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 so wonderful in Bath. Other than having a full day of rain on Tuesday the weather has been delightful. This week at the Jane Austen Centre I started again to give the talks at the Centre which has been wonderful. The tour begins with a introductory talk in which a member of staff tells you about Jane Austen, her writings, her life and her time while she was in Bath. I was very nervous to begin to give these talks but it has gotten so much easier since I started. I have now given about eight and I feel like with each one I give it gets a little bit easier and I become a little more comfortable. I am not a very good public speaker by any means but I knew that if there was one subject that I could talk about for fifteen minutes it would be Jane Austen. I have learned so much by giving these talks as well because though we are given a rough sketch of what needs to be said, it is up to the individual guide to decided exactly what to say. I will not bore you with everything that I say : ) (you can come to the Jane Austen Centre to hear that! haha) but I will say that each time I feel like my talk becomes more natural and I have to look at my notes less.
I have also been working a lot in the giftshop for the Centre which is lovely because I get to work with the wonderful staff. I love spending time getting to know everyone as the staff has a wealth of knowledge and I love picking their brains about everything from life in Bath to Jane Austen and movie adaptations. There is always something new to look at in the shop and for some reason I feel like I need as much Jane Austen stuff as I can get. My poor house mates have Darcy posters in our living room along with an entire mantle coved in Jane Austen postcards, pictures and magazines. They have now started to be able to laugh at it and have accepted that they are living with a Jane Austen fanatic. While we were watching Sense and Sensibility in our living room this week, some of the guys walked in talking during the Elinor and Edward proposal scene and the five girls who were all watching it got very mad at them for interupting!
Bath has been lovely though in every way and it is truly a dream come true to be here and working at the Centre. I am not sure what I anticipated coming to Bath but it has defiantly exceeded my wildest expectations! I am off to Lyme Regis for the weekend with some girls from my house, so perhaps I will meet Captain Wentworth or Anne Elliot while I am there. If not I will still not leap from the stairs on the cob but I will take picture.
Cheers from England!
Virginia Claire Tharrington
Intern, The Jane Austen Centre, Bath, England