Category: Dogs

Tree planting

Tree planting

The photograph above hangs as one of a pair either side of a charming 18th century mirror in Stanhope Dressing room on the first floor of the Castle. The other photo is in a similar theme. Most houses like Highclere have archives, often housed in specially designed rooms and dating back centuries.  They are a unique window back into the past and at Highclere, the archivist and I try to share them with visitors, framing them for corridors as they come round, or use them to help people with their research into their family history as it might relate to Highclere.

 

Photographs are [...]
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December 25th at Highclere

Christmas at Highclere

We have just passed the winter solstice, December 21st, the shortest day of the year. Crowds gathered at Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument 25 miles west of Highclere, to welcome the re-birth of the sun as days slowly lengthen again. 5,000 years ago, when Stonehenge was begun, they would perhaps also have gathered to celebrate at the foot of Beacon Hill in the middle of our estate. We certainly have prehistoric barrows built around it. December 25th was later “acquired” by the Romans from earlier communities to worship their God then the Christian Church adopted the date as a [...]
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Furry Friends

The iconic opening shot of “Downton Abbey” began with a yellow Labrador happily pottering across the Castle lawns, tail wagging. Pets can give such a sense of warmth and home. In reality at Highclere we have seven dogs pottering or running across the lawns, though sadly not always under our direction. Winston the spaniel in particular has a tendency to escape to do his own thing, usually where he is most emphatically not wanted like around the pheasant pens. When our old yellow Labrador, Percy, died we were all distraught and I know my husband still misses him. My son [...]
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A Change of Pace

As summer turns to autumn, the pace and diary at Highclere changes. Public opening finishes for a time and the Castle welcomes smaller guided tours and groups which work better around our traditional commitments of game shooting and other events such as charity runs, garden tours and small dinners. The office team try to snatch some holiday after a very busy summer and as John (our Castle Manager) and I sign off holiday forms, we wonder if we may be cooking or answering the phone or whether we should put in our holiday forms as well.

We are also now planning [...]
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Need To Know

There was a dreary interconnecting door between the Saloon and the Smoking Room in the Castle. Feeling at the time that I had undertaken rather a lot of dutiful and rather more mundane tasks, I decided to turn my thoughts to having some fun and improving it. With a girlfriend, Ellie, who is a talented painter and gilder, we sketched out a trompe d’oeil for the door. I chose a design which reflected some of the decoration of the Library shelves in order to give it a “realistic” frame and then Ellie then carefully planned what would be on the shelves, [...]
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Captain Percy

Highclere has now launched into the week of special tours and lectures about the “Castle and its Setting”, highlighting the serenity and grandeur of “Capability” Brown’s landscape here.  As well as our charming academic lecturers, I am also speaking each day, often with Geordie as an excellent contributing editor. In particular, his role is to talk about the lakes here, in part because he recently witnessed part of Blenheim’s restoration project rebuilding the dam on their Capability Brown lake.  It was a major but essential project, lakes need dredging and the banks need securing.

Every “Brown” landscape involved a lake. At [...]
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Dogs Around The World

I had said goodbye to rainy Highclere and my dogs and set off to Vancouver, Canada following an invitation from the British Consul and PBS. However, rather than go straight there, I travelled via Los Angeles to see my girlfriend Karine and Viking River Cruises, who were sponsoring my travel.

I had assured my husband that we would both eat well and drink little so it would be a healthy trip. The misty Malibu mornings started with Karine and I taking her beloved dog Finse (born at Highclere) for a walk on the beach and I even saw some dolphins just [...]
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What is a weekend then?

Far removed from the decorous characters elegantly reclining on the sofas of Downton Abbey, weekends at the Castle tend to be a whirlwind of activity, rushing around madly in several directions all at once.  Saturday was its usual busy self but Sunday was particularly special.  It began at 7:30am with the set up for the 10km Highclere run in aid of Multiple Sclerosis.

We have hosted this for perhaps 12 years and it is a great community event. As well as firing the starting gun, my husband usually runs in it as well, although in recent years this decision tends to [...]
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Coming and Goings…

The spaniel puppies are now nearly 10 weeks old and the first sibling is leaving Highclere Castle for his new home. He is optimistic, cuddly and courageous and I have packed his backpack ready to go.

He probably associates the Castle’s front hall with chasing his brother round the pillars but it is, in fact, rather a lovely entrance. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1870 who was also rebuilding the parish Church in Highclere for the 4th Earl of Carnarvon at the same time. Scott was a most respected architect and chosen, for example, to design the Albert [...]
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Puppy Love

In some outhouses behind the Castle are three little shiny snub nosed spaniel puppies.  The first few months of life are just entrancing and the office team who work with us here at Highclere sit on chairs carefully brought in around the whelping box, happily continuing with phone calls whilst holding puppies.

The first one, a little girl, was born on a sofa in the Castle, 4 or 5 of us sitting quietly around Clemmie, the mother, trying to be supportive. Isabella, whose father Luis works with us, was there watching, an unforgettable story for her friends at school.  It was [...]
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