© 2010 Marica

All I want for Christmas

I really believe I shall always be talking of Bath, when I am at home again–I do like it so very much…. Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

I can now say that I know exactly how Jane Austen’s character in her book felt because I too found Bath a very special place.

Back in November my daughter Zofia, my husband Lynsey and I visited the historic city of Bath which is located in the south west of England. We travelled to Bath by train from London. As we rocked and rolled our way through the English countryside the autumnal colours were spectacular. I particularly loved the backdrop of the many barren trees that framed the landscape. It was so unusual to see so many deciduous trees because back here in New Zealand our trees are mostly evergreen.

Bath was much colder than London had been and we definitely needed our winter accessories of gloves, scarves and hats. However, the cold didn’t stop us from making the most of being in this magic place. We spent our days walking, exploring and taking loads of photos of the many places we visited. Along the way we discovered little treasures and surprises.

There was the incredible Georgian architecture that looked familiar (even though in reality it wasn’t) thanks to the many movies and television programmes I had watched and the books I had read over the years that depicted these types of buildings and the associated life style of days gone by. I could imagine horse drawn carriages on the streets. I could see the women, men and children walking along the pavements and in the parks and even see what they were wearing. Think Jane Austen and you’d have some idea of what I’m talking about. Apparently Bath features prominently in two of Jane Austen’s books – Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

A personal highlight for me was visiting the site of the original Roman Baths. It was fascinating seeing the actual baths where thousands of years ago people came to soothe their weary bodies. We walked on the same paving stones they walked on. An amazing amount of work has been done excavating this site and trying to understand exactly how the baths looked and functioned. As we looked at pipes and heating systems I marvelled at the engineering skills of the Romans. I even tried a glass of the waters from the spring in the hope it would cure me because I had lost my voice due to a cold I had been fighting.

As we walked around you couldn’t escape the fact that Christmas was fast approaching. There were brightly coloured decorations and lights everywhere. Since it got dark so early (the light started fading at 3pm and by 5pm it was black outside) these festive adornments added some life and sparkle. The shops did a spectacular job of trying to lure us inside to spend our money as did the many street vendors that were busily touting their wares. Buying Christmas presents was on the minds of many. Unfortunately we were too early for the Christmas craft markets which aren’t held until later in the month. I have it on good authority that these are worth going to.

As we were walking back to our accommodation one evening we were drawn towards the Minerva Chocolate shop. For many people stopping at a chocolate shop would seem quite normal. For my husband, who is allergic to chocolate, this is the last thing he would usually do. Yet on this occasion he too stopped to take in the scene before him. In one of the shop windows there was a display full of chocolate treats. The item in this display that instantly demanded our attention were the chocolate breasts and the sign, “Order you breast for Christmas”.  In the other window we could see the chocolatier at work and he happened to be making some chocolate breasts. We smiled as we watched this skilled master at work. Obviously the orders were coming in for these fake breasts! They sure beat the silicone variety.

On Christmas morning there will be more than one person opening their presents to discover a pair of chocolate breasts staring back at them. I wonder what their reaction will be? Did they wants breasts as a Christmas present? Were these the kind they wished for? What would it be like to bite into them? Oh, the mind boggles at the thought of it.

17. Every day look through a new lens.
29. Every day eat, drink, rest, work, exercise, play, love, create for your own good. And the good of others.
32. Every day have a laugh.

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