There is something about Christmas time. Magazines always seem to show perfectly decorated houses, beautifully thought out tables, immaculate trees, the food is perfect, mantelshelves are suitably festooned and everyone is behaving perfectly. It all looks very calm. My own reality is definitely different.
The other morning we got up far too early (5am) as ITV had asked if they could do the weather from Highclere. Not my best time of day. The dogs were all happy to be up and ran into camera shot to be petted and cuddled. Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora in Downton Abbey) was in the studio whilst I was down here… it was a fun exchange and then she was going to sing with her band.
I had wrapped up most of the presents for many people who work here including 6 bags with, 6 yule logs. Unfortunately by 10 am the dogs had eaten 5 of the yule logs, so my present tally was decreasing. The spaniels then ate Tony the Joiner’s cheese and tomato lunch sandwiches, so Paul the Chef offered to make some more and Tony very happily requested lovely hot Cornish pasties instead.
The rooms in Highclere are so high and large that I concentrate on decorating the Saloon where we all congregate (where the Christmas tree is) and the Library. My bright idea this morning was to cut some mistletoe, so that I could hang it down in bunches from the gallery. Although the tree was smallish I still needed to stand on a car to cut some of it down and then sensibly decided one bunch was enough in the Saloon.
I was dangling a bunch tied with ribbon trying to decide how low to let it settle and running round the other side of the gallery, dogs in tow after me as we all tried to judge. They thought running round in circles was a great game. Separately I tied masses around the hall lantern. The Front Hall is such a beautiful room, the stone arched ceiling and marble pillars were designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, a highly esteemed Victorian architect so I rather enjoyed standing on a chair having the time to look at it as well as tying in mistletoe.
My son and a friend were out in a little car buggy which had by now broken down and was in a ditch as well, therefore I thought canoeing was the next option but I forgot to take the paddles. In between it all, I was trying to answer e-mails whilst I cooked the boys pizzas which I slightly burnt (forgot about them,) and have since lost my phone.
I know various sisters and friends are turning up this evening, as we begin to gather for Christmas so rather than try much more, it is now “che sera sera”. There are beds, enough food and laughter for sure – we are very lucky. So perhaps a little champagne cocktail might be the order of the day as evening approaches and everyone at Highclere wishes everyone reading this a very Happy Christmas.
And to you! Thanks for sharing your beautiful home with us. Happy Christmas from Nova Scotia!
a very merry christmas to you all
Dear Lady Carnarvon ,
That was an early and very hectic morning full of mishaps ! But you have definately earned your champagne cocktail ! I wish you a very Merry Christmas with all your loved ones from Hitchin in Hertfordshire !
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon, for providing your readers a window into your world! Fascinating, informative and chuckle providing! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and adventurous 2015!!
Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories! I have a dream to visit the castle one day. …..
Merry Christmas from Nova Scotia!
Everything looks beautiful. Glad to see I’m not the only one to turn
to Nature for the most lovely Christmas decor. I have been ordered
to stay off ladders ( and car hoods) when finding leaves, berries and cattails for
Merry Christmas and God bless your family!
So love your spirit! And smiles please have a Blessed Holiday season. So grateful for your sharing your home with the world.
Thank you for taking the time to share with us!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
We experience the purloining of food by dogs here on a regular basis. Perhaps now they are too full for the main course. Happy Christmas to you all.
Thanks for the slice of life! So nice to hear that others experience the crazy things that can sometimes drive one crazy! Have a wonderful Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day!
let us share songs of praise!,jan Hoekstra,the netherlands
a wonderful, fun blog to read! Thank you and Merry Christmas from New Mexico, USA.
So funny about the dogs eating the yule logs and cheese. I almost choked on my chocolate. We received gourmet bars of gold chocolate bars from a company I had never heard of before called Desage. I wish I could send you a box. I wish you a Merry Christmas.
I LOVE the picture of your dogs behaving so very nicely while you arrange the Christmas gifts under the tree.
Animals bring such joy!
Happy Holidays from Canada
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the States!
Just found your blog and I think it is great! I have always found English History to be fascinating, so thank you for sharing your world with the world. I hope to someday plan a visit to England and will definetly have Highclere Castle on my wish list.
Thank you again and Merry Christmas,
Bellingham, WA USA
Merry Christmas from Maine!
Thank you for telling us about your Christmas. All the best to all of you! Greetings from Finland and Switzerland!
It is nice to hear that others are also having a hectic holidays! Wishing you a Merry Christmas here from Ontario, Canada! P.S. – our labrador also enjoys sneaking some treats as well 😉
Lady Carnarvon, Thank you for sharing your adventures and your lovely home. Merry Christmas and best wishes in the new year from the Pacific Northwest in the USA.
GREAT story. Enjoyed reading it! Sounds so typical of any household, including exactly what dogs do at Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and to your loved ones!
I never thought I would see the lady of Highclere Castle standing on the hood of her car cutting down mistletoe! Thank you for sharing your home and family (both two and four legged) with us. A very Merry Christmas from Savannah, GA; USA.
Merry Christmas to you. I so enjoy your blog.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I’m reminded by your post of the famous Dickens quotation: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times!” I’m glad that in the end, your Christmas preparations have worked out (and that you didn’t fall off that car), and that now you anticipate a lovely Christmas celebration with your friends and family. We are putting finishing touches on food that can be prepared in advance. I’ve just made the components of a scrumptious Blitz Torte, and will assemble it tomorrow. It’s an elegant dessert, befitting the occasion. We’re about to take afternoon tea, and then will attend a Christmas Eve service this evening, my favorite of the church year–all by candlelight. I also love the Christmas season, because we are able to hear the best of music. I sing in an all-Bach-performance choir and we sang two gorgeous cantatas last week. Last night, my family and I heard Handel’s Messiah in our symphony hall. The St. Louis Symphony is one of the oldest and best orchestras in America. I’m certain that your Christmas celebrations must exude much exquisite sacred music. Oh to be in London at St. Paul’s Cathedral this time of year! At least, I have my British boys choir CDs. I’m off to listen to one now over tea.
I wish you and your family and those darling dogs a very merry Christmas!
St. Louis, Missouri
Dear Lady Carnarvan
Thank you for a year of sharing your life with ours. I hope you and your family have a very happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New year.
Happy holidays from the USA
Dear Lady Carnarvan,
Thank you for sharing a little bit of your life with us. I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.
Happy Holidays from Saint Augustine, Florida USA
Lady Carnarvan I so look forward to your blogs its the way to write & say about them makes me giggle 🙂 the bit about the dogs had eaten 5 of the yule logs, pizzas which I slightly burnt, you write as it is & I think that ‘s great & your photos too with the blog sets of off well 🙂 I hope you car bonnet in not too scratched standing on it hee hee 🙂
Have a fantastic & wonderful day Lord & Lady Carnarvon with your family & friends
Wow! I thought my day was challenging. Lol. What a woman! Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
It is 9:05 a.m., Christmas morning, my family is still sleeping and I just enjoyed reading your latest blog entry. What a delightful way to begin my day. As the ‘Mom” of two dogs, it is nice to hear that the canine members of our families enjoyed their rummaging thru the gifts under the tree.
Thank you for allowing the outside world to peek into your life and your beautiful home. God bless and keep you all. Happy Christmas!
Merry Christmas Highclere from South Carolina! When I was growing up my father would shot the mistletoe from the tree top with his 22 rifle…Cheers!
Thank you, Lady Carnarvan, for your warm, witty and entertaining postings about life at Highclere Castle. The day we spent at Highclere was one of the highlights of our month in England last year and will always be one of our fondest memories. Thank you for continuing to share your wonderful home with all of us around the world.
We wish you and your family health, happiness and peace in 2015.
Happy Christmas from California, USA.
Donna Yutzy and Laurie McBride
This is the first blog of yours I have ever read and I loved hearing about your lovely life. I totally understand about your dogs eating the yule logs as my dog also ate a whole box of chocolate with the wrappers on !!! merry Christmas x
Sounds like a little ‘dog training’ is in order! We love our dog, too, but, life it much nicer with a well-trained pup! No matter what, your Christmas sounds perfect just as it is. I visited Highclere in April, and just loved the place. Very best in the New Year to you and all your family.
Could spend all day reading/watching the history of wonderful buildings such as Highclere Castle. One can dream still of lifeach in a fairytale abode such as this.I am not envioys-just in awe and full of admiration for the efforts made to preserve and appreciate ALL of it! Sue Carlton-Jones ex Royal Ballet dancer .
I’m glad you had a wonderful Christmas thank you for sharing it. One hopes you have a wonderful New Years
Thank you for sharing your home with us. After a trip this past August to your lovely Highclere Castle as a result of being mesmerized by the series Downton Abbey, I have been captivated by England’s beautiful London and countryside. I became magically moved into a world of a country that I have come to admire.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for sharing your blog, I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with you and the goings on at the castle.
However, I’ve just looked at your photo: standing on your car bonnet whilst cutting. Please be careful. Do make good use of your staff!
Keep the blogs going and the amazing hard work on your beautiful home. My wife and I are looking at staying at the London Lodge sometime this year.
Very best wishes to you,
New Forest, Hampshire. England.
Labrador retrievers will eat anything! My girl Dixie (God rest her soul) once ate an entire gift-wrapped Christmas panettone. (She also swallowed a pearl stud earring and used my watch as a chew toy.)
I love Cornish pasties.
I’ve been to the U.K. three times, all very short visits and each time I seek out the closest shop where I can get a good Cornish pastie.
Can’t get them in California so I’ve been working on trying to make them myself. But I just can’t seem to get the filling right. My pastry dough doesn’t seem to be tough enough either.