Taking Inspiration Where I Find It

Anne here, talking about taking inspiration where you can find it. 3DownstairsDress

I have often envied Wench Nicola (and now Wench Jo since she's moved back to England) for their ability to pop in to various stately homes and use them for the settings of their stories. I can't do that. I'm a 26 hour plane ride from the UK, and a few thousand dollars, so I have to find my settings on line, and from memory, mostly.

But sometimes, a setting can inspire, even though historically it's not authentic.

In the last couple of months I've conducted a few writing workshops at the beautiful National Trust property of Rippon Lea. It's a large Victorian-era house, built in 1868.

It's set in an extensive (14 acres) of gorgeously maintained garden which includes a lake, with small islands, a man-made mountain from which you can see the sea, a sweeping lawn, a huge iron-framed open-air fernery, a ballroom, and a terrace that surrounds a swimming pool built for the family in the 1930's. Pool

That such an extensive property has remained intact over the years is remarkable because it's set among prime real estate in the heart of suburban Melbourne. RiponLeaMyPic

And therein lies a tale, for after the death of the original owner in 1903, a consortium of developers purchased the property with a view to demolishing the house and subdividing the land. As I said, this is prime real estate. They did begin to carve it up, but the death of their leader slowed things, and luckily for the rest of us, in 1910, another buyer purchased the house and gardens that were left, and moved in.

Extensive remodeling took place in the 1930's and the Victorian nature of the interior took on a more Hollywood style, particularly evident in the conversion of the glass conservatory into a gorgeous ballroom, off which runs an elegant terrace and swimming pool. People today hire this place for weddings, and you can see why, can't you? Imagine a warm summer night, the French doors standing open to keep the dancers cool, the sounds of music floating on the night air, and you dance with the partner of your dreams out onto the terrace. . . or perhaps take a walk through the fernery. A recipe for romance, don't you think?Terrace

Some parts of the house were simply closed off at this time, and thus the original 19th century basement kitchens and service areas were inadvertently preserved for future generations. Fernery

RipponLea was built fifty years or more after the latest of my books, and was remodeled more than a century after my stories, but I still found it inspirational.

I don't care that the ballroom and terrace were built in the 1930's and modeled after Hollywood— I used them to inspire a ballroom scene in my current story (The Spring Bride — Jane's story) Though there wasn't a pool in my version.

I decided not to have my hero whisk her off to the fernery but I was tempted. Isn't it lovely? Can you imagine strolling down those paths? So romantic in the moonlight — assuming there weren't any mosquitoes or midges.

Pearldress,jpg

 

 

To top it off, the National Trust currently has an exhibition of wedding dresses showing at Rippon Lea. This stunning, rather OTT dress, is made of silk crepe, velvet, chiffon and tulle and is encrusted with pearls and embroidery. It was made in 1889 in Paris by Maugas, whose clients included royalty and the nobility of Europe. The bride's father was a successful—clearly a very successful—local Melbourne butcher. It must have weighed a ton to wear.

This outfit below on the right was made for a young bride of sixteen, who married in England and then came with her husband to the other side of the world. I found it a little sad, to be honest — the outfit, so beautifully made and preserved, thinking of the bride, whose figure seemed so small and girlish and still unformed. But it seems she had a long and happy life. 16YOBride

The exhibition is not totally historical — it aims to bring together history, popular culture and literature, so they've included some dresses that were made for historical TV and movie productions.

EmmaDress

This lovely dress and gorgeous lace train, for instance, was worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in the production of Emma.

There was also a wonderfully decayed-looking banquet: Miss Havisham, of course, the quintessential jilted bride, sitting among the rotted remnants of her wedding feast.

2Havisham

They've even imported the famous (or infamous) statue of the Colin Firth version of Darcy-in-the-pond from the UK. It's huge and slightly creepy (in my opinion), rising up out of the lake like a giant zombie. But it's a little bit of fun, as well.

DarcyI can't possibly fit all the gorgeous dresses into one blog, so this is just a taste. My next blog will contain more about the dresses—and the underclothes.

So what about you — what is a place you find inspiring?
Do you find the Darcy statue amusing or creepy? Wench Susan suggested a Darcy pool toy might be popular item for some. What do you think?

125 thoughts on “Taking Inspiration Where I Find It”

  1. Thanks, Fi — I think you'll love it. Next time you come to Melbourne, maybe — though the wedding dress exhibition finishes early November.
    But the gardens and the house are lovely to visit anyway.
    Hope you like the Jane ballroom scene when it comes out. I did have fun with it.

    Reply
  2. Thanks, Fi — I think you'll love it. Next time you come to Melbourne, maybe — though the wedding dress exhibition finishes early November.
    But the gardens and the house are lovely to visit anyway.
    Hope you like the Jane ballroom scene when it comes out. I did have fun with it.

    Reply
  3. Thanks, Fi — I think you'll love it. Next time you come to Melbourne, maybe — though the wedding dress exhibition finishes early November.
    But the gardens and the house are lovely to visit anyway.
    Hope you like the Jane ballroom scene when it comes out. I did have fun with it.

    Reply
  4. Thanks, Fi — I think you'll love it. Next time you come to Melbourne, maybe — though the wedding dress exhibition finishes early November.
    But the gardens and the house are lovely to visit anyway.
    Hope you like the Jane ballroom scene when it comes out. I did have fun with it.

    Reply
  5. Thanks, Fi — I think you'll love it. Next time you come to Melbourne, maybe — though the wedding dress exhibition finishes early November.
    But the gardens and the house are lovely to visit anyway.
    Hope you like the Jane ballroom scene when it comes out. I did have fun with it.

    Reply
  6. Lil, it's amazing. As well as all the pearls sewn on it, there are dozens of clusters that dangle from the dress as well.
    I'm sure it was amazing to watch in motion—they'd all swing and shimmer.
    I have a close-up of a section of the pearl embroidery, but there was no space to put it up on this blog. I'll pop it on my FB page so you can see it better.
    I'm curious as to what you'll use it for. A design? A story? What?

    Reply
  7. Lil, it's amazing. As well as all the pearls sewn on it, there are dozens of clusters that dangle from the dress as well.
    I'm sure it was amazing to watch in motion—they'd all swing and shimmer.
    I have a close-up of a section of the pearl embroidery, but there was no space to put it up on this blog. I'll pop it on my FB page so you can see it better.
    I'm curious as to what you'll use it for. A design? A story? What?

    Reply
  8. Lil, it's amazing. As well as all the pearls sewn on it, there are dozens of clusters that dangle from the dress as well.
    I'm sure it was amazing to watch in motion—they'd all swing and shimmer.
    I have a close-up of a section of the pearl embroidery, but there was no space to put it up on this blog. I'll pop it on my FB page so you can see it better.
    I'm curious as to what you'll use it for. A design? A story? What?

    Reply
  9. Lil, it's amazing. As well as all the pearls sewn on it, there are dozens of clusters that dangle from the dress as well.
    I'm sure it was amazing to watch in motion—they'd all swing and shimmer.
    I have a close-up of a section of the pearl embroidery, but there was no space to put it up on this blog. I'll pop it on my FB page so you can see it better.
    I'm curious as to what you'll use it for. A design? A story? What?

    Reply
  10. Lil, it's amazing. As well as all the pearls sewn on it, there are dozens of clusters that dangle from the dress as well.
    I'm sure it was amazing to watch in motion—they'd all swing and shimmer.
    I have a close-up of a section of the pearl embroidery, but there was no space to put it up on this blog. I'll pop it on my FB page so you can see it better.
    I'm curious as to what you'll use it for. A design? A story? What?

    Reply
  11. I often forget about the Victorian era places available to us in Australia, and I’ve been meaning to visit more.
    I’m in Spain at the moment, and – completely randomly – the bullring in Ronda had a whole exhibit about duelling pistols. I probably spent more time there than I should have, but after reading about so many duels in historical romances…!
    And 26 hours? It took 42 to get to Madrid – I think it was the longest journey I’ve ever had!

    Reply
  12. I often forget about the Victorian era places available to us in Australia, and I’ve been meaning to visit more.
    I’m in Spain at the moment, and – completely randomly – the bullring in Ronda had a whole exhibit about duelling pistols. I probably spent more time there than I should have, but after reading about so many duels in historical romances…!
    And 26 hours? It took 42 to get to Madrid – I think it was the longest journey I’ve ever had!

    Reply
  13. I often forget about the Victorian era places available to us in Australia, and I’ve been meaning to visit more.
    I’m in Spain at the moment, and – completely randomly – the bullring in Ronda had a whole exhibit about duelling pistols. I probably spent more time there than I should have, but after reading about so many duels in historical romances…!
    And 26 hours? It took 42 to get to Madrid – I think it was the longest journey I’ve ever had!

    Reply
  14. I often forget about the Victorian era places available to us in Australia, and I’ve been meaning to visit more.
    I’m in Spain at the moment, and – completely randomly – the bullring in Ronda had a whole exhibit about duelling pistols. I probably spent more time there than I should have, but after reading about so many duels in historical romances…!
    And 26 hours? It took 42 to get to Madrid – I think it was the longest journey I’ve ever had!

    Reply
  15. I often forget about the Victorian era places available to us in Australia, and I’ve been meaning to visit more.
    I’m in Spain at the moment, and – completely randomly – the bullring in Ronda had a whole exhibit about duelling pistols. I probably spent more time there than I should have, but after reading about so many duels in historical romances…!
    And 26 hours? It took 42 to get to Madrid – I think it was the longest journey I’ve ever had!

    Reply
  16. I want to know more–if there’s more?–about that gorgeous dress in the first picture that has all the knots/roses? on the front of the skirt. That one really took my fancy.
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful things!
    Lucy
    Oh, and the Darcy statue–eh. Not so much creepy as tacky. A bit out of place, you know? (Can you imagine how horrified Mr. Darcy would be?) *g*

    Reply
  17. I want to know more–if there’s more?–about that gorgeous dress in the first picture that has all the knots/roses? on the front of the skirt. That one really took my fancy.
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful things!
    Lucy
    Oh, and the Darcy statue–eh. Not so much creepy as tacky. A bit out of place, you know? (Can you imagine how horrified Mr. Darcy would be?) *g*

    Reply
  18. I want to know more–if there’s more?–about that gorgeous dress in the first picture that has all the knots/roses? on the front of the skirt. That one really took my fancy.
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful things!
    Lucy
    Oh, and the Darcy statue–eh. Not so much creepy as tacky. A bit out of place, you know? (Can you imagine how horrified Mr. Darcy would be?) *g*

    Reply
  19. I want to know more–if there’s more?–about that gorgeous dress in the first picture that has all the knots/roses? on the front of the skirt. That one really took my fancy.
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful things!
    Lucy
    Oh, and the Darcy statue–eh. Not so much creepy as tacky. A bit out of place, you know? (Can you imagine how horrified Mr. Darcy would be?) *g*

    Reply
  20. I want to know more–if there’s more?–about that gorgeous dress in the first picture that has all the knots/roses? on the front of the skirt. That one really took my fancy.
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful things!
    Lucy
    Oh, and the Darcy statue–eh. Not so much creepy as tacky. A bit out of place, you know? (Can you imagine how horrified Mr. Darcy would be?) *g*

    Reply
  21. Loved the pictures. One of the best thing about the internet is the accessibility of images. Pinterest is too overwhelming, but pictures in blogs or historical articles with context are wonderful.
    I’m lucky to live near places that are inspiring. I spent a day and a half at Williamsburg, VA last spring. A friend I went to Hillwood House, a 1950s house with an extensive art collection. I’ve taken a cruise from Alexandria to Mt. Vernon. Some of my favorite moments have been staring at the light through the rear rose window at the National Cathedral. I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to visit Monticello again; not right now at prime leaf season but soon before the days are too short.
    But, I’d still like to go to the UK again.

    Reply
  22. Loved the pictures. One of the best thing about the internet is the accessibility of images. Pinterest is too overwhelming, but pictures in blogs or historical articles with context are wonderful.
    I’m lucky to live near places that are inspiring. I spent a day and a half at Williamsburg, VA last spring. A friend I went to Hillwood House, a 1950s house with an extensive art collection. I’ve taken a cruise from Alexandria to Mt. Vernon. Some of my favorite moments have been staring at the light through the rear rose window at the National Cathedral. I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to visit Monticello again; not right now at prime leaf season but soon before the days are too short.
    But, I’d still like to go to the UK again.

    Reply
  23. Loved the pictures. One of the best thing about the internet is the accessibility of images. Pinterest is too overwhelming, but pictures in blogs or historical articles with context are wonderful.
    I’m lucky to live near places that are inspiring. I spent a day and a half at Williamsburg, VA last spring. A friend I went to Hillwood House, a 1950s house with an extensive art collection. I’ve taken a cruise from Alexandria to Mt. Vernon. Some of my favorite moments have been staring at the light through the rear rose window at the National Cathedral. I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to visit Monticello again; not right now at prime leaf season but soon before the days are too short.
    But, I’d still like to go to the UK again.

    Reply
  24. Loved the pictures. One of the best thing about the internet is the accessibility of images. Pinterest is too overwhelming, but pictures in blogs or historical articles with context are wonderful.
    I’m lucky to live near places that are inspiring. I spent a day and a half at Williamsburg, VA last spring. A friend I went to Hillwood House, a 1950s house with an extensive art collection. I’ve taken a cruise from Alexandria to Mt. Vernon. Some of my favorite moments have been staring at the light through the rear rose window at the National Cathedral. I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to visit Monticello again; not right now at prime leaf season but soon before the days are too short.
    But, I’d still like to go to the UK again.

    Reply
  25. Loved the pictures. One of the best thing about the internet is the accessibility of images. Pinterest is too overwhelming, but pictures in blogs or historical articles with context are wonderful.
    I’m lucky to live near places that are inspiring. I spent a day and a half at Williamsburg, VA last spring. A friend I went to Hillwood House, a 1950s house with an extensive art collection. I’ve taken a cruise from Alexandria to Mt. Vernon. Some of my favorite moments have been staring at the light through the rear rose window at the National Cathedral. I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to visit Monticello again; not right now at prime leaf season but soon before the days are too short.
    But, I’d still like to go to the UK again.

    Reply
  26. Gorgeous, Anne! And certainly it conveys the essence of a grand Regency lifestyle even if the period it later. I’d love to see the place-maybe I’ll get there.
    The gowns were wonderful–one wonders just how many cows the butcher king had to carve up to pay for that. *G*
    Zombie Darcy–as you said, he’d be HORRIFIED!

    Reply
  27. Gorgeous, Anne! And certainly it conveys the essence of a grand Regency lifestyle even if the period it later. I’d love to see the place-maybe I’ll get there.
    The gowns were wonderful–one wonders just how many cows the butcher king had to carve up to pay for that. *G*
    Zombie Darcy–as you said, he’d be HORRIFIED!

    Reply
  28. Gorgeous, Anne! And certainly it conveys the essence of a grand Regency lifestyle even if the period it later. I’d love to see the place-maybe I’ll get there.
    The gowns were wonderful–one wonders just how many cows the butcher king had to carve up to pay for that. *G*
    Zombie Darcy–as you said, he’d be HORRIFIED!

    Reply
  29. Gorgeous, Anne! And certainly it conveys the essence of a grand Regency lifestyle even if the period it later. I’d love to see the place-maybe I’ll get there.
    The gowns were wonderful–one wonders just how many cows the butcher king had to carve up to pay for that. *G*
    Zombie Darcy–as you said, he’d be HORRIFIED!

    Reply
  30. Gorgeous, Anne! And certainly it conveys the essence of a grand Regency lifestyle even if the period it later. I’d love to see the place-maybe I’ll get there.
    The gowns were wonderful–one wonders just how many cows the butcher king had to carve up to pay for that. *G*
    Zombie Darcy–as you said, he’d be HORRIFIED!

    Reply
  31. Lucy I imagine Mr Darcy would be appalled at all the attention, not to mention the statue. I imagine Colin Firth doesn't much like it either.
    Such is the price of fame.
    Re the dress in the first photo, it's beautiful isn't it? It was my favorite. I'm not sure how much more I can tell you about it, but I'll include it and whatever details I can find in my next post.
    The one complaint I had about the exhibition was that the signs that gave all the information about each dress were dark red, and printed in small white print on a dark red background, and were posted behind the 'do not step across' borders, at least a metre (3-4 feet) away, and for the most part I couldn't read them to take notes. I had to use my camera and hope I could read them on my computer later. But I'll do my best.

    Reply
  32. Lucy I imagine Mr Darcy would be appalled at all the attention, not to mention the statue. I imagine Colin Firth doesn't much like it either.
    Such is the price of fame.
    Re the dress in the first photo, it's beautiful isn't it? It was my favorite. I'm not sure how much more I can tell you about it, but I'll include it and whatever details I can find in my next post.
    The one complaint I had about the exhibition was that the signs that gave all the information about each dress were dark red, and printed in small white print on a dark red background, and were posted behind the 'do not step across' borders, at least a metre (3-4 feet) away, and for the most part I couldn't read them to take notes. I had to use my camera and hope I could read them on my computer later. But I'll do my best.

    Reply
  33. Lucy I imagine Mr Darcy would be appalled at all the attention, not to mention the statue. I imagine Colin Firth doesn't much like it either.
    Such is the price of fame.
    Re the dress in the first photo, it's beautiful isn't it? It was my favorite. I'm not sure how much more I can tell you about it, but I'll include it and whatever details I can find in my next post.
    The one complaint I had about the exhibition was that the signs that gave all the information about each dress were dark red, and printed in small white print on a dark red background, and were posted behind the 'do not step across' borders, at least a metre (3-4 feet) away, and for the most part I couldn't read them to take notes. I had to use my camera and hope I could read them on my computer later. But I'll do my best.

    Reply
  34. Lucy I imagine Mr Darcy would be appalled at all the attention, not to mention the statue. I imagine Colin Firth doesn't much like it either.
    Such is the price of fame.
    Re the dress in the first photo, it's beautiful isn't it? It was my favorite. I'm not sure how much more I can tell you about it, but I'll include it and whatever details I can find in my next post.
    The one complaint I had about the exhibition was that the signs that gave all the information about each dress were dark red, and printed in small white print on a dark red background, and were posted behind the 'do not step across' borders, at least a metre (3-4 feet) away, and for the most part I couldn't read them to take notes. I had to use my camera and hope I could read them on my computer later. But I'll do my best.

    Reply
  35. Lucy I imagine Mr Darcy would be appalled at all the attention, not to mention the statue. I imagine Colin Firth doesn't much like it either.
    Such is the price of fame.
    Re the dress in the first photo, it's beautiful isn't it? It was my favorite. I'm not sure how much more I can tell you about it, but I'll include it and whatever details I can find in my next post.
    The one complaint I had about the exhibition was that the signs that gave all the information about each dress were dark red, and printed in small white print on a dark red background, and were posted behind the 'do not step across' borders, at least a metre (3-4 feet) away, and for the most part I couldn't read them to take notes. I had to use my camera and hope I could read them on my computer later. But I'll do my best.

    Reply
  36. It is amazing, isn't it, Angelina? We're lucky to be able to do it all so quickly, even though we moan about sitting on a plane for more than 20 hours.
    Better than a ship for six months, as they did in the days of sail, or a month as it took on modern cruise ships.

    Reply
  37. It is amazing, isn't it, Angelina? We're lucky to be able to do it all so quickly, even though we moan about sitting on a plane for more than 20 hours.
    Better than a ship for six months, as they did in the days of sail, or a month as it took on modern cruise ships.

    Reply
  38. It is amazing, isn't it, Angelina? We're lucky to be able to do it all so quickly, even though we moan about sitting on a plane for more than 20 hours.
    Better than a ship for six months, as they did in the days of sail, or a month as it took on modern cruise ships.

    Reply
  39. It is amazing, isn't it, Angelina? We're lucky to be able to do it all so quickly, even though we moan about sitting on a plane for more than 20 hours.
    Better than a ship for six months, as they did in the days of sail, or a month as it took on modern cruise ships.

    Reply
  40. It is amazing, isn't it, Angelina? We're lucky to be able to do it all so quickly, even though we moan about sitting on a plane for more than 20 hours.
    Better than a ship for six months, as they did in the days of sail, or a month as it took on modern cruise ships.

    Reply
  41. Shannon, that sounds wonderful. Williamsburg is a part of the US I do want to see — they have some wonderful historical sites, don't they? And a costume museum? Am I thinking of the right place?
    But yes, the UK and Europe is where I long for most. History and gorgeousness wherever you turn.

    Reply
  42. Shannon, that sounds wonderful. Williamsburg is a part of the US I do want to see — they have some wonderful historical sites, don't they? And a costume museum? Am I thinking of the right place?
    But yes, the UK and Europe is where I long for most. History and gorgeousness wherever you turn.

    Reply
  43. Shannon, that sounds wonderful. Williamsburg is a part of the US I do want to see — they have some wonderful historical sites, don't they? And a costume museum? Am I thinking of the right place?
    But yes, the UK and Europe is where I long for most. History and gorgeousness wherever you turn.

    Reply
  44. Shannon, that sounds wonderful. Williamsburg is a part of the US I do want to see — they have some wonderful historical sites, don't they? And a costume museum? Am I thinking of the right place?
    But yes, the UK and Europe is where I long for most. History and gorgeousness wherever you turn.

    Reply
  45. Shannon, that sounds wonderful. Williamsburg is a part of the US I do want to see — they have some wonderful historical sites, don't they? And a costume museum? Am I thinking of the right place?
    But yes, the UK and Europe is where I long for most. History and gorgeousness wherever you turn.

    Reply
  46. Sonya, yes it's an awful long way to get from Australia to most places in Europe.
    But we go, don't we?
    My two oldest friends are there right now, one in the UK, after a long leisurely trip through Italy, and the other is in Spain — well, actually she just went to Paris for her birthday. Sigh.
    I have Spain envy. And Italy envy. And UK envy. And the south of France envy — and if you're going to be anywhere near Provence, make sure you read my contribution to our end of month "What we're Looking At."
    I have itchy feet.

    Reply
  47. Fab, Lil — I will dig out whatever details I can find. The description of the dress in the catalogue lists one of the materials as nacre, so I'm guessing those pearls are real. Pretty amazing if they are.

    Reply
  48. Thanks, Mary Jo, yes, I could just imagine my hero and heroine dancing out onto the terrace.
    Or slipping into the fernery.
    The house is not all that big, actually, not as big as many I've seen in the UK or USA but it's lovely, and the grounds are beautiful. It''s that's that's such a treat, really — here it is, this large gracious estate, right in the middle of suburbia.

    Reply
  49. Sonya, yes it's an awful long way to get from Australia to most places in Europe.
    But we go, don't we?
    My two oldest friends are there right now, one in the UK, after a long leisurely trip through Italy, and the other is in Spain — well, actually she just went to Paris for her birthday. Sigh.
    I have Spain envy. And Italy envy. And UK envy. And the south of France envy — and if you're going to be anywhere near Provence, make sure you read my contribution to our end of month "What we're Looking At."
    I have itchy feet.

    Reply
  50. Fab, Lil — I will dig out whatever details I can find. The description of the dress in the catalogue lists one of the materials as nacre, so I'm guessing those pearls are real. Pretty amazing if they are.

    Reply
  51. Thanks, Mary Jo, yes, I could just imagine my hero and heroine dancing out onto the terrace.
    Or slipping into the fernery.
    The house is not all that big, actually, not as big as many I've seen in the UK or USA but it's lovely, and the grounds are beautiful. It''s that's that's such a treat, really — here it is, this large gracious estate, right in the middle of suburbia.

    Reply
  52. Sonya, yes it's an awful long way to get from Australia to most places in Europe.
    But we go, don't we?
    My two oldest friends are there right now, one in the UK, after a long leisurely trip through Italy, and the other is in Spain — well, actually she just went to Paris for her birthday. Sigh.
    I have Spain envy. And Italy envy. And UK envy. And the south of France envy — and if you're going to be anywhere near Provence, make sure you read my contribution to our end of month "What we're Looking At."
    I have itchy feet.

    Reply
  53. Fab, Lil — I will dig out whatever details I can find. The description of the dress in the catalogue lists one of the materials as nacre, so I'm guessing those pearls are real. Pretty amazing if they are.

    Reply
  54. Thanks, Mary Jo, yes, I could just imagine my hero and heroine dancing out onto the terrace.
    Or slipping into the fernery.
    The house is not all that big, actually, not as big as many I've seen in the UK or USA but it's lovely, and the grounds are beautiful. It''s that's that's such a treat, really — here it is, this large gracious estate, right in the middle of suburbia.

    Reply
  55. Sonya, yes it's an awful long way to get from Australia to most places in Europe.
    But we go, don't we?
    My two oldest friends are there right now, one in the UK, after a long leisurely trip through Italy, and the other is in Spain — well, actually she just went to Paris for her birthday. Sigh.
    I have Spain envy. And Italy envy. And UK envy. And the south of France envy — and if you're going to be anywhere near Provence, make sure you read my contribution to our end of month "What we're Looking At."
    I have itchy feet.

    Reply
  56. Fab, Lil — I will dig out whatever details I can find. The description of the dress in the catalogue lists one of the materials as nacre, so I'm guessing those pearls are real. Pretty amazing if they are.

    Reply
  57. Thanks, Mary Jo, yes, I could just imagine my hero and heroine dancing out onto the terrace.
    Or slipping into the fernery.
    The house is not all that big, actually, not as big as many I've seen in the UK or USA but it's lovely, and the grounds are beautiful. It''s that's that's such a treat, really — here it is, this large gracious estate, right in the middle of suburbia.

    Reply
  58. Sonya, yes it's an awful long way to get from Australia to most places in Europe.
    But we go, don't we?
    My two oldest friends are there right now, one in the UK, after a long leisurely trip through Italy, and the other is in Spain — well, actually she just went to Paris for her birthday. Sigh.
    I have Spain envy. And Italy envy. And UK envy. And the south of France envy — and if you're going to be anywhere near Provence, make sure you read my contribution to our end of month "What we're Looking At."
    I have itchy feet.

    Reply
  59. Fab, Lil — I will dig out whatever details I can find. The description of the dress in the catalogue lists one of the materials as nacre, so I'm guessing those pearls are real. Pretty amazing if they are.

    Reply
  60. Thanks, Mary Jo, yes, I could just imagine my hero and heroine dancing out onto the terrace.
    Or slipping into the fernery.
    The house is not all that big, actually, not as big as many I've seen in the UK or USA but it's lovely, and the grounds are beautiful. It''s that's that's such a treat, really — here it is, this large gracious estate, right in the middle of suburbia.

    Reply
  61. Williamsburg is the restoration (and sometimes construction) of Williamsburg as it were in the 1770-1774 era. So there’s the palace (which does have formal gardens where I imagined a flirtation or two behind the tall hedges), important city owners homes, and shops. There isn’t a costume museum, but there is a clothing shore (milliner/tailor?) where there are four people making clothes and gowns on pegs that they’ve made for re-enactors stitch by stitch. In one way it was much better. I could touch the chemise, corsets, and gowns, feeling the fabrics. The tailor pulled out bolts of different kinds of wool, including superfine. One of the seamstress showed me how a gown was pulled on and then closed with a stomacher. She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine searching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel.

    Reply
  62. Williamsburg is the restoration (and sometimes construction) of Williamsburg as it were in the 1770-1774 era. So there’s the palace (which does have formal gardens where I imagined a flirtation or two behind the tall hedges), important city owners homes, and shops. There isn’t a costume museum, but there is a clothing shore (milliner/tailor?) where there are four people making clothes and gowns on pegs that they’ve made for re-enactors stitch by stitch. In one way it was much better. I could touch the chemise, corsets, and gowns, feeling the fabrics. The tailor pulled out bolts of different kinds of wool, including superfine. One of the seamstress showed me how a gown was pulled on and then closed with a stomacher. She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine searching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel.

    Reply
  63. Williamsburg is the restoration (and sometimes construction) of Williamsburg as it were in the 1770-1774 era. So there’s the palace (which does have formal gardens where I imagined a flirtation or two behind the tall hedges), important city owners homes, and shops. There isn’t a costume museum, but there is a clothing shore (milliner/tailor?) where there are four people making clothes and gowns on pegs that they’ve made for re-enactors stitch by stitch. In one way it was much better. I could touch the chemise, corsets, and gowns, feeling the fabrics. The tailor pulled out bolts of different kinds of wool, including superfine. One of the seamstress showed me how a gown was pulled on and then closed with a stomacher. She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine searching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel.

    Reply
  64. Williamsburg is the restoration (and sometimes construction) of Williamsburg as it were in the 1770-1774 era. So there’s the palace (which does have formal gardens where I imagined a flirtation or two behind the tall hedges), important city owners homes, and shops. There isn’t a costume museum, but there is a clothing shore (milliner/tailor?) where there are four people making clothes and gowns on pegs that they’ve made for re-enactors stitch by stitch. In one way it was much better. I could touch the chemise, corsets, and gowns, feeling the fabrics. The tailor pulled out bolts of different kinds of wool, including superfine. One of the seamstress showed me how a gown was pulled on and then closed with a stomacher. She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine searching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel.

    Reply
  65. Williamsburg is the restoration (and sometimes construction) of Williamsburg as it were in the 1770-1774 era. So there’s the palace (which does have formal gardens where I imagined a flirtation or two behind the tall hedges), important city owners homes, and shops. There isn’t a costume museum, but there is a clothing shore (milliner/tailor?) where there are four people making clothes and gowns on pegs that they’ve made for re-enactors stitch by stitch. In one way it was much better. I could touch the chemise, corsets, and gowns, feeling the fabrics. The tailor pulled out bolts of different kinds of wool, including superfine. One of the seamstress showed me how a gown was pulled on and then closed with a stomacher. She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine searching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel.

    Reply
  66. What an amazing property! And the wedding gowns – just Wow!
    As for the Darcy statue and pool . . . yeah, I’m on the kinda creepy side of it. No a big fan. 🙂

    Reply
  67. What an amazing property! And the wedding gowns – just Wow!
    As for the Darcy statue and pool . . . yeah, I’m on the kinda creepy side of it. No a big fan. 🙂

    Reply
  68. What an amazing property! And the wedding gowns – just Wow!
    As for the Darcy statue and pool . . . yeah, I’m on the kinda creepy side of it. No a big fan. 🙂

    Reply
  69. What an amazing property! And the wedding gowns – just Wow!
    As for the Darcy statue and pool . . . yeah, I’m on the kinda creepy side of it. No a big fan. 🙂

    Reply
  70. What an amazing property! And the wedding gowns – just Wow!
    As for the Darcy statue and pool . . . yeah, I’m on the kinda creepy side of it. No a big fan. 🙂

    Reply
  71. "She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine sea rching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel."
    Ah, but it does explain all those Georgette Heyer heroines who were able to produce a pin on the spot with which to defend themselves against some villain, doesn't it?
    Thanks, Shannon. Now I want more than ever to go there.
    I want to Plimoth Village (or whatever it's called) some 20 years ago and enjoyed that experience. It was relatively new at that stage. I'm sure it's developed a lot since.

    Reply
  72. "She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine sea rching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel."
    Ah, but it does explain all those Georgette Heyer heroines who were able to produce a pin on the spot with which to defend themselves against some villain, doesn't it?
    Thanks, Shannon. Now I want more than ever to go there.
    I want to Plimoth Village (or whatever it's called) some 20 years ago and enjoyed that experience. It was relatively new at that stage. I'm sure it's developed a lot since.

    Reply
  73. "She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine sea rching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel."
    Ah, but it does explain all those Georgette Heyer heroines who were able to produce a pin on the spot with which to defend themselves against some villain, doesn't it?
    Thanks, Shannon. Now I want more than ever to go there.
    I want to Plimoth Village (or whatever it's called) some 20 years ago and enjoyed that experience. It was relatively new at that stage. I'm sure it's developed a lot since.

    Reply
  74. "She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine sea rching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel."
    Ah, but it does explain all those Georgette Heyer heroines who were able to produce a pin on the spot with which to defend themselves against some villain, doesn't it?
    Thanks, Shannon. Now I want more than ever to go there.
    I want to Plimoth Village (or whatever it's called) some 20 years ago and enjoyed that experience. It was relatively new at that stage. I'm sure it's developed a lot since.

    Reply
  75. "She said they used straight brass pins to hold it. I laughed and said I had never heard of a hero and heroine sea rching for pins to put a lady back together in a romance novel."
    Ah, but it does explain all those Georgette Heyer heroines who were able to produce a pin on the spot with which to defend themselves against some villain, doesn't it?
    Thanks, Shannon. Now I want more than ever to go there.
    I want to Plimoth Village (or whatever it's called) some 20 years ago and enjoyed that experience. It was relatively new at that stage. I'm sure it's developed a lot since.

    Reply
  76. Oh gosh, I was in London last August, visiting the city with 4 blokes, and I made them walk up and down the Serpentine, trying to find the Darcy statue to no avail. They were not happy lads that day. When I finally googled what happened, discovered that Darcy was only there in the Serpentine for like a week in the summer time. I think its cool that the sculpture can now be seen in Oz. I must admit that scene in P&P is among my favorite bits.

    Reply
  77. Oh gosh, I was in London last August, visiting the city with 4 blokes, and I made them walk up and down the Serpentine, trying to find the Darcy statue to no avail. They were not happy lads that day. When I finally googled what happened, discovered that Darcy was only there in the Serpentine for like a week in the summer time. I think its cool that the sculpture can now be seen in Oz. I must admit that scene in P&P is among my favorite bits.

    Reply
  78. Oh gosh, I was in London last August, visiting the city with 4 blokes, and I made them walk up and down the Serpentine, trying to find the Darcy statue to no avail. They were not happy lads that day. When I finally googled what happened, discovered that Darcy was only there in the Serpentine for like a week in the summer time. I think its cool that the sculpture can now be seen in Oz. I must admit that scene in P&P is among my favorite bits.

    Reply
  79. Oh gosh, I was in London last August, visiting the city with 4 blokes, and I made them walk up and down the Serpentine, trying to find the Darcy statue to no avail. They were not happy lads that day. When I finally googled what happened, discovered that Darcy was only there in the Serpentine for like a week in the summer time. I think its cool that the sculpture can now be seen in Oz. I must admit that scene in P&P is among my favorite bits.

    Reply
  80. Oh gosh, I was in London last August, visiting the city with 4 blokes, and I made them walk up and down the Serpentine, trying to find the Darcy statue to no avail. They were not happy lads that day. When I finally googled what happened, discovered that Darcy was only there in the Serpentine for like a week in the summer time. I think its cool that the sculpture can now be seen in Oz. I must admit that scene in P&P is among my favorite bits.

    Reply
  81. Oh, Kanch, I'm sorry we pinched your Darcy statue. It's a bit of fun, and fitted in with the theme and the setting here beautifully. But it's MUCH larger than I expected. It was a fun scene in that version of P&P, though I'm betting it's something a real Darcy would never have done — and in fact I think I remember reading somewhere that Colin Firth didn't do it either, but had a stand in swim through the murky water and the weeds. But frivolous being that I am, I didn't mind the wet-short view at all. 😉

    Reply
  82. Oh, Kanch, I'm sorry we pinched your Darcy statue. It's a bit of fun, and fitted in with the theme and the setting here beautifully. But it's MUCH larger than I expected. It was a fun scene in that version of P&P, though I'm betting it's something a real Darcy would never have done — and in fact I think I remember reading somewhere that Colin Firth didn't do it either, but had a stand in swim through the murky water and the weeds. But frivolous being that I am, I didn't mind the wet-short view at all. 😉

    Reply
  83. Oh, Kanch, I'm sorry we pinched your Darcy statue. It's a bit of fun, and fitted in with the theme and the setting here beautifully. But it's MUCH larger than I expected. It was a fun scene in that version of P&P, though I'm betting it's something a real Darcy would never have done — and in fact I think I remember reading somewhere that Colin Firth didn't do it either, but had a stand in swim through the murky water and the weeds. But frivolous being that I am, I didn't mind the wet-short view at all. 😉

    Reply
  84. Oh, Kanch, I'm sorry we pinched your Darcy statue. It's a bit of fun, and fitted in with the theme and the setting here beautifully. But it's MUCH larger than I expected. It was a fun scene in that version of P&P, though I'm betting it's something a real Darcy would never have done — and in fact I think I remember reading somewhere that Colin Firth didn't do it either, but had a stand in swim through the murky water and the weeds. But frivolous being that I am, I didn't mind the wet-short view at all. 😉

    Reply
  85. Oh, Kanch, I'm sorry we pinched your Darcy statue. It's a bit of fun, and fitted in with the theme and the setting here beautifully. But it's MUCH larger than I expected. It was a fun scene in that version of P&P, though I'm betting it's something a real Darcy would never have done — and in fact I think I remember reading somewhere that Colin Firth didn't do it either, but had a stand in swim through the murky water and the weeds. But frivolous being that I am, I didn't mind the wet-short view at all. 😉

    Reply
  86. A wonderful and interesting article. Australia is a country I would really love to visit! And this is a very interesting place. We always thought about Sydney and Bondi beach. But when I read Tigers and Devils -in which Melbourne was just another character of the story- I tolf to myself there’s a lot of great places I want to go some time in my life. So thank you for this great glimpse of that town.

    Reply
  87. A wonderful and interesting article. Australia is a country I would really love to visit! And this is a very interesting place. We always thought about Sydney and Bondi beach. But when I read Tigers and Devils -in which Melbourne was just another character of the story- I tolf to myself there’s a lot of great places I want to go some time in my life. So thank you for this great glimpse of that town.

    Reply
  88. A wonderful and interesting article. Australia is a country I would really love to visit! And this is a very interesting place. We always thought about Sydney and Bondi beach. But when I read Tigers and Devils -in which Melbourne was just another character of the story- I tolf to myself there’s a lot of great places I want to go some time in my life. So thank you for this great glimpse of that town.

    Reply
  89. A wonderful and interesting article. Australia is a country I would really love to visit! And this is a very interesting place. We always thought about Sydney and Bondi beach. But when I read Tigers and Devils -in which Melbourne was just another character of the story- I tolf to myself there’s a lot of great places I want to go some time in my life. So thank you for this great glimpse of that town.

    Reply
  90. A wonderful and interesting article. Australia is a country I would really love to visit! And this is a very interesting place. We always thought about Sydney and Bondi beach. But when I read Tigers and Devils -in which Melbourne was just another character of the story- I tolf to myself there’s a lot of great places I want to go some time in my life. So thank you for this great glimpse of that town.

    Reply

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