Austen Only is a year old today.  Goodness, how time  flies by when you are having fun! As many of you are aware, I’ve been writing about Jane Austen’s life and times on the internet for over ten years now and it was a very big step to set up on my own, publishing my own endeavour.  I’m so glad however that that very frightening initial step was taken for I’ve really enjoyed sharing my vision of Jane with you all over the past 12 months.

So …what have we done over the past year?  Well, a glance at my site statistics tell me that you have most enjoyed virtually icing an authentic Georgian Twelfth Night Cake, virtually visiting Carlton House in the company of   Jane Austen and the Reverend Stanier Clarke, visiting Jane Austen’s Southampton, ogling some marvelous film and TV adaptation costumes at Peckover House, discussing John Style’s book, The Dress of the People, and joining in the speculation as to exactly what it was that ailed  Jane Fairfax. You also enjoyed visiting all the places Jane Austen lived in while in Bath and you loved playing with Lydia’s gaming fish…..

Of course any solo endeavour is difficult to begin and sustain without encouragement and praise. And now I think this is the appropriate moment for me to thank some very important people, who have been tremendously encouraging over the past year.

Special thanks have to go to Karen of BookishNYC and Elaine of Random Jottings who provided me with that very special thing- my first ever links to other websites. And extra special thanks to my  fellow Austen bloggers who have been most welcoming: my thanks go to Raquel of Jane Austen in Portuguese and Adriana of The Jane Austen Society of Brazil, Laurel of Austenprose,  Jane (Mrs Gorgeous) Odiwe of  Jane Austen Sequels, Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont and  Katherine Cox of November’s Autumn.

Thanks also has to be given to Louise West Chief Eduction Officer and Curator of the Jane Austen House Museum who has been a very supportive visitor to the site recommending it all and sundry, and also to Sheryl Craig of JASNA for her wonderful comments and constructive praise. I should also like to thank Professor Amanda Vickery for her gleeful encouragement, praise and generous sharing of information : its been fun talking about the Georgian era and gossiping with her this year.

And now a very special thank you to you, my readers, for it really wouldn’t be the same without you. I did wonder if anyone would come to visit me in my virtual library here, and,  indeed, only 23 precious visitors came on that first day 12 months ago… but now you come in your tens of  thousands each week, and in your hundreds of thousands over the year, you lovely individual unique visitors, you! You have borne with my typos, punctuation, dyslexia and paralysis like no other visitors in the world (to paraphrase Mr Knightley!)

I know some of you like to comment and thousands have done so, but…..I’d love it if more of you did. So to tempt you and as a thank you gift I would like to offer all the goodies below to one lucky commentator to this post.  All you have to do within the next two weeks is to add a comment to this post and I will pick a winner from the commentators by Random Number  Generator on  Sunday 14th November. As you visit from all the four corners of this world, do note that the competition is open to any of you, where ever you are. It’s only fair, after all :) So please, even if you have not commented before, do so now,and an interesting package might be making its way to you ;-)

The prize on offer is all of the items shown below: 10 postcards reproduced from my collection of 18th/early 19th century prints….all with Jane Austen associations…

The Pump Room in Bath, Chatsworth, Jane Austen’s School in Reading, and Eton…

A map of Bath, Wedgwood’s London showroom, Box Hill, Gilpin’s Cows and Lyme Regis

And Hampstead,which I’ve used for  my header and gravatar ;-)

Plus, The Jane Austen Pocket Bible,  a new and useful book,a guide to Jane Austen and her works by Holly Ivins, together with a beautifully illustrated book produced by The Jane Austen House Museum to commemorate the Bicentenary of Jane’s coming to live in Chawton in 1809.

The Threads of Feeling Song Book and CD of 18th Century Ballads as performed at the Foundling Museum

A Talking Book on Cassette of Elizabeth Jenkin’s biography of Jane Austen

Two early 19th century mother of pearl fish gaming counters as used by Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice

and, as something in which to carry all this, a cotton shopper from the Jane Austen House Museum commemorating Jane Austen’s Bicentenary of coming to live in her Chawton home.

I hope many of you will join me in AustenOnly’s second year: amongst other things we shall be examining Jane’s History of England in detail,  going to Stoneleigh and Newstead Abbeys, visiting more film locations and seeing some interesting productions, including one on the subject of  Mrs Bennet’s nervous disorders! Do come along…it wouldn’t  be the same without you :)