Broadsword calling Danny Boy
Highclere relies on various means of communication between staff, the most often used of which are two way radios. Each handset is usually carefully labelled by its owner so that anyone who “borrows” it, can be easily identified. They are very effective and immediate but also offer, often unwittingly, our own entertainment channel. Some of the team are quite brief, indeed positively taciturn, whilst others regard it as a radio “stage” and if one of the impromptu sketches begins, we all listen in.
“Anne at the crossroads calling estate office” we hear on the radio.
“Estate office here”
“Delivery van on the way”
“Who is it for, could you ask”
“Where did you tell it to go?”
A van heading in some direction happens fairly frequently and we tend to give it a good ten minutes before we think about whether one of us should go and look for it. We know quite a few of the delivery drivers and they know us which makes everything easier. In any case, most of the deliveries are for Sally in the gift shop so the main rule is simply to ensure they are off loaded in right place and we are not double handling them.
Sally, however, spends a certain amount of her time searching the internet for many other Highclere “departments” so that some of the things labelled for Sally are not, in fact, for her after all and have to be re-directed elsewhere. Her buying range is so eclectic that I think it would defy any algorithm to make sense or pattern of it.
In return, when we hear of a large delivery arriving, we all help her unload. One huge lorry was nearly empty except for the last remaining boxes in its long load bay which were all for us. In order to expedite the process, John the Castle manager climbed inside and whizzed the boxes along the clear floor giving himself marks out of ten, rather like a bowling alley and we had to catch them before they slid off the tail lift.
Manning the crossroads at the centre of the estate is essential to ensure that all traffic reaches its correct destination and all take turns. Recently, it was Paul Mac’s turn and he got on the radio:
“Paul to John”
“Go for John Paul”
“Oh sorry – I don’t want you, I want whats-her-name”
“I can’t remember her name.”
Everyone able to hear a radio collapses in laughter and so the day continues. Some get over enthusiastic and talk over each other in their excitement, others can’t quite master the mechanics of which button does what and inevitably there are the occasional pocket dials.
Apart from the necessity of communicating across a large landscape and the humour, intentional or otherwise, what the radios also unexpectedly achieve is a sense of community. As they are always on, in case someone needs you, it also means that, even if you are working in a solitary space that day in an obscure corner of the castle, or at the crossroads in the park you still feel part of the team, with familiar voices and chatter going on in the background.
“Broadsword calling Danny Boy” is a radio call sign John the Castle Manager uses to suggest to Paul Mac something is urgent, in fact critical. It was of course the gravelly voiced, handsome actor Richard Burton’s line from the film “Where Eagles Dare”. Thus many similarities except John, is of course from Yorkshire and Richard Burton was from Wales. However Highclere’s reversion to the iconic films, TV series and quotes can be most cheering, and the exchanges unexpectedly comforting.
Lady Carnarvon, lots of fun and laughs at Highclere. Laughter makes for a good day. Cheryl.
Your stories are so enjoyable. My mother was a great storyteller. You have the same ability. I hope you put them together and someone decides to create a movie out of them. I would so enjoy seeing it. Thank you for once again brightening my day.
Only just started reading your blogs and I’m loving them well done, if I was younger would have loved to have worked in some where like Highclere.
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of broadsword calling Danny of Boy did you and lord Carnarvon have a nice weekend l lovely to visit highcelere castle and lam fan of Downton abbey thank you for the email
: – ) “Funnie” Great story.
Enjoyable story today. Thanks
Reading this weeks story was so enjoyable. It was a great way to start the day with a smile. Thank you.
Great story. Thank you for the laugh.
Hello Lady Carnarvon or Broadsword calling Highclere
I will watch Where Eagles Dare this evening. Always good to see Michael Hordern and Peter Barkworth in supporting roles.
Have an enjoyable week collecting all the windblown leaves for your compost.
Carry on Highclere.
Very Entertaining! Thanks for posting. Though its been before the pandemic I visited, I look forward to returning in the future. One walk through is not nearly enough time to capture all there is to experience. So enjoyed your personal and unexpected tour!
Very nice to “meet” Sally of the gift shop! I loved it when we visited a year ago, and in fact left with more bags than Hubby could carry!
That sounds great – when are you coming back?
I loved our visit last January and the tea was out of this world. I was also impressed, Lady Carnarvon, with your welcoming speech. As for Where Eagles Dare, it is one of the most enjoyable war films ever produced. Downton required slightly fewer bullets!
Yes less chases of that sort in Downton
Thank you Lady Carnarvon! Truly enjoyed this newsletter…….seemed to let us into your day!
Nice to meet some of your ‘family’ who keep it all working smoothly. Always look forward to your letters and lovely pictures. Again, thank you for sharing Highclere with us.
How fun! Day-to-day life on the Big Estate! That’s the thing about radios, you never know who you’re audience to! I worked at a retail store & aside from the “real” talk, I heard once, “Hey Judy, wanna come back here & see this great big spider in a box I’m unpacking?” I could hear laughter from all points in the store.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you so much for cheering me up with your hilarious stories of “Radio Goofs”……I was in the Dorset Special Constabluary for several years, & when we went out on Patrol with the Regular Police Officers some of the Radio callouts were hysterically funny, particularly when it came to using the Phonetic Alphabet….M & N caused problems & would come out as Monkey & Nigel, both funny & confusing in sometimes difficult situations!
Wishing you & everyone at your beautiful Highclere a safe & happy Autumn,
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
GOOD MORNING FROM BRAZIL, RIO CLARO ,20 °CELSIUS .
TODAY THE DAY DAWNED RAINY, WE ARE IN THE BEGINNING OF SPRING, AFTER A WINTER HAD ALL THE SEASONS OF THE YEAR ,TOGUETER AND MIXED. SOCCER, YES, AND THE SOCCER WORLD CUP IS COMING, AND HERE IN MY CITY RIO CLARO SP, WE ARE ALL FLAGGED, BRAZIL,BRAZIL,BRAZIL. SUNDAY WE WILL CHOOSE THE NEW PRESIDENT OFMY CONTRY ,BRAZIL.YOU GOAL TODAY WAS ACHIEVED MILADY, LAUGHS A LOT AH !!!!!!!! THE MEANS OF COMMUNICATION.
RIO CLARO – SP
There are huge decisions being made…
Adorables historias y hermosas fotos! Gracias por compartirlas Lady Carnarvon! Desde Buenos Aires Argentina un saludo afectuoso!
Keeping in touch & communicating is always socially and business important. A challenge there given how spread out and sprawling your property and castle buildings are. Interesting the hand held radios are able to keep you all in touch throughout your spaces. Well done and glad many times humor is added for you all to ease up your days. Thank you again for another enjoyable Monday morning blog. Enjoy your week ahead.
What a wonderful story! Sounds like there is a lot of fun and laughter that makes every day enjoyable.
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of broadsword calling Danny Boy and you lord Carnarvon have a lovely weekend and l love to visit highcelere castle and lam fan of Downton abbey thank you for the email
I love your posts and these behind-the-scenes stories! We were fortunate enough to visit England for the first time this summer (we live in Indiana in the USA), and we LOVED our visit to Highclere!
Thank you sooo much
It would be wonderful if there was a ‘Day in the Life if Highclere’ documentary programme.
Well. ….. watch this space
Hope it’s soon!
A splendid idea – from another Gail!
And to Lady Canarvon,
You brought laughter to my day! Our world needs much more. I’ll share a fun story from long ago before mobile phones & GPS, when my boss, new to our town, called me on the 2-way, in his most comedic & dry voice, “Lost lamb to the shepherd.” Everyone listening had a good laugh! Our lives are richer with laughter amongst those around us.
I happened by Downton Abbey in its first season on a Sunday night. Life became sweeter just anticipating the next episode. So many life lessons I keep in my heart & now your stories bring such joy. A visit to Highclere is hopefully near to find some stories of my own, especially with a chance to meet you. In meantime, your kind spirit shines in your stories as the true Lady of Highclere! May God keep you in His tender care.
Oops, forgive my tired eyes, Lady Carnarvon!
It would be wonderful if there was a ‘Day in the Life of Highclere’ documentary programme.
Hello Kady Carnarvon
Sound like u r having a lot of fun over there both inside and outside the castle
But do tell Lady Carnarvon what famous quote is used to alert Lady Carnarvon to the fact that John the Castle Managrr has an urgent messsage to impart??
Would love to know!
Thankyou Lady Carnarvon
Central Western NSW Australia
Good question – and I hear it in his tone straightaway..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for this delightful story of communication at Highclere. My family and I have a business and we often use two way radios across the property. While we only have about 40 people here, we have the same experiences you mentioned. Actually so useful and also comical at times. Your story is delightful and it makes me feel closer to you of you there, across the pond. The small things in life are also some of the best! Thank you for putting a smile on my face, was so needed.
Thank you! It is in some ways all so worrying in the world but I think we use the humour to keep going
Just because she was the longest-standing British monarch didn’t mean Queen Elizabeth couldn’t curl up in bed to watch Netflix on occasion. In fact, one of the royal’s favorite TV shows was—drumroll, please—Downton Abbey.
According to the Daily Telegraph (via Hello! magazine), the 95-year-old queen used to tune into Downton Abbey every Sunday night when it aired from 2011 to 2018. The source revealed that Elizabeth would “point out things they have got wrong, partly because she is familiar with Highclere Castle, where it is filmed.”
It is a nice thought!
Thanking you from Pennsylvania, USA for your posts!!! You are such a wonderful Ambassador of all the English beauty and it’s people. Always seemingly ready for the next challenge and pitching in, even if it’s unloading a truck (lorry)! Someday, I’m “knocking on your door”…..
Yes forgot the lorry/truck translation!
Knew exactly what Danny Boy was, as I am a history and movie buff. Saw Eagles at the movies in 1968. Old and proud. Lol. Thanks for enjoyable article.
Retired and living the life in old motor home. Not going to Florida today.
Love to follow your blog. Laughter is so important between a team that has so many jobs and works so hard! Rose
It is so funny that you refer to “pocket dialing.” I only thought of that phrase in reference to cell phones. It must be an interesting commentary while you are working around Highclere.
Or forthright words appearing..
Dear Lady Carnarvon, thank you so much for mentioning “Danny Boy ” that I know as the title of a poignant Irish ballad (lyrics written in 1910 by an English lawyer) and that I usually play in concerts. I understand that “Broadsword calling Danny Boy ” indicates something urgent and dangerous because this song is about loss,departure, even death. But it also offers a tantalising hope of reunion…as the romantic and comforting quotes of Mr and Mrs Bates. Have a comforting week !
I wonder as you write such a delightful nodescipt day at Highclere Castle you know how lovely your story was and meant to so many? I will tell that in the midst of my somewhat stressful day it has given me a moment of pause and a gentle smile.
With Kindest Regards
you made my day – thank you soooo much for your lovely blog and to open the curtains of your lovely home.
many greetings from berlin
andrea regina steiner
Thank you for the entertaining story That truly brightened my day!
The teamwork and camaraderie of you and your staff is to be commended. There is so much going on, communication is vital. I appreciate that Sally keeps the Gift Shop well-stocked because I too spent quite a bit of time and pounds as I was in a Gift Shop heaven! Thank you for our Monday chuckle!
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank you so much for your such wonderful, cheerful and heart-warming lines and insights into the everyday life of Highclere Castle. I enjoyed every second of Downton Abbey and really miss the atmosphere that this series and the two feature films convey. Thanks to your blog posts, I get to continue to enjoy such moments, which makes me very happy.
A visit to your estate is at the top of my heart’s desire list, which I hope to be able to fulfil soon.
Best wishes from Switzerland
thank you so much – I miss the Sunday evenings too!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I really collapsed in laughter today as i was reading your message about communication (a little belatedly because it came to my email on Monday and here i am on reading my emails in Whitefish, Montana!)
Loved your phrase “pocket dial”. Here in USA we usually call that “Butt calls “ ). Thanks as always for your Monday morning humor.
I really laughed to read about the funny results some of your staff’s communications brought about! We here in our political precinct (local voting district) use the word “Bananas” to begin our email subject line on each other’s and for the whole group (around 180) to make sure they recognize that it’s an important (we think!!) email. Someone just suggested it and it works! That way no one ignores important political emails!!
Thanks once more for your great posts! Mondays often need a good chuckle!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your Monday blog.
Funny and relatable story; great pictures.
Until next week, keep on using the hand-held call boxes.
The last bit of your story reminds me of little funny ways my husband and I, and my sister and I, communicate from time to time. Just in the course of conversation we often insert some line from Downton Abbey, Jane Austen movies, or David Suchet’s Hercule Poirot movies. A line that perfectly fits within the current conversation. For instance, when my husband admires the tablesetting and centerpiece, I will say something like “Downton is a great house” (Mr Carson), or “Once these standards are lost, you can never get them back again” (your butler Colin, on a Secrets of Highclere Castle video). When my sister tells me something new and exciting, I might say, “Ohhhh, Sister!”(like Mrs. Bennett in P&P). You get the idea! We practically know entire scripts! It just makes an ordinary day a little lighter and more fun! On a different topic, now that it’s getting cooler here for Autumn, I am getting ready to make your Onion Truffle soup from your Christmas at Highclere book! A favorite of ours! Thanks for sharing all your stories!
Enjoy your onion truffle soup!
Danny with that stunning bricked house behind is a very lucky person, having the opportunity to work in such lovely surroundings.