Jane Austen Birthday Party: Croquet

So as you know if you have been following my page, I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a Jane Austen Garden Tea Party.

Party time!

Some of you might be wondering why I am so extensively going through all the party planning and it was because I had been planning to have this two years ago, in my last year of being a Jane Austen heroine (Anne Elliot) but life got in the way so I decided to wait and now I’ve finally been able to have it.

So far we have gone over invitations, decorations, prizes, and how to make your own piñata, etc. Now I ended up having four games, but I know not everyone is interested in being a part of games-and I had four little girls who needed something to occupy themselves with. So I started thinking what else could I offer my party guests?

So the first thing I had planned was paper fan making. I thought the young girls would have a lot of fun making those, plus if the adults got overheated they could make one too.

But that would only occupy them for a short while. So I started thinking of something else to have…

Hmm…?

So one thing I really, really wanted to have at my party was croquet. I love croquet, but I wanted it not only because I like the game but because I wanted to be like Austenland.

Ah, if only I had JJ Feild: Mr. Tilney or Mr. Nobley. I’d settle for any of them.

I’m all about him!

So I started looking and I couldn’t find any croquet sets that weren’t costing an arm and a leg. I searched everywhere, every site I could think of and just gave up. I thought I would just have to find something else to do.

Sigh

But then in April, about two weeks before my party was planned, I went antiquing with some friends. I found some teacups, mugs, and other things in this amazing multilevel store. As I went to go outside to the shed, I spotted something sad, forlorn, dirty, and ignored.

I’m not sure how old it is, but it is certainly vintage. I got the set (minus the arches) for $30

This set needed a lot of work, someone had not been kind and left them out in the elements: they were dirty, full of cobwebs, the paint was peeling, etc. And of course after I purchased this set every site then had full new croquet sets for sale.

Oh well…

So I set to work taking care of it. I had to clean everything, then sanitize it, paint it, and in the end varnish it. I had a lot of help, which was good, as this was tiring.

From The Iron Giant

And I think it came out pretty great.

The official rules of croquet were published in the mid 1800s, but people had been playing long before that.

For those who don’t know, the game of croquet is a race of hitting balls on the lawn. Similar to golf, one must hit their ball but through an arch or hoop to score points, then tap the pole at the end to win.

  1. The role of play is on the wickets and the peg, you must play in the order of the colors.
  2. The first player gets one strike and whacks their ball in an effort to get it through the hoop.
  3. Each player gets one shot and they are played in turn (unless extra shots get earned).
  4. Running a hoop‘ (passing through the correct hoop) gains one extra shot. Hitting one of the other three balls (a roquet) gets you two extra shots as well.
  5. You can hit another ball (make a roquet) and earn two extra shots. In this case the first of those (the croquet stroke) must get played by placing it in contact with the roquet ball. To do that, you move your ball and place it anywhere in contact with the ball that got hit. The roqueted ball must move or shake with the next strike.
  6. Balls can get struck off the lawn. How I’ve always played is like golf, you hit where it lands. But official UK rules say that if a ball is knocked out of bounds, you may move it one meter inside the lawn.
  7. Players must hit each ball clean and without moving any other balls, hoops, or pegs. The best croquet strategy is to strike the balls with the face of the mallet to make a clean shot. (Or as seen in the Austenland video, hold you ball with your foot, and smack it into another to move them out of the way.)
  8. The ball gets removed from play once it hits the peg at the end of the course.
  9. You score one point for getting the ball through each hoop. You get an extra point for hitting the peg. First person or team to do so, wins!

We played with it, the young girls did as well, and we all had a great time.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Decorations

For more Jane Austen games, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

So today marks the birthday of a very important writer:

I first was introduced to Agatha Christie when my nana noticed me reading Sherlock Holmes. As she was a lover of mysteries herself, she gave me a few Agatha Christie novels and then that was it, I was an utter fangirl.

Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing, although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter.

This year I have been honoring her and her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, turning 100-by reviewing a mystery every month. But as I was rereading The Tuesday Club Murders AKA The Thirteen Problems and it got me thinking about some similarities to Jane Austen.

What??

I know you are probably confused, but hear me out.

Mystery, you say?

So one of Agatha Christie’s detectives is Miss Marple. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster aunt, always watching and observing. People overlook her because of her age, her inexperience (she has lived in a small village), but she is extremely intelligent and has amazing powers of deductions.

When asked how she knows and can figure these things out, she always remarks it is because of her village life. She shares that being in the village she has learned a lot about human nature, and as people are alike all over there is always someone from “back home” that reminds her of others and the clue that reveals the ending-the solution.

In a lot of her books, not just Miss Marple, we see how the characters, their motives, their reasons for why they do what they do are relatable-often many characters you find yourself sympathetic. Agatha Christie knew how to write people so that you connect to them.

Reading that made me think of Jane Austen immediately. Here is a woman who spent a majority of her life in a small village, but yet with what most people would say are limited experiences and a lack of human knowledge-she was still able to write characters that are relatable to people all over the world, 200 years later.

I mean that is one thing I love about her books, how the stories and characters transcend Regency England so that the motifs, personalities, and points raised in her books are still relevant today. Who hasn’t meet a social climber like Caroline Bingley? A schemer like Lucy Steele?  Manipulators like Isabella and John Thorpe? Had a regret like Anne Elliot? Met a flirt like Henry Crawford? Known a person who wanted so badly to have a friend they did whatever someone asked of them like Harriet Smith? Haven’t we all been accused of being an ice queen like Elinor Dashwood? Let our heart rule our actions like Marianne Dashwood? Misjudged someone and actively disliked a person when they insulted you like Elizabeth Bennet? Had to make a choice whether to stick to what we believe in, even if it meant losing something you hold dear like Fanny Price? Disliked someone because they were better than you at some things like Emma Woodhouse? Let our imagination run away with us like Catherine Morland? Lost someone we love like Anne Elliot?

I mean it is just so easy to connect to her work.

If you haven’t read Agatha Christie, I definitely recommend checking her works out, and of course:

For more Agatha Christie, go to I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

For more Jane Austen, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more comparison posts, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

For more mysteries, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Cat Burglar Black

The Very Busy Blogger

 

So sorry about my lack of posting. I feel like I have had no time at all.

It seems as if all my spare time is taken up with work,

Getting everything together for Summer Reading:

And having to be flexible when things don’t go according to plan:

Maintaing friendships:

I had some family visiting, they left, and now more family is visiting:

And every weekend it seems like it is someone’s birthday or birthday party.

Yay!

So I’m just a bit stretched right now, if only there was more time in the day.

So I will try to keep to regular posting, but more than likely I will have to slow down and take some time off.

I know it will be hard for you all:

But I won’t be gone forever. I have my annual anniversary post tomorrow, and then will be posting next week.

But then in August I will have to take another week off for:

After that, things should go back to normal.

I Have Been Remiss, My Deepest Apologies to The Darcy Monologues

So as you know I have just reviewed Part I of The Darcy Monologues.

I decided to look over the review that I posted and I was shocked:

I had failed to share how much I enjoyed this first part of the novel.

I mean when I first heard of this collection, I thought it sounded interesting:

It is a good idea.

Then I started reading it, only planning on looking at a few stories, but finding it hard to stop!

So I don’t know why I was so reserved in my review. I want to apologize to all you authors and editors for being so stingy in my praise .

I thought over why I reacted in such a way and have come up with four explanations:

1) I’ve been rereading Emma lately. Maybe subconsciously I took a card from Mr. Knightley’s deck.

2) This weekend was not only Mother’s Day, but a family member’s birthday; along with being a weekend that my niece stayed over. In my rush to get it posted in time, I could have just put up my notes leaving the “heart” out of it.

3) I’m highly allergic to scents and at work someone had sprayed something that gave me a bad allergic reaction, causing me to feel bad the rest of the day. I could have just been out of it.

4) Whatever air freshener they were spraying caused a chemical reaction that changed me from Moreland to Miss Snide.

Beware of the Snide!

Out of all of them I think the fault lies anywhere from 2-4, especially four. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking caused it.

But joking aside, you know that I always am honest on this blog. Maybe I fudge names of friends and family or where I live, to protect my anonymity, but when I post a review I post how I really feel. And I feel that this first part, as I haven’t posted on the second just yet, is amazing. 

Fantastic!

I’m serious! Yes they might make alterations to the story, and maybe they chose paths I wouldn’t have gone down. But none of that takes away from the amazing work that these authors did. I enjoyed every one of them as each presented the Darcy we all love in a different view. You guys did a wonderful job.

This first part is something EVERY Jane Austen fan, Pride and Prejudice fan, or Darcy fan should read. You NEED to check this out.

In fact, I am going back to update my post to make sure it reflects the enjoyment I felt in reading it.

But will I love the second half, Elizabeth and Darcy traveling throughout time?

It is hard enough to take a story and bring something new to it in the time period, let alone trying to keep the story while transporting it to other times. You have to know your history, try to navigate the issues of the day, keep old constraints relevant in a different world, decide how much to keep of the original tale, etc.

You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

And don’t forget to check this book out for yourself!

You Are a Horrible Cook, But I Will Eat What You Prepare Anyway: Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

Most Romantic Moment #4

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Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

So Bridget Jones’s Diary is a film I didn’t really like, click here to read why, but had a few romantic moments that I enjoyed, and here is one of them

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Bridget Jones works at a publishing company and has the hots for her boss, Daniel Cleaver, (Hugh Grant). She is unhappy with her weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, and singleness.

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Her mother tries to throw her together with recently divorced barrister, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), but Bridget thinks he is a snob and gets offended at something he says.

Those guys

That guy

After a really embarrassing night she goes off with Daniel Cleaver. The two begin dating and he tells her that he had his heart broken when Mark, his best friend, took off with his fiancé.

What jerks

What a jerk

Also to complicate Bridget’s life, her mother has split up from her father dating someone new.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

Bridget is excited to show off her boyfriend, but Daniel is called away; and it turns out he’s been cheating on her the whole time.

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Back to the ice-cream

Bridget leaves her job and takes another where she is mostly boobs and butt instead of a serious reporter.

Those guys

Those guys

As she is trying to change her life, Mark says he loves her out of the blue.

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Will Bridget be able to navigate her life through the twists others toss her way?

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Most Romantic Moment: I Will Help You Cook and Eat What You Make

So Bridget has this bright idea to cook her birthday dinner, but unfortunately has no clue how to cook.

I don't know what to do

Mark stops by, out of the blue, and when he sees her uncertainty and lack of skill goes right into the kitchen to assist her.

bluefoodbridgetjonesdiary

With a voice like Bing Crosby's who could blame them?

A guy who cooks?

But the most romantic part of this, is not only does he get in the kitchen and assist in the cooking; showing he is not a snob, stiff, and destroying the image Bridget cooked up in her mind: but he actually eats the slop that Bridget eats.

What?!

What?!

That’s real love right there, because that food looked and probably tasted disgusting. But Mark didn’t let that get in the way. He loved her so much he overcame such obstacles.

Aw!

Aw!

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For the previous post, go to I Will Face My Fears for You: Back to the Future (1985)

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For more on Bridget Jones’ Diary, go to Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

For more Colin Firth, go to When I Get Into a Novel

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Is Mr. Darcy Out There?

For more based on Jane Austen, go to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies