England Rendezvous, Chapter 2
London is where we met for our second rendezvous and then drove to Bath, England for the next chapter in our epic romance. (I know, “epic” is overused. Just indulge me for a little while on this.) Only a few knew of my long-distance romance with Steve, which began in Scotland eight weeks earlier. Most people probably wouldn’t have believed it. I barely believed it myself.
We arrived at the Marlborough House—a lovely bed and breakfast in a stone Victorian house just a few blocks away from the famous Royal Crescent—and after our host drew us a map of the highlights of Bath, we made our way to the Roman Baths and Pump Room for a candlelight tour in the evening. “Oh it would be very romantic!” our host urged us. Romantic, of course! That’s why we were here—it was all for the romance.
A visit to the Roman Baths
When this all came upon me–this falling in love–I wasn’t prepared to take copious notes on Bath. I didn’t go to Bath to learn of the Victoria Art Gallery or the Holburne Museum of Art. No, I was there to fall further in love–to somehow channel Jane Austen and all her heroines so that I could use Bath as some sort of aphrodisiac for my long-distance love affair.
It’s not like we needed any help. We were completely smitten in Scotland and nothing indicated that it wouldn’t continue that way, though because this was so out of the ordinary I thought that I would actually wake up and none of this had happened. So, if you’re going to dream, I thought, why not dream with Bath as the backdrop.
Evensong at Bath Abbey
Our second day in Bath, a Sunday, we visited the Bath Abbey for an Evensong presentation. If the backdrop of Bath wasn’t enough, now I had a soundtrack. Being musically trained myself, I was swept up by the acoustics of the building and prayed to God that this whole thing wouldn’t slip through my fingers.
Jane Austen, of course
We visited the Jane Austen Centre where we moved from room to room to see how Jane Austen lived, learned more about her family, looked at some of the film costumes as well as various framed letters on the walls from celebrities (notably Emma Thompson, that goddess of wit who wrote the film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility). I was surprised as to how simple and quaint the Centre was, given the massive following of Jane Austen. I suppose that’s how she would have wanted it, as she really seemed a modest person. It was almost a little odd to be in the Jane Austen Centre where I was learning about this woman who wrote fiction that were turned into movies–all about being independent and falling in love with the right person at the right time. At the same time I was living this and thought, it doesn’t have to be fiction. It feels like fiction but it doesn’t have to be.
The healing waters of Bath
There’s a lot said about the healing waters of Bath. Historically, many went to Bath to cure themselves of their ills. Perhaps something in Bath washed over me too as well as Steve.
That rendezvous that started in Scotland? It still was alive and well in Bath too. Little did I know, I was going to soon need the healing of Bath to soothe my soul more than I could imagine.