Category Archives: Living the Simple Life

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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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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Are We Resposible for our Children’s Happiness?

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRDx-8vaTe_17jykRpEFD1ko0ZWTEScXUzbr-SYcMnJCcYhLcPWWhat a great question and thanks to Sarah Macdonald for her opinion piece on this issue. (See below for a link to the original article.)

But the question I want to ask is, are we confusing happiness with ambition? And has Austen got something to say here? (Sorry dear reader but you knew I would find something!)

Nightmare-Wife-Mrs Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice is unashamedly ambitious for her girls. If she can only have her girls married, she will have nothing to wish for. Here our sympathy is understandable. Women had few choices and as daughters were

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What about religion?

English: "Protested that he never read no...

English: “Protested that he never read novels” – Mr. Collins claims that he never reads novels. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: George Allen, 1894, page 87. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Was Austen a snob?

picture of Jane Austen

a typical Jane Austen image, painted by her sister Cassandra, not very flattering!

Jane Austen has at times been accused of snobbery as she makes her clearly imperfect characters say snobby things. Emma is perhaps our best example. Egotistical-Emma likes the position she commands in society and she likes to be in control. When she finds out that her new best friend Harriet has begun a love affair with a local farmer, she is none too happy. Continue reading

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Random Acts of Kindness

Random Thoughts of Kindness Barnstar

Random Thoughts of Kindness Barnstar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the happy recipient of a random act of kindness yesterday, I’m pondering on such acts in the Austen Six. The winner has to be Decent-and-Dependable-Colonel Brandon, who presents a living (in today’s speak a job) to Honourable-Edward Ferrars. Edward was disinherited by his aspirational mother, Ambitious-Matriarch-Mrs Ferrars,  after acting honourably by Lucy Steele.

Colonel Brandon wasn’t friends with Edward; he had just met him a few times and had heard his heartfelt story second hand but wanted to help. In the Austen Six those who act well by their fellow man Continue reading

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What about the kitchen garden?

The promise of the fruit to come

The promise of the fruit to come

The Austen household (Jane, Cassanandra, her mother and her friend Martha Lloyd) relied heavily on what was in season and the kitchen garden was crucial to a healthy life. Like many of the middling people of the time who were neither rich, nor the working poor, they were able to live comfortably on very good home produced food with only the staples of tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, spices and citrus fruits that had to be bought. Cassandra kept bees while Mrs Austen kept a poultry yard. Often presents of game would be sent from their brothers, Edward and James.

Growing and cooking your own food was like breathing and is so different from the world of today where many of us have lost the art of cooking let alone growing and catching our own food. Continue reading

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