October 5, 2020


The Anglo-Saxon word “dream” means joy, gladness and delight which is a lovely positive thought to hang onto in today’s world. Walking around the gallery bedrooms on the first floor, I often wonder who stayed where. Which bedroom did Howard Carter sleep in? Or Lawrence of Arabia?  Or Disraeli,  Harold Macmillan or “Agent Bronx,” Elvira  de la Fuente. I hope they slept well.. We are always being told how important it is to have a good night’s sleep but, sadly, it did seem rather easier to have happy dreams last year than this year. Almost overnight, sleep has become harder, dreams darker and foreshortened.

In these challenging times, it is difficult to find the peace of mind which helps to anchor a good night’s sleep. It is comforting to have a ritual to settle at the end of the day whether it is a mug of herbal tea, or warm milk and cinnamon, meditating, listening to a talking book or reading one, to try to find “that still small voice of calm”. Regular sleep patterns are even more vital for children and parents have long resorted to a favourite teddy or blanket to fend off fears of the dark or nightmares, though sadly these are probably less effective for us “grown-ups”.

Equally, day dreams are just as important to help us set out all the things we would like achieve, to create perspectives of hope. The bucket list seems to be the modern take on this though again, many of these too have had to be postponed until happier times. Nevertheless, dreaming and planning is now more than ever necessary to create more positive moods and we all need something to look forward to.

Tiger moths

The Ritz Dining Room

Bringing these trains of thoughts together, Team Highclere have created a page on our website to offer a few dreams in reality. It is an easy competition – answer three multiple choice questions, fill in the form  which emails in your choices, donate (if you would) to one of the charities listed and we can then pick 4 lucky winners just before Christmas.

The city of Dreams – Paris with Viking Cruises

What can you dream of? Well – there are multiple options. Join Geordie and I for a drive in the 1936 Rolls Royce followed by afternoon tea with us here at the Castle. Fly the skies in two vintage Tiger Moths but with a Concorde pilot which is quite a combination! Arrive in the dreamy city of Paris, explore it and cruise with Viking Cruises down the Seine to the Normandy beaches. Lastly, do you remember when Lady Edith’s dream came true and Bertie proposed in the Ritz Hotel in London? Well they are offering a dinner and wine pairing to one lucky winner with many thanks to all the kindest friends for their support.

Hopefully it will be possible to aid the charities we have listed – Médecins Sans Frontières (extraordinary selfless, talented doctors and nurses going in to help with no politics involved) SSAFA, (the Armed Forces charity which provides lifelong support to our Forces and their families and is never more needed), TAPS (the USA equivalent providing comfort, care and resources), the RAF Benevolent Fund (practical and emotional support for families) and, last but not least, Hospitality Action (help, advice and support to all those in these tough times  who work  – or are now not working in hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés to schools, hospitals and event venues).  Can you spare £5, or $5 or €5?  This is an amazing “Monday Club”, a real community and please would you share the link through your social media? Click here

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” –to quote   C.S. Lewis who created magical worlds in his Narnia books which have been enjoyed by generations of children and adults alike. None of us can do everything but each of us can take a small step and, between us, suddenly anything is possible. I think it is good to dream….  Thank you for all your help.