Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Jane Austen Festival, Bath 2012

I am so lucky to live in the very place where this festival is held! Each year people flock from far and wide to attend; to live a Regency life for a week or so, and this year I was able to fully participate too. And I met many of those wonderful, like-minded people! Good stuff.

Photo credits to: Kelly & Neil Lewis, Helen Halley
To start with, I had a stall in the Guildhall ballroom on the opening Saturday of the festival. This year's market was excellent, I thought, the ballroom lined with all kinds of wares - hats, gloves, haberdashery, sewing patterns, original Austen-inspired novels, hairpieces... and mine, of course, with mannequins displaying garments for ladies and gents, knick knacks for sale and my friend Kelly Louise Lewis's jewellery and stationery. The whole place buzzed with excitement. New friends made, old friends re-acquainted, and the first official day in Regency kit.

I was pleased with how my stall was received, and with the feedback I got on my costumes and on the prototypes for the new fabric range I'm developing... yes, you heard right, I'm venturing into the wondrous realms of fabric design! This is my current Big Thing. I've chosen Regency colours for this first collection, pomona green, primrose yellow, puce and such, and the patterns are a lovely stripe, a floral motif and an all-over lace look. Other collections will come a little later, for other periods. I won't reveal everything I've got planned just yet, but you will be the first to know when the range goes live!
Looking in vain for our Poohsticks...
Photo credit to: Lorna McKenzie

Saturday evening saw a group of us dining on venison at the Garrick's Head, then Sunday was the mini promenade, a look around the Holbourne Museum (I'd never been there before, but I'll be going again! It was wonderful!) and a delightful stroll around Sydney Gardens with dear friends. Our attempts at playing 'Poohsticks' were a bit scuppered by the bridge being over a canal rather than a stream... no water flow, so our sticks never made it to the other side of the bridge :D

A group of us visited the Pump Rooms for afternoon tea on the Tuesday, which was a most satisfying experience. Again, this was a place I'd never been before - or not for refreshments, anyway - and I am pleased to say that I would happily go again. While the set teas sound intimidatingly expensive, in reality the price for a pot of tea and a cheese scone were about the same as anywhere else here. And the tea was gorgeous! I had the rose pouchong.

Photo credits to: Virginia Creeper, Lorna McKenzie,
Claire Violet Hanley, & some nice members of the public
 who had my camera thrust upon them!
After a few hilarious rounds of the lovely Regency game 'Graces' in Queen's Square, dinner that evening was the early bird special at Sally Lunn's. A pleasantly tasty meal with great company. I think everyone else in the restaurant that night now has photos with us in our costumes!

Thursday saw James and I attending the 'Noisy Game of Lottery Tickets' Regency games evening at the Jane Austen Centre. Plenty of wine and sweet nibbles (and some song!), lots of laughter (especially from the Aussies and the Wigans), good natured gambling, and our friend Mr. Elliot managed not to lose any items of clothing! Ah well, there's always next year...

Having missed out on tickets for the ball at the Pump Rooms, on Friday James and I had a wonderful meal at La Barrique, near the Theatre Royal, then met up with our revelling friends for an after ball party. Excellent fun!

Tired little bunnies, the weekend was mostly spent sleeping :)

Miss Stephens reigns victorious at Graces; Mr. Westall prepares to cut cake with Mr. Elliot's sword; Mr. Elliot and the Misses Watson marvel over an extraordinary device.
Photo credits to: Virginia Creeper, Lorna McKenzie
It was a really good festival, in my opinion. Everyone I spoke to was enjoying themselves, and that's the whole point, isn't it?

Did any of you attend this festival or another one recently? I'd love to hear all about it!

Take care,

P.S. If you click on the pictures they open into a bigger window xxV

Note: As this was a very social event with people from all over the world, I did not make all the costumes pictured! My ones are: James's Georgian gentleman officers outfit (except for the breeches), Kelly's white Regency dress, my shepherdess outfit, my red and yellow Georgian outfit and all the costumes on the stall.

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