A Day of Food, Rest, and Jane Austen

Last Saturday was a busy day filled with a movie—Rashomon—in Waterville; grocery shopping; and then a night out with friends at the fabulous Van der Brew in our very own town of Winthrop. (I wrote about Van der Brew a couple of weeks ago.)

On Sunday, it rained, which is most unwelcome in Maine in January. It could have been worse, of course. We could have gotten freezing rain. Nevertheless, what we expect this time of year is snow. However, with a fire in our wood furnace, Clif and I were snug and warm, and with no pressing engagements, we more or less took the day off.

We started out with egg and toast as we watched the news.

After the news, we moved on to Sanditon, a BBC production of Jane Austen’s last unfinished novel. Through Maine Public Television, we were able to stream three episodes. Although Jane Austen had only written eleven chapters of Sanditon before she became too ill to continue, it was clear that her focus was centered on how commerce was changing England’s culture. Some of Sanditon feels contemporary as certain characters fret about what we would now call venture capital. In addition, there is a West Indian heiress—Miss Lambe—whose mother was a slave. These, apparently, are all elements in the book, and at first the show is relatively faithful to the story.

But then the writer, Andrew Davies, decided to tart things up for a modern audience and throw other elements into the mix. (I won’t give any spoilers in case some of you haven’t watched the show but are planning to later on.) By doing this, Davies has departed from the spirit of Jane Austen, and it feels disrespectful to me. Other choices are downright ludicrous. I do like the actors who play the main characters—Charlotte and Sydney—but I am not sure if this will be enough to keep me watching.

If any of you are following the series, please chime in and let me know what you think.

After watching Sanditon, we were in the mood for something sweet, and decided to make some chocolate-covered peanuts. Very tasty, if I do say so myself.

Now with all these treats, how could we end the day? Why, with veggie sausages and Clif’s homemade pancakes. To borrow from my Yankee husband: Pretty darned good.

After a busy week of working on various projects, it was good to take a whole day off to rest. In Maine, winter is the perfect time to do this. Once spring comes, we will busy working outside, but for now setting aside one day a week to relax feels very good indeed.



47 thoughts on “A Day of Food, Rest, and Jane Austen”

  1. I, too think it is disrespectful to change the writing and the story of a famous writer. I have a friend who does not go to see any new Jane Austen movie unless she hears they have stuck to Jane Austen’s story.
    Enjoy your day off a week! πŸ‘πŸ‘Œ

    1. I’m such a sucker for Jane Austen that I will watch most any adaptation. Same for Shakespeare. Sometimes I’m pleased, and sometimes I grumble. A lot.

  2. What a lovely restful day Laurie. I really did not like the Sanditon production at all. I watched the first one and haven’t watched any since. It felt artificial and made on the cheap to me.

    1. It was restful. To me, it did not honor the spirit of Jane Austen. What a shame as Andrew Davies, the writer, did such a splendid job with “Pride and Prejudice.” Who could ever forget Collin Firth as Mr. Darcy? πŸ˜‰

  3. Pretty sure I read that partial book years ago, when was reading everything Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. So good to return to when you realize you may have had enough of writing by men lately. My brother in law was actually the one who put me on to Virginia Woolf’s β€œA Room of Her Own, β€œ and I felt it as a revelation.

  4. I have not downloaded Sanditon for the very reason that it was unfinished and who knew what someone would do to finish it. Of course, it might have been lovely and true, but somehow I doubted that. Glad you could have a nice day off and lots of good eats!

      1. I can count on the fingers of one hand the books to movies that I liked. Sometimes I think they can be true by picking a thread to follow, as in A River Runs Through it. Another I couldn’t imagine how it could be true to the book was The English Patient–and they even tried to gloss over the fact the English patient was a Nazi–but somehow, the movie makers captured it. And then there’s the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility. That’s all I can think of at the moment…

  5. I used to love a good blizzard when I was a kid, since it meant cookies and hot cocoa and books. Now, a really good stretch of rain can do that. It has to be ‘real’ rain, though. If it’s only gloomy and misty, I’m constantly fussing over whether I can or can’t go to work. If it’s pouring, there’s no question, and real laziness can set in!

    Those pancakes look yummy as can be.

    1. I’m beginning to think that one lazy day a week is very beneficial. Of course, when the weather is warm and nice, lazy days are forgotten. Those pancakes are indeed yummy as can be. The leftovers are toasted and then spread with peanut butter.

  6. I opted not to watch Sanditon on PBS, because I would like to read it first, and once I see a movie, I can’t get the pictures out of mind. Based on your assessment, I made the right choice for more than one reason!

  7. We all need a lazy day sometimes and a wet Sunday is the perfect excuse. it was a shame the series wasn’t as good as you had hoped but the food looks yummy!

  8. A day off is always good, and one that includes all that good food is even better. πŸ™‚ Do you heat your entire house with the wood furnace? If so, how many cords of wood does it normally take for an average winter? I’ve had friends who’ve had wood furnaces but never thought to ask them the logistics of using wood.

    1. We use a variety of ways to heat the house, with wood being one of them. We go through about four cords, but we also use electric heat and bit of gas. Hope to get heat pumps sometime soon. But we will always use wood as that does the best job of keeping the whole house cozy.

  9. I love our log burner (which I’m assuming is the same as a wood furnace) – it makes the house feel so cosy and, as a bonus, heats up our bedroom which is above it so no need for any other heating in there either.
    I can’t comment on Sanditon as I didn’t watch it but I’m prepared to believe Andrew Davis took it and ran with it in a direction perhaps not intended by Jane Austen.

    1. A log burner is similar to a wood furnace, I think. Our furnace is big and is in the basement, and with the help of blowers, heats the whole house. Oh, so true about Sanditon, Andrew Davies, and Jane Austen.

  10. A winter’s day off in the warm with good food is unbeatable!
    I didn’t bother to watch any of that production of Sanditon as I had read a short article about the making of the series and was put off it completely! Until recently, I had always considered Andrew Davies a reliable adapter of the classics and was very disappointed that he could have departed so far from what Jane Austen would have written. I cannot see the harm in using an unfinished story or novel and finishing it, as long as the writing is in keeping with the original author’s style or views and/or it is also set in the same period in history. I remember the Patricia Rozema adaptation of Mansfield Park which was definitely not what Austen wrote and had the characters all behaving in a most unlikely way! https://austenauthors.net/a-look-at-the-film-adaptation-of-mansfield-park-1999/
    The ‘Billie Piper as Fanny in Mansfield Park’ adaptation (can’t remember when that was) was also a little odd and had her behaving in a most strident way, which Fanny could never have done. Why adapters feel the need to change so much, I cannot understand. My mother remembers listening to a programme in which the crime novelist P D James was being interviewed and was asked if she was ever upset at how her books were changed when they were adapted. She answered that she was comforted by the knowledge that her books had not been changed; what she had written and published under her name would always be the same and therefore whatever was done for the cinema or for TV could not hurt her. What a sensible woman!

    1. I,too, thought that Andrew Davies was a reliable adapter of classics. But with Sanditon, it seems as though he went off the rails. Billie Piper was terrible as Fanny! What. The. Heck. I’m with you all the way when you write, “Why adapters feel the need to change so much, I cannot understand.” Hear, hear!

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