Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen


Me being Jane Austen.

Sally has asked me to dig out an article from my archives about visiting Jane Austen’s cottage. Many of you are aware I am a Jane Austen fan, so this was an exciting occasion for me. If you would like to participate on Sally’s blog by sharing some of your travel themed posts, written before October 2017.. contact sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

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 sally.cronin@moyhill.com

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…

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“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” -Marcel Proust

I was fortunate to see many of my awesome friends when I was in Canada. Some gave me a place to stay, some drove me around and everyone fed me so well. They have all been such huge supporters in whatever I do. Here are a few of them.


It was great that these good friends from Trinidad were in Canada at the same time.


A picnic with friends at English Bay before a Bard on the Beach performance


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A special Bard Buddy who organized the day.

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Always fun to be part of the cast with another special Bard Buddy


A longtime Calgary friend and travel buddy who drove me around, gave me a place to stay and fed me well.


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A wonderful supportive Vancouver friend who gave me rides and attended events.


A special relative/friend!


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A dear friend who provides me with a great place to stay and feeds me well.


A lovely mother and daughter team who gave me a comfy room to stay during my first week in Vancouver, fed me well and gave me tons of support.


Travel writer/photographer friend who took my profile picture and designed my bookmarks. Treated me to a lovely lunch overlooking a golf course.

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A supportive writer friend who treated me to a lovely picnic and a Monet exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


A former coworker and her daughter who came to a book signing

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My longtime friend who provides me with a comfy place to stay in Medicine Hat, a garden to relax in and delicious meals

As you can see I was well looked after. It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with these friends and many others. I am truly blessed.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


“I want to tell you that I have got my own darling child from London.” Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister, Cassandra, January 29, 1813 upon receiving her first published copy of Pride and Prejudice.

January 28th was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and we are still reading it and watching various film adaptations of the book. Like many of us, Jane had trouble getting her book published, but she persevered. Just think what we would have missed had she given up!

Over at Jane Austen’s Museum Blog the anniversary party at Chawton Cottage is described in detail with many photographs. I especially love the cake provided by Squires of Farnham It is recreation of the frontispiece of the Museum’s copy of the first edition of Pride and Prejudice.


Picture from Jane Austen’s Museum Blog

I am sure Jane would be pleased as she always loved a good party!

I recently had tea with a good friend who surprised me with a lovely edition of Emma, my favourite Jane Austen novel.


I  have spent many hours pouring over this special edition which includes lovely drawings and pages on Regency life, geographical settings, Regency fashions, and a Jane Austen timeline.



What a wonderful friend to think of me when she saw this book.

There will be many celebrations this year commemorating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.  If you haven’t read it or haven’t read it in a while, this may be a good year to read /reread it.

If you read Jane Austen, which is your favourite novel and why?

A cool blogger friend of mine, Jennifer at The Secret Keeper offered the LOOK challenge to me and I have accepted it as I thought it was a lot of fun. Check out The Secret Keeper for amazing poetry and video clips as well as a variety of well written topics and discussions. She will make you think.

Here are the rules for the LOOK Challenge:

Search your manuscript for the word “look,” and then copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post.

Give a little background on the scene if you’d like.

Here is mine from my latest book Amanda in England-The Missing Novel

Amanda and Leah have just arrived on the Isle of Wight:

              When they arrived on the island later that afternoon, Leah’s dad treated them to a delicious fish and chip dinner. Amanda laughed as she read out the menu, “Mushy peas- yuk. Toad in the hole? Spotted dick? That can’t be real! I think I will stick with fish and chips, thank you.”

            After dinner they walked down the cobblestone streets of Cowes, passing a shop with interesting used books in the window.

            “Can we please stop and have a look in here?” asked Amanda.

            “It’s only books.” Leah kept walking.

             “But I love books and these look way cool.”

             “Why don’t you girls stop in here, while I visit the shop next door to purchase some fittings for the boat.”

              Amanda was in her element.  The dusty old store had books piled up right to the ceiling.  The shelves looked like they would topple over from the weight of the volumes. The many stacks on the floor leaned to the left and to the right.  The place smelled like old, well-worn novels. 

             Amanda loved books so much and had a nice collection.  If there was ever a fire in her house, she would throw her books out first before she jumped out of the window.  Fortunately her bedroom was on the ground floor.

              Leah browsed in the romance section. Amanda drifted to a vintage section where her eyes lighted upon a copy of Vicky and Alice.  Her great-aunt Amelia had a series of these delightful books about two Victorian sisters.  She would let Amanda read them when she visited.  But, she hadn’t seen this one before, Vicky and Alice at the Seashore. Amanda laughed at the picture of the girls in bathing suits that covered most of their bodies.

                The price, written in pencil, was three pounds. 

                “I found a book I want to buy. It’s a real gem!”

                  Leah wasn’t as excited about it, but smiled politely.  She had a fashion magazine in her hand. “I think I’ll get this.”

                 They gave their money to a man reading at a desk in the middle of the room.  He was as dishevelled as the rest of the store, with unkempt grey hair and round glasses that sat at the end of his nose.  A large, snoring tabby cat took over the only part of the desk that was not piled high with books and papers.

                “Don’t mind Rupert,” said the gentleman.  “He just likes to be around books. He’ll do you no harm.”

                “A good purchase,” he said as he rang in the Vicky and Alice book. “These are hard to come by these days.” He almost smiled at Amanda.

 Tag 5 other writers who are working on, or who have completed a manuscript.

The authors I have tagged are:

Laura Best

Clarika Bowman

Beth Stillborn

Sandra MacLeod Humphrey

Pat Wood

Hope you have fun with this!

Here is what I did on Halloween

Jane Austen having the Doctor fix her foot


Maybe not the one you are thinking of but a delightful award nonetheless! The Booker Award  was recently given to me by  Lada Ray  author of a number of well written, exciting books. Because this was awarded to me by another author, I feel extremely honoured. Lada’s books include the accidental spy stories, Gold Train and  Green Dessert and soon to be released  YA fantasy/thriller The Earth Shifter . Check out her books and blog at http://ladaray.wordpress.com/lada-ray-books/ Not only is she an amazing writer, she is a wonderful person.

To accept it, I am asked to list 5 of my favorite books and pass it on to 5 other authors, which I’ll gladly do.

To pick only 5 favourite books is very difficult for me as I have been reading for a long time and the list grows every year. But I will try.


The first favourite book has to be Jane Austen’s Emma. I love all of her books but if I have to pick, Emma has to be the one I enjoy the most.  Emma is a flawed character who realizes her shortcomings after a series of total mess ups. It is also very funny and timeless with great characters.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery.  Anne Shirley has to be the most memorable young girl who makes the best of her situation as she strives to belong. She is a very real and strong young woman. I read this book over and over and use it in my English as a Second Language classes.

Little Women By Louisa May Alcott is another long time favourite. I love the bond between  the March sisters in spite of their differences.

The No. One Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Precious Ramotswe strives to earn a living as a detective in Botswana, upholding the traditional values of her dear departed father. When I read these books, and I have read all of them, I feel like I am in Botswana. I feel the dust, the heat, the struggles and the joys. These books are written with a wonderful sense of humour while respecting the people of this nation.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. This familiar story from the old testament is told from the point of view of  Dinah, the only sister of the twelve sons of Jacob. This richly told story of the ancient Jews, from a woman’s voice, brings a new perspective and appreciation of the role of women in early history.  This is a book that sticks with you for a long time.

I realize now that I have compiled the list that there is a theme here. All of my favourite books have strong female main characters. I also realize I have missed so many others but 5 is all I could share this time. Thank you so much Lada for this award.

The authors I would like to nominate for the Booker Award are:

Laura Best http://lauraabest.wordpress.com/

Linda Cassidy Lewis http://lindacassidylewis.com/

Diane Tibert http://dianetibert.com/home/

Michelle Isenhoff  http://michelleisenhoff.wordpress.com

Ellen Ekstrom http://www.amazon.com/Ellen-L.-Ekstrom/e/B004NQOG8Y/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Please check out their blogs and books. You may discover a new favourite author.

Would you have difficulty narrowing the list down to 5 favourite books?




In my last post I shared some interesting (or not) facts about me.  I happened to mention that I was a Jane Austen groupie and dressed up as Jane Austen for Halloween sometimes.  Here I am dressed as one of my favourite people.


I also recently had an article published in travelsthruhistory about a time when I visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton.  Another one of my dreams come true.




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.

 Read more:  http://www.travelthruhistory.com/html/art58.html

Here is a question often asked at job interviews: If you could have lunch with anyone, alive or not, who would that be? I would answer Jane Austen of course.  What would your answer be?

“The company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”  ~ Jane Austen

On Sunday I met with nine friends for an early birthday celebration at one of my favourite places, The Secret Garden Tea Company in Kerrisdale. http://www.secretgardentea.com/   It was a delightful gathering of friends who have supported and inspired me over the years.  Many had not met each other before but all had something in common. Besides being friends with me, they love to travel and shared many interesting travel experiences.  They also love to read and we often exchange books and book ideas.  Oh yes – they all love good food.








Upon our arrival at this cozy tea shop, we were presented with an extensive menu of teas, making it hard to decide on one.  I chose the plum and cottage pear tea for this occasion. Then came the elegant three-tiered trays of miniature pastries, sweets, sweet scones,Devoncream, raspberry jam, and tiny sandwiches.  Everything was fresh and delicious, no one left hungry.

It was a perfect occasion for me to wear my fabulous fascinator, a Christmas gift from one of the friends attending.  It felt so right.

I left contented and filled with happiness, so grateful to have such wonderful friends to share tea and lively conversation with.  One should do this more often.

“Whatever our situation in life… we can and should surround ourselves with friends who not only understand us, but also inspire us to make the most of our current calling.” ~ Beverly LaHaye

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