Usually my birthday gift from André is a road-trip to a place of my choice. This almost always involves literary locations, mostly connected to Austen. We did Winchester, Steventon and Chawton one year, Bath in another and this year I dragged him to Lyme Regis to see the famous steps.

PS: Dear American readers, I know you’re going through a heat-wave so feel free to send some our way. Several countries in Easter and Northern Europe are having a terrible summer. Today in lovely Brussels: 14C/57F.

I jumped, but alas, just like Louisa Musgrove, there was no Captain Wentworth to catch me.

Inside The Booklovers B&B in Lyme Regis. We had a lovely time there. It stands in the same place as the Hiscott’s Boarding House, where Austen stayed when she visited in 1804. Afterwards the Three Cups Hotel replaced it and welcomed Tennyson, Longfellow, Belloc, G.K. Chesterton and Tolkien before it burned down in 1844.

Family photos on the piano at Greenway, Agatha Christie’s beautiful holiday home.

Plaque at Exeter’s Cathedral: “To the memory of Sarah Price Clarke (…). Her mind possessed an energy which does not often mark the female character.” Priceless!

Lovely St. Ives.

… and finally, the ruins of Tintagel Castle, the mythical birthplace of the mythical Arthur Pendragon.