Jam & Jerusalem, and Jane


I’m a total disgrace. This post has been sitting in drafts for ages – time has just been whizzing by and my diary has got way too full too quickly lately. So the writing time has again, been pushed to one side. It is now going in the diary, with all the other things, so at least my stories and blog posts get their share of my attention 🙂

So this post… After 2 weeks on holidays and 2 weeks of being ill, it took me a while to get back into the swing of things.  The hols were lovely; we spent 9 days travelling around the south of England, visiting some fictional places that turned out to be very real indeed.

Our first fictional stop was the village of North Tawton St. Peter. If you are a fan of the British sitcom ‘Jam and Jerusalem’, you’ll know it better as Clatterford St. Mary. If you watched the show, the low set walls that line the pathways around the church building are quite distinctive. The large main entrance door is the setting for a few hilarious moments on the show.

We had a wander around and found a door near the back that was open. We went in and saw the familiar pulpit where the Rev talks about his good friend Alan Titchmarsh, who he hopes to meet one day. The altar where they discuss the Harvest frog and the Harvest man, the organ console where Delilah plays the hymns in such a diabolical manner, it’s perfect! It is a place we’ve watched tons of times and it was brill to BE there.

We heard voices behind us and realised we were not alone. A group of women were sitting in the area just outside the main sanctuary. For a second I hoped it might be Sue Johnston and Jennifer Saunders. But it wasn’t. No disappointment though, these were the real ladies of the real church, in this real town.

It was their fortnightly coffee morning and we were invited to join them. They told us all about when the show was being filmed. Who were the really friendly actors, and who were the ones who kept their distance. Some of the ladies had very briefly been in the show as passers by. We had tea, cake and a great chat with these smashing women. They gave us directions to the house that was used as the home of Sue Johnston’s character, and we had a sneaky peak there too. I’ll never look at the programme in quite the same way again. I think I love it more, now that I’ve met some of its heart.

From there, we went to Bath, to do some Austen spotting. I have been immersing myself in all things Jane Austen. I’ve come to the conclusion that, although I would love to think of myself as Anne Elliot, mature steady woman who stays true to her course and finds contentment in the face of all sorts of adversity. I’m actually more like Elizabeth Bennett’s mother; neurotic, dramatic, never out of arms reach of the smelling salts.

But that’s by the by.

Our few days in Bath were wonderful. Now that I’m able to walk more than 5 mins without needing a rest, I was glad to pound the pavements of Bath and take it all in. I got to see ‘Royal Crescent’. We did the tour of ‘No. 1 Royal Crescent.’ In 2006 it ‘was acquired by the  Brownsword Charitable Foundation specifically with the intention of making it available to the Bath Preservation Trust.’ Click here for more details on its history. It is an amazing house with many artefacts from the Regency period on display. The people that Jane Austen wrote about were the people who lived in these houses. Again I experienced the blend of fact and fiction as I wandered around the house, and the streets.

 

I feel blessed to have experienced some of the reality that frames the ‘fiction’ I love some much. They say that every story is based on something or someone real. Jam & Jerusalem, and Jane’s stories are no exception 🙂

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