What would Jane do?
Well, we’re just back from Hampshire — Jane Austen country — where I paid homage at her writing desk (reader, I touched it!).
I received an email from my agent while I was away, seeing if I wanted to pitch something to someone in particular. I have been duly inspired by Jane and have since been busily knocking off a mother of triplets in childbirth in 1908 and then, twenty years later, getting one of those triplets addicted to heroin, taking off half the face of the hero in a car accident and other such merriment.
Hampshire was gorgeous. Apparently Jane was happiest living here, in Chawton, and you can see why…
Her day went something like: get up, play the piano, eat breakfast, write a bit, eat lunch, go for a walk with Cassandra, eat dinner, read a bit. Nice work if you can get it (though the dying of Addison’s at 41 leaves me cold).
While we were there, I bought a bumper sticker for the car that reads, ‘What would Jane do?’. A question we should ask ourselves more often, really (though there was that time she added a fake union into the parish marriage registry between herself and a certain Fitzwilliam). Anyway, here’s me with Cassandra, who I certainly hope did not whinge walking around Chawton as much as my children did…
We spent the rest of our time tootling around the area and spent a day in the nearby village of Alton, where we stumbled across the story of Fanny Adams. I had no idea that Fanny Adams had been a real person. You can read about her life, and murder, here (be warned: it is not a very nice story at all). Standing on her grave, I gave my own daughter, the same age as Fanny when she was murdered, the biggest stranger danger talk of her life. If she ever even sees a man come within 5 metres of a boiled sweetie in her lifetime, she will probably run away screaming. I think Fanny would be quite happy with that, though.
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