Downton at the Real Downton….
While we were watching Downton at the Real Downton…
It was a wild and stormy night outside and family and friends were all gathered together around a lovely fire for a Christmas evening out of the ordinary….
We were going to watch “Downton” while sitting in the “Real Downton”, whilst we hoped many other viewers would be enjoying watching our home in their home. It is still a little odd.
The first problem on the evening of Christmas day was that we were running late. We have a huge Christmas lunch with all the staff helping us and the long table filled with friends and chatter. On the evening of Christmas Day, however, we help ourselves to a buffet in the Dining Room whilst the staff have disappeared to be with their own families. Inevitably there are quite a few of us so it is quite an operation. We form chains to collect dishes and then further team work comes into play to help clear and wash up. Finally we try to set the breakfast, a process at best described as interesting.
My husband’s washing up was not completely diligent, in fact Diana our Housekeeper rejected quite a few plates the following morning when she kept finding the remains of soup gluing them together. The breakfast settings were fairly random, and there might be chance of eating either for cereal or eggs and bacon but not both at any place.
Too many men (Tom and Alexander!) stood to discuss it rather than do….but everyone had a “Quality Street” chocolate for their effort (the Charbonell et Walker were long gone)… we were late but it didn’t matter as Downton had been recorded. Except that it hadn’t, nor could we at first find the right channel and then the remote control had been chewed by a dog, either Alfie or Scooby. So we started late and never went backwards but the odd dram of whisky, and more unneeded chocolates were passed continuously around.
We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and nobody fell asleep, there was so much going on. The Secret Garden looked charming where Dame Maggie and Penelope Wilton were taking tea, a more peaceful interlude amongst the high drama within the Castle/Abbey.
By breakfast the next morning miraculously the Dining Room table looked perfect.
so all in all it was a perfect night in XX
Downton Xmas night was Excellent
see you soon I hope with some more visitors, also watched High Clere yesterday,,amazing place
It is good to know that Highclere castle and those who reside therein can suffer minor mishaps just like any family. Great to see that their dogs are part of the family and are allowed indoors. I believe that a dog should share the house, and of course if they are sometimes naughty, well it’s not the end of the world. My own little bitch done loads of harm, everything from eating phones to money. I really enjoyed the Downton Christmas special and cannot wait for April next to visit Highclere itself.
Greetings from Baltimore, Md, USA Lady Fiona I so much enjoyes your book-‘Lady Almina and the
Real Downton Abbey’ Saw you and the Earl on our public TV recently. Very intersting.
I admire you both and your ‘American Cousins’ wish you good luck during 2015.
I love the table setting but what is that little silver bowl with the little spoon.
Lady Carnarvon, simply charming account of a family Christmas. Hope that all have a Happy New Year. Sincerely, Jacquie
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a lovely way to greet my day–to read your ever charming and, more and more of late, humourous blog! Shall we attribute that to the dogs? We have what my husband delights in calling a substandard pit-poodle.Chevy has been known to chew on many a thing, and I’m sure we could add remote control to the list. I’m not sure that watching the first episode of Downton Abbey’s fifth season will prove quite the adventure that your Christmas viewing did for you, but nonetheless, we are all greatly eager to see it (and I will be hiding the remote from Chevy!) My husband and I will be hosting our second Downton Dress-Up dinner, this coming Sunday, January 4th, when the series first airs in the U.S. We’re very excited, having only had mere glimpses and hints of the intrigue that will transpire in the ongoing saga of the Crawleys, and the story set in the locale of your exquisite home and estate. My husband, though known to wash dishes in the interesting manner of Lord Carnarvon, is actually an excellent cook, and he will make what Americans consider to be a traditional Christmas dinner: turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings. I, who avoid the kitchen at all costs, will make my annual appearance to concoct an elegant dessert called Blitz Torte. It’s about the only thing I make well, and I will admit that it looks as stunning and elegant as it tastes. After watching your real house in the fictitious drama, we’ll enjoy watching “Manners at Downton” (I think it’s called). Perhaps it’s something your husband could watch, should they discuss the art of dishwashing at the Castle. One thing is certain: He and you love your breathtaking home and estate and do all in your power to preserve its beauty and history for future generations to behold and enjoy. It was such a delight last night to watch a “special” where both you and your husband appeared and shared the love and legacy of your home. (It was a such a treat to hear your actucal voice, beyond your words here, and you are such a beautiful lady). We even saw your butler, who is a wonder. I might add that he certainly knows how to set a beautiful breakfast table or otherwise. We will be thinking of you, your family, and butler next Sunday in America, when Downton invades our homes in the most delightful way. You have many devotees here, and we are quite smitten with the series and life in England as we’d love to experience it. May I take this opportunity to wish you a most happy and healthy New Year, Lady Carnarvon. Thank you for your beautiful writing. It’s a hightlight in my reading life.
St. Louis, Missouri
Lynn, this sounds crazy but your name looks very familiar to me. I live about an hour north of St. Louis in Illinois. I’d love to know about your Blitz Torte. I can hardly wait for Sunday and the new season of DA.
Thank you – I am deep in my next book. the old cook books and the old stories and secrets – I have been working and writing through the last few days and have just taken a few moments off to look at all your comments! Thank you
Hi from Florida, USA. I just discovered your blog and am enjoying my first post. Hope to visit there some day. Hope you all had a lovely holiday! sonya
I am heading to Florida to give a talk in March – looking forwards to it! Sunshine ..
As the winner of the PBS Sweepstskes this year my husband and I had the pleasure of coming to Highclere for the Proms and the Heroes of Highclere Day. We were invited to brunch inside Highclere and had a mini tour of some of the rooms. We met you, Lady Carnarvon at the door and Lord Carnarvon inside. I couldn’t believe I was actually there. We had a sneak preview of episode 1, season 5 here in the states at our local PBS station a few weeks ago.I was born and raised in England but moved to the states many years ago. Sometimes I have to translate some of the English sayings for my American husband.
Your day sounds something that might happen at my house. But with chocolates and a little drink the whole evening ended well. I hope to return to Highclere one day.
Happy New Year from Phoenix, Arizona
Dear Dianne! Oh! You are a real person! 🙂 One always wonders who wins sweeptstakes. Congratulations! I know it was a dream come true for you. How utterly marvelous. We were thrilled to be able to visit Highclere Castle in 2013, but to be the winner, I’m sure took it to a whole new level. Again, congratulations.
You share your home with us through Downton Abbey and you share snippets of the ‘real life’ at Highclere through your blog. It is charming and captivating; thank you.
Lady Carnarvon, Thank you for sharing your Christmas Day evening with us. The symmetry of watching Downton Abbey at the real Downton Abbey was perfect. We in the US are very excited about the start of the new season next Sunday. Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and your family. Jan
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I always enjoy your posts, but this one was hilarious! Men and dogs can always create hilarity if given half a chance, can’t they? 🙂
Charming description of your Christmas.
Enjoyed your holiday blogs! But “unneeded” chocolates? There’s no such thing! But I am glad you all had a very nice Christmas.
It is nice to hear that you had a lovely Christmas holiday with friends and family. I love your dogs and ponies and I have not even met them. I am addicted to gourmet, upscale chocolates and happy to hear I am not the only one. I am snowed in here in upstate Maine surrounded by evergreen trees. I need to buy the Downton collection. Anytime I sneak a peak at a full episode on Youtube, it is taken away. I want to buy the whole collection starting from Season one. I just love the character Mary, she reminds me of myself. Lady Cora is also a favorite of mine. I just love the whole cast and miss Miss Obrien. She left so suddenly. Cheers and Happy New Year with the finest champagne.
What program was Lynn Morrissey talking about that you actually spoke in? Was that televised in the USA? When? I love this blog too. I visited Highclere in October.
There is a PBS programme that is often shown… we know where it is because we can get more order in our on line gift shop!!!!
The blog is as always informative and fun to read, thank you. We aren’t able to view the latest Downton yet in Australia, but I look forward to it.
Bet wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2015.
I was careful,as always, I hope not to give the game away!!!!
Sorry Best not Bet. LOL
Dear Lady Carnarvon.
I enjoyed reading the account of your Christmas festivities. You made it sound quite down to earth for those of us who don’t live in a castle. My husband & I had the pleasure of visiting Britain for 2 weeks in September and our
tour of Highclere was certainly a highlight of our trip. I especially loved seeing the paintings in your collection as I have an art history background. We had tea afterwards, another memorable event. For a Christmas surprise, Rich gave me a teapot from your gift shop. It matches my Wedgwood china perfectly and I plan to use it this week when we watch the first episode of Season 5. Thank you for allowing us to experience firsthand the grandeur of your home. Happy New Year 2015 from Philadelphia, PA, USA.
I meant to say that something I really love about the reverse of the teapot are the entwined “Cs”, your monogram is our monogram!
Thank you for sharing.
My daughter and I were part of an ETV Endowment group who visited Highclere Castle in August of this year. I, too, saw a premier showing of the first episode of season five. Having been in so many of the rooms at Highclere makes watching Downton Abbey even more special. I’m sure Christmas there is very beautifull. I hope you and your family have a blessed New Year.
1. I am glad to hear that watching Downton in The real Downton did not create a sort of Christmas Day black hole / paradox.
2. Such an adorable post keep up the wonderful work, that puppy dog looks very happy. My parents had a dog that recently chewed up a fancy $150 remote.
–From one of your American Fans
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Happy New Year!
Judging from your repsonse about your book, it appears, perhaps, that you have already written one. I do hope you will be able to let us know if that’s true, and how we might obtain a copy. You truly are a marvelous author.
I hope you and Lord Carnarvon have a most blessed 2015 (which sounds positively futuristic)!
I have read both books by Lady Carnarvon about Almina and Catherine. Both were very strong ladies who lived extraordinary lives and managed to achieve the impossible at times. I highly recommend reading both books.
Thank you for writing them Lady Carnarvon.
As I sit watching watching palm trees swaying in the breeze and waves crashing on the Caribbean Sea, I must tell you how much I enjoyed your account of Christmas at your home. Here in Santo Domingo we also enjoy Downton Abbey and it is wonderful to know it is actually someone’s home! happy New Year to you and your family!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon, greetings from Atlanta, Ga. I am currently watching the new exciting season of Downton Abbey and reading about Highclere Castle. I like many others adore the show and castle as well as your blog. My daughter asked to visit Highclere when she graduates from high school in three years! Hopefully, we will visit one day. Thank you for sharing your world with us. Happy New Year!
my first time at the site lovely home and grounds I appreciate the comments left and of the hard work of the cast and crew of the tv series and the employees of the home it is very generous of the owners to host this website and contribute to it
I watched my second ever downton abbey tonight so far I have seen the manners the posturing the rooms and grounds the complex personalities I have a vague inkling of various goings on many quite nasty changes happening between the classes the effects of ww i on culture and society it would be interesting to see a realistic portrayal of how this same class acts today and what theeir concerns are and how that has changed
my grandmother was from a small farm in carnarvonshire left there early in the 20th century born in a house built in the middle ages my scots grandfather left a small farm in banff county in 1890 for canada where he became a prospector cowboy and packer-outfitter his father was a blacksmith
my father’s people the st’at’imc had their land and freedom taken away by the founders of ‘british’ columbia only recently the first peoples of bc have had it acknowledged in court that aboriginal title had not been extinguished either by the british empire nor by the canadian government as had been affirmed for 8 generations of settler governments
a very different world from castles and the manners and means of the nobility but human dramas everywhere have much in common kukwstum’c
My wife and I have read about the “real Downton” and Lady Almina. This inspired me to surprise my wife with a Christmas present to visit London in May. We had hoped to visit Highclere but had no idea the tickets would be sold out. We hope at least to visit the grounds of Highclere. It’s such a beautiful place.
Every time I receive notice of your blog I leave everything I am busy with to read it. I enjoy it. Seriously! Poneys, dogs, husband, everyday life, Christmas…
I have seen the 5th series on the Dutch TV. I love it. Maybe a little too fast at the end as if time was too short. And I am waiting for the Xmas special, if such exists.
Let me just thank you for the amusing and joyful lines you write every time ans also I wish you and your husband a prosperous and healthy year 2015.
Maybe I will visit Highclere in May… I would like it very much…
I loved reading your Christmas Blog with all the amusing issues you experienced, much like many of our holidays. How special is that to watch Downton Abbey in “Downton Abbey!” Highclere is extraordinary and we are so eager to see it in person in May. Where are you speaking in Florida? We live at a community called On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida–a golf cart resort like community for those over 55 with many amenities. What fun it would be to bring a Highclere/Downton series here by Lady Carnavon…
Hi to Highclere Castle, My husband and I live in southern Arizona, USA and we are BIG fans. We own all four seasons on dvd and look forward to purchasing season 5 to make a complete set. Are there any plans to do a season 6?
I had a yellow (dark, named Cinnamon) Lab when my girls were growing up and he used to swim in the Atlantic Ocean in the winter months with cold water. (The New Jersey Shore!) Is there any place for your Lab to swim on your property?
Best wishes for a very happy new year, and so glad you are able to do all the repairs to your home.
Sincerely, Bobbie and David
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Hello from sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. Quite a different landscape of endless palm tree’s and mountains. I have been so happy to have found your blog and had to laugh as we also passed around the “Quality Street” tin while watching the 1st episode of season five two Sunday’s ago (my 12 year old daughter Chloe sneaking a few too many)! Chloe herself is quite a fan of all things “Downton” and loves to watch the interviews you and your husband have given in programs about Highclere. I have enjoyed both novel’s that you have written about your family history and can’t wait for anything else you might publish too! Last spring we were in England for my nephew’s wedding in W. Yorkshire (my husband is from London and I am an American), the wedding weekend was in a lovely country house – a very “Downton Abbey” weekend. Although we had to fly back to the states two days prior to your Easter opening at Highclere we dream of visiting some day in the future. Thank you for all the wonderful things you do to preserve your families heritage for all of us to enjoy.
Happy New Year from our family to yours,
Sincerely, Che’rie, Stephen & Chloe Gould
Hello! I am really enjoying your blog, as well as your two books on the previous chatelaines of the castle! I will be visiting England with a group of my students in July. I will have “a day off” here and there from the looks of it, and am wondering if the castle will be open July 9-10 or July 18-23 to the public? The dates are not on the main page yet. Thanks & truly looking forward to seeing your lovely home if it works out! This may be very presumptuous, but if I bring the books is there any chance of getting them signed? Not to intrude of course, just wondering if I could leave them with a staff member and perhaps have them sent on.
From Across the pond here in the United States I enjoy watching this drama unfold in your beautiful home. Thank you so much for opening your home to allow this to happen. It truly is like stepping back in time and seeing history unfold. May God Bless you and your family this Christmas and into this New Year.
I ⅼove reaⅾing througһ an article that can make men and women think.
Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!