Tag Archives: Everyday life

What about Bridezilla?

Wedding

Wedding (Photo credit: teresachin2007)

Upon reading Hannah Seligson’s, The Me, Me, Me Wedding, and learning of the export of the western Bridezilla phenomenon to other cultures, I am reminded of the last words of Austen’s Emma:

The wedding was very much like other weddings, where the parties have no taste for finery or parade; and Mrs. Elton, from the particulars detailed by her husband, thought it all extremely shabby, and very inferior to her own.—”Very little white satin, very few lace veils; a most pitiful business!— 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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Did Jane Austen like children?

Jane Austen nephews and nieces

Jane Austen nephews and nieces (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some biographers, taking a few letters out of context have assumed she didn’t. Rubbish! Jane Austen was a revered Aunt; she was a loved Aunt; she was a sought-after aunt. You don’t get to be such an aunt if you do not like children. It is just that she didn’t idealise children. In one of her letters to her brother James she says, we saw “a countless number of Postchaises full of Boys pass by yesterday morng – full of Heroes, legislators, Fools & Villains.”  In the privileged world in which Jane was an observer, children were often put on pedestals by their affluent parents. It was not so very different from today Continue reading

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What was Jane Austen’s everyday life like?

Mead & Light

Mead & Light (Photo credit: Kyral210)

As I sit here thinking I want to imagine what Jane Austen’s everyday life was like. I imagine her writing in a letter, “I am so pleased the mead is brewed”. What was her day like as a teenager, as a young woman and as an author? How did her life change or did the nature of her daily life largely remain the same? Continue reading

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Is sitting at our desks good for us?

English: Persuasion (last Jane Austen Novel) c...

English: Persuasion (last Jane Austen Novel) ch 23 : Captain Wentworth is showing his letter to Anne, “with eyes eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her” Français : Persuasion (Jane Austen) ch 23. Frederick Wentworth montre à Anne une lettre sur le secrétaire, en la regardant avec insistance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being outside, walking or strolling and being in the elements lifts our spirits. I remember a book once that started out with the premise that GOD actually was an acronym and stood for the Great Out Doors! It made sense; the great outdoors – sunshine, wind, the sky – can bring about a significant increase in wellbeing. Could it just be possible that the reason some of us struggle to find happiness in the modern age is because many of us work at desks?  In our world we have so many other things available to make us feel good when we are down but perhaps the simplest and the easiest is Continue reading

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What about the contentment gene?

Alison Steadman plays Mrs. Bennet in Pride and...

Alison Steadman plays Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (Photo credit: Canadian Pacific)

The contentment gene should be patented. But if not born with it, is there other ways to acquire it? Some have called it the happiness set point. Looking at our expectations might be a good place to start. Sometimes we need to be vigilant to ensure that our expectations are not fueling our unhappiness. Expecting little can ironically lead to a happier life as one doesn’t suffer constant disappointment. In our Western world we often grow up with a sense of entitlement. We expect to do better than the last generation. We expect to own a fashionable home, we expect Continue reading

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Filed under Resilience

Renovation

a bathroom renovation!

a bathroom renovation!

Why are we so keen on renovation? Is it an extension of ourselves as well as our houses? Or is it a way just to consume more and more? (And I do speak here as a seasoned renovator.) Do we really go to dinner parties and talk of bathroom tiles as Hugh Mackay suggested?  Following fashions is not new; it can be seen in the Austen universe where the Eighteenth Century trend was to create the picturesque.

Upon taking over Norland, in Sense and Sensibility Fanny and John Dashwood, successful power couple, make it their daily business to be fashionable. On their estate, what looks good is the most important factor in a decision. Running a self-sufficient estate is not as important as impressing your friends and community. They must do improvements to the place and of course the productive “old walnut trees are all come down”. It reminds me of some people who move in to the old suburbs, raze the old garden getting rid of the roses and fruit trees, and replace the whole with shrubs and pebbles in the latest fashion. (Fortunately this is no longer the latest fashion!) And then they congratulate themselves on having destroyed a garden because now they are being water wise! No wonder Eleanor had to keep the “concern and her censure to herself” when she has to listen to her brother’s fashionable plans.

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Filed under Living the Simple Life