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 off the shore. Somehow evenings meant cocktails and we started at “Nobu” overlooking the beach at Malibu for a sundowner. It was a sleek restaurant, dark wood and low pale sofas all casually trendy where I could hear snatches of voices from groups leaning on the bar in American mixed with LA English accents.
Of course we then had to try a few of Karine’s favourite restaurants (where they allowed dogs) sitting outside under heat lamps on evenings that were warm compared to Highclere!
It was a whirlwind stay, working, exploring Viking’s offices and spending one afternoon in a very cool recording studio in that there were black tinted cars and men in sunglasses keeping lookout. Karine was working on voice overs for the Viking videos and I was simply reading some “Finse” books. Too soon I waved goodbye to Finse and Karine to fly to Vancouver.
The iconic Fairmont Hotel was memorable not just for the most excellent service but guess what – a yellow Labrador. Amongst various press interviews, Mike Reid had interviewed me for the “Vancouver Times Colonist”. He had asked for photos of me with dogs outside the Castle for the article. The only person at his Highclere desk, late evening GMT, able to respond to this request was our computer consultant who did indeed send Mike photos – of dogs, puppies in baskets, a horse and dogs, more dogs but not much of the Castle – not me either which was probably the positive part! Not quite what I was after but very kind. Moving on to stay at Oak Bay in Vancouver Island, I was again greeted by dogs. This time three sheepdogs on rather covetable long leather leads.
Apart from dogs it was a few days away, as “Downton Abbey” drew to a close in North America. I am grateful that so many people have come to love Highclere as well as the human characters in “Downton”. I can sometimes grasp the extent of the recognition better from a distance.
The question was what is everyone going to do now? It was such an enjoyable programme, funny lines, carefully shot and produced and different. As usual when I am away, I spent some of the time trying to come up with ideas (good or otherwise) for the Castle. One such idea which we are now planning in earnest is a vintage garden party to take place in the Castle and grounds in September. It will be a traditional garden fete with bands and croquet; cream teas and parasols on the lawns; all guests in fancy dress (pre 1914) and vintage cars. Thus guests can walk through as if they are on set, ready to film. Perhaps I can write a few lines… Lunches at Highclere are now spent thinking up competitions: who will be the best “Carson” ? Who will have the best dowager’s hat? Best dressed housekeeper or perhaps a scone baking competition. More details to follow…
I am thrilled you had such a lovely time here. (I live just outside of Victoria) This whole coast and island seem to be dog crazy. Wherever you shop there are water bowls for dogs and most shops allow them to come in. Isn’t it fun!
Oh Wow I like the sound of the vintage garden party dressing up in pre 1914 clothes with vintage cars they will need Chauffeurs *sticking my hand up for the Job please* 🙂 this is a great idea of yours Lady Carnarvon.
We have will have some amazing old cars …. it would be nice to offer ride! I would like to have the other type of horse power too – horse and carriage !
Excellent idea ! I can’t wait to see more details.
Oh, my mouth is watering! What a delicious treat. I’m going to dream about it, and be there, be the good Lord willin’, and the invitation arrives in a timely manner.
By the way, you are gorgeous in my favourite colour.
I LOVE the posts that mention dogs. 😀 I am just a huge animal lover myself and that aspect of your personality as well just endears me to you even more. The last picture is my favorite, but I love the first one too… Wondering just how many dogs you have at Highclere? And do you have any cats? We currently have one Great Pyrenees as a pet (he was a rescue), and one kitty cat. They get along very well. Your trip sounds fantastic; you deserve some R&R after the tax season! 🙂 Happy St. Patrick’s Day and best wishes for the coming Easter!
How I would love to pay return visit to Highclere in September! Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to come in character as Martha Levinson to the garden party! I am scouting about for a red wig, hat and parasol!
That sounds great – then you need to be photographed in the red Stanhope bedroom here – with some luggage and maid! I cannot remember which episode that was in..
So glad you were able to manage the visit with your friend and relax. Great idea about the garden party and I can’t wait to see the pictures. Good news this morning about two more rooms off of King Tuts tomb…..how exciting.
There is something fascinating about Egypt…
Cool idea. Is there any possibility of Downton Abbey returning to television in the future? Maybe a creative writer could spin an entirely new series. Crossing my fingers for that! It is lovely to see period television shows, especially those set in beautiful England. For some one who is based on another continent it makes be nostalgic about the good old days of Albion.
I enjoy your posts immensely Lady Carnarvon, just started reading them a few months ago. Keep up the splendid work!
I love that idea, Allen. I have even thought it would be fun to do a prequel. I’ve often thought had Highclere begun in the Victorian era (like the old Upstairs, Downstairs drama), we could have savored the bliss longer. 🙂
Thanks Lynn. For a bloke like me from a different cultural background it is all the more captivating 🙂
I agree with all of you!
I love the first picture of the dogs with Highclere Castle in the background. I would assume the dog in the very back is the oldest. The white face and look of knowing you will return gives her away. I hope your trip was a success and even more people visit Highclere now that Downton Abbey has ended.
I wish you and your family as much luck as you need on this St Patrick’s Day!
She is our oldest dog, a bit stiff but happy, and is dozing by me now. I think I might plant a type of Shamrock for St Patricks day in our healing herb garden as I think it was once eaten rather like sorrel.
Perhaps Highclere could host a women’s retreat complete with healthy cooking lessons on how they preserved food in “Downton” times and host cooking classes on traditional foods of the time. We could do yoga, walk the grounds and host daily tea. I host retreats like this at historic homes in the US and it’s such a treat to share my passion for traditional foods with aspiring cooks.
I think you may find some of all that in my next book. I thought I could some competitions or prizes etc and the winners could come and do yoga in the tower with me!!! And then eat..
The September party sounds delightful. How I wish I could attend accompanied by my pouch, Boy Grantham, Earl of Meadowood. He is a reminder of Highclere and Downton Abbey days.
Lady Carnarvon – I am looking forward to my first visit to England and to Highclere on the 18th of May. Your home has become so famous to all of us who have embraced Downton Abbey. I must agree with your words that folks have come to love Highclere as much as the characters of the show. I am very excited to be able to see and hear about your family’s history and beloved home during the scheduled lecture on that day. Thank you for continuing such tours and events for those of us who have become attached and enamoured of the Downton Abbey/Highclere phenomenon. I look forward to my visit with great anticipation!
Thank you for your posts!
I do so enjoy reading your blog! I’m sure it was interesting seeing how much Downton was loved here in America. I ponder the why sometimes myself. I think it was interesting to see the basic human issues and situations were much the same then as they are now. Highclere Castle was such a beautiful setting and perfectly portrayed the era. And of course the clothes were wonderful. This American cannot wait to see it in person and have your beautiful home behind me in a photo….in just two weeks time! You must be very proud your home is responsible for bringing visitors to England.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Wow! What a superb plan for my September birthday ! Here’s hoping .. I am sad that Downton
has wrapped up but the magic lives on in your blog Lady Carnarvon.
Love the garden party idea! i love the pics with the dogs! So sweet!
Greetings on this Glorious St. Patrick’s Day! What a great way to travel; Dog to Dog to Dog! Just my style. But, actually, I prefer to stay home in my own “English Cottage”… Wagadilly Cottage actually, where I care for other people’s dogs while their humans travel. Have a look wagadillycottage.com We’re all big Downton Abbey fans here and were so glad to see that a new puppy was added to the family.
Best wishes to all!
Good Morning Lady Carnarvon,
What a GRAND IDEA, a garden party fit for a QUEEN!!!! Will this be an annual affair? I hope to visit Highclere in the future and to be part of a garden party reminiscent of the Edwardian era would certainly make me feel like a queen.
Thank you for your blog and helping us with our Downton “withdrawal”. Love the pictures of the dogs, they are so sweet and you can tell they miss their “mum”.
Have a blessed day.
If guests – all of you enjoy it his year – then why not next year? Perhaps next year I look at the1920’s ..
I am so pleased you are thinking about a special garden party. How does one get an invite back to the place where my grandfather trained as a gardener before moving to primrose hill in London as superintendent
Love your dogs people said we were mad to take on two puppies at our age but we don’t regret it
Dogs and puppies keep you young!! I will organise the Garden Party it through the web site but after Easter as I am not keeping up with myself by some way..I think we can keep adding to the event but if people wish to fly in/book tickets I am aware they need notice.
Hi John – my mother also worked at the castle many years ago – perhaps your grandfather and my mother were on staff at the same time. Wouldn’t that be an amazing discovery.
What a spectacular idea….the vintage garden party! I am sure a “period” event in the garden would be most welcomed by the Highclere/Downton Abbey fans of the world.
If we had not already made our plans to visit Highclere Castle in May for the Capability Brown Garden Tour, I would love to attend your vintage garden party in September.
Love your dogs especially the yellow lab. Was he the one we saw at the beginning of the Downtown Abbey episodes?
Thank you for opening up your home and your life to all of us. We appreciate you.
Very active and interesting trip “abroad”! An the dogs waiting for you at home. I positively love it. I would like to participate in September, but it will be a nice dream… I had a friend – he passed away a month ago – and he had a vintage Rolls-Roce somewhere in a garage close to London. It is probably sold by now. Pity. Anyway, I wish you a happy return to Highclere Castle and some more brilliant ideas for this year (and the ones after 2016 too) to remind us of Downton Abbey. Thank You.
Time will tell whether the ideas are any good!!
First, I just wanted to thank you and your husband (and your dogs!) for opening Highclere Castle to the general public in both the filming of Downton Abbey and with the subsequent tours of the Caslte. In one way, that had to be a sacrifice, and I’m so grateful for the beauty you’ve bestowed. We loved the series here in St. Louis, Missouri, and we had our own version of Downton Dinners. It fostered a lovely time of family-and-friend gatherings over delicious repasts and stimulating repartee. It really was a lovely series of meaningful gatherings here at our home, culminating in our viewing of the series after each dinner and time of fellowship. Though at each dinner, we ultimately gathered around the “tube,” these viewings were about so much more. We intend to continue our tradition by viewing other PBS British series and British movies, and other quality films. We’re having an Irish dinner this coming Sunday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and we’ll watch the film classic, The Quiet Man. Just look what Downton has inspired for us! How I wish I could take tea at your beautiful garden party. Alas . . . but your idea has so many future possibilities. As long as you and Lord Carnarvon are willing to open your home on occasion to the public, the tours can continue and other special events . . . like the tea, or that songfest you once described, or special charity fundraisers or celebrations. The possibilities, frankly, are endless. Thank you for all you personally have done to foster beauty and civility in England and far beyond her shores.
With all gratitude,
Lynn thank you for your note – I have some other ideas which I think you will thoroughly enjoy – xx
Love the homecoming pic with you and the pooches! 🙂 Glad to hear you had fun during your trip, especially such an enjoyable time with your L.A. friend.
I am hoping that I will some day get over to Highclere and be able to participate in one of the events held there. A vintage garden party would be amazing!! May I suggest a croquet tournament as part of the festivities? You have such fabulous lawns it would be wonderful to utilize them for various period-appropriate games. Have fun with your planning for whatever you choose to do!
Happy Spring to everyone at Highclere!
We are definitely doing croquet! My own parents loved it and were fiercely competitive.
Hello, and Welcome to Vancouver Island!
And of course, Happy St. Paddy’s Day, as I write…a beautiful sunny day at my end of the Island!
Last night I watched the last of Season 6 of Downton Abbey and I cried throughout the entire last disc – and with that I had a headache like you wouldn’t believe, but I am ever so grateful it ended as it did – if anyone had died or not had the happy outcome they so deserved I’m sure I would have written a scathing letter to Julian Fellowes and told him what I thought…how fortunate for him I was both saddened and elated that I didn’t have to! So very sorry it has come to an end, aren’t you? Glad I managed to get so many others hooked on the series – I had put off watching the final season until this week, only because I never wanted it to end…I shall miss them all.
As one who is new to your Blog, I look forward to hearing more.
It was good last episode – and I found it amazing watching it with an audience in Vancouver island. I listened as much to them appreciating their mood swings – and laughter.
Indeed, to bring back the grandeur of days gone by is a fantastic idea. While it may not have seemed so blissful at the time by today’s hi speed standards it was a relaxed and tranquil period. Even in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s the tranquility was still relatively there despite the interruption of the 2nd World War. Yes please, a day of tranquility is hust the ticket. (A side message to John – my mother also worked at the castle around wartime so “Downton Abbey also brings back poignant memories for me – perhaps your grandfather even knew my Mother – wouldn’t that be something to discover on her ladyship’s blog!
What was her name?
Dear Lady Carnarvon
We will be in Vancouver in June.It will be 10 years since our last visit.A beautiful city.Did you visit Butchart Gardens in Victoria?
We in Australia are halfway through Downton,and not wanting it to end.
Carson has just fallen off his pedestal with his attitude to Mrs Hughes.
Thanks for the update.
My visit to Vancouver was too short – it is a great city, I would like to go back and take my son too.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I also echo Lynn’s letter. A brilliant. Idea about the garden party, it would be so special and create lasting memory’s. I will be in London in September , and will try very much to make it. I was at High Clere in September of 2014, at a Downton Abbey tour, it was the trip of a life time. Will remember every minute with extreme joy. Please keep the blog’s coming, they make my day. Hug the dog”s and horses. Desiree.
I did hug the horses too and had lovely ride yesterday with a girlfriend. It was very cold!
Hi lady Carnarvon-
I want to thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us through downtown abbey. I live in Montana, USA, and surely never will get to see such a castle. So your show was an immense treat! We are in withdrawls. Thank goodNess spring is here and weeknights (when we watched DA) aren’t the dark affair of winter any longer.
Travel is good, so come and visit the UK at some time.
I have much enjoyed getting to know more of the US.
I cannot find words better than Lynn Morrissey’s to say what I would like to. I have made Highclere Castle research a bit of a hobby since Downton Abbey with wonderful results We are in Rochester, New York, USA, and grateful to PBS for broadcasting so many British series and comedies (hilarious!). My grandparents’ generation came here from Britain. Thank you and your family for allowing Downton Abbey to be filmed at Highclere Castle; it was glorious! Best wishes.
I am a great fan of PBS and thrilled that Downton was shown on it.
SEVEN dogs? When did that number happen?
Thank you for sharing Highclere with the world.
All of us in Whitefish, Montana USA love your blog
and chat about it on the phone.
That I think might be my husband’s sentiments
I guess I’m thinking a real (reality) type show the script of which could be the excellent word pictures you are able to convey in your blog writings. Each, to me, is a story within itself . By the way, how did you get the dogs to line up so perfectly at the gate? Was it seniority or happenstance?
The dogs have to practise for my version of their selfies!!!! I have started doing some short videos to take this blog up a step.
What a fabulous idea to have the vintage garden party! I remember the tea in the coach house during my visit to Highclere Castle last April, it just took us back in time even without vintage cars or dress. This September’s event will be fantastic!
I hope it will make people laugh and be fun.
I have long wondered if “Isis” was played by one of your own dogs since her behavior in the house looked so comfortable and respectable. Now that I see your golden lab, it makes even more sense.
San Luis Obispo, California
I love how much you love your dogs. I bet they are very content living with all that space to run around. My dog has really turned out to be the love of my life (after cancer a few years ago left me unable to have human children)! I am from Los Angeles, and am so glad that you enjoyed your time here. I would have been willing to do a house swap with you and go stay at Highclere! 🙂
The dogs are such gentle creatures and I love how they lie on top of each other ..
What about hosting a dog show of some kind? You could raise funds for shelters or other animal organizations. Prizes could be given to different classes such as sporting, toy, herding, etc.
My cousin and I are visiting Highclere next Wednesday and cannot wait! We have also read your books and hope that you write more!
I am not sure the weather will be very good, boringly it remains rainy..
Dear Lady Carnarvon, just wondering what the street sign says in the first photo. I don’t remember seeing it on the t.v. series. Your seven dogs look so huggable. I love the Viking River Cruise commercials, very beautifully done.
Viking are a great outfit- they try! The signpost comes out of its holder during filming and it points to the gardens and loos etc! Useful.
Dera lady Fiona I am really loving your book. Ir ia now 4 o clock am and I am still reading. Cant sleep before to finish