Although Jane Austen's birthday is on December 16, we now celebrate in January,
when we all appreciate a party.
Jane's Birthday Tea - 2013 January 19
China cups, ribbons and fresh flowers adorned the elegantly laid tables at the annual JASNA Calgary tea on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Once again, the committee put on a lovely affair with scintillating talks, an Austen-filled raffle, and Regency dancing.
Congratulations to Amber, Ann, Penny and Leslie!
Many of these spots are mentioned in Austen's novels, especially Persuasion.
Judith encouraged us to take the walk ourselves either online or in person and recommended that if one does visit Bath, that they ask people they meet for their stories, rather than relying on brochures.
Before tea, Judith guided us through an online walking tour of Jane's Bath. She began at the Austen home from 1801 - 1805 at #4 Sydney Place. Judith included pictures of her own tour taken in 2008 to accompany the
version available on Google maps. The tour then continued through Henrietta Park, across Cleveland Bridge, past St. Swithin's Church where the Rev. George Austen is buried, through the Assembly rooms, the Circus, Royal Crescent, Marlborough Apartments, the Gravel Walk, Queen's Square and what is now Jane Austen Centre.
This was a perfect partner to the talk given by Catherine Gardner on
"Dance Mania" during Georgian times. Jane Austen herself was very fond of dancing. There were three types of dances at the time, the Assembly dances being the most elaborate, then the country dances given in rooms attached to country inns followed by the much smaller private dances given in people's homes.
Assemblies of this sort were very important in the courtship rituals of the time. It was an opportunity for men and women to mingle while still under the watchful eyes of the single women's mothers.
An interesting detail of these Assemblies, especially in Bath, was the importance of the Master of Ceremonies. These men created the rules of etiquette involved in conducting assemblies. One had to obtain tickets and the approval of the M.C. in order to gain admittance to assemblies and to meet the right people. One of the many rules was that brides and strangers were given first choice at dances in order to keep the young men from dancing with only the prettiest women.
After breaking for a marvelous tea including crisp scones and dainty sandwiches, raffle prizes and birthday cake, we were entertained by the Sprigged Muslin dancing group. First, the dancers presented a gift,
A Dance with Jane Austen,
to Dance Mistress Ruth, honouring her
cheerful and dedicated teaching. Then the group performed the Alderman's Hat,
Mr. Beveridge's Maggot, and Croft House. They invited all tea-goers to join in the Circassian Circle.
It was truly a delightful way to spend a January afternoon.
Murder of a Matchmaker - A Jane Austen Murder Mystery Tea
The Dove's Nest in Glenmore Landing was the perfect backdrop for this year's Jane Austen Tea and the mystery game, "Murder of a Matchmaker". The pretty rooms were abuzz with gossip, slander and accusations. Between courses of finger sandwiches, scones, pie and endless cups of tea, members of the Jane Austen Society of Calgary became characters from Austen's books. Miss Bates, Jane Fairfax, Fanny Price, Isabella Thorpe, Lucy Steele and Mrs. Bennet - all had ample opportunity and motive for killing Miss Anne A. Juste, a well-known matchmaker in Highbury, England. The charming mystery was written by Samantha Adkins, and the event was planned by program co-ordinator, Helen Gardner.
21 Jan 2012
Those in attendance were also delighted with props made by a team of Regency sewers. Together they created eight fetching bonnets and eight sweet lace caps which brought out the Miss Bates and Mrs. Bennet characters seated at our tables.
Linda Payne gave a marvellous tribute to Jane on her 236th birthday and several lucky members won Austen-related door prizes.
Happy Birthday, dear Jane, we only wish you could have joined us.
Our splendid tea this year featured our new collection of pink roses teacups and saucers.
We enjoyed sipping and noshing on chocolate trifle, fancies and fruit bread.
Tom Barton proposed the toast to Jane Austen, reminding us of her influence.
Later excited Janeites won their favourites in the raffle.
Pat Barton entertained us and enlightened us with her presentation, "Dancing Through the Years".
As part of Pat's presentation, Sprigged Muslin demonstrated dances from medieval times to Austen's Regency era.
Sadly for us, Pat is retiring as our dancing instructor,
but happily we welcome Ruth Steven as our new dancing instructor.
The event concluded with our congratulations and thanks to Pat Barton.
A reporter from
covered our event - a first for Jasna Calgary.
Our tea was as fabulous as the special invitation prepared this year.
You are cordially invited to an afternoon of tea and entertainment at the Pump Room in celebration of Jane Austen's
birthday (costume optional).
Please join us on January 16, 2010 at the Good Companions Activity Centre 2609 19 Ave SW.
Tea and cheese biscuits were followed by delicious trifle
After lots of conversation amongst our tea organizers, Leslie and Margaret,
and all the guests,
Emma took our imaginations to the Bath Spa.
Reid Spencer and Bruce Petherick
presented musical entertainment with information
and songs gleaned from the Chawton House library.
For entertainment beyond good conversation,
we presented the one-act play “Ask Miss Austen”, written by member Elizabeth Marshall.
In it, Jane Austen gives advice to modern people with “relationship problems”,
using the experiences of the characters in her novels.
We enjoyed a local speaker and a special cake
celebrating Jane Austen's birthday.