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You may depend upon its being in careful hands.  
(Letter from Jane Austen to John Murray, Nov. 23, 1815)

Although Jane Austen's birthday is on December 16, we now celebrate in January, when we all appreciate a party.

Tea on the High Seas - 2017 January 21

On a beautiful sunny day, Calgary JASNA members gathered together for "Tea on the High Seas" in celebration of Jane's birthday and the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Persuasion. The afternoon was filled with delicious food, games, raffles, and lots of laughter.

We started off with tea, sandwiches and scones

After everyone had been filled to the brim, we enjoyed a trivia game called "Race to Captain Wentworth" in which each table was required to correctly answer the trivia questions based on Persuasion and Jane Austen's life.

A correct answer put the wind in the sails of the boat on the game board and would move that table's boat forward by one space.

Near the end of the game, we were advised that one of the boats apparently capsized and sunk, much to the amusement of all. After the game we were treated to some raffle prizes, and some even got lucky enough to have their pick at two raffle prizes!

Sprigged Muslin flawlessly performed three navel-themed dances that looked very intricate. Everyone was invited to join in for the customary group dance which was, as usual, great fun! A special thank you to Ruth and to Sprigged Muslin for their exemplary dancing and entertainment!

The perfect afternoon was capped off by delicious cake and a toast to Jane. A spectacular afternoon was enjoyed by all. Thank you to everyone who donated their time and/or raffle items to make for yet another successful annual tea.

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Jane Austen Birthday Tea - 2016 January 16

We had another successful celebration of Jane with the annual JASNA Tea. The room was done up beautifully with flowers on the tables and our beautiful collection of tea cups and saucers. The mood was set with some wonderful period music put together by Deirdre. Ann had put together some display posters of past JASNA Calgary teas which were enjoyed by everyone prior to taking our seats.

The tea kicked off with some kind words from Carole thanking all who had contributed to the tea. Anne Marie announced that she would be organizing the Calgary viewing of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which JASNA members had been invited to attend. Judith discussed additions to the library and announced that May Lee would be taking over the library. Thank you Judith for all of your years of work with the library, and good luck to May Lee!!

We were then invited to enjoy the delicious food brought by Ann and Carole. This year, as a change of pace, two buffet lines were set up and each table was asked to send a representative from their table up to the food tables to collect the trays sandwiches and scones and the tea pots. This meant that all were able to enjoy the tea from beginning to end. The room was filled with laughter and happy conversation while we all enjoyed our tea.

Following tea, the group was treated to the first half of the raffle draws. Thank you to all who contributed prizes for the raffles. It was wonderful that so many were able to take home a prize. Next was the toast to Jane Austen. Happy birthday to the woman who has brought us all together with her style and wit!

The next activity was a game which Michelle cleverly titled "A Truth Universally Acknowledged". The game had members selected at random come to the front to read several lines about Jane Austen from five different historical figures, and the rest of the audience was asked to guess which lines were an actual quote from the historical figure. The audience proved too clever for the game and in the end there was a six-way tie! A draw was made to select two tables to take home prizes of tempting homemade chocolate fudge made by Lindsey.

After the game, we enjoyed some delicious birthday cake and then were treated to a fantastic performance by Sprigged Muslin. It was incredible to see all of the steps and intricacies of the dances. Well done Sprigged Muslin! Finally, all were asked to stand up and participate in a group dance and nearly everyone took part. Things started off not too badly but on a second try, the dance rapidly deteriorated and by the time the dance was finished nearly all of the participants were bunched up and at various stages of the dance, all in fits of laughter. It was so much fun!

After the game, we enjoyed some delicious birthday cake and then were treated to a fantastic performance by Sprigged Muslin. It was incredible to see all of the steps and intricacies of the dances. Well done Sprigged Muslin! Finally, all were asked to stand up and participate in a group dance and nearly everyone took part. Things started off not too badly but on a second try, the dance rapidly deteriorated and by the time the dance was finished nearly all of the participants were bunched up and at various stages of the dance, all in fits of laughter. It was so much fun!

It was a wonderful afternoon enjoyed by all. All the guests can be seen on the Photos page. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the tea this year, with a special thank you to Ann and Carole for all of their efforts.

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Tea With Mr Darcy on 2015 January 17

What could be better for a Jane Austen aficionado than tea with Mr. Darcy? Absolutely nothing! JASNA Calgary guests and members gathered at Sunalta Community Centre on January 17 to find Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy waiting to greet them. The celebrities allowed a personal portrait, complete with a selection of fashionable hats. Guests were then invited to purchase raffle tickets and peruse the final plans for the first formal dinner given at Pemberley after the Darcy marriage. Once all guests were assembled, they were invited to partake of various delights including miniature scones, an assortment of cheeses, pickled cucumbers and onions, Leslie's decadent bread pudding, and steaming cups of fragrant tea. Scattered amongst lively conversation, were readings by Sir Walter Scott, Samuel Johnson, and Jane Austen at fifteen on the History of England.

After tea, Sprigged Muslin delighted all in attendance with their dancing, which is of course, "one of the first refinements of polished societies." They demonstrated the intricacies of Mutual Love, Mr. Beveridge's Maggot, The Alderman's Hat, and the Durham Reel. Interested participants were then invited to join in and learn the Reel. There were a pleasing number of couples allowing for three full sets on the dance floor.

The tea ended all too quickly, and we must all wait another year for the most excellent celebration. Many thanks to all who helped make this day possible.

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Birthday Tea - 2014 January 18

The JASNA Calgary Jane Austen Tea of 2014 was both a culinary and literary feast. The tea, which was to celebrate what would be Jane Austen's 239th birthday, took place on January 18 at the Sunalta Community Centre. The hall was set with tables filled with "doyleys", china tea cups, paper fortune tellers, sandwiches, jelly and scones. The welcome table boasted a plethora of Jane Austen-themed door prizes, and a "Pleasant Diversion" acrostic puzzle beckoned from the wall.

This year, we were treated to live music by a string quartet from the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra. If there is a better way to set the scene of any Jane Austen event, what could it be?

For light readings, Amber selected literature mentioned in Austen's books and letters. Elizabeth Marshall read from Arabella by Rev. George Crabbe, whom Austen once fancied she might marry. The poem tells the story of Arabella, the only daughter of a town doctor and may have inspired parts of Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Judith Umbach recited "The Hare and Many Friends" which is mentioned in Northanger Abbey. Bob Scace orated "Highland Mary" by Robert Burns. Ann Craig delivered "The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk" by William Cowper. Finally Catherine Gardner read from Ann Radcliffe's gothic tale The Mysteries of Udolpho, which is frequently referred to in Northanger Abbey.

An array of generously donated door prizes were awarded to happy tea drinkers.

Between readings, we were treated to a variety of sandwiches, scones and tea. After a toast to Jane, we finished by indulging with a proper birthday cake. After tea, healthful dance instruction was offered by the Sprigged Muslin dance group, when a good number of those present learned two Regency dances with some success! After such an enjoyable afternoon, one is only left asking, how much longer until we do it all again?

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Jane's Birthday Tea - 2013 January 19

China cups, ribbons and fresh flowers adorned the elegantly laid tables at the annual JASNA Calgary tea on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Once again, the committee put on a lovely affair with scintillating talks, an Austen-filled raffle, and Regency dancing. Congratulations to Amber, Ann, Penny and Leslie!
Before tea, Judith guided us through an online walking tour of Jane's Bath. She began at the Austen home from 1801 - 1805 at #4 Sydney Place. Judith included pictures of her own tour taken in 2008 to accompany the version available on Google maps. The tour then continued through Henrietta Park, across Cleveland Bridge, past St. Swithin's Church where the Rev. George Austen is buried, through the Assembly rooms, the Circus, Royal Crescent, Marlborough Apartments, the Gravel Walk, Queen's Square and what is now Jane Austen Centre.
Many of these spots are mentioned in Austen's novels, especially Persuasion. Judith encouraged us to take the walk ourselves either online or in person and recommended that if one does visit Bath, that they ask people they meet for their stories, rather than relying on brochures.
This was a perfect partner to the talk given by Catherine Gardner on "Dance Mania" during Georgian times. Jane Austen herself was very fond of dancing. There were three types of dances at the time, the Assembly dances being the most elaborate, then the country dances given in rooms attached to country inns followed by the much smaller private dances given in people's homes.
Assemblies of this sort were very important in the courtship rituals of the time. It was an opportunity for men and women to mingle while still under the watchful eyes of the single women's mothers. An interesting detail of these Assemblies, especially in Bath, was the importance of the Master of Ceremonies. These men created the rules of etiquette involved in conducting assemblies. One had to obtain tickets and the approval of the M.C. in order to gain admittance to assemblies and to meet the right people. One of the many rules was that brides and strangers were given first choice at dances in order to keep the young men from dancing with only the prettiest women.
After breaking for a marvelous tea including crisp scones and dainty sandwiches, raffle prizes and birthday cake, we were entertained by the Sprigged Muslin dancing group. First, the dancers presented a gift, A Dance with Jane Austen, to Dance Mistress Ruth, honouring her cheerful and dedicated teaching. Then the group performed the Alderman's Hat, Mr. Beveridge's Maggot, and Croft House. They invited all tea-goers to join in the Circassian Circle. It was truly a delightful way to spend a January afternoon.

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Murder of a Matchmaker - A Jane Austen Murder Mystery Tea
21 Jan 2012

The Dove's Nest in Glenmore Landing was the perfect backdrop for this year's Jane Austen Tea and the mystery game, "Murder of a Matchmaker". The pretty rooms were abuzz with gossip, slander and accusations. Between courses of finger sandwiches, scones, pie and endless cups of tea, members of the Jane Austen Society of Calgary became characters from Austen's books. Miss Bates, Jane Fairfax, Fanny Price, Isabella Thorpe, Lucy Steele and Mrs. Bennet - all had ample opportunity and motive for killing Miss Anne A. Juste, a well-known matchmaker in Highbury, England. The charming mystery was written by Samantha Adkins, and the event was planned by program co-ordinator, Helen Gardner.

Those in attendance were also delighted with props made by a team of Regency sewers. Together they created eight fetching bonnets and eight sweet lace caps which brought out the Miss Bates and Mrs. Bennet characters seated at our tables.

Linda Payne gave a marvellous tribute to Jane on her 236th birthday and several lucky members won Austen-related door prizes.

Happy Birthday, dear Jane, we only wish you could have joined us.

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Tea 2011

Our splendid tea this year featured our new collection of pink roses teacups and saucers.

Rose tea cups Rose tea set

We enjoyed sipping and noshing on chocolate trifle, fancies and fruit bread.

Enjoying conversation Enjoying tea

Tom Barton proposed the toast to Jane Austen, reminding us of her influence. Later excited Janeites won their favourites in the raffle. Pat Barton entertained us and enlightened us with her presentation, "Dancing Through the Years".

Tom Barton proposing toast Drawing raffle tickets Pat Barton presenting

As part of Pat's presentation, Sprigged Muslin demonstrated dances from medieval times to Austen's Regency era.

Gathering Peascods dance Minuet dance

Sadly for us, Pat is retiring as our dancing instructor, but happily we welcome Ruth Steven as our new dancing instructor. The event concluded with our congratulations and thanks to Pat Barton.

Gathering Peascods dance Minuet dance

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Tea 2010

A reporter from FastForward covered our event - a first for Jasna Calgary. Our tea was as fabulous as the special invitation prepared this year.
Birthday Invitation You are cordially invited to an afternoon of tea and entertainment at the Pump Room in celebration of Jane Austen's birthday (costume optional).

Please join us on January 16, 2010 at the Good Companions Activity Centre 2609 19 Ave SW.

Tea and cheese biscuits were followed by delicious trifle

Enjoying a cup of tea Trifle

After lots of conversation amongst our tea organizers, Leslie and Margaret, and all the guests,
Emma took our imaginations to the Bath Spa.

Tea organizers Leslie and Margaret 2010 Guests Enjoying conversation Emma

Reid Spencer and Bruce Petherick presented musical entertainment with information and songs gleaned from the Chawton House library.

Reid Spencer singing, Bruce Petherick on piano Playing piano with four hands

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Tea 2009

For entertainment beyond good conversation, we presented the one-act play “Ask Miss Austen”, written by member Elizabeth Marshall. In it, Jane Austen gives advice to modern people with “relationship problems”, using the experiences of the characters in her novels.

Enjoying a cup of tea Guests come for tea

Play's author Elizabeth Marshal Reader giving advice from Jane

Tea 2006

We enjoyed a local speaker and a special cake celebrating Jane Austen's birthday.

Birthday Celebration

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