry has chosen for himself.




    What, indeed... Watch out for that black sheep, er, PUG in the Tatler‘s video:
    Pug puppies and really expensive couture dresses>

  6. Just wanted to comment how much I love this blog. Have been reading for a few years, since I rediscovered my grandma's copy of "When Two Paths Meet" — my first Betty saga, read at the tender age of 15. Am now a few dozen novels sunk into her oeuvre, due in large part to the many hilarious and engaging posts on this site. Hoping one day to take the night ferry and taste lobster thermador and straw potatoes while wearing a wool dress in a serviceable brown that will go unremembered on future occasions.