Jane Caro: We got the Power

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National Treasure: Jane Caro

Thanks Jane Caro, National Treasure and great role model for women. In The Age, “Sunday Life ” you explore the role of the older woman: “older women are not just a force of nature but a force business needs to  reckon with”. It is great news that older women in their later lives can enjoy the benefits of the spoils of their working life.

And of course Jane Austen had a thing or two to say about older women.  In Sense and Sensibility, we meet the widow Mrs Jennings. She is first introduced as a comic character and readers may not feel much for her, however, by the end of the novel we have witnessed her kindness towards our heroine, Marianne. We see a happy and contented single (widowed) woman contributing to her community. Often the older widowed women in society are forgotten; their desires and interests do not figure in the great literature of any civilisation. It is as if Jane Austen is being subversive again Continue reading

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Pork pies and rhubarb chutney: Slow Food – Austen Style

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Pork pies and rhubarb chutney

Why do others sometimes judge us  based on our so called sophistication? What does this tell us about them? Those that judge others are not the characters we love. Elizabeth has dinner with the socially sophisticated Bitchy-Bingley-sisters, Mr Bingley, Mr Darcy and Mr Hurst, an equally loathsome husband of one of the Bingley girls. Indolent Mr Hurst finds out that Flawed-But-Fabulous-Elizabeth Bennet would “prefer a plain dish to a ragout” and hence Continue reading

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The Beast and Mr Darcy

What does the beast from Beauty and the Beast and Mr Darcy have in common? Well they are both unreconstructed males until love brings them to self knowledge and a better version of themselves. What I like about Austen’s prose though is that she is often even handed in doling out the imperfection in her Continue reading

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Slow Travel

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“What are men to rocks and mountains?”

Sometimes taking the slow road can bring enormous pleasure. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate a fast jet on an overseas holiday. But there are compensations in the slowness of some things. Jane Austen appreciated the beauty around her on walks and rides and so it is always with pleasure when I think on the beauty of my countryside. In the southern corner of Victoria Australia, is  The Great Southern Rail Trail. It is a bike path made from the old railway line and meanders Continue reading

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The things that matter

When a life ends, you get to learn what matters. What matters is the sum of all the everyday exchanges; the sum of all the love. Sometimes cooking the food, enjoying the company, living the simple life is all that remains. Pondering the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death Continue reading

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Detecting an apricot on a tree.

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The first ripe apricot on our tree this Australian summer

 

This year the 200th since Jane Austen’s death, it is rewarding to turn to Jane’s letters from Chawton that are so are full of the seasons and the garden. Although Jane wasn’t responsible for the garden, she enjoyed the fruits of others’ labour. She tells Cassandra, “our young poeny at the foot of the fir tree has just blown and looks very handsome”. Favourite flowers, the syringas, that I have in my garden, “are coming out”. Fruit trees in the orchard were indispensable to the economy of the household but also to the pleasure, “an apricot has been detected on one of the trees”. Jane Austen’s delight shines Continue reading

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