Saturday, 15 October 2011

RNA's Regency Reader's Day - A Regency Celebration

A while ago I posted about a Regency day that was being held by the Romantic Novelists Association at the Royal Overseas League. When I wrote that post I wasn't considering going as I though it was mainly for authors. But after emailing the organisers, who told me it was for anyone with a love of the Regency or novels set during that era, I decided to attend. The ROL is just off St. James's Street in Piccadilly, and is an old Victorian gentleman's club (which now allows women to be members), and I have to admit that the venue was part of the draw. Many of the London clubs have beautiful interiors and I really wanted to see inside the ROL. So I bought my ticket and started getting suitably excited about a day of wearing Regency clothing and talking about Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.

The day before the event I received an email from the guy who runs the Napoleonic Re-enactment group that I am a member of. Apparently the RNA wanted re-enactors at the event, and he was wondering if I wanted to be put down for it. Going as a re-enactor would have meant attending for free, but I couldn't get a refund for my ticket!! Typical!! Always happens that way. Oh well I was determined to enjoy the day.

I arrived at the ROL just after 9 am (carrying my Regency outfit - I didn't have the courage to wear it on the tube or through the streets of London by myself!) On arrival I was given a beautifully bright pink bag containing some freebies (a few Austen-inspired books, chocolate, a magazine) which was lovely.

The first event of the day was a discussion on Jane Austen between four authors. Very interesting.

We then had a tea break, and I changed into my costume ( I wore my white gown with my green spencer).

After the break the author Dr. Jennifer Kloester gave a talk on Georgette Heyer. She is very knowledgeable on Heyer and her talk really was fascinating, especially hearing about who she met and what she uncovered whilst doing the research for her books - she has written a biography on Heyer and also 'Georgette Heyer's Regency World'.  I mentioned in a previous post that my parents had given me a copy of 'Georgette Heyer's Regency World', it took me a while to read but I did really enjoyed it, it was slightly repetitive at times though. Luckily I had brought it with me as I was still reading it so Jennifer kindly signed it for me. :) I was really annoyed that I hadn't thought to bring any of the other regency-style books that I have as there were quite a few authors of Austen spin-off/Regency style novels at the event. Sadly I didn't have the courage to talk to any of the either. Oh well.

Next was the dancing. It was run by the guy who runs the 19th century dance club I go to, and was great fun. I didn't manage to take a photo of the class as, like Lydia Bennet, I danced every dance :).

Exhausted after the dancing, I was very thankful that next on the agenda was lunch - Not amazing but enough to stem the tide of hunger.

I then decided to attend the Parlour Games event (there were times throughout the day when events were running at the same time). Apart from me, only 2 other people joined in on the games, so there were four of us including the lady teaching the games. Despite the lack of attendees we had great fun playing Vight-et-Un and Spillikins (pick-up-sticks, which I never knew was really called spillikins!)

We were given chocolates to munch on whilst playing. They were very yummy and I loved the quote on the side of the chocolate box!!! lol :)

The next event was optional and an added expense - Afternoon tea at the East India Club (another London club). I had originally decided not to go to this, but on the day they had spare tickets so I bought one. Well what can I say. The tickets were £18 each and it was not worth it.

We walked over to the EIC with our military escort, it was hilarious seeing people's faces as we strolled along in our costumes :).  The tea was being held in the room where the Prince Regent was eating when he received the Waterloo Dispatch which stated that Napoleon had been defeated. It was a wonderful place to have tea but sadly the tea itself was pretty dismal. All we got was one tiny pastry and a cup of tea!! 

However it wasn't all bad as we were given a wonderful dramatization of the Regent receiving the dispatch and the ball in Belgium that was held by Lady Richmond before the battle started.

A rather blurry photo of one of the authors who took part in the dramatization. For once the resulting image wasn't the fault of my camera. The guy wouldn't stand still long enough for me to take a non-blurry photo!!

The view from the EIC

The room in the EIC where we had tea - the Waterloo Room

Tis pretty I must admit :)

I took a few sneaky photos of other rooms in the IEC

School shields line the walls of the stairs. 

The library (taken quickly through the glass panel in the door, as we weren't allowed to take photos outside of the Waterloo Room)

After tea we walked back to the club for the final event of the day

One of the soldiers

And another - Matt, he is in my re-enactment group and was the only member who turned up, apart from myself.

The final event was a Q&A with 4 authors and a man who works for Naxos (the audiobook company that has put all of Austen's novels on cd). The theme was Jane Austen and the influence behind the storylines and characters in her novels, and also the novels that her work has inspired. It was interesting and one of the most exciting things that I learnt was that many a screen writer and film producer has tried to adapt one of Georgette Heyer's novels into a film, but has been be unable to obtain the funding. As a Heyer fan I was very excited to hear this, as though none of the projects had worked so far, it meant that people were trying to adapt her novels, and that one day one or two might find their way to the screen.

All in all, despite the few disappointments, it was a lovely day and I really enjoyed myself. :)

1 comment:

  1. How amazing! As always, I'm friendly-envious that you are able to attend such spiffy events! I read Jennifer's book too.. and liked it. Although I agree -- some parts were repetitive, but on the whole it was nice to know a lot more about one of my very favourite authoresses!

    Isn't it sad that Heyer's novels are so difficult to translate into film? I suppose it's because not a lot of people know about her work, but imagine how a movie could change that around! Too bad the promise of money is such a big influence on whether things are approved for production or not. I better stop my little rant now -- as always, I love your posts! ♥