Saturday, 16 February 2008

From Jane Austen to Berenstein Bears

In Emma, Jane Austen wrote "Emma had never been to Box Hill; she wished to see what every body found so well worth seeing, and she and Mr. Weston had agreed to chuse some fine morning and drive thither." We also decided to see what Jane Austen had written about, so Megan, Tane and I chose a fine morning to train thither and climb the hill.

"It was a sweet view--sweet to the eye and the mind. English verdure, English culture, English comfort, seen under a sun bright, without being oppressive." - Jane Austen. Oh, and Tane in the foreground too.

Rather than making fools of ourselves while up the hill as Emma did, though, we had a lovely walk through the hills, past some hairy cows, down some lanes, and through a little village filled with houses with names like "Mole's Manor" and " The White House". As Jane Austen wrote, the walk around the hill was indeed dirty. We are hardy Antipodeans rather than wussy regency maidens and men in tight tights, however, so did not lament the need for a donkey to carry us up as is in the book. The cows were so sturdy looking I am sure that they would have sufficed if I did decide to do it in again a corset and round gown next time though.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's an exceptionally hairy cow!

The walks around Box Hill were exceptionally badly signposted and we got quite lost. We found ourselves wandering through sheep paddocks and up roads that seemed to lead to no-where. After a couple of hours, though, we emerged back into civilisation and found that we were in Dorking. Yes, there is a town in Surrey called Dorking, and four months is London still isn't enough not to find that funny. Heh. Dorking. Not only does Dorking have a funny name, but we also found that all of the directions given by locals reminded up a lot of those in the Berenstein's Bears book "Bears in the Night" (out of the bed, under the bridge, past the tree, up Spook Hill) so well became very well acquainted with Dorking's back alleys.

Around the hill, past the sheep, past the lycra-clad cyclists, through the trees, and up Spook Hill!

While we did not have servants to collect us in a carriage afterward as happened in Emma, it was a great day to get out of London and see some of the "English verdure" Jane Austen wrote about. Living in London it can be hard to remember what green fields look like, so it was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday.

In other news, this side of the world seems to be having a crazy sunny and quite warm period at the moment. This may be the best weather we will get until summer 2009, but we are making the most of it. I had to put this pic in taken at Kensington Gardens last weekend to prove it ...
Please note Tane's shorts and Sarah's jandals ..

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