Bath. How many years have I longed to visit Bath? And by Bath, I mean the one in Somerset, in England. Not the one in New Brunswick, which is lovely, of course. Nor the one in Ontario, which is lovely too, of course. No, I mean the one in Jane Austen's novel Persuasion. Ever since I read Persuasion, and then saw the 1995 movie with Ciarán Hinds and Amanda Root, much of which was set in Bath, I've longed to go there. And unlike many things long wished for and finally achieved... Bath did not disappoint. Not in the least.
From our accommodation at Three Abbey Green, seen below, with that huge sycamore tree right outside our window, and the abbey just across the square and around a corner, to the town itself, the people, and the food.... everything was lovely.
|Our B&B in Bath. Three Abby Green.|
The first morning, we took advantage of the free walking tour offered by volunteer guides and saw many iconic sights, familiar to me from films like Persuasion. The Circus below, for instance, three terraces of beautiful Georgian houses curving around a central garden.
On our second day in Bath, we visited the Roman Baths which were fascinating. You can see Bath Abbey in the background of my shot below. It seems funny to a Canadian to think of the Abbey, built in 1499, as a comparatively "modern" building. But next to the Roman Baths which date from 70 A.D., I guess it is.
|Roman Baths with Bath Abbey in the background|
|Happy to be indulging my passion for fashion|
I wish I could have taken a peek into the Assembly Rooms themselves, but there was a conference taking place and they were closed. Still, I enjoyed the history of fashion exhibit. And when taking pictures through the glass cases became a bit of an exercise in futility, I stopped snapping, and just looked and admired. The temporary exhibit on the history of lace making was the best part for me. I particularly loved these modern ensembles, below, created by Grace Weller in 2014. Weller, then a student of fashion design at Bath Spa University, won a prestigious award for her lace collection and now works in the studios of Alberta Ferretti in Italy. That's pretty cool, isn't it? Maybe we'll be hearing about Grace's own label one day.
|Grace Weller's 2014 lace creations|
And then I moved on from one passion to another. I visited the Jane Austen Centre, and took tea for one in the Regency Tea Room there. As you can see I wasn't the only solitary tea-taker, sipper / reader in the room. You know, I think I enjoyed my tea here even more than the far grander version at the Hotel Café Royal in London. Did you catch sight of Colin Firth as the quintessential Mr. Darcy photobombing my shot?
|Tea for one at the Regency Tea Room|
Finally, on the steps of the center as I left, I had a lovely chat with Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, decked out in full Regency costume. I took this shot for my mum. We have a little family joke involving Mr. Bennet, and my Hubby. Mr. Bennet sends his regards, Mum.
|Mistah Bennet, and me.|
We had one more day in Bath, and we chose to take a bus day-tour, thanks to a suggestion from a reader many posts ago. On the recommendation of our hosts at Three Abbey Green, we spent the day with the very personable, and knowledgeable Jules of Around and About Bath. We saw Stonehenge, visited small villages and old churches, had lunch in a beautiful old pub, and tea and cakes at a garden-cum-tea shop.
|Stonehenge, complete with moody skies|
|Windblown, but, who cares?|
|Across the Salisbury Plain|
|The ancient church of St. James in Tytherington|
|Talbot Inn pub, in Mells, where the fish and chips are divine|
But the pièce de résistance for me was the graveyard at St Andrew's Church in Mells where one of my favourite WWI poets, Siegfried Sassoon, is buried. I don't know if you know about, or remember, Hubby's and my almost fruitless search for Wilfred Owen's grave when we were in France in 2015. Or how thrilled I was to finally find it, tucked into a community cemetery in Ors, with about twenty other British war graves. And now it seemed almost like kismet, like fate, to be visiting Siegfried Sassoon's grave. Sassoon who was a mentor to Wilfred Owen when Owen was a young soldier recovering from shell shock, and trying to find his true poetic voice. Owen went on to write his finest poetry with Sassoon's support, and then, recovered enough to return to battle, he rejoined his platoon in France, and lost his life in the last weeks of the war. That story never fails to move me.
|Siegfried Sassoon's grave at St Andrew's Church, Mells|
Seriously, what an amazing final day in Bath, or around and about Bath, we had. Beautiful countryside, historic monuments, old buildings, amazing fish and chips... and poetry. Sigh. Brought a tear to my eye. Literally, it did.
|Parade Gardens, Bath|
Okay, that's my two cents worth about Bath. We were soon to head off to Stratford, and after that parts north. To meet up with friends, and see lots more sights. And hopefully even catch a glimpse of some Mitford memorabilia.
I was sad to leave Bath behind. Long anticipated, my visit did not disappoint. But maybe Jane Austen said it best, "Oh, who can ever be tired of Bath?"
Not me, my friends.
Check out #SaturdayShareLinkup and