I have been so busy during April that I have almost lost
touch. First of all I had a deadline to meet for a duet – two books
planned for the end of the year, but I can't say more about that at
present! Then I have been designing a
new website and also I am starting my own blog, One Belle's Stratagem, to post
odd notes and excerpts and background to my books.
I wanted to get all these things done by the end of April,
but I was invited to talk at the West Country Writers Association Congress on
the weekend of the 21st
April, and since the Congress was in Bath I
thought it an ideal opportunity to spend a few extra days looking around that
wonderful city – especially since the book I've been working on is set there. Therefore
all my deadlines had to be met by 20th
April. A tough job but I made it and could go off to
Bath ready to enjoy myself.
I was staying at a beautiful old country hotel about two miles from
the city centre, so it was much less of a problem to walk into Bath than to try
and park there. The route was the London Road, so I had the chance to take
pictures of the charming old buildings I saw along the way. There were beautiful Regency villas like the one above,
lovely terraces and a wonderful building (right) that is currently used by an
undertaker, but was originally an eye and ear hospital in 1837 and dealt with wounded veterans of the Napoleonic Wars.
I have discovered that the bust above the entrance is Aesculapius, the Greco-Roman god of medicine.
Walking around Bath really gives one a feel for the place
and I was equally enthralled by looking at the backs of the buildings,
especially this one on the Circus – can you just see the small black wooden
protrusion on the left – it is not a very clear picture and I apologise for
that, but I have added an arrow pointing to the wooden construction. That is an early "en suite". Apparently it was to keep the noisome odours
out of the house. But there was no plumbing so it contained a pot that the
servants still had to carry downstairs through the house for the night-soil man
to take away.
One of the real gems of Bath – but one that is probnably not included
in the excellent free daily walking tours because it is at the top of a steep hill – is Camden Crescent built by J Eveleigh
between 1787 and 1794. You can see from
the picture that there is a beautiful pediment over some of the houses but this
is not central, so obviously it is not the Palladian ideal. Apparently the land was serious unstable, and
the last five houses on the northern end collapsed and were never rebuilt.
I also visited Royal Crescent, the Assembly Rooms, the Royal
Baths, etc. etc. etc….I could go on for pages and pages about Bath, but even
after three full days walking around the city there is so much more to see and
I will leave you with just one more snippet. If you walk down Gay Street and look into the
window next to the door of no 41, you will find yourself looking into a tiny
room with a beautiful tiled alcove to one side. This is a powdering room, where
a fashionable Georgian gentleman would have his wig powdered before he sallied
forth for the day.