Friday, January 27, 2017

Different Views on Washington, D.C.

National Mall, Tidal Basin
The Lincoln Memorial as seen from the top of the Washington Monument

I should have gone on a cruise this past week. Or perhaps trekked deep into the jungle. Or maybe one of those off-the-grid places where people go on retreats to look into their souls without being distracted by all the hustle and bustle of the outside world. In any case, it would have been best if I had put myself on a media blackout these last few days. Because my head is about to explode the more and more I read the news.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Wondercrump Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre

Outside the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre with a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) on the front

After hauling my family around England to places associated with the Brontë Sisters and Jane Austen, I thought it only fair to honor my daughter's request to visit the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Center. Like many children,  she's a fan of his books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Watching the musical, Matilda, based on Dahl's book of the same name was one of the highlights of our family trip to New York City. Plus, the Steven Spielberg movie adaptation of his book, The BFG, was released immediately before our trip to England. During our time in London, we crossed paths a few times with The BFG Dream Jar Trail which was set up to both promote the movie and celebrate Dahl's 100th birthday.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bath, England through Jane Austen's Eyes

Dressing up in Regency era clothing such as Jane Austen may have worn

I have realized that I am slowly turning into a woman who could easily slip into a Jane Austen novel. Alas, I am not becoming one of those spirited, self-assured main characters in the tradition of Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Instead, I am displaying all the old-fashion qualities of a mother worried about social graces and fine manners. At eleven years old, my daughter is on the brink of becoming a "young lady," and against her will, I signed her up for etiquette classes (a.k.a. "charm school").

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Walk on the Yorkshire Moors with the Brontë Sisters

Today is the perfect, lazy day for curling up with a good book. The weather is unusually cold... well, for Central Texas... just a tad below freezing. The sky is dark with clouds, and the trees have lost their leaves. It's the type of gloomy, Gothic setting I pictured  when reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë or Jane Eyre by her sister, Charlotte Brontë. A place inhabited by dark and brooding types.

Ever since I read those novels in high school and at university, I've always wondered what it was like to stroll along the Yorkshire moors. Growing up amid the metropolitan sprawl and suburban strip malls of flat-as-a-pancake Houston, it was difficult to picture myself inserted into such a foreign scene. So, when we decided to visit York, England last summer, I was seized with the notion of making a pilgrimage to  the Brontë Parsonage in the tiny village of Haworth and finally walking among the heather in the rolling moorlands. "It's just a 90-minute drive from York," I explained to my husband with pleading, puppy dog eyes." How could he resist?
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