Bath, Lurching Grief And Stonehenge

September 2nd, 2009

I just finished a book called The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen compiled by Dominique Enright. To put together this formidable collection of wit, Enright combed through Jane’s personal letters and books and put all the wittiest Jane Austen remarks in one handy spot. I bought the book while I was in Bath… not in the bath… but Bath… the famous town in England.

Did you know I went to England?

And also Paris?

Yes.

I did.

It was a hellish trip and I still can’t think about it without dissolving into a hurricane of lurching grief, but I also can’t mention this book without alluding to Bath. Because Bath and this book, are kind of married in my mind… just like I am also kind of married in my mind. Well… actually I am very married in my mind. Very married… very, very, very married. And occasionally marriage requires a bit of lurching around in grief. Even among the very, very very married. And yes, I ask myself all the time… why did I not just get over it? Why did I not just determine to stop the ludicrous lurching in grief? What was wrong with me? I wish I could answer this question. All I know is that I do not get myself into lurching grief easily. I usually laugh at lurching grief! Ha ha ha! Lurching grief! So funny! But there is only so much lurching grief at which one can laugh. Eventually, the lurching grief is not laughable anymore. Eventually, one’s defenses against the lurching grief break down. I have discovered that they break down even faster in Paris. Paris is perhaps the most beautiful city in the world!  How can one’s marriage become so full of lurching grief while one is in Paris?  I have theories about lurching grief and Paris and marriage… many, many, many theories. Someday I hope to write these theories down and have them published in Popular Science or National Geographic or Country Living or in a cookbook called The Pioneer Woman Lurches in Grief.  I have no idea why I would call it by that title, except that someone might actually buy it if I did.  Because evidently if you add the words ‘Pioneer Woman’ to anything millions of people will read it.  Even if it is totally inane.  

But let’s skip the lurching grief part of this fabulous European vacation and just remember the good parts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay… there are no good parts. But there is a lovely, ancient city in England called Bath which was the first place we visited after arriving back from Paris… and I am sorry to tell you this… but during our time in Bath, the lurching grief was still clinging to me like moldering grave cloths.

Exhibit A.

This is me – in Bath – in moldering grave cloths.

I am standing in front of the ancient Roman Bath… which is in Bath… hence it’s name… Bath.

Is not a picture worth a thousand words?

 

 

The Romans called this town, Aquae Sulis after the Celtic God, Sulis.

They kept the Celtic name because they believed very strongly in multi-culturalism… at least, after they conquered your Celtic ass, they believed in it!

 

 

 

 

Bath is the site of the only hot springs in the entire country of England. Archeologists have found evidence of the springs being regarded as a sacred place dating as far back as 700 BC.

The Romans built their temple at Bath (or Aquae Sulis) in 43 AD. They maintained, enlarged, and re-built the structures over the next four centuries.

 

 

 

After the Romans left Great Britain, the baths fell into disuse as they required an immense amount of labor to maintain.

The town continued to grow however and eventually a church was built over the old ruins of the Roman temple.

 

 

The Roman ruins were re-discovered in the 18th century.  

In 1987, Bath was chosen as a world heritage site.

The city is truly an open air museum of architectural wonder and ancient history.

Also – there are a lot of great shops and dining if anyone is so base… so primal… so uncivilized as to care.

 

 

 

Here are my feet walking on the very stones that the Romans would have walked upon.

 

 

 


 We got to sample the water. One of the reasons that Bath’s water was imbued with mystical properties by ancient peoples was not only it’s seemingly inexplicable heat, but also the fact that it stained the stones that it fell upon red. The water is full of minerals, especially iron. Early physicians strongly believed in the water’s curative properties and prescribed both bathing in it and drinking it in mass quantities. Perhaps the iron in the water counter balanced all the ‘bleeding’ they were always up to back then.

 

 

 

Adjacent to the Roman Bath is the legendary Pump Room.

 

 

 

The Pump Room is a setting for a scene in Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey as are many other sites in Bath.

 

 

 

We eventually made our way to the Jane Austen Center, replete with grim fake Jane standing outside waiting to greet us. Her countenance did nothing to dispel my gloom nor shake me from my moldering grave cloths. Thanks fake Jane. Thanks for nothing fake Jane!

 

 

 

My boys saw the fake Jane and fled for their lives to a nearby mini-golf course while I toured Jane’s house.

 

 

 

You will be happy to know that the correct Mr. Darcy is prominently displayed in several areas throughout the museum.

 

 


Here he is again looking over the tea room on the second floor.

Jane drew on her experiences in Bath in both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

 

 

 

We departed the Jane Austen Center and wandered around Bath for several hours.

 

 

Famed architect John Wood built two famous residences in Bath. The one in the above photo is known as the Royal Crescent. It is a semi-circular string of attached mansions.

 

 

 

He also designed the Circus which is just a few blocks over. The Circus is a circle of attached mansions cut by an intersection of three streets with a park in between. This aerial view gives you a much better effect than a street shot does.

 

 

 

Sally Lunn has been selling her buns in Bath since 1680. These are bread buns… and not uh… the other kind of buns. Sally is not still selling the buns herself as her buns are buried in the nearby Bath Abbey.

 

 

 

Actually, I don’t know where Sally Lunn’s buns are buried. But there are seemingly thousands of people buried at Bath Abbey.

 

 

 

The grave markers are all over the church

 

 

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Clad in moldering grave cloths as I was, the tombstones caused more than a fleeting shudder, but my eyes were also drawn upwards to the marvellous heights.

 

 

As I sat in a pew, I wondered if possibly Jane had sat here herself. And did she ever feel shroud in moldering grave cloths?

 

 

After touring the Abbey, we left Bath and made our way to Stonehenge via Castle Combe (the prettiest village in England).

 

 

Here are my boys standing by Stonehenge.

You might note that we are outside the perimeter fence.

This is as close as we got.

Because…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Really?

Really Stonehenge?

Closed Stonehenge?

Why Stonehenge?

Why?

You are stones Stonehenge.

Massive stones in a field Stonehenge!

You are not a Seven Eleven with cigarettes and chewing tobacco Stonehenge!

You are not an Abercrombie and Fitch Stonehenge!

You should be open 24/7 Stonehenge!

You don’t even have a door to CLOSE Stonehenge!

Ah well…

What’s another tragic disappointment when one is already lurching about in grief and clad in moldering grave cloths?

Comments

  • KATHY:

    Not sure why stonehenge would be closed was someone trying to steal the rocks????
    Hello they are way to big to fit in your carry on…

  • Kristin:

    We were in England & Scotland July 10-30. We just laughed until we cried over your Stonehenge story. We are sorry that you had such a lousy time & that Stonehenge was closed, but…still had to laugh. My daughter looked at your foot picture at the Baths & said, “Hey! We stepped over that!”

  • Hi Rechelle,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now – thanks for writing! I’m not jealous of your lurching grief :(, but I am a tiny bit jealous that you got to go to the Jane Austen Museum… my husband and I want to go there SO BADLY. Maybe one day!

  • Ahhhh Jane Austen and grief… indeeed……. fitting… very fitting…

  • Is lurching grief anything like crawling anxiety? If so, there’s a cream for that at Whole Foods. =)

  • calamityanne:

    I feel for your moldering gravecloths. But the lurching grief has just got to be inevitable sometimes and ultimately redemptive hopefully? Praying you shake off those graveclothes and are reborn and your marriage with it. Amen. Thanks for being so honest AND so. . . funny. I laughed out loud SEVERAL times reading this post. Tried to explain to my husband that I was laughing at a fake grim Jane Austen. Oh never mind. Anyway, as the saying goes, we are all fighting some battle. It helps to hear about the real battles. Thanks for being willing to share yours.

  • Your sandals go well with the Roman rocks/sidewalks/whatevers. You can now become a serious writer because you have moldering grief to draw upon. Whereas otherwise you just had sweetness and light (ahem). Now, I’d love to be drawn, but not quartered!

  • suzetta:

    I was hoping for a copy of “The Pioneer Woman Lurches in Grief”, but I suppose this would do….

  • Granny Bee:

    Here’s how I handle my occasional bouts with disappointment and mouldering grief: I set a date sometime in the future which I feel will allow for sufficient time to savor the grievances and properly moulder if you will. When that day arrives, I take off the gravecloths, put on a sunny smile and chalk it all up to experience. As one of my friends used to say, “Some day you will look back on this. . . . and run into a parked car.”

  • Kat:

    I was in bath a verrrrry long time ago. 1988. I don’t think the Jane Austen museum was there then. I do seem to remember a slide built into a rock? I’ve always wondered about that–was it real, or did my memory just decide there should be a stone side used by the Romans? In your grief, do you recall seeing a slide? Or was that slide constrained to my own grievousness that I felt at the time?

  • Kris:

    I lurch around in grief from time to time!

  • Oooh. Sounds fantastic. We went through Bath on the train. Some day I will go there. In the meantime, please pick me to win a book, and you can come to Morocco and see our ancient Roman ruins and avoid lurching grief altogether!

  • Sorry you had such a bad time. However, I did enjoy your pictures. Has the book helped with the lurching grief any?

  • Erin:

    Cool – I love Jane Austen (finally finished reading all her novels), I would like to go back to England and visit Bath and the museum and Stonehenge…WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT that
    Stonehenge closes??? Not something I would have checked ahead of time!

    Glad you got to see some cool stuff!

  • Thanks so much for all the wonderful pics and history of Bath. Now I know what that semicircular building is! Sorry about the mouldering grave clothes. I hope you’re feeling better about it all — more or less. Thanks for the giveaway. Boy, would I love a book from Bath! More because it’s from Bath than because it’s about Jane Austen. I do love Jane Austen though. :D

  • hmmm…that bath water looks suspiciously off color, if you ask me, which you didn’t, but it does look rather green. Maybe that just adds to the ambience of lurching grief…Now, about that book. I need it. But I don’t need to be quartered. That is, unless you are willing to hold the book in front of my eyes so I can read it, because once I am quartered I won’t have any limbs handy to do it myself….

  • Kathy:

    Even when you are mired in reminiscence of lurching grief, you cheer me up.

  • Lori Anne:

    Okay – I think that you & I need to take vacation and create some hysterically fabulous memories that will pitch you further from your grief!

    p.s. Beautiful pictures!

  • Southern Gal:

    I have to go help my son find his retainer…he’ll be 18 in a couple of weeks. Lurching grief…

  • I have never heard a better description of grief than “lurching.” Yes, that is exactly right.

    And now you’ve made me want to go to Bath.

  • You took some lovely photos even if you were in your shroud, at least you lifted it to get a clear shot.

  • Alicia:

    oh how i love jane austen–love reading your blog too!

  • Teresa:

    I found you from Pioneer Woman so I guess it helps that she has a blog. Your pictures of Bath are fascinating. My oldest went to London when he was in high school. They went to Stonehenge and it was open then. He left half of his clothes in his hotel room in London. That caused his mother grief. I’m sure the maid took them home to her boyfriend as the hotel didn’t know about any left clothes. Hope you get to feeling better about your trip. We are remodeling right now and my upstairs is a mess but I know I will forget about it when I have a brand new bathroom.

  • kd:

    I’ll remain shrouded in grief until I learn what kind of sandals you have on in the picture where you’re “walking where the Romans walked” and where you found them. They look like they’d be quite comfortable enough to ruin a person’s “grief”.

  • Jennifer:

    I am currently reading The Jane Austen Book Club. It is a novel and so far it is really, really good! I love all things Jane Austen!
    Jennifer

  • Debra:

    Please, please, please choose me!!! I am a FAN of Jane Austin (and You!) :-)

  • They are Born sandals. I love Born shoes. I am a Born girl. They are so comfortable.

  • Debra:

    Please, please, please choose me!!! I am a FAN of Jane Austen (and You!) :-)

  • Carol:

    Hang in there; we all go through the lurching from time to time….

  • One of your best posts, ever!! Love the pictures too!! The boys are so cute.

    Don’t enter me for the book since you already gifted us with the Annie Wolfe purse!!

    Take care; be happy!!

  • Our bookclub just got done reading Pride and Prejudice. And I with you about there only being one “correct” Mr. Darcy.

  • eclecticdeb:

    I had a vacation in Hawaii (of all places) that had me “lurching in grief” as well. It was horrible. But unlike you, I was not (nor am I) very married, so that was the end of that.

    Thank you for letting us have a peek into your normal life.

    P.S. I love Jane.

  • Liz in PA:

    Rechelle<—I do admit…..we are all SISTERS lurching in grief from time to time, but
    ……………………………THIS TOO WILL PASS!

    I would love to receive a copy of The Wicked Wit of Jane Austen!

    Thank you in advance! ???

  • Hallie:

    Thanks for showing us some more photos from your trip. Here’s hoping that your truly dreadful memories are soon replaced by new, better ones.

  • Tracy:

    Love the pictures!

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    I’m just so glad you’re back. :) You’re wonderful.

  • Oh, man. I would love to win a copy. I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan and have read all of her books including some of the unfinished stuff and short stories.

  • Orghlaith:

    I have never been in Bath. Though I have been in a bath. In fact our bath also contains high levels of minerals including iron. So if you ever miss Bath I can send to a reminder. Not the real thing of course. Just some rather nasty tasting water.

    I am glad your buns made it home. I hope they are soon recovered and happy again. And cool. And not cross.

  • marcia:

    put my name in the bath drawing; i like Mr. Darcy also. dont know that i’d want to get close to that green water. glad u got to walk like the Romans. great pics and blog. thanks

  • Aahhh…thank you for the photo tour! I’ve been waiting for that. The grief must be lifting now that you can revisit the scene of the crimes. Isn’t it great you have so many wonderful pictures so that you can someday take a happy tour as the L.G. continues to wane and fade.

    Please tell me that somewhere in merry old England you were able to drown your sorrows in some proper tea and scones with clotted cream!

    I really, really need a book to read next week on my very long plane ride!

  • Denise:

    I’m glad you’re writing about your time of lurching grief. I think it’s much better than locking away the memories in a closet of denial. It does pain me to read of your experience, not only because I can so vividly imagine the exact scenario happening to myself, but out of the utmost sympathy for your very unfortunate circumstance. I admire you for remaining very, very, Very married.
    I’d love to win this book! Jane Austen makes me happy. What a lovely name: Jane. Why didn’t I name one of my 3 daughters Jane?

  • Laura the Famous:

    I don’t know why it makes me so intrigued when I read about your miserable trip. Maybe it is because it is nice to know that even a fancy-schmancy blogger like you is very, very married like so many others. I hope in time your lurching grief will be healed.
    Laura

  • I’d like to be drawn but not quartered…

  • I, too, am “lurching in grief.” Why? My husband and I took a seven-week road trip across America this summer. I wanted to see DC, NYC, Gettysburg and Amish Country, Minneapolis. We didn’t make it to any of those places. We did, however, spend three (long) days in Kansas, including Hays, Kansas where the cashier had never heard of Starbucks (to my everlasting horror.) Not that Kansas is a bad place, as you know, but I had already spent some time in Kansas and I wanted to see new places.

    I did, however, see every single closed military base off of the 70 and 80, as well as every major university. Did I want to see any of that? No.

    When I MADE my husband drive me to the Oprah studios and store in Chicago, he whined the whole effing time.

    I am lurching in grief.

    I love Jane Austen.

    And your blog.

    Thanks,

    Jules

  • Lisa S:

    I was wondering…if Stonehenge had been closed would Tess of the D’urberville’s have ended differently?

  • Tammy:

    I’m sorry you had so many things go wrong in Europe, but you’ve taken the whole thing a whole lot better than I would have. I confess, I’ve never read a single book by Jane Austen, but you’ve inspired me to go try one.

  • Curly:

    A picture is certainly worth a thousand words and your photo definitely portrays how you felt.

    I also had a ruined vacation many years ago and although the pain fades the memories last.

  • jane:

    At least it wasn’t raining-although it rarely does in Jane Austen…I would love a copy of Wit

  • I’d love to have a chance to win the book!
    I love how you portrayed the “good parts” of your vacation…you truly have a way of writing that I can relate to.

    Thanks,
    Kari

  • Kelly in Florida:

    I too have a husband who, though often quite nice, can be a big butt-head when he gets the idea to do so. We have had vacations where we have left a whole day and a half late. Yup. As in, no food left in the house, do I go out to the supermarket, but he’s telling me he’ll be ready in two hours, but I know that he probably means eight hours…. sorry I had a moment there. For your own mental health, try to focus on the good parts of your vacation. More importantly, plan to go to England and France again. Without him. With a girlfriend or two. You deserve it.

  • I’m glad you were just kidding about the quartered part. Heh heh.

  • jo:

    Finally some pictures of England! My parents got back last week and the pictures haven’t made it off their camera yet.

    I think they had a slightly better time though-I think Stonehenge was open :)

  • Stephanie:

    Love you pictures…sorry for the lurching grief…we all go through that sometimes…
    Love you stories..
    Love Jane Austen….

  • Stephanie_Oh:

    I am so sorry for your state of “lurching grief”. Truly, I commiserate with you! I too love your sandles. I want to see Europe someday. Maybe I’ll leave hubby behind so I won’t be encumbered with “lurching grief”. I love reading your blog and your honesty.

  • Keza:

    Perhaps you were having an Austen moment with your grief and disappointment in Bath? – very Ann Elliott.

  • Naomi B.:

    It is too bad your trip has to be remembered with grief instead of joy, but thanks for sharing.

    I hate it when there is such anticipation of something great and hopes and dreams are dashed. No, thank you.

    Jane Austen’s Wit? Yes, please!

  • M.R.:

    You actually look pretty good in mouldering grave clothes. But I do not think you should let that be your new style because you kind of have that catwalk model expression in mouldering grave clothes and your smile suits you much better.

    Thanks for the tour of Bath; it was great fun.

  • Anonymous:

    Would you believe I am currently reading a novel about Jane Austen? It is set in the so called “lost” years. For some reason there is a time in her twenties that is without any record. I love Jane Austen and I am so sorry you had some miserable times on your trip. It is awful when your expectations and reality clash so woefully.

  • Suzan:

    Whoops forgot to add my name to the above!

  • Sarah H.:

    Bath is beautiful! Nice photos.

  • Judy:

    So glad that you can now speak of your trip and show us pictures. I enjoyed your post, especially your reference to Pioneer Woman. You are the one that led me to her. Glad you and the Country Doctor are working through the lurching grief.

  • Patricia:

    I too, have moldered, or is it smoldered in those same grave cloths…..I call them ‘marital cloths’. I know the moldering, smoldering, WHATEVER IT IS, feeling…………..sigh

  • leslie:

    I love, love, love Jane Austen and Bath is high on my list of places I would like to visit because of that. I have been on an Austen kick lately. I just re-read Pride and Prejudice again and watched the “correct Mr. Darcy” TV version over the last week or so. Actually, I watched Northanger Abby and Persuasion recently too. So…this book would fit right in with my current mood :-).

    Thanks so much for sharing your pictures.

  • Why is when you keep saying lurching grief the image of Frankestein pops into my head? You are not Frankenstein.

    If those folks want some red water, they should come see me. We’ve got so much iron in our water we all start turning orange if we don’t use mega water filters. Drives me crazy (although the red highlights in my hair are okay. Orange skin and the red rings around my toilets are not.)

  • ks grandma:

    I am a bit too well versed in grief, lurching and other regular garden varieties. But wit! Wit would be good. Have a good day. (Are you working today? I may be that way as tour guide for my 86 yr old neighbor.)

  • Yes Ks Grandma – I am working today. Stop by!

  • I love the pictures! Thanks for sharing. I would love to win a copy!

  • I am just lurching. But, I desperately want to read this book.

  • Dawn:

    I’m sorry your trip did not turn out as you had hoped. But you did get to see some beautiful things and you have 4 lovely, lively boys!

    I would love a copy of Jane’s witty comments. My grandmother was good like that, me not so much.

  • Harriet:

    I am “lurching” through “Mansfield Park” for my September book club. If for no other reason than fortitude, I’d love to get this book. Mrs. Norris and I are doing very well.

  • jessica wandtke:

    I want this sooo bad. I love Jane and need this book.

  • Thirkellgirl:

    You really are brilliant. And brave. Plucky, indeed! I’m glad to see you beginning to work through your vacationis horribilis, and I know you will write an absolutely BRILLIANT book someday. So back up your blog posts. And enter me in the contest, because I would appreciate that book SO much. And please post the ISBN for all of us losers – thanks!

  • Hi Rechelle -

    Your pictures are lovely, even if your trip was not! Thanks for sharing them.. I love the “lurching grief” term – so much better than “wallowing in self-pity”. Let that poison out so you can move on to happier times! Thank you for acknowledging that marriage can be hard, hard sometimes, but it is worth it.

  • Hi, love the pictures. I never made it to Stonehenge or Bath the times (2) I was in England. But I can understand your disappointment! The first time we went to London, with the kids in tow, the Globe Theatre was closed! They were rebuilding it, and it would reopen about a month after we were back in the States.

    But, happily, hubby and I got to go back by ourselves the next year and it was open. Just like in Shakespeare’s time, great show.

    Maybe you and hubby can go back by yourselves sometime, and make it a leisurely trip. I.e. no agendas, no schedules. That was the best.

  • Margaret:

    Be nice to win something and I love to read. Sorry your trip wasn’t good but your boys are terrific.

  • Ally in WA:

    So sorry your vacation was a bit dismal. I would love to visit Bath Strange about Stonehenge being closed. Makes no sense.

    Thanks for the chance to win Wit!

  • I visited Bath on a trip in College. Loved everything about it. Also went to Stonehenge but wasn’t nearly as impressed as I think I should have been. I would love a copy of the book!

  • Now I want to go to Bath. Even though the pictures of you there are like the antithesis of holiday destination ads on TV “come to Bath, be suicidal”. I think the lurching grief was due to the condition known as “itinerary bullying” known to occur when there is an anal traveller in the group. The secret to avoiding this is , one day is yours, one day is his ,repeat for duration of vacation. Everyone is happy. Another way is to take your sister and go together to Europe without all the testosterone.
    Now as to Stonehenge closed, were you guys devastated? I burst into tears in DC when the bus tour we were on could not secure tickets to the WH tour. Sobbed in grief…. a few months later we went back and got an FBI guided tour. Redemption. This was years ago, I’m not even sure that could occur now.

  • Deb C:

    Loved those buildings by Wood – how interesting. Bath looks like a great place.

  • Darla (McIntosh) Schmalzried:

    Rechelle: You look great in that shade of aqua (sweater) in Bath! I’m glad you’re recovering from your European Vacation.

  • I love this post for your honesty and humor… And the pictures are wonderful!

  • Christie L:

    Loved the pictures! Loved the lurching grief. Loved the fake Jane Austin. Thanks!

  • Susan:

    Ree………I mean Rechelle – that aerial view of Bath is spectacular – otherwise it is difficult to see the stupendous architecture. Also the print of our Mr. Darcy – Colin Firth. The ONLY Mr. Darcy.

    Thanks for transposing me to England via your photos and your adorable humor.

  • Newbuffalomom:

    I got to visit Bath when I was 16 (unfortunately I was with my mother and grandmother). We didn’t go to Stonehenge because my grandma was “too tired” and she had seen it before. Well, I hadn’t! I couldn’t go by myself, because, I don’t know, it’s an English speaking country and I spoke English….
    Someday, I’ll go back. And I’ll see whatever I damn well please. :-)

    Be aware it isn’t only husbands that can send you lurching into grief. Sometimes it’s mothers and grandmothers.

  • Melissa:

    Wonderful photos – and you’re right, they tell as much as the narrative – especially the picture of you in Bath… So sorry it was such a disappointment (the trip, I mean). I’ve been having my husband read your posts about the trip as a cautionary tale for when we start travelling as a family…. I foresee similar difficulties for us :)

    Gotta love Jane!

  • Brenda:

    I just found your site and love it!

  • Oooh, me. Pick me. Pick me. Please, please pick me. I love random unless random doesn’t pick me, then I loathe random. Random is for the birds.
    Bummer about Stonehenge. Serious bummer.

  • I would like a copy. Who is that tall boy next to your other three boys? My but he has grown and he even looks different! A lot more like his Dad. Love your sandals photo. So Roman.

  • Linda:

    Hubby and I took a trip to the beach in Mexico once (2001)
    Not a good place for a blond hair fair skin gal to go.
    Besides I don’t speak Spanish.
    He spent 10 days on the beach I spent 10 days in the motor home.
    Now he’s in Heaven and I am up a tree in Washington.
    Wishing I could have 10 more days on the beach………………

  • Meg:

    I stood where you were in Bath! Before children….long ago, my hombre and I went there. I loved it. I still think about it.

    Jane Austen literally saved me during my awkward, nerdy teen and pre-teen (and adult, actually) years.

  • Annie:

    Umm, sorry about the trip! But the book looks fun, sign me up.

  • lovey:

    Love your site and also love to read!!!!!!!!!!

  • JenC:

    I love to read anything written by or about Jane Austen! I also suffer lurching grief over my marriage!

  • Lauren:

    Oh I would love a copy…it would be a delight to be reading something a tad “lighter” than Anatomy and Physiology or Sociology of Phychology now that school is back in session.

  • Jennifer:

    When I was a poor post-grad (and apparently quite stupid) I lived in London for 6 months. Did I bother to get on a coach and travel to Bath? Noooo, because I was an idiot. Thankfully, I made it to Paris where the arc de Triomphe was swathed in fabric because it was being restored. So I feel for you regarding stonehenge (of course, I didn’t bother to go THERE either). Perhaps if you were a Druid you could have gotten closer?

  • Kait:

    How apropos you were wearing sandals at the baths in Bath. Cool pic of a sandal clad foot on the stones the Roman sandals would have trod as well. Perhaps I didn’t get enough sleep last night. :)

  • Anonymous:

    I believe I read somewhere Stonehendge was closed due to vandalism, someone painted stuff on it, and trashed the area, and it has to be cleaned up very carefully, or something like that. The term barbarians seems to be relevant here. I do know it was opened for the Druid summer solstice ceremony, so it may be open again.

  • judith:

    oops, forget to fill in my name.

    I believe I read somewhere Stonehendge was closed due to vandalism, someone painted stuff on it, and trashed the area, and it has to be cleaned up very carefully, or something like that. The term barbarians seems to be relevant here. I do know it was opened for the Druid summer solstice ceremony, so it may be open again.

  • Melissa:

    I’m sorry you didn’t have a very good trip, but I enjoyed seeing a little bit of it.

  • Debra Cripps:

    You are so funny! I too went to Bath all be it many, many years ago and you brought back some wonderful memories for me. I am so sorry you had such a bad time there but if you ever want to go again(girls only, shopping mandatory) I’m your go to girl.
    Hugs!

  • You should go buy a large farm. Then you would never get to go on vacation…only dream about a vacation that extends beyond a two day stay at a hotel with a pool (really? is that really my vacation?). And there is no grief lurching involved in dreaming, my friend.

    You are not alone here. We’ve all been in this spot. You will press on through this time and find a new normalcy with your wonderful family! Keep writing — we love it!

  • Oooh – I want one :) Also? I’m sorry you had such a moldering time in Europe. I’m in no hurry to return w/my husband either. See, I used to a have a boyfriend who lived in London, & I would go visit him, & we’d tour around England, France, & Italy…and then he turned out to be a jerk, & we broke up, & now Europe may be ruined for me.

    But my husband’s family is from Hungary – I might have to go see Budapest :)

  • siltedrepose:

    Ok, you have way too many comments for me to read them all and make sure no one has already said what I want to say.

    I was under the impression that closing Stonehenge might have had something to do with spray paint and lack of money to pay guards.

    My in-laws cannot take vacations with each other. According to my husband that’s because they both have to be in charge. They haven’t taken a family vacation together since he was in grade school, but they took some separate ones.

    My husband and I have not been on a vacation yet, so I don’t know how that’s going to work out. Every time we have enough money to consider it something breaks on our house. This summer it was the plumbing.

    Hope you can reach forgiveness eventually.

    siltedrepose

  • I am glad your lurching grief is easing and you are able to share your beautiful photos! Bath lives up to Jane’s many visits there in her novels. But oh my gosh Calder has gotten so tall! Can we please stop our children from growing up, it’s a killer. Would love to win the book. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • Nichole:

    I want one, please! I have a Jane Austen “problem”. This would definitely add to it, but I don’t care:) Do you think Jane would mind the fact that my yellow labs are named Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy?

  • So sorry your trip wasn’t as fun as you expected. But, I am loving seeing all the sights thru your camera lens.

    I hope to be able to travel one day.

    PS. my husband & I usually fight on our vacations too. That’s why we seldom travel. It’s either a fight or car trouble that gets us everytime.

  • Betsy:

    Thank goodness we won’t be quartered that always creeped me out! I’ve been ‘lurking’ your blog for months now, I love it. And I love Jane Austen’s books – Pride and Prejudice…ahh I could read it a million times and never get bored!

  • Rechelle,
    Don’t be to hard on yourself. Grieving is a process and has to be worked through! Time will dull the pain and lift the lurching grief.
    Humor is a great way to deal with it. I have every confidence that you will recover! Just keep writing and laughing and soon you’ll find yourself on the side.
    Sandy
    PS Loved your pictures

  • Left out the other side!!

  • Loved your photos of Bath…I just watched Persuasion about two days ago and was wondering if those buildings really existed and how cool the Royal Crescent must look in person. Sorry your trip stank but thanks for the photos (and the giveaway!)

  • Ahhh, Bath. “Persuasion” is my most favorite Austin movie, the one with Ciaran Hinds. I watch it every time my husband goes out of town – which is a lot. I would love to see the places where this was filmed, a lot of it in Bath; and I would love to read that book of yours!! :) My nephew had the P and P and Zombies book – I glanced at it, but just couldn’t stomach it.

  • Oh my, you are so dear and so funny! I am sorry if that sounds stalkish, it is not meant to. I am sorry that you feel shrouded in moldering death cloths, I think we all do at times, maybe some more than others, anyway, you made me laugh as only a woman/mother/wife could while reading your post. Thank you for the chance to win this book. hmm…I wonder if my family would be upset if I hung a portrait of Mr. Darcy in my dining room…

  • Rechelle, I’m so sorry about your lurching grief, but I appreciated that you wrote about it. I experienced lurching grief on a trip about 20 years ago, and I still remember the misery, but I’m still married to the guy. (We weathered that storm eventually, and you’ll be okay, too.

    Although I’m an avid reader, I’ve somehow missed Jane Austin, so I’d love to have the book.

  • Shannon W:

    My brother and I took our mother to Italy four years ago…. ok, our mother took us so that we could carry her stuff, cook her food, and drive her around, but we were more than willing to be a packhorse/chef in exchange for a free trip to Italy. Anywho…. our last day there was devoted to the Vatican, and then the Cistine Chapel – which turned out to be closed. Yes, there are three days in the entire year when the Cistine Chapel is closed, and we were there on one of those days. My mother sobbed uncontrollably. Your grief and Stonehenge story reminded me of that.

  • CilleyGirl:

    I love Austen and am dying to go to England some day (lurching grief free, I hope), but like other readers my first thought was about how great your sandals (and your pedicure) looked ;) I’ll have to look for Born sandals here in the PacNW. They’re pretty heavy on the Birks around here, which I’ve never found comfy.

  • Rebecca D.:

    I am sorry…. (not much wit or wisdom, but sincere.)

  • Martha in Kansas:

    I’m glad to know they recognize the correct Mr. Darcy there. He IS nice to look at. ** How can rocks be closed! ** I hope you spent a good 3 hours or so in the Austen house, leaving your family to wonder where you were and wait, bored. Heh. ** “Lurching grief” is a great term. I recognized the feeling immediately. So glad you’re better now.

  • Bobbie Thompson:

    My husband wont even take me anywhere. The only vacations is by enjoying other peoples vacations. SAD,huh. Jane Austin is one of my favorite Authors. I syre hope you pick me. I enjoy your blog a lot.

  • arlene:

    I would love a copy of that book. Sometimes I dream of -the correct- Mr Darcey and wish I were living back in the day. Then the thoughts of those primitive living conditions (primitive to me anyway) and I like it here. But I would like their maids! A book FROM Bath would go a long way towards soothing my culture confused soul.

  • Would love to read this book by Jane Austin…sorry your vacation wasn’t all you had dreamed it would be. It might not have been perfect, but you still have many interesting stories to tell.

  • PaulieY:

    I LOVE Jane Austen and would just LOVE to own that book! If you pick me, you can be assured that the book will live in a good home…it will be loved and well taken care of…it will never want for anything nor ever suffer from neglect…I will adopt it and treat it as if it were one of my own children!

    I can totally relate to your disappointing vacation. I’ve had that same experience with any vacation I’ve taken with my husband…except I will never get him to travel so far…he will barley leave our small town…and I love to travel and have ambitions to travel abroad…and he never will…so our “big” and “wild” vacations are few and far between and barely out of our area! Nonetheless, I know how it feels to be in lurching grief! I feel your pain and am sending good cosmic energy your way to help you heal!

  • Amanda:

    Here’s hoping I’m a second time winner on your site!!!

  • I would love a copy!

    Also, I am glad to know that you are no longer wandering about in moldering grave clothes. Perhaps you should travel with friends on your next trip to Europe. Or your sister. That’s a better idea, you and April should leave the CD and Clay to take care of the kids! Haha… Maybe when ya’ll got back home the men would have a newfound appreciation for the women of the family!

  • rebecca:

    I know how you feel. I have a less than a week limitation on vacations with my family. I have also placed a flying moratoreum on our family. I cannot face another plane trip followed by weeks in a hotel room with no escape.

  • Diana C:

    you crack me up… and I have NO desire to go to England anymore! :)

  • Missy:

    I hope you get to revisit England one day when it will be all that you hoped this trip would have been!

  • I’d love some of Jane’s wittiness anytime!

  • I’d LOVE to win a copy! I would immediately send it to my sister in celebration and recognition of my finally reading Pride and Prejudice, her favorite book.

  • Peter:

    Loved seeing your pictures of Bath. Please enter me in your contest.

  • I very much enjoyed your photos. Thanks for sharing. I’ve never been anywhere outside the US except for a trip to Mexico. I’ve always been intrigued with Stonehenge. A few years ago I worked for a Brit and he told me it had been fenced off because people were beginning to deface the tourist attraction. Sad, very sad I think. He did say that there were certain times that they would allow people in. I’m glad you got to see it even from a distance. If I could travel anywhere in the world I would definitely choose Britain. I love the history. And Jane Austen.

  • Knowing that your trip was somewhat (a lot) disappointing and quite painful for you, I am even better impressed by your ability to still give such sweet naration and share your photos. Thank you! I respect your courage and willingness to press on, despite it all.

    Stonehenge should NOT be closed. I would want to demand a trip refund…

    Wishing you a happy vacation soon!

  • The correct Mr. Darcy! I couldn’t agree more!

  • Ruth:

    I am sorry you are having lingering angst regarding the trip to the continent, however in your grief I would be happy to assuage your guilt and grief and take a copy of the book :)
    Ruth

  • Anoria:

    I’m pretty sure you already know this, but:
    It takes a special sort of person to take their mouldering shrouds and doom and gloom, and turn them into stories that still make people laugh, even while they’re empathizing with the lurching grief. Thanks for sharing that with us.
    (Also thanks for sharing the books! But those aren’t as unique.)

  • p.j.:

    Rechelle,
    My heart goes out to you. My family (2 teens and prickly husband) went to Israel four years ago for almost 3 weeks. I try to forget the innumerable arguments we had, and the tension-filled, lurching hours in between. Few loving moments, much anger and resentment. Lurching grief is a perfect term. Romance is hard in the face of lurching grief.
    I am thinking of restricting future vacations to travels with girfriends. Much better.
    Bath is beautiful. I am glad you got to go to the bun shoppe.
    Thanks for the giveaway, and take good care of yourself!

  • Rachel:

    I cannot believe that the stone hedge was closed. I would love to see Bath but that water looked a little green. How was the food that you ate in Europe. Thanks for the books.

  • sabra:

    Oh! ME!
    When presented with the idea of he and I taking a trip to Europe, my husband said, “Why? What do you even do there? Just walk around and not understand anybody?” Which is why we went to Chicago for our anniversary and I went to Italy with my mom and sisters.

  • Leigh:

    I’m so sorry you had such a wretched time on your trip…. the one you had planned and anticipated so much. But I confess that, even knowing you had a lousy time, I smiled through your pictures. Not because you had a lousy time, but because I loved Bath. Loved, loved, loved it! And I love Jane Austen!

  • susan in fl:

    Just have to say traveling with hubby means that you MUST assert yourself. He will assume all is well if you don’t. This is true of ANY hubby I’ve ever witnessed.

  • Pam:

    oh, rechelle! well, at least your moldering death cloths were stylin’! i love jane austen, period, end of paragraph.

    Pam

  • Deb:

    Wow, this looks like a great book!! Your pictures make me want to take a trip overseas!

  • jamoody:

    I do not wish for a copy of the book….unless you think it would help me like Jane….I have never been able to like or make it through one of her books…my son is having the same problem, and he LOVES classic literature….maybe it’s a family issue!!

    I would have thrown a temper tantrum about Stonehenge…that’s just not fair.

  • Jennifer:

    Actually lurching in grief and moldy gravecloths are very Jane Austen. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Becoming Jane” you will know that she had much to grieve in her life. So don’t worry, you’re in good company.

  • Carole:

    I too have had lurching grief vacations, however, I did go to Italy with nine women and had a blast. I hate to admit that I have never read any Jane Austen, I promise to amend this error in my life soon.

  • Carol:

    Is the book any good? jk. Great post.

  • Lynnette:

    My daughter and I would love a copy! She’s “into” Jane right now and can’t get enough!

  • becky up a hill:

    ahhh sweetie, what to say. Okay throw my name in hat. I would love to be drawn. Oh and thanks for showing me that the right Mr. Darcy is in his proper place.

  • Terri:

    Glad to see you’re finally able to begin processing your grief.

  • Holy moly you are freaking funny, even when you are lurching. And the pictures of the Correct Darcy in the museum? I think I peed myself a little bit.

  • Tracie in Washington:

    My husband and I along with two teenagers( and two poodles) took a 4600 mile road trip through the western part of the US for two weeks,we hit 6 states. It was a blast, we had alot of fun because we left the itinerary very loose to accomodate what everyone wanted to see. I actually got to read a book or two, Emma by our beloved Jane Austin and my all time favorite Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. LOVE LOVE those books so I would be thrilled with the Jane Ausitn book. Thanks for the giveaway.

    PS-When dealing with marital lurching grief stay away from any romantic book or movie since it usually magnifies the lurching grief effect. Or maybe that is just me :-)

  • Wait a minute – I was at Stonehenge 9 years ago and guess what, IT WAS CLOSED… do you think it ever opens.

    BTW – I wanted to go to BATH – but the husband did not want to stop there. We had to go directly to Portsmouth which is a ghost town on the English coast complete with criminal element and the creepiest hotel on earth where we HAD to stay before boarding the ferry to guess where??? France. Yes, France. Onroute to PARIS. Paris, France that was in the throes of an epic FLOOD. The Louvre was CLOSED (as was Stonehenge) and all the boats and bridges in Paris were closed.

    Oh, did I also mention that they were burning livestock in England and France due to MAD COW.

    It was April, 2000 – and I’m still ranting. Sorry. I’d like the book.

  • Amy Cook in WI:

    The water at Bath doesn’t look very healthy…is green water healthy? I always wanted to visit Bath…not only because of Jane Austen, but Georgette Heyer. I guess I live through books…and now Blogs!

  • sorry your experience wasn’t all that you hoped it would be.
    I’d love to read this book in all my free time that doesn’t exist.

  • Such beauty! Such tragedy! And yet there is wit and irony in this tale as well. I think Jane Austen would approve. I also feel quite certain that Jane felt shrouded in mouldering grave clothes at least once in her life (Who doesn’t?), though she was probably able to suffer in solitude as she was not married nor did she have any children. Poor Jane! The husband and children can make life much harder when one feels she is walking around shrouded in mouldering grave clothes, but they also make the times when one is not feeling so shrouded much more pleasant. Again, it’s an irony I think Jane would appreciate.

    BTW, Calder seems to have grown at least a foot since the last pictures you posted. Is that some trick of the camera, or did he have a huge growth spurt? He is also looking more and more like the CD. But these are good things. (Says she whose youngest son is now 6 foot tall. Yes, his short parents are quite proud. We didn’t know we had it in our genetic material.)

  • Melissa:

    I want to win. I know I won’t, but I wanna.

  • Northfordy Sue:

    I went to Bath and stayed at a youth hostel for the night, I never did see the baths. I was traveling by myself and wasn’t aware that
    I should even see the baths. Though I did remember buying two outfits and a belt at a store. There are always 3 trips one takes, the one you plan, the one you have and the one you wished you had.

    Best

    Susan

  • I’m sorry you have so much grief right now. I have no advice for you as I have spent my entire marriage flying by the seat of my pants.
    On a good note, I would love that book!!! (i DIDN’T SAY WHO THE NOTE WAS GOOD FOR:)

  • Fran:

    Well, this contest is a lot easier to enter than your other one! I may be lurching in grief soon. I want to spend a week at the beach in 2 weeks, but the special man in my life doesn’t want to commit to a week and doesn’t seem to really want to go to the beach. We are now talking about a week in a cabin in the mountains (we LIVE in the mountains!!!) Even though you were in the depths of despair, I’m glad you were able to experience Bath. Jane would be proud of you for persevering.

  • Lori W:

    You really took some nice photos! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • georgie:

    Whilst I have taken many baths in my long lurching life, I have nary been near Bath. Oh there have been those sojurns to York, Chester (not the man on Gunsmoke), and Stoke on Trent but never to Bath. One ponders if perhaps one must indeed renew the passport and voyage once again to Britain and seek out Bath. Will an eligible male descendent of Mr. Darcy be found? Dare one hope?

  • Rachel:

    I do, I do! I visited Jane’s home and her grave (where I assume she is even now wearing moldering grave cloths) but that was long ago before this book was published. I’d love a copy!

  • Sarah S. in NM:

    Oh, I am so sorry that London was ruined for you. I had the great privilege to spend a month in England as part of my English studies in college. I spent most of my time in London, but I did travel to places like Tintern Abbey, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, and other locales with literary significance. To me, Bath was such a respite from the grit and grime of the city of London, and Bath Abbey was so light and ethereal compared to the other cathedrals I visited. I do love Jane Austen, and it would be fun to have this book, but mostly I just wanted to send some positive vibes your way. I use your blog for inspiration before every trip to the library – your suggestions haven’t failed me yet! Keep up the good work!

  • Debbie:

    When I wandered to your site this evening and saw that the topic was related to Jane Austen, I knew that I had to share my thoughts. My daughters (19 and 23) and I have had a long love affair with Pride and Predjudice and the correct Mr. Darcy( thank you A&E)! I am relating to your lurching grief on a much different but somewhat related note. I too have been married to that devoted, committed, and driven country doctor. 16 years were spent building a marriage, family, and rural medical practice. At the age of 41 my devoted husband, father and country doctor passed away from a long courageous battle with a malignant brain tumor. It has been 8 years since that devastating day. We have survived, and life has much joy and happiness again, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and long for what my daughters and I have lost. I hope you find it in your heart to embrace your husband and appreciate the many gifts that are right in front of you. I would trade places with you in a heart beat!

  • Barb:

    We just got back from Europe, too. And we LOVED it!

    Bawth (you have to pronounce it right, right?) was amazing. I even brought some of that nasty water home to share with my kids.

    I was just taken by all the old, old buildings and the architecture.

    I have to tell you, though, that my original reason for going was to see Stonehenge. And I am so sorry you missed it. I would walk 10 feet and take a picture and walk another 10 feet and take another picture, etc. It felt like a surreal moment with just me and those old rocks. I was breathless.

    Seeing your pictures was a hoot. I have some just like them. And I am also glad to see some pictures of you. It is nice when someone else holds the camera for a change, right?

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I would love to see more…..

  • Barb:

    P.S. (You should step in front of the camera more often, you are very pretty!)

  • Kellye:

    Well I must say you wear your grief well. You look like a college girl in the photo – a very cute college girl.
    I would love to read the Jane Austen book. I am a new Jane Austen books having just read my first one (Pride and Prejudice) this summer. But I loved it and am ready to read more!

  • Linda:

    Rechelle-
    I don’t even care if I’m too late to enter the drawing…I just want to tell you that I am so happy to read your posts always because YOU ARE REAL!!!! Now when I’m having my own lurching grief episodes I’ll be able to think back and say…”but wait…I’m not alone…even Rechelle has experienced lurching grief!” Which is a funny way to say: thanks for writing. It makes a difference.
    Linda

  • Edie:

    Hey now! Are you dissing my pioneer woman homey? She is the reason I found your blog…you best take it back! Now! I’m waiting :)

  • Edie! As in big Edie or Little Edie? I hope it is Little Edie. She is my favorite!

  • Dear Lurch,

    I want to say that you are hilarious and in fine form.
    The crescent building(s) are very cool and prominetly featured in my fav bbc telling of Persuasion.

    “I am certain….and nothing can persuade me otherwise.”

    If you have not seen it. You must.

    Boo to Stonehenge. That is just dumb.

    I love thinking that I am walking where the ancients walked.
    Love it.

  • E:

    I know I’m too late for the contest. But I love Bath. Been there twice. And we saw Stonehenge from outside the fence, too. I think people are defacing the stones by touching them, (you know how you’re not supposed to touch artifacts) but I assume someone has already mentioned that in the comments. But I didn’t read them all. I am a little moldery myself.

  • Linda:

    After reading these replies, I now understand your grief. Luckily, our short vacations are fun.

  • BB:

    My first visit to your site. Lots to say about your comments re: Bath trip. Most is from what you don’t say in your commentary. Why can we not have women like you on TV instead of plastic phonies like Oprah? You are far more clever and real. Somone to relate to. You lift my spirits, I wish I could lift yours. Hang in there, you are rock solid.

  • Complely ignoring your lurching grief (I can me callous like that), I just have to ask – when did your oldest boy get so freaking tall?!?!? :-) I’m sensitive to this only because my 14-year old nephew is now taller than I am and it freaks me out. I changed his fricking diapers, for cripes’ sake.

    Hope you’re feeling better and recovering from your trip. :-)

  • I’m probably too late for the giveaway, but no matter. I wanted to leave a comment and say, “I feel your grief”, or more to the point “I have felt your grief in the past.” You’ll work through this and a different woman will emerge from the other side. During my 5 1/2 YEARS (yes, years) of therapy I worked through a lot of things. As you change and grow the question always is, will the other people in your life be along for the ride? It’s an interesting dynamic.

    I’d like to thank you for your comment and astute observation about the Pioneer Woman site. How many times can you shoot a cow and be cheerful? Give me reality and authentic writing anytime.

    I hope that everyone clicked on that photo of the connected mansions. OMIGOSH!!! That’s stinking amazing. It’s sure alot of stuff crammed into that acreage but it looks so amazing. I hope you had a few moments of joy during your trip….. perhaps just a few.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  • Yvonne!:

    stumbled over here after pioneer woman had you listed as a blog she liked, imagine my surprise when on one of the first posts i read you have negative things to say about her. talk about inane, how many posts are you going to devote to your crappy vacay? call a wambulance, i’d give my left pinky for a trip to england.