I know the book posts have not been too regular of late. It pains me more than it pains you, I’m sure. I have been reading, just not writing. I’ve discovered (not entirely unexpectedly) that moving to a new country, finding and starting a new job, and negotiating your way through a new life, new routines, new people (and trying to make some friends) is fairly time-consuming and energy draining.
But you’ll be pleased to know (well, at least I’m pleased to tell you) that most of my little jaunts outside of London have involved some key book locations. Edinburgh, as mentioned last month, and also Paris (where some Victor Hugo-related sites in particular were visited, but how do you even start listing the authors and books connected to Paris that resonate with you), the Dorset countryside (for Thomas Hardy’s cottage and gardens; pictured), Lyme Regis (setting for one of my favourite Jane Austen novels Persuasion), and of course there’s London itself; setting and home to oh-so-many stories and their writers. I’m reading Bleak House at this very moment (perhaps I’ll post on it in about eight months’ time) and loving that I now have more of a proper sense of where all the streets and areas Dickens writes of are.
Last week, this happy book-world jaunting took me to Bath. The sometime home of Jane Austen is a modern pilgrimage site for literary types, and you really can get yourself as much Austen-related fun and souvenirs as your little heart can manage if that is your wish. Apart from that, it’s simply a very picturesque and lovely city to visit and if you can cram in an Austen-inspired high tea, then so be it. On this occasion, I was happy to stroll the streets, tour the Roman Baths (excellent, by the way) and lounge about eating and drinking. As happy to concede to an Austen walking tour as I’m sure my boyfriend would have been, I decided to save up some of that literary tourism for another time, perhaps with a female conspirator in tow. Mind you, we discovered we were missing by only a matter of days both the Jane Austen Festival and a classic car weekend, so perhaps next year we could visit at that time and flit between the two when either bonnets or carburettors become too much.
This week I am lucky enough (thanks to my much-missed editorial colleagues in Sydney) to be going to the Savoy Hotel for afternoon tea. It is slightly book-related (apart from being given to me by booky people) as the grand hotel does have a much-desired writer-in-residence program. You can see authors the world over pegging crumpets at each other for a turn at that, can’t you? As someone currently struggling with even managing a blog post once a fortnight or so, a month in a luxurious hotel suite would surely give one the boost they need to hit the keyboard again. And if not, it would certainly be a memorable experience…