wandering around a national trust property at 4:46pm

close up photo of assorted books
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The house is cold, it’s always icy, even in the midst of summer

When the world is stripping layers, craving ice creams

And we are trailing through the gaping halls and marble steps

With wrought iron rails that once were touched by kings and queens

And now they’re gripped by older ladies and their grandchildren,

Neither seeing what the other does, but then we all take from the world

Exactly what we want. Some will see the history layered,

Like wallpaper, one sheet on top of the other, peeling in the corners,

Showing just what needs to be shown. And some will see the art,

While others long to run down tended lawns, screaming with joy

And tumbling as our mothers yell, worrying needlessly

About the grass stains that will cover our knees.

But at 4:46pm, when volunteers are looking at their watches

And thinking about that well earned cup of tea, I gaze

From a window where an Austen adaptation filmed,

Something grand with Colin Firth, that made the women swoon.

I’d like pretend for just a few more precious hours,

That I’m an Austen lady, Miss Bingley or Miss Bennet,

Either, I don’t care, as long as I can cling to that ideal

That love is real, and men out there will offer up

The magic this house saw, in days so distant from such times as these.

a woman in want of a husband

vintage restaurant with retro furniture
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It is universally known that a woman is in want

Of a husband to elevate status,

To bring about honour and maybe a child.

If singled out for too long,

She is officially ‘on the shelf’,

A spinster in the making, and she’d better

Get herself a cat and needlepoint

To occupy her time, yes, she must,

Find herself a gentleman, however it is done.

Sorry, but I’m still harping on about Brridgerton and all of the other period dramas that I’ve watched over the Christmas break. It’s probably becoming obvious that I’ve watched too many of them, and because I’m not very good at thinking for myself I tend to slip into their way of thinking quite easily.

I think that, in part, it’s because I want to belong to that time, but the thing that I love the most is the matching that went on. A woman would simply ‘come out’ and then she would have a dance with a man and then it was decided that they would marry and by Saturday the deal was done.

I, on the other hand, have been single for way too long. Of course, I have a child so I would be a ruined woman and couldn’t expect to find a good man, but I can overlook that when I imagine my own life in Regency England.

I do find that I like to draw comparisons between the times though. I mean, is Tinder all that different to the way that society operated back then? And, I don’t see myself as a natural beauty so my photo on those dating sites never looks as good as the other women. Does that mean that I may have fallen into the spinster category? I have recently bought a cat, after all.

Watching this world through my TV screen has just made me hope for some love this year. It’s been too long and despite everything that I’ve just written, I feel that I’ve got the maturity to understand the ups and downs of a partnership now. I’d quite like to weather the storm with somebody and get to the end of the road still holding onto their hand.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the trees that speak to us

maple leaves on tree branch in autumn garden
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Through the fields we go with dresses

An inch of mud that stains the bottom of our dresses

Wishing we could talk to trees

And dreaming of the things they’d say.

Would they tell a story of a sweet romance

Or of the Austen girls that bounded by?

I wish that I could speak to them

And hear the tales that they would tell.

I live very close to where Jane Austen was born. I sometimes go running and pass the church where her father was rector and it’s lovely to stop and remember the fact that Jane could well have stood in the very spot that I am standing on.

I’ve sometimes found myself out on my runs through the fields, wondering what the trees would say if they could talk. They would probably have seen Jane bounding past in the same way that Elizabeth Bennet would have done so.

I also used to work in a forest and I sometimes felt like the trees would whisper as I walked through, especially at night when I could hear them creaking in the wind.

Trees are so permanent and so romantic. They offer shade in the heat of the day, and they beg for lovers to carve their initials in their bark. They must hear and feel so many whispers of love and hissed arguments.

I feel so lucky to live out in the countryside and to have so much literary history so close to me. To have rested under the same tree that Jane may have also sat below is such a beautiful thought and I wish that they could tell me everything that they have seen.

Much Love

Rachel xx

if i were an austen lady….

If I were an Austen lady, written by hand

By Jane at her table in the light of the window,

I’d dance off the page and out into life.

I’d fall into love with dashing young men

With top hats and canes and ten thousand pounds.

I’d play cricket on lawns, hitching up skirts,

Reciting long poems at great family soirees.

I’d friend request Emma, Elizabeth too

And we’d picnic in pastures, unspoiled by man.

Oh, how I’d love to dance off that page

And live a life simply, away from the screen,

Away from the pressures and newfangled ways.

This is a picture of me and my great friend Sarah when we visited Jane Austen’s house in Alton. It’s just down the road from me and we have visited a couple of times. I always get so goosebumpy knowing that I’m walking in the same places that Jane did. We can never resist dressing up either!

Much Love

Rachel xx