Smorgasbord New Series of Posts from Your Archives. – Visiting Jane Austen on a Motorbike by Darlene Foster

Time for a new series of Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about travel.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog since you began blogging up to October 2017 and you simply send the link to those blogs to

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 600 posts from 150 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The deal is that you also help promote the post by sharing on your social media and responding to the comments.

Previous participants are more than welcome

The theme for the new series is travel.

  • Places and countries you have visited,
  • Different cultures,
  • Exotic food you have discovered when travelling,
  • Modes of transport – cars, bikes, horses, RVs
  • Camping Trips,
  • Road trips,
  • On the road for work,
  • Train Journeys,
  • Travel themed music,
  • Planes and airports,
  • Ships and other marine vessels,
  • Humorous adventures etc.

To kick off this new series here is author and travel writer Darlene Foster with a visit to Jane Austen on the back of a motorbike.  You will enjoy I am sure and you will also see how it can work as a way to market you work.

Visiting Jane Austen on a Motorbike by Darlene Foster

Our delightful visit to England included Yorkshire and North Wales. Viewing the countryside with its stone hedges and ancient castles was made even more enjoyable as we hurtled down narrow roads on a motorcycle.

We had one thing left to do before flying back to Canada; deliver the motorbike to its new owner in London. We travelled down from York, stopped for lunch at a pub in Cambridge overlooking the Thames and watched the rowers practice. As we rode towards London, I was puzzled when we didn’t turn off the M1 taking us into Guildford, but turned east. Soon I recognized signs for Alton, Strawberry Hill, Steventon and Chawton. We were on our way to visit my hero, Jane Austen! My dear husband had planned this as a surprise for me.

As my knight in shining armour parked the pearl white Honda Goldwing in front of Chawton Cottage, he said, “Take your time. I’m going for a tea.” He pointed at Cassandra’s Tea Shop across the road.

I couldn’t believe I was actually there. Chawton Cottage, a charming 17th century, three storey red-brick house, was Jane Austen’s home for the last eight years of her life. I entered the front door thinking about how many times dear Jane had crossed that threshold. When I mentioned I had come all the way from Canada, and I was a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, the kindly receptionist waved the entry fee.

There I stood in Jane’s house, a gift from her brother which she shared with her mother and her sister Cassandra; the place she wrote most of her work. I entered the parlour and gingerly touched the little round table she wrote on. Prickles ran up and down my arms. I had seen some of her original writing at the British Museum a few years earlier, but this seemed more real. I imagined Jane slipping her writing under a book whenever someone entered. Although she often shared her writing with her family, she only did so when she was ready.

The house, very much as it was when Jane lived there at the start of the 19th century, displays family paintings on the walls. The pianoforte Jane played her music on when no one was around, adorns one corner of the drawing room.

I climbed the stairs to Jane’s bedroom. The first thing I noticed was the patchwork quilt, made with her sister and mother, hanging on one wall. Each floral, diamond patch stitched meticulously into place surrounding a large basket of cheerful flowers in the centre, reminded me of the hours of labour that would have gone into this undertaking. The bed she slept on, covered in crisp white linen, sits peacefully in a corner. On another wall hangs a topaz cross, a gift from one of her beloved brothers and most probably the inspiration for the topaz cross given to Fanny Price by her brother in the novel, Mansfield Park. A window overlooks the garden. Jane spent many happy hours in this room. When she grew ill, she entertained her visitors here.

Other rooms upstairs, house Regency period costumes, carefully preserved and displayed. I enjoyed viewing the muslin, floor length dresses with Empire waists and soft loose skirts in pale pinks, periwinkle blues and lilacs, such as Jane would have worn. At least she did not have to deal with the constraints of a tightly laced corset. Memorabilia of her two Royal Navy brothers, Frank and Charles, can be found in adjoining rooms.

I felt Jane’s presence everywhere in the house, but nowhere near as much as in the lovely garden surrounding Chawton Cottage. I could sense Jane taking a turn around the garden, delighting in the many varieties of herbs and flowers, and resting on the rustic garden bench. Even her old donkey cart, which carried her around when she was too ill to walk, lives on in the bake house.

Back in the cottage I chatted with the host and perused the comprehensive selection of Jane Austen books. Of course I could not resist purchasing a few (not that I needed to read anything else about J.A.) I also chose a few souvenirs and postcards before I bid Jane, the house and her memories goodbye. I walked across the street to Cassandra’s Tea Shop to meet my husband, who had downed three cups of tea, ate two pieces of lemon loaf and washed the bike while waiting for me. He asked how my visit was.

I replied, “Jane was most happy I visited her and approved of my arrival on a motorcycle.”

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.
– from ‘Emma’, Jane Austen’s novel written at Chawton Cottage and published in 1815

©Darlene Foster

Thanks to Darlene for getting the new series of Posts from Your Archives kicked off in style…What a treat it must have been to visit such a role model’s home.. great husband…

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

About Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music

Twelve year old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Germany, a mean boy immediately attempts to take it from her.

Back on their cruise, Amanda struggles to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, and the same nasty boy.

Follow Amanda down the Danube, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere she goes. She remains on the lookout though, wondering just who she can trust.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Michael and I read this book together and we both enjoyed it immensely. It is my favourite of the three Amanda books we have read to date and we will definitely be reading more.

Amanda and her good friend, Leah, are on a boat cruise along the Danube and very much enjoying the good food and fascinating villages and towns that they stop at when they become embroiled in a new mystery. A young boy who plays the violin most beautifully asks Amanda to please take his violin on the boat with her and meet him in Vienna. Amanda agrees to the request and quickly comes to realise that the talented boy is not the only one who wants the violin. There are a few people, both on the cruise and elsewhere, that are determined to lay their hands on this instrument.

I really like Darlene Foster’s books as they have an interesting and face paced story but they also include a huge amount of fascinating information about the specific country in which each specific novel is set. We both learned a lot about the towns and villages in Germany, Austria and Hungary and the traditional foods, entertainment and some famous places of interest. There is a lot of research that goes into each of these books. We rated this book five out of five stars.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads:

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.


Thanks for dropping in today and if you would like to participate by sharing some of your travel themed posts, written before October 2017.. contact me

82 thoughts on “Smorgasbord New Series of Posts from Your Archives. – Visiting Jane Austen on a Motorbike by Darlene Foster

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Archives – The Militant Negro™

  2. You have reminded me that I have been intending to visit Jane Austen’s house for years. I have often been to Winchester where she sadly died and also to Bath where one can imagine her out and about during ‘the season’; we toured a house in the elegant crescent imagining polite social evenings from those days. But I am sure nothing compares to her own house.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pingback: Visiting Jane Austen – This post caught my eye because I live just down the road from Chawton, Jane Austen’s house! Know it well and often have coffee in Cassandra’s Cup, opposite the house. 5 – Site Title

  4. Hello Darlene!

    Visiting Jane Austen –
    Your post caught my eye because I live just down the road from Chawton, Jane Austen’s house! Know it well and often have coffee in Cassandra’s Cup, opposite the house.

    Must look at your sites because I’d like to feature you on my own blog. Funny, because Sally has just interviewed ME and I’m going to feature her as well. Funny old world. 😃


    Liked by 3 people

  5. Now Darlene, my story of Jane Austen…
    I’m not a fan – in fact I was put off by forcing myself to read Pride and Prejudice three times to try and pass GCE O Level English Literature back in the late 60s. Hated it! And I failed the exam! Never been a fan of literature, although I’m writing my own epic. Sorry all you Jane fans, but she just doesn’t do it for me.

    My daughter watched a video of Sense and Sensibility, lent by her granny, to help her pass HER exam. She said: ‘Come and watch this, mum.’ She knew my story. Hugh Grant was in this one and I much preferred watching the film than I would have reading the book, although I still don’t really like the stories. I’m afraid I get impatient with them all. I have to say though, that I have grown a liking for Mr.Bennett! People have said to me: ‘But that’s the way they were!’ Yes, I know that. Doesn’t mean I like it though. And Jane was cleverly observing manners and people as they were at the time – apparently. Still not keen.

    Anyway, there is a connection, we think and would like to hope, with my family history. Husband and I live in Bennet Close, in Alton, many of the roads being named after Jane’s characters and places. My maiden name is Bennett, and we all thought: Just had to be! I didn’t think anything of it for some years until I began doing family history. Two of my ancestors on my dad’s side are two famous cricketers – James and John Bennett. James, my gg grandfather, was not quite as famous as John, his cousin, but they both played cricket for Middlesex, and at Hambledon, not far from me, where the cricket rules were established, and Jane might well have seen them play because her love of cricket is well known.

    I came across a website some time ago, talking about the history of cricket, and found the information that said that Jane knew of the cricketing Bennetts and admired them. it’s highly likely that she named her characters in Pride and Prejudice after them, only misspelling it! I told my oldest brother this story, and we agreed that it’s a lovely story and we’re sticking with it, true or not!

    We’ve walked to Chawton many times and had coffee at Cassandra’s many times, and had a drink at the pub opposite. Very pretty village, especially during the warmer months.


    Liked by 5 people

  6. Sorry folks, but I’m a totally irreverent person when it comes to Jane! I’ve lived in Hampshire, Jane country, for thirty plus years. We regularly drive up to Warwickshire (Shakespeare country) to visit our daughter and stay on our narrow boat that’s moored up there, and on the way back we drop off the motorway at Reading, Berkshire, and approach the border into Hampshire. There’s a sign there, saying: ‘Jane Austen country’.

    We’ve visited the cottage a few times over the years and the thing that really does fascinate me is her water closet! In her bedroom is a door, and behind that door is her loo. I said: ‘Just think – Jane Austen sat on that. Her DNA is doubtlessly on it!’ Told you I’m irreverent!

    We visit the Swan Hotel in Alton a lot, either for coffee (great coffee) or dinner (great food). Jane used to wait outside the Swan for the conveyance to take her to London. I think the building has changed a bit since her day. And Nelson stayed there once. He’s said to haunt the room he stayed in. Anyway, Alton hosts Regency Week every year- a cricket match is played on Butts Green and I think it’s to celebrate Jane Austen. Jane is buried in Winchester Cathedral and we’ve seen her tombstone often, and often pass the house she died in.

    So, it’s funny to read about Jane fans who can’t quite believe they’re walking in her footsteps, cuz we walk in them regularly!

    Jo, Alton, hampshire UK

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Gosh Sally! Well, as you probably know, Alton is half an hour from Winchester, and we’ve got to know Emsworth very well now, since our daughter lived there for a while after she married her soldier husband and he was stationed there. We love Emsworth! Visit regularly!


    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a beautiful post, Darlene. I could feel your appreciation and immersion in the place and love the way you could imagine Jane stepping over the threshold and looking out the window. I think places retain the essence of those who came before and got the sense that you were feeling that. 🙂 ❤ Lovely guest post, Sally. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up- William Price King sings, Paul Andruss and Hellebores and Carol Taylor and Mustard. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  10. Thanks again to Darlene for her visit to Jane’s house. At a B&B on the way home from somewhere else we realised we were near Chawton. Had a great morning at Jane’s house. Cassandra’s cafe was closed being a Monday, but we walked up the road to Chawton House for tea and scones, having met one of the descendants of Jane’s brothers who volunteers! The topic for my blog this week was decided – Visiting Jane.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Pingback: Begin as you mean to go on – Words and Fictions

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