The Mecca of Women the World Over…and A Big Pile of Rocks

Guys, this is where it happened…
-Amy looking at Jane Austen’s writing table

Yes, of course I’m talking about Jane Austen’s house in Chawton (don’t worry, I can feel the men’s eyes glazing over as I write this).  I am a lover of Austen’s writing, I think she captured the small details of a rather small and confined world with quick wits and a keen sense of the ridiculous, whatever those eye-rollers may have to say about it.  I also love the English countryside, there is nothing like it in the world.  My parents live in Suffolk by Cambridgeshire and it really is a pretty place in a quiet and simple way.  The summer is nice, but I love and live for the winter when the fens are covered in fog and the air is crisp…nothing beats that. 

But I digress.  Chawton is another of those quiet hamlets that just make you sigh in contentment looking at it.  It’s a pub, a tearoom, a great house, a church, and a smattering of country cottages that makes you feel like it must have been sitting in the countryside like that for centuries unchanged.  The Austen house itself is small and prettily kept with lovely gardens, but you can tell that the women who lived there had a very quiet and uneventful life.  Just makes you appreciate her insights into the foibles of humanity and society that much more keenly!

The Austen House in Chawton
The Austen House in Chawton

 

The writing table she wrote her stories on.  When we were looking at it, Amy just said in a voice that had us all laughing, "This is where it happened..."
The writing table she wrote her stories on.

And, of course, across the street we discovered a fabulous little tearoom called Cassandra’s Cup, probably named after Jane’s sister.  Dr. Chapman, the sort of man who just keeps going until someone pulls on the reigns, was apparently looking all over for his troop of thirty young women and found us eating scones and drinking hot chocolate completely content. 

Casandra's Cup, tearoom and B&B
Casandra's Cup, tearoom and B&B

We were storing up energy for our next stop, Salisbury Cathedral (with the best preserved copy of Magna Carta in its archives) and then on to Stonehenge.  Natalia’s remark looking at it, “Oh, that’s it?”  It is a bit underwhelming, but something everyone needs to see at least once in their lives!

The site of a thousand horrendous and bloody ritual human slaughters and debaucheries.  Or a very large calendar.  Historians are still divided.
The site of a thousand horrendous and bloody ritual human slaughters and debaucheries. Or a very large calendar. Historians are still divided.

3 thoughts on “The Mecca of Women the World Over…and A Big Pile of Rocks”

  1. Yep, I’m glad you knew your male readers well enough to know that our eyes were rolling. Of course in my defense, frankly I just don’t really get that excited about anything like that. The history of it might be interesting, but I just don’t get terribly excited. Anyway, that’s kind of cool that you got to see the Magna Carta. That seems a bit more exciting. And I’m not surprised that Stonehenge is a bit underwhelming. They don’t know what the heck it was really used for and really it doesn’t look like that big of a deal. La-di-frickin-dah. Glad you’re enjoying England. 🙂

  2. See, some girls would be ecstatic over the Austen photos. The rest would swoon over Stonehenge. I, on the other hand, skipped straight past all that highly relevant and interesting historical information and instead want to know precisely what kind of scone you were eating, whether it was accompanied by clotted cream, the percentage of cacao in the hot chocolate, and the address of Cassandra’s Cup.

  3. Well, since directions are few and far between in Chawton, the best I can do is say stand at Jane Austen’s front door and look left…voila. Right across the two lane street. Fruit scone with clotted cream (naturally! What do you think I am, a savage?) but the percentage of cacao I’m ashamed to say I didn’t ask. Let’s just estimate and say the stuff was the ambrosia of the gods.

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