Happy Easter everyone! Hope you rest, relax and enjoy some family time, good food and lots of choclate this long weekend.
Nothing says spring quite like a bouquet of daffodils. They were everywhere at Jane Austen's house in Chawton, Hampshire, which we visited three weeks ago. It was a perfect day - we even sat outside for lunch at a cafe afterwards!
The front of the house. The door isn't actually the main entrance into the house. That's around the side, and the original entrance is thought to have been where the window to the left of the door now is.
The open door takes you into the kitchen. The door next to it is the entrance to the museum.
The well, outside the bakehouse.
The little bakehouse.
The garden. The slabs would not have originally been there and it would likely have been more of a kitchen garden. Plenty of plants and flowers there now, but they have replaced the vegetables - and possibly fruit trees - that would have grown in Jane's time.
This will look glorious in the summer covered in roses.
The study, where Jane was thought to have written. The costumes scattered throughout are reprductions from various movie adapatations of her books.
The table at which Jane is believed to have written her last three novels: Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion. She is also thought to have revised Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Predjudice and Northanger Abbey here.
This chair was in Mrs Austen's bedroom.
A recreation of Jane's bedroom. It is not her bed, but is a reproduction of the kind she would (likely) have used at the time.
Single glazed leaded pane windows. The house would have been VERY cold in the winter.
The view of the house from the rear of the garden,
Hundreds of daffodils were in bloom around this very pretty, very old English village. I can't imagine it's changed altogether that much since Jane lived here.
Chawton House. This houses The Centre for Early Women's Writing 1600-1830. It was closed when we were there, but is generally open to public from the end of March to September.
An original shepherd's hut, restored from the early 20thC. It sits just outside Chawton House farm (off to the left, down that road immediately behind it).
St Nicholas Church. Jane's mother and sister are buried here. Jane herself is buried in Winchester Cathedral.
A pastoral setting. Too bad the sun was in the wrong place!
One of several chickens ranging free at the farm. I thought she had lovely colouring.
I'm heading into the 8th and final week of my no sugar programme and I have to admit I've been a bit slack the past couple of weeks. I haven't really been using the recipes, but have been trying to at least make sure my meals are sugar free and, for the most part, have succeeded. Having fruit back on the menu has made me very happy - I have strawberries in my morning oats every day, but haven't branched out much from there. Just not feeling the urge and I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing.
I am, however, feeling a bit lazy as we near the end. The joy of cooking continues to elude me, but I've got two weeks holiday at the moment, so I hope that having more time during the day to prepare food will help alleviate some of that. My biggest frustration is getting home late and then having to put something together for a meal.
My sister says my skin looks much better (big win!) and when I was down in Devon last weekend, we did a bit of shopping and I noticed that too, as well as the fact I seem to be down a size in clothing (big win!), so despite my frustration with the fact that nothing seems to have changed, things actually have. I'd still like to amend the programme a bit and see if I can shave off some costs. I'll work on it on my own for now and if I feel I want a reset, I'll do another round in the fall or something.
My cousin has started with Weight Watchers and the fridge & freezer are now jam packed. Some items overlap (veggies, etc.) but we're now basically out of storage containers so are going to have to pick up some more of those. Just means very careful shopping each week and using up what's in the freezer first. Not a bad practice by any means, but one that I'm not very good at... :P
I went to my naturopath two weeks ago and had a good visit. When I went for my first visit before Christmas and had a food intolerance test, nothing unusual came up. This time soy, corn, tuna, cod & plaice popped up as sensitivities, so I found that quite interesting that that has changed in a short period of time. She also suggsted I take a potassium supplement for my bloating (oedema) and see if that helps.
My cousin and I are meeting our first cousin once removed (my Mum's first cousin) tomorrow. He's English, although lives in France, and is the product of a bit of a scandalous familial relationship back in the day. He's only recently figured out that his dad is his mother's uncle by marriage, so not directly related at least. He's pretty confident about this, but there's no proof, obviously, but he's asked questions, talked to people, done a little detecting, and this is the answer he's come up with. He's a nice guy, if a bit intense, so as he's in the UK for a week or so, we're having lunch with him and his friend tomorrow, then have plans for a tea or early supper on Saturday, when my Mum is here, so that she can meet him.
My Mum arrives on Thursday and my sister and I are heading down to the bungalow on Wednesday to get a look at it, get some groceries in, etc. We have plans for a tea on 7 April, when the family is coming. My sister and I are going to do some baking (cakes & scones), buy some quiches and canapes, and get a platter or two of sandwiches. We don't want too much mess or fuss and this way people can just help themselves and the only thing we have to worry about is refreshing drinks. We're hoping there will be enough space in the garden for 16 or so people and will have to consider a Plan B if not.
Outside of that, there are no plans in place. My Mum is 84 and doesn't want to go on excursions, so I image at this point it'll be a day to day decision making progress. This does limit us somewhat, but Lymington is a very pretty town and we can at least take walks along the seafront. Hopefully the weather will hold, as there's not much worse than the seaside in the rain...
Hope you all have a great, relaxing long weekend¬