Last Thursday evening I was invited along by Helen Wilkinson of P and P tours to come and do a reading of Willoughby's Return to a group she was leading on their Persuasion/Sense and Sensibility tour. Most exciting was the fact that the house I was to be giving my talk in was the very one they used in the BBC 1995 version of Persuasion which is a favourite film of mine. The house is stunningly beautiful and is also a B&B so you can actually stay in the house where Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds played Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot. Here is a link to a website about the house:Bathwick Gardens
I was invited to supper beforehand which was taken in the dining room. Apparently, the BBC painted the walls especially for the film - the swags of fabric you can see in the photo are painted - a wonderful trompe l'oeil. Everyone had dressed for dinner and all looked so gorgeous - quite a few ladies, and two very brave gentlemen! I also met Hazel Jones, the author of Jane Austen and Marriage - click here for her website which has information on Jane Austen courses that she runs.
We made our way upstairs to the splendid drawing room afterwards passing a large window on the stairs which I recognised (and its view) from the film. The drawing room is beautiful with so many lovely features from the floor length windows to the fireplace. I was made very welcome by everyone and had a really lovely time even though I felt very nervous. I enjoy reading aloud very much and always used to love reading to my children and to the pupils I used to teach. I realised how much I miss it - now my children are grown up and I no longer teach - I really would like to do readings more often.
After a mug of hot chocolate I left them all watching Persuasion in the very room where Captain Wentworth tells Sir Walter that he wishes to marry Anne. I only wished I could be joining them on their further travels!
Thank you so much Helen, I do hope you'll ask me again!