Dance in Time
Is it Friday, or in fact still Tuesday? Can any of us tell anymore? Every day I keep to my normal morning timetable so that at least part of my circadian rhythm is not as astray as some of my mind is but, as the days runs into each other, I find I have to really concentrate to remember which one it is. Time runs away from me at the best of times as everything telescopes into too much to do but particularly these days. This is not helped by the fact that the week has reversed for us at Highclere and Friday has become our new Monday.
This is because firstly at 7pm we have to be ready to film “At Home at Highclere” for Viking TV, whilst every other Friday we also live stream a virtual cocktail party at 9pm from the Castle for Highclere Castle Gin(now the largest in the world apparently). I can assure you that we definitely drink the gin cocktails which, by then, are very much something to look forward to!
We film 30 minutes of television for Viking which takes place from a different room in the Castle each week. A very small part may be pre-recorded elsewhere, depending on the “theme” of the evening, but each week the WIFI box needs to be re-positioned and we have to practise. 7pm creeps up on us unawares and there is always a crisis: a microphone that has not been charged properly or Geordie is actually talking on his phone when it is, in fact, our camera, which he has forgotten. We begin and I suddenly see an expression of panic on an ashen faced Cat as she realises that the phone is not switched to airplane mode so could now ring in the middle of filming.
It is the same as we move towards 9pm. Geordie and I quickly run through our order, Paul Mac drops all the timing boards and the dogs start barking. Hannah, normally an impeccable yogi impersonation of peace and harmony, turns at this point into something very different: scary Hannah. With laptops and phones in different ears and on her knee, her alter ego expresses itself and we never know whether we can giggle or, more wisely, shut up. My son Eddie is meanwhile very relaxed behind another phone camera. Suddenly we are counting down and off we go.
I wonder what all the ancestors think of our antics as they look down on us quizzically from their ornate frames on the walls. In one form or another, Highclere has been “in business” for over 1000 years and has successfully survived for so long because of its ability to adapt its business to circumstances. Todays’ “business” is about heritage and hospitality, visitors walking through the door, but suddenly we are having to adapt again and “fish” in slightly different waters. It is about social and digital media, about bringing our heritage to people rather than them coming to us.
We now have a Highclere Castle App offering a virtual tour of the Castle, narrated by Jim Carter (Carson the Butler). From the cooking videos to sharing evenings, relating stories about life and parties here, to online shopping offering goodies inspired by the life here, Highclere, like other heritage attractions, is trying to offer a taster of what the actual experience of being here is like. Last week I launched “Lady Carnarvon’s official podcast” (posted every Thursday) and tactfully, I asked Geordie to be my first guest. We are dancing to a new tune, feeling our way forward.
Looking around enquiringly at its beauty and variety, Highclere suggests money. As I replied to one surprised visitor, sadly I had never been offered so much as £20 by a single door or window in the building.
We are lucky that this week has been especially busy as on other days we have also been filming “Down on the farm” with our sheep and pigs for Channel 5. Two of our rare pigs, Lady Mary and Lady Sibyl, were about to give birth so, with Hannah and Eddie once more behind the cameras, we gingerly climbed into the pens to get close up shots.
Agriculture of course has been the staple business here throughout but even that has been impacted as food production and food imports have both been hit by the Covid-19 crisis. From relying almost solely on home grown products for most of our history, by 1939 Britain imported 70% of its food from abroad – 50% of meat, 70% of cheese and sugar, 80% of fruits, 70% of cereals and fats and 91% of butter. The aftermath of WW11 lead to a desire to return to our own food production but we still rely heavily on imports. Now, once again we are in a muddle.
Clearly, the answer is to drink gin – Highclere Castle Gin – and to consider at length the balance harmony and delight of numerous different cocktails!
Good Morning My Lady. I can somewhat relate to the chaos that can take place rapidly during filming. I filmed a short story for PBS a few years ago about the Border between America/Mexico, and things can sure change in a hurry. Even though things can change quickly, you both do it all with such ease, that it is hard to imagine anything can or did go wrong. I think it would be fun to see the Bloopers sometime. I love the record player also. How old is it? Have a super Blessed day.
I think the record player was from the 1930’s
Looking forward to coming and visit your beautiful place.
I’ve read about and just started a new book about your family history, and enjoying every minute.
Your home sounds so warm, relaxing and inviting!
One day…Hopefully we will be able to walk up your driveway and ring the door bell.
We are still waiting for Highclere Castle Gin to arrive in Montana USA,
Will At Home at Highclere ever be available in the USA?
At Home is for sale on Amazon with American measures for the recipes
Unfortunately we are not available in your local stores in Montana. However, you can purchase Highclere Castle Gin from Caskers.com within the US.
Thank you Melissa for helping me out!
Here is some info on what Pimm’s products are in current production:
Seven Pimm’s products have been produced, all fruit cups, differing only in their base alcohol: Only Nos. 1, 6, and a ‘Winter Cup’ based on No. 3 remain.
Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is the most popular version. Based on gin, its base as bottled is 25 percent alcohol by volume.
can also be purchased as a pre-mixed fortified lemonade (Pimm’s & Lemonade) in 250 ml cans or 1-litre bottles, at 5.4 percent.
Pimm’s No. 2 Cup was based on Scotch whisky. Currently phased out.
Pimm’s No. 3 Cup is based on brandy. Phased out, but a version infused with spices and orange peel marketed as Pimm’s Winter Cup is now seasonally available.
Pimm’s No. 4 Cup was based on rum. Currently phased out.
Pimm’s No. 5 Cup was based on rye whisky. Currently phased out.
Pimm’s No. 6 Cup is based on vodka. It is still produced, but in small quantities.
Pimm’s No. 1 has also been sold with additional strawberry flavouring and a special has also been produced based on Pimms No. 6 with blackberry and elderflower flavouring.
Rosemary, thanks so much! I always wondered how many numbers there are/were! I first became enamored of Pimm’s when reading ‘Something of Value’ by Robert Ruark.
Thank you or sharing Lady Carnarvon, trust me you are not the only one with mixed up days! adorable piglets!
Cheers , gin is my favourite drink and perfect for the summer evenings. I am looking forward to tasting the Highclere Gin variety. Being a traditionalist I do like the basic gin and tonic with ice mainly…but ‘gin fiz’ is lovely too! Thank you for another interesting and amusing post..happy Monday.
Tell me what you think – it has had the most extraordinary reviews
I love the DA themed merchandise nearly as much as I love your thought-filled narratives. The tee shirt saying “What is a week-end?” is on my shopping list, as being retired and living in a 55+ Community, days run into each other and weekends just don’t generate quite the same sense of anticipation as they used to. And now we don’t even need to be retired to wake up and momentarily wonder if it’s Monday or Thursday, most everyone is in the same boat… And now I’m going to see if I can find your televised evenings online so I can watch from Florida… As always, thank you!
thank you – it is a fun t-shirt- it makes people smile
good for you – trying new things as we all must.
As soon as I see the pig I think ‘The Empress’ from Blandings Castle. It’s such a cute series. A remake at Highclere would be wonderful!
I hope you’re all doing well in our strange new world. Canada is sort of stuck. Our cases are leveled off but not going down.
We’ve been to England many times but have never been out to visit Highclere. Maybe next year things will be back to some sort of normal and we can plan a visit.
I think that there is a lack of detailed unruffled strategy in those who are supposed to lead – each of us in most countries would like to be calmly responsible rather than fueled by fear and uncertainty.
Excellent presentation of both your forward thinking and important direction into media for the enjoyment of those of us not in England! I can not wait to come again to Highclere as it was such a perfect experience during my last visit. I see the small puppies are growing fast. You are an amazing woman who does so much to honor Highclere and it’s history and the book someone writes someday about YOU will be of great interest to many. Geordie is so fortunate to have you by his side. Look so forward to subscribing to the podcast.
We had a fun first podcast!
I enjoyed the podcast very much! I listened to it on my way to work and was transported to Highclere for a short time! It was wonderful to learn more about the house and land. I am looking forward to future episodes!
Thank you – episode 2 has just come out – the gardens with Paul our Head Gardener..
We are learning as we live in this new time of 24/7 – and sometimes we can’t put a name on the 24! It’s often hard, when we forget that the zoom meeting was today instead of tomorrow, and we wanted to be there. On the other hand – if one meets the challenge – we can call it exciting to know we can adapt as we move in time with new rhythms. Patience in a time of slow motion is very hard. For our health, our safety and our future, “adapt” can be our new byword.
Thank you for being an example of adaptation on a lovely, grand scale!
You are right and I forget I am zooming too …
At least I know it’s Monday when I see “Lady Carnarvon” on my iPad inbox! I read it before I finish my first cup of coffee. And I write back before I have breakfast. It wakes up my week!
Can I buy your gin here in the USA? I live in Pennsylvania, which is the last bastion of Prohibition.
Yes I think so – will get on to how etc
Highclere Castle Gin is available at your local ABC stores. If you cannot locate the gin in your local store please request from the store manager.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I do so enjoy sitting down on Monday morning with a cup of coffee and reading your blog. It is true how the days run together. I have to stop and think what day it is. And how have I found so many things to keep me busy during this crisis. You always make my Mondays begin with a thoughtful story. We are all connected through this unusual time.
Oh my goodness, those baby pigs are so adorable! You look so beautiful in your lovely ensemble, continued blessings to you and beautiful Highclere.
thank you – they the piglets are hilarious
Thank you , Lady Carnarvon, for once again starting a week with perspective and humor and sharing it with the rest of us. I applaud your creative flexibility at Highclere and imagine the ancestors may be giving a “wink” from those portraits when you aren’t looking! You have a way of acknowledging our fears during these times but then diverting our attention with a new story of “happenings” at the Castle. Well done!….as is the Gin by the way:)
Thank you – 9.30pm after the cocktail party we sit and finish them off (all the practice ones! )and eat pizza. Magic
Circadian rhythm isn’t a phrase one sees daily! Enjoyed your podcast. Hope the Viking shows come to the U. S.
They are on http://www.viking.tv
The ability to adapt will, I believe, get us through this plague. Highclere gin will certainly help. I just wish I could get it here in Las Vegas! Thank you for your blog. I look forward to it each week and to a return visit.
Golly so do I wish you had the gin, I could come and promote it!!
Would love to have you come and promote Highclere gin! Perhaps when traveling resumes!
Will definitely download the app and check out the podcast. Sadly, I don’t like gin but I will surely join your virtual cocktail party with my favorite bourbon.
How wonderful – I am proud of the App , there is a lot to see!
What is your Highclere gin cocktail recipe? Would you please share it? I think we all could benefit from one!
Highclere Castle Spirits post them – that week was Aviation and the Hank Panky.. no more to say
So, during the Covid Crisis, you could say that gin is your tonic. 😉
Stay patient and stay well. We will be back visiting—eventually.
Great line! Love it – yes!
My phone homescreen has become my morning check-in…now for the day/date as well as temperature. We all truly are in this together. All blessings from Katy, Texas.
Memorial Day 2020 – We sent the cocktail photos as Memorial Day Greetings, appropriate for our time – in every sense. Thanks for these beautiful photos, and the welcoming lawns with great pets. A picture worth more than words.
You’re doing the most wonderful job with your virtual cocktail parties! We love them (and we’re almost out of Highclere Castle Gin by this time – lockdown makes it tough to acquire). The final part of your blog is one of the most heartwarming. Since Perry was born on a dairy farm and I’ve been known to milk cows (and butcher chickens) when the need arises, this was grand! There may be nothing cuter than little piggies … and nothing better in the evening than Highclere Castle Gin! (Or earlier in the day, for that matter … )
Thank you Denise – this Friday is going to be fun – Geordie’s grandfather knew Ian Fleming – ie James Bond!
We won’t miss this one! There’s nothing better than James Bond (with Sean Connery, of course – OK, maybe Pierce Brosnan is a close second).
Thank you so much for a lighthearted description of a trying time, and for the pleasure of seeing Lady Mary’s piglets! I wish you all success in keeping the ball rolling and Highclere in business.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
There are two questions embedded in my comment. May I have reply?
I enjoyed reading your Monday blog. Today, in the United States, it is Memorial Day (f/n/a Decoration Day) honoring those who serve, served, or have fallen in service. Your story lightened my mood from this somber occasion.
Also, I have watched your presentation on Viking TV via my Facebook feed. What I have viewed is just as interesting as your weekly blog.
Next, I have been to Highclere Castle’s online shop. Now that England is no longer part of the European Union, is it permissible to ship drink, food, garden, or home products to the United States?
Lastly, how may I join the virtual cocktail party?
I look forward to receiving your response.
Until next week, stay healthy and safe.
Thank you so much – I posted a photo on instagram yesterday which lightly touched on remembering..
In terms of sending food it is US customs not our side whether EU or UK
Please do join the virtual cocktail party – we live stream it through https://www.facebook.com/highclerecastlegin/
and instagram @highclere_castle
Can anyone join the cocktail party?
Asking for a friend…..
yes please – all join us 9pm GMT which 4pm east coast – a nice early cocktail east coast time and lunch time west coast!!
Wonderful as ever and we bought some of your gin when we visited and it did not disappoint. Stay safe and well. Susan Hancock
I recently finished watching Downton Abbey….not sure why I stopped years ago at Season 2 but was delighted to settle in and binge watch the rest of the series. Last year my friends and I saw the Downton Abbey exhibit in Boston, Massachusetts which was so well done and what a thrill to see all the costumes and details from the show. Anyway, all this has led me here to this website and all the wonderful books you’ve authored. Your blog is wonderful and I can’t wait to visit Highclere, you’re top on the list!
Thank you – that means so much
In this world of upheaval, the Monday morning blog is a treat to count on. I, too, have a difficult time remembering what day it is unless it is written on my classroom whiteboard. However, today is our Memorial Day, when the sacrifices of so many are never to be forgotten. Cheers to them! Offer a toast to them with Highclere Gin!
You are wonderful
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
GOOD EVENING FROM BRAZIL. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING. LOVELY LOVELY PICTURES.
RIO CLARO – SP
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
We are really enjoying, not only the many forms of content created, but also insights into the process. Pizza in the castle turns what is a beautiful historic place, into a warm and loving home. Your work is so appreciated, not just for conservation and all its historic implications, but also the joy it brings. So happy for you that it is a tale of family, of friendships, and a labor of love. Be well and best wishes.
Dear Lady Caernarvon,
In the old days, and in some places today, many people didn’t keep track of the days. There’s the phases of the moon, and the seasons. Otherwise, day follows day as we move toward our destiny. Chores need doing, winter will come, seeds need to be saved, animals need to be breed. As long as food and sex happen, all will be well in the long run.
Best wishes from New England
I do love your blog & enjoyed very much listening to your new podcast. I hope you will continue both long into the future. Podcasts are nice to listen to as I drive to work or take a walk outside & they also help me endure walking on the treadmill when I cannot get outside. I especially like your calm voice, certainly welcome during this pandemic.
Peace & health to you & all,
Durham, North Carolina
Your podcast was great fun! I’ve listened to it twice today. I trace my ancestry to the Herberts. Mary Sidney Herbert, the mother of William and Philip, is a cousin 13 generations back. It is fun to hear stories of the Herberts that followed.
I agree with everything Roslyn Padgett said. You are a bright spot in this very strange year. Your blog and now your podcast help my world feel normal. I look forward to another visit to your beautiful home in the future.
All the best.
Thank you – how kind
I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Today reading how you televise I wish I could see your programs here. I’m in Minnesota. Maybe I should check YouTube I was extremely lucky to come to one of your parties with my sister about a year ago. It still is a top highlight of all my travels. Thank you for doing all your work
you can watch http://www.viking.tv or facebook livestream or instagram for the gin ..many drinking with us are in the USA!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I find your new endeavors and projects to be not only fascinating, but inspirational as well. As for myself, I find some days to be super productive, and others to be spent in wondering about deciding what to do next. I find all of the Highclere social media sites to be wonderfully interesting, and they keep me dreaming of my visit, walking up that beautiful path to the gorgeous front door. I can’t remember the names of those incredible “serpents” on either side of the main entrance, but they are memorable!
I have a particular fondness for Highclere Gin, and it has become my favorite! The cocktail parties are great fun, and family and friends have been encouraged to join in. The lavender and oats truly create a delicious spirit!
All good luck, and may you and your family remain healthy and well.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
Thank you so much!
The US ran a binge of season one and two of Downton Abby last week. Of course a real fun rewatch. It made me wonder if one of your dogs played the role of Isis, Lord Grantham’s beautiful dog.
No they are not – rather lucky given Isis died though!
I am very much enjoying your weekly talks with Viking. It’s in the middle of my business day and I schedule my time around this fun little break! I had not previously heard about the Highclere Castle Gin happy hours–where do I go to participate? (Yes, it’s at 1:00 p.m. my time, but as the old saying goes, “it’s 5:00 somewhere in the world!”) The gin is absolutely fabulous and I have successfully ordered it twice online through Caskers for delivery in California. Thank you for all you do to share your home and your warmth with all of us.
Great disappointment down here in Sydney Australia. My daughter and I were booked to tour your magnificent home this week and were so very much looking forward to it. Sadly not to be for now. Meanwhile it is lovely to read your blog and to hear all your news – thank you. We love the app too. Thankfully we are all well which is the most important thing right now in view of this ‘surreal’ environment we are all in. Take care and stay safe.
We look forward to seeing you whenever you can make it here… always welcome
Lady Carnarvon please tell me how & where I can watch the virtual cocktail parties. Also is Viking TV aired on PBS? I would like to watch “At Home in Highclere” here in the US. I also look forward to your blog.
It is on http://www.viking.tv
Just a thank you for your always entertaining blog!
I hope to return to Highclere Castle one day! 😀
Thinking about the visit always puts a smile on my face.
I don’t see on here where to order the WHAT IS A WEEKEND shirt. Can anyone help me ? Thank you. Kathy, INDIANA USA
it is just fun!!!
I can’t find the link for the gift shop. Can anyone guide me please ?
Lady Carnarvon, Great photos of you, Geordie, the Castle and your dogs. You and Geordie are as busy as bees with all that you have going on. You promote Highclere Castle so very well. When things open up it could be the best year ever for the Castle and that is what I wish for you. Excellent health to you and your family. Cheryl
Absolutely love the new use for the previously useless stemless wine glasses!
Dear Lady Carnarvon!
Nice to read your blog again – I have to search it up nowadays, why, I do not know..
It is Friday and as a +70 lady you are supposed to keep social distanse, but a GT is still free to enjoy a Friday evening!
I like your summary;
Clearly, the answer is to drink gin – Highclere Castle Gin!!
After 4 days in the hospital, for the first time in my life, your blog was great fun to read today!!!! Thank you for making me smile. All is good from my hospital stay!!! Just tired.
Have a wonderful week.
Glad to gather you are out! Take care..
Lady Carnarvon, I found the Viking TV Episode 8, Afternoon Tea and it was wonderful. So much information. Alfie is such a gem. You have such a great sounding laugh. I am going to watch the other episodes and look forward to this Friday. All the very best to you. Cheryl
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am with you on what day is this. And the week days seem to fly by, before you know it. . . It is the weekend(of course granny says “what is a weekend? ).
You and Geordie really look good.
Wish I was there with you, but 5hours of flight is all I can do.
The little piggies are so cute.
Even though I don’t drink anymore when I did drink it was gin martinis with 2 olives.
I saw your invite on Instagram and I thought about joining the cocktail party but I live on the west coast and did not see a pst time unless I overlooked it.
cocktails are i think 2pm in the afternoon west coast time
If cocktails are at 4 p.m. on the East Coast (earlier reply to someone asking), they’d be at 1 p.m. on the West. I am trying to listen to the podcast–since I love the blog I assume I’d feel the same about a podcast–but when I click on “play” nothing happens. Very odd. I will investigate to see if there’s an app I need to load. All the technology needed to stay connected in the current situation is hard on my rather ancient computer.
Golly I am a fountain pen writer in disguise as a blogger and podcaster! I call rather too often for tech support (my son) …
Dear Lady Carnarvon
I was excited to find I can watch viking.tv to enjoy your cocktail hour! I’m hoping someday to be able to purchase Highclere gin here in Hawaii, or at my daughter’s home in Seattle. My real dream is to find it in my Costco store next to all the other high end liquors there.
Your little piggies are so cute. I love mum’s floppy ears.
I will be 75 next year and hope to be able to come to Highclere to celebrate. Until then, I so enjoy reading your delightful blog.
Kapaau HI USA
Thank you – I would love you to be able to buy the gin!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
As usualy, I really enjoyed your blog. Thank you so much for sharing.
Hello from Oz again Lady Carnarvon,
Well………..if you think your afternoons are a bit mixed up think of what I did this past week.
I got ready and went to a doctors appointment arriving on the wrong day and at the wrong time! Truly I felt such a fool but since retirement my husband and I have been known to resort to looking at our phones to ascertain what day it is. I think I should get some Highclare Gin and start putting it on my cornflakes to get my day off to a good start. At 81 years of age that thought seems rather exciting 🙂
I could imagine Lady Mary and the pig scene when you spoke about Lady Mary and Lady Sybil but hopefully you did not get as muddy as the Downton Abbey Lady Mary did. How many piglets did you get and did you give them all names?
The first lot of sheep we bought on our farm (100) I sent an email to all my friends asking for female names for them. I got back list of girls names from everyone and I came to the conclusion I had friends as crazy as myself. A few years later one of those friends visited the farm and we had roast lamb for dinner. She was horrified and asked “is this one Marilyn” ? To allay her fears I calmly replied “of course not…………..its Veronica” .
Stay safe and well and keep enjoying your home grown produce.
That is so funny!
OK, I don’t think you’re busy enough, so how about a zoom meeting with all your followers?
I am zooming and team meeting and goodness knows what!!! But that is such a neat idea… my little grey cells are turning (I hope you watch Poirot)
I do! and mine are turning too
Lady Carnarvon, I wanted to share with you this quote, Sometimes all it takes to turn a bad day into a great one is a little positivity. Stay well and take care, Cheryl.
It’s Friday night here in Texas. Today I giggled and sipped some tea at 3pm while the Highclere presentation played with the interaction about . What stories! What memories! Was that Stella being such a good girl at your feet? I want to echo another compliment about your jacket/duster. It’s lovely.
(The construction was supposed to be finished today at my house; it didn’t happen. The crew is supposed to return on Monday! That’s why I was having a cup of tea instead of wine/brandy/cocktail.)
Eddie(your son) is so grown-up and seems to enjoy his part in preparing for the video recordings. What a great family enterprise; adapting to the current environment is essential and congratulations on the new app + viking episodes.
Thank you for being such a welcoming note/email on Monday morning. At some point I do know i will travel again and my Highclere trip will be rebooked. So looking forward to the tour and being in that beautiful countryside.
Enjoy “Le Weekend”.
Lady Carnarvon, Is your Gift Shop for online orders open now? I saw a little while back a mug that said Lady Carnarvon on it. Is it still available? Thank you for your time. Cheryl
It is – her ladyships’s mug
Lady Carnarvon , Your are so warm and genuine. I loved your cocktail party. Thank you for sharing. Barbara Connolly USA
Dance in Time … a wonderful subject, to me an inspiration.
As a French Ballet Master I dance everyday through time. Music, choreography, movement are not only art, but also mathematics. It’s clearly a divine algorithm underlying all things. Nature and our body. If we ignore the metaphysical dimension of numbers, we will give birth to a monstrous world.
Fabienne Marie Eugénie
I am so enjoying your books, Lady Fiona, a must read. Thank you.
Barb Clemons, Florida, USA