Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Winchester, Jane Austen and Books

This is God Begot House in Winchester where D and I had coffee. The front is a modern restoration but the rest of the house, now a restaurant and coffee shop, is 16th century - a wonderful ceiling in the restaurant upstairs. There is so much to see in Winchester, spanning several centuries. Opposite God Begot House is the Old Guildhall(now a bank) largely rebuilt in 1713 and further down the High Street is the 15th century Buttercross.
We went in the City Museum on Minster Street, which is free entry and tells the history of Winchester from the Roman times onwards. As we wanted to spend much of our day in the Cathedral we didn't do the Museum justice and would like to go back to look at it properly some time.
From the Musuem it's just a short walk to the Cathedral and we were ages in there looking round. One of the guides was just starting a tour which we joined and I'm sure we got so much more information from him than if we had just gone round on our own using the Cathedral brochure. It's so difficult trying to read and look at the same time.


For more information go to http://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/friends/



Jane Austen is buried in the Cathedral and we walked round to see the house where she lived for the last six weeks of her life and where she died on 18 July 1817. I have read most of her books and Pride and Prejudice has been my favourite since I was about 12 after seeing a BBC production then and reading my mother's copy of the book.


There is an excellent bookshop just down the road from Jane Austen's house and I just had to go in and browse.
I was really pleased to find copies of Jane Austen's Lady Susan, Margaret Forster's Daphne Du Maurier, both of which I've been wanting to read for a while now. As I said I've read most of Jane Austen and this was one I didn't know about until I read of it on A Work in Progress and both Margaret Forster and Du Maurier are also favourite authors. D found Tolkien's The Children of Hurin which we'll both read. I first read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings years ago when I was at Library School in Manchester when it was the book to read. The films just haven't lived up to my expectations, apart from Gandalf that is, but I think films are always a let down if I've read the book first.

3 comments:

David F said...

It was a great day....

danielle said...

Thanks for sharing those photos--how cool to visit Jane Austen's house (or where she lived for a short time anyway). By the way I have the Daphne Du Maurier bio and am contemplating starting it next after I finish my current NF read. I plan on reading more of her fiction this year as well. She is one of my favorite authors.

BooksPlease said...

I've just finished reading Part 1 of the Du Maurier biography which is from her birth to her marriage in 1932. She got married in Lanteglos Church and then they sailed to the Helford River and moored for the night in Frenchman's Creek.

I never realised it was a real place - the book was a favourite when I first read it in my teens. I've got a Virago paperback now, must read it again soon.