Sep 2013

The Masked Ball

Two hours I spent, doing my hair. Two hours and two friends to help with the ringlets - I wanted ringlets and lots of them!

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And the result was - Ringlets!!


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I arrived at the ball and was announced as Miss Nardoni from Frozenoni. After announcing me, the caller leaned over and said in my ear, 'and I don't believe that for one minute', but it is true. Well almost.

As I entered the torch lit Roman Baths where everyone gathered before dancing, I was breathless. It was the most beautiful, eerie, stepping back in time atmosphere. Everyone wore masks, apart from myself. I had come out in such a rush, I was maskless and had had to send a message to my friends, asking them to bring it for me.

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I joined up with friends that I had met through the week. There was much chatting, admiring and commenting on gowns, masks and hairstyles. Everyone was there to be seen. And I, in my red dress, felt very satisfied with my attire.

Being a Georgian ...

I have been so busy this week, I've not had a moment to tell you of all the delights of Bath. I know Miss Austen wasn't keen on Bath, but those of us who follow in her footsteps by re-living the Georgian era are surely much more taken with it. Particularly as the weather has not been too unkind to us.

This week I have wined and dined, taken tea with my neighbours, and have danced with fine ladies and gentlemen. I have walked through the streets in Bath, nodding at like minded people, passing the time of day with strangers who want to know what all the fuss is about. I have had conversations with people of all nationalities, and I proudly tell them that, 'yes, I do make my own clothes'.

Walking along as a Georgian seems to put a smile on everyone's face, including my own. It certainly put a smile on the faces of these Austrian tourists, as they descended on me when I was taking shade from the wind under the trees by the Royal Crescent. I am to the right of the picture, nodding, smiling at the curiosity of the Austrian visitors. I answered all their questions about my clothes, why I was dressed up and why I love Jane Austen. I was photographed again and again. It's funny how some people don't just want to take your photograph - they want to be in it with you. One gentleman told me his wife would use the evidence to divorce him. Oh dear, I'm sure I don't want to be the subject of anyone's divorce.

I had so much fun being a celebrity for probably 15 minutes. 15 minutes of fame, I don't think I will ever experience anything quite like this again. And I'm sure their coach had stopped so that they could see the Royal Crescent, but I'd like to think it was because they saw a Gorgeous Georgian walking down from the Crescent with her pelisse flowing behind her in the wind.


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Promenaders

As much as I love time travel, when I step back in time I have to take my camera with me. It is the one luxury that I cannot live without. I think I was born to record. When I don't have a camera in my hand I feel naked - which is not good for a Georgian!

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The Promenade

This year's promenade began at the Royal Crescent Gardens. The gathering this year, was huge. Colours and textures poured onto the green in front of the beautiful Georgian houses - there were some stunning outfits, and all I could do was stand and admire. With a few nods of the head, and acknowledgements of people that I had met last year, I meandered up and down the green soaking up the atmosphere. All I could do was stand back and watch. There seemed to be photographers and film makers everywhere - I've never been so photographed in my life before - and I loved it!

With so many Georgians around, it was difficult to imagine that we are really in 2013 - by the end of the day I really believed I had stepped back in time, into another world that I felt very comfortable in. Having left all modern clothes at home, I felt able to settle into this new life, and with another 8 days in which to wear flowing gowns, my imagination began to run away with me.

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Stepping Out ...

... and so begin our preparations for the Promenade. I remember my thoughts at last years promenade - I found it all quite overwhelming. I knew that I would feel exactly the same this year, and I was not wrong. When we stepped out from No 18, The Circus, we saw hundreds of Georgians walking towards the Royal Crescent. I could hardly breathe. I had been sewing new outfits since last March, and now was the time to take them out on show. Isn't that one of the many reasons why we all come to Bath - to be seen?


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The Georgians have landed

At last - we arrive in Bath. We are very fortunate time travellers, having rented an apartment in The Circus. Glorious accommodation in glorious settings. From the moment we entered our accommodation, we felt we had stepped back in time. We were ready to settle into a slower pace of life, and to give ourselves up to gentility.

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Time Travel - the only way to do it

Heading for the Departure Lounge on the escalator - I'm the third person up, the one in the long coat. From the moment I arrived at the airport, heads were turning. When we got on the plane, the stewardess that welcomed us onboard wanted to know why I was dressed as a Georgian. I found it quite amusing that whilst I enlightened her with my excitement of the coming event in Bath, other passengers were getting wet as they queued behind me to get on the plane.

I wonder what Jane Austen would have made of this flying business.

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It is a truth ...

I think it must be a truth universally acknowledged that any woman in love with Mr Darcy, must be in love with Colin Firth. And so in preparation for the coming season in Bath, I find myself heartily embroidering my latest reticule whilst watching Colin gently stumble with his awkwardness at coming across Elizabeth by the lake - you know, the scene where we all reach for the replay button. The scene with the shirt!

With just a few days to go, I've got time to watch P&P at least another twice.

2 more sleeps

Just two more sleeps before I head off to Edinburgh. I've spent the last few days making lists of what to take to Bath, a whole wardrobe including fans, reticules, shawls, jewellery, shoes and boots, cameras, chargers, journal, glue stix, scissors, sewing kit incase of running repairs - the list is endless.

Glue stix and scissors are an important part of my luggage - I keep a journal and glue in every ticket, programme or menu that I come across. I start my journal when I begin making my gowns. It's more like a scrapbook of ideas, but has enough pages to see me through from initial concepts to my actual time spent in Bath.

I will be at the festival for the full nine days this year, so there will be plenty to write about - I'm looking forward particularly to the harp workshop.

Less than a week to go

With less than a week to go, I can hardly contain myself. I am very excited about my time travel adventure. I will be travelling from Lancaster up to Edinburgh on the train, on Thursday. Then I'll be flying from Edinburgh to Bristol on Friday. I know this may seem a bit odd, travelling up country to then travel down it. But you see, I'm going up to Scotland to meet my cousin and then we're flying down to Bristol together. From there we will catch a train from Bristol to Bath.

I'll will of course be travelling in Regency attire. I'm looking forward to arriving at the airport in my new travelling outfit, grey pelisse, and trimmed ladies top hat.


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