The ultimate Austen adventure continues with our featured weekly columnist, Virginia Claire Tharrington straight from the trenches of Austen central, The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England where she is interning until December. Join her every Saturday as she shares with us her incredible adventure that every Janeite, and even Austen’s heroine Catherine Morland would envy.
This week has been amazing even if I haven’t been feeling that great. Tonight was the opening party at The Jane Austen Centre for The Jane Austen Festival September 19th-28th, and we all had such a lovely time. I met several people from the US who had come all the way for the festival. I have been working in the shop for most of the week but I did start guiding this week as well. I am so honored to be the intern at the centre I always leave in such a good mood because of the wonderful people who work at the centre and the fact that I get to talk about Jane Austen all day!
Tonight the festival opening party was lovely. There were several wonderful costumes along with some very interesting characters. I was not feeling my best tonight but being at the party lifted my spirits. I meet several people from the state and from around England and Denmark. There was one lady named Tracy who is writing a novel and she had been traveling around England searching for Pemberley. I was very intrigued by her and she seemed to have had a wonderful time up in Derbyshire. I am hoping to get to go to see Derbyshire and especially Lyme Park which is where the 1995 Pride and Prejudice was filmed. Martin and I started the night greeting at the door but when we came up stairs I really began to enjoy the party. It was so exciting to see all the pictures from the Promenade last year and I am so thankful that I at least get to do that because I will be missing most of the festival because my study abroad group is going to Oxford for the week.
The Regency Promenade is tomorrow and Jackie Herring has been working so hard on the Queen Square Fair that we will end at. I am so excited to be dressing up again with all of the girls from the Centre. We will be walking through much of Bath and from what I understand we will be a spectacle. I am very excited to see all the soldiers and navy officers which will be joining all the ladies on our walk. It is always exciting to see gentlemen in waistcoats and tales.
I started giving my introductory talk this weeks and I am so glad to have it under my belt. I felt so good about it and I am just glad that the first couple are over because they seem to come more naturally. Hopefully this will improve my ability to speak in front of crowds because I still get a little scared about it sometimes. I think my first talk went ok but the next two I felt much better about. I believe if there is one thing I can talk about for 15 minutes it is Jane Austen. I have no problem conversing with everyone in the shop about her so the next step was to start giving the talks.
I have had a wonderful week at the centre even if my week has been plagued with illness and stress. We leave for Oxford tomorrow for the week and I will have to travel there by myself since I have the Promenade and everything. I will have plenty of pictures next time of the Promenade!
Cheers from England and the Jane Austen Centre!
Virginia Claire Tharrington
Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England
I’m enjoying your reports, Virginia, and I hope you’re feeling “more the thing” by now. I can only imagine the stress you must be under — excitement included! You will relax more, with more experience, believe me, and you will eventually come to enjoy the public speaking!
Looking forward to each week’s report, and thanks for sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience with us!