I always enjoy researching my books but particularly enjoyed the research I did on Highclere and World War Two for my biography “Lady Catherine”, which looked at the life at Highclere and of the wife of the sixth Earl in the interwar years and during the conflict. I am quite disciplined and usually follow the same structure. I start with the historical framework, the politics and the challenges of the time but then move in closer to everyday life at Highclere, in this case the Land Girls, the children evacuated to the Castle, the family and the shape of their life at this time.
Reading assiduously through the estate papers, I was always thrilled to unearth the details of daily life. One which always makes me smile was a description of a journey undertaken by Geordie’s grandfather, the 6th Earl. As part of the war effort, all the local signposts were removed including the railway station ones.
The aim was, of course, to cause confusion in the event of a German invasion but it also confused everyone else. In this particular instance, the Earl needed to get to Devizes, which is about 36 miles to the west of us. He was driven by his chauffeur Bloss, a Yorkshireman who was new to the area and I am not sure that they ever arrived. There was certainly a major argument but apparently Bloss gave as good as he got and the lack of signposts was firmly blamed.
Today the signposts have been long reinstated but over the last ten years they seem to be used less and less, whether for better or for worse. It is all too easy to imagine: we are off to dinner with friends, leaving slightly late (of course), with only a hazy idea of the address and we have forgotten it is dark and that when we last visited, it was light.
In the past I might have been reading a large battered road map on my knee which was inevitably missing the key pages (which never helps) and suggesting the route. My husband is already exasperated as I am looking for some key lipstick rather than the road and then suggests I must stop telling him what to do. However long it is that any of us have been, and are, married, I am sure this scene resonates.
Today, of course, instead of the road map there are mobile phones with map apps and car sat navs. Personally, I think this leads to far more controversy. The first crisis is predictable – which one of us remembered to write down the postcode? Should we follow the sat nav in the car or Google maps or Waze on my phone? Which phone is better and is his phone safe on my knee beside my cup of tea in the car?
Then there is usually a crisis en route when one of these directional media tells us there is an accident or perhaps there are some roadworks. At the moment in our car, it is female voice relentlessly giving instructions above the sat nav map. We both end up arguing with her as well. Scrabbling around I try to see if all direction versions agree, whether there are new routes offered and whether we should now accept, decline or look at another route finder.
Exhausted already, we then discuss (argue) whether everyone else with their route finders will be sent off the same way as us in which case we could be contrarian and ignore it, or whether we should follow it. Then Geordie says “why did we set off so late?” and I ask him, as he is being such a grouch, why we are going at all or, even more inflammatory, should I drive?
I tend to assume we are all much the same so that when, in reverse, friends come to us for supper I imagine they are in need of a reviving cocktail, and make sure we have one available (made with Highclere Castle Gin of course) when they get here. Being Highclere of course causes more potential crises: Did anyone remember to open the main gates so that our guests can get in? Indeed some have been found trying to climb in over the gate prior to stumbling down a couple of miles of dark driveway to find us.
At heart, however, I remain a huge fan of old fashioned maps, especially beautiful, large scale, coloured maps. Examining them gives a sense of direction, of the major towns and landmarks, of the gradients and landscapes and real distances that is simply not available on a sat nav. I love turning the pages to other countries and seas to explore places with unfamiliar names and the sense of anticipation and future travels.
Thanks for the lovely post! I can relate on both topics; I love maps and we don’t really trust GPS!
619 20th Street
I laughed so hard at this commentary, as this is exactly my husband and I. We have been married 57 yrs and together for 5 before that and your interaction with your husband is the same as ours trying to find a destination. He fights with the GPS female robot to the point of I’m going to throw out the phone. He loves maps too but will usually take the Google map first then resents it. It’s nice to know how much we really are all a like. Thanks Joanne
I too prefer the real maps, though in the night they are hard to navigate. I do not trust gps. It is not always accurate. As a Paramedic I must know the area in which I swear. When I train fellow firefighters who will be driving me on the medic unit, I stress the need to know the area. Traffic is bad and will be worse if something major happens in the area so you have to have other options for getting around. I stress this with other paramedics as well. It’s always good to know where you are.
Have a wonderful day!
Yes, even more of an issue in your profession.
I still have a great map of English roads which I used on our first two trips to your country in 1990 and 1991. We only got lost once in Cornwall but ended up seeing a great castle ruin.
Sometimes getting lost can lead to the best discoveries!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
A highly relatable post, still smiling as I enjoy a morning hot beverage and contemplate why it is that I, too, continue to ask that perpetually inflammatory question, “should I drive?” Happy Monday!
As always your posts are always so informative. Thank you for enlightening us on the estate and surrounding area history. I would also like to say that I enjoyed watching you on our Wheel Of Fortune in the states last week. I am sure that Pat and Vanna were beyond being thrilled at their visit.
They were absolutely charming and we thoroughly enjoyed having them here.
So much information in this article. Amazing history with amazing people. Great morning read. Thank you
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon
Memories flood as when I was a child my dad used us as navigators “to learn to read a map correctly “. Then there was the folding! Dad was a stickler for folding the map correctly at the end of the day even though it may be folded to JUST the area in question at the time of the trip, it wasn’t funny THEN but it’s amusing now. ☺️
I still find that I can remember how to get to a place, but don’t remember the NAMES of the roads to get there. ☺️
Your tale of husband/wife travel is as old as the caveman and WE ALL have experienced this little tiff, with the child in the background asking “are we there yet?”
Again, thank you for bringing back fond memories.
Thank you – car journeys as a child always seemed to last forever.
We have a 34′ motorhome and it is up to me to maneuver this monster into places that can accommodate it! I sit in the passenger side with a huge atlas map, Google Map, Waz, the GPS on the motorhome screen, and an enlarged map of the area. This motorhome can’t go just any where but none of this tells of low branches, narrowing roads, and cattle crossing the road! No argument from the driver, just heavy sighs when we have to back track to find the route that “lady talking” was conveying! But alas, the motorhome goes merrily along the route and a soft compliment is usually voiced, “We arrived! Hooray!” I am thrilled that I have a pull out desk to balance all the gadgets and maps as we attempt to succeed to our destination! I so understand you and hubby having a grand discussion on directions. I wonder how people in the 18th century did it? Perhaps to turn at the corner with a field of corn or go straight past the tree that has 6 branches. You were right on the money about directional challenges (with a few chuckles, too!).
That sounds like quite the challenge! I’m not sure our small country lanes would be very easy for you.
As I enjoy my own cup of tea this morning I find myself laughing out loud (Lol) at your directional escapades! My late father, whenever we were to set off on a journey, would talk about how you “could go this road” or “could go that road”. And then proceed to tell us how he did it in his day. He also was a huge proponent of always “going in the right direction” – in other words, if you were going north, why would you go south to get there? (Even if it were a shorter time…)
Thanks for the happy memories this morning.
My father was much the same. Happy Days.
I laughed so hard-whether it makes me feel better or perhaps you, we do have precisely the same conversations enroute!!
Good Morning. I can so relate to this. I think most married couples are this way, and probably should drive instead of the husband. lol. I hope you have a wonderful day. Do you have a book on the art in the castle and who are in the? Would love to know about it.
We do, the guidebook has details of all of the works of art https://highclerecastleshop.co.uk/products/guide-book
Hello. My husband and I have experienced all these misfortunes over the past 43 years. This past year we enjoyed (not) getting lost in the great western states of the USA. We listened to the gps tell us to go off on roads where we didn’t see one person for 100s of miles. A little frightening but also an adventure with my honey I’ll never forget. The joys of marriage.
Keep posting. Love hearing about your life. I visited your home two years ago and loved every minute.
A little detour can be fun, but getting lost when already late does not make for a happy journey.
Thank you for your lovely post. We can all get wrapped up in this new technology, especially when we have children (or children who are now adults) “mum why do you use sat nav, you will get there quicker” Sorry daughter dear but, I like to write my route down, complete with landmarks so I know I’m going in the right direction. My sense of direction leaves a lot to be desired. Think I would be more lost with out my hand written map. The old ways are the best.
I think landmarks is what is missing from the SatNav experience.
A beautiful post and so very true. I am here in the United States on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and always carry a Randy McNally Map to safe guard our travels. The sat nav and a Google maps are good but to find that lost street my wife and I use our “old-fashioned” map.
Love reading your post they are so delightful!!
Best to both you and the Earl!!
Greetings Lady Carnarvon.
I enjoyed meeting you and receiving your book, Lady Catherine, last summer while on board the Viking Jupiter. I too love the old maps (and new maps). I still enjoy a paper map as opposed to using the sat nav in the car. I do appreciate and use Waze when there appears to be some sort of road crisis.
Interesting point you made about removing the signposts during the war so to confuse the enemy.
Thank you for another enjoyable read today. I hope you have a blessed week.
Thank you – and you
Lovely story and definitely a travel venture we all can identify with. Thank you for sharing, I so enjoy your stories.
I was treated to a 3-hour country drive while in Ireland last year thanks to the sat nav in the rental car. We eventually made it to our destination, but oh what a ride!
Another fun read this morning with my coffee! GPS, Wake, Google all are sometimes so aggravating; our first ‘narrator’ on the car GPS we called “Hildegard” as she spoke like an old spinster schoolteacher brooking no nonsense. I love maps because they are large and don’t talk back.
I do like that name – sounds quite bossy
I love the humor of this post. As another woman long married it completely resonated.
And oh no, I missed you on Wheel Of Fortune? Darn the luck!
I am sure it will be repeated
I just received notification that the UK episode is now available online…I also entered the contest for a trip to England!!!
I am not very good at navigating and in the days of road maps I buried us regularly unfolding and refolding, cursing as I tried to relocate our destination while attempting to keep the windshield clear. On the other hand, today’s technology isn’t perfect and the “lady” on the phone has no idea how many times she’s been threatened to be tire tread! So nice to laugh at our mutual frustrations.
I never can fold the maps back the way they started.
Very relatable article, you’ve coined it perfectly. I tell my (grown-up) children with pride how I use to navigate the entire West Country without a sat nav during my charity work days out from Somerset to Devon, Dorset and sometimes Wilstshire and I never got lost. (I don’t think they believe me)Of course if we do, we have the sun setting in the west to follow which I have done before! My grandad had a compass stuck to the windscreen of his Hilman Hunter, a memory sparked by your article.
We managed perfectly well before, usually we would navigate by pubs!
My goodness! It’s as though you’ve been in the car with us! Hubby is a terrible navigator, I’m convinced he’s half blind. His first volley is always “do you want to drive?” The long-standing record was having not made it to the end of our forty foot driveway before lobbing that one. And yet we always arrive….almost on time. With the devices now adding to the noise I too long for paper maps!
I think it is the same everywhere!
One of the funniest experiences with sat nav or any of those Apps was went we were trying to find the best road back to the capital from Regnaca, a seaside resort in Chile, with my son. And he suddenly remember we should not leave without buying something that was in the opposite direction to which the App was indicating…the voice directing us got more and more angry and repetitive…”you must turn right. You must go straight on. You cannot turn left”…We could not stop laughing until we got the item we wanted to buy and take with us and return to the normal road back to town, where the voice became nicer and clearly relieved that we could – at last – follow her instructions!
The tone of all our voices – SatNav included – seems to rise the further we stray from our path.
So nice to know that it’s not just my husband and I that have such car “discussions”. I adore maps too. When I was a girl, I used to like to take out the atlas and draws the maps of countries I wished to one day visit. I got very familiar with Australia!
Then you must visit!
Great post as always !
ooooh! what a lovely essay. i,too, want and “need” sign posts; and i for sure keep a box if colorful printed maps at the ready.
i just do not want to be taking instructions from a disembodied voice.
This is a very amusing read, thank you. Sat navs are a nightmare in the street where we have our book business, almost every building has an overhang as most are medieaval and the pub at the bottom of the street is constantly being damaged by much too large lorries trying to negotiate a corner which is a right angle. Then, of course, they have to back out resulting in more damage to properties, on the route, and serious problems for pedestrians one of whom was knocked down and injured, thankfully not seriously.
On a lighter note our lovely neighbour, Alice, could be seen one morning, running out in front of a very large intercontinental coach, jumping up and down, waving her arms and shouting, “stop, stop.” The Spanish driver was also following a sat nav. He then had to reverse the coach to the top of the street, round another right angled corner and through stalls and pedestrians in a street market, and then out into traffic on a busy road. Fun and games !!
We have a similar problem in the village with overseas freight transport. Perhaps you should deploy Alice more often, perhaps in a high-vis jacket!
I laughed out loud. Thank you for sharing your automotive adventures!
Having surgery later today so reading this now has succeeded in distracting me and giving me a much needed chuckle. My husband expects me to navigate unfamiliar territory while he drives and is constantly calling the lady who lives in our phones some very bad names. Usually after he has misinterpreted her directions and taken the next turn instead of the one 300 ft ahead as she said… No matter how different the lifestyle, home, country, it’s fun to see how alike we all really are.
That is something that I cling to – no matter where we are from or where we live, most of us have more in common with each other than we know.
33 years later, my husband and I have the same conversations. Thank You for the giggle over my tea this morning. Enjoy your day.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
I can relate to all this. One year we were driving from Portsmouth to Scotland to see one of the children. I was left in charge of navigation. We ended up in Wales.
Say no more!
That is quite the detour!
I am glad to see I am not the only one who prefers maps to GPS. We’re always late, but it’s my husband who makes us delayed. Have a wonderful week, and I look forward to your email in my box every Monday.
It is always the husband.
What a delightful way to start the day….I am still laughing.
We called our instructress
Ours is called Doris!
Ours is called ‘LOLA’ ! Ha!
It resonates, it resonates …..
We always have proper maps in the car, one never knows …
Your description captures the spirit of just about every trip my husband and I make including numerous trips to the UK. Imagine my surprise when he went to such lengths to flawlessly organize our trip to Highclere from London. He had the train schedule down to memory, had a good feeling for Newbury, and had hired a cab driver who once we 4 entered the gates of Highclere he blasted the Downton Abbey theme song. My friend and I were thrilled and the men just acted as if the entire procession was an everyday occurrence. An experience that I will never forget. Ever!
LOL!! I believe every couple can relate to this! This proves no matter who we are or where we live… we certainly are going to “discuss” (argue) this common thread! And heaven forbid the car navigator send us the wrong way! Thank you for sharing, you made me laugh out loud this morning.
I have two addresses: the one assigned by the post office and the one where the satellites think I live. If using the address from the post office, one ends up in a lake.
We have the same problem here, Sat Navs take people miles from the Castle entrance.
You write so beautifully, giving connection. Lyrical and evoking memories and shared experience.
Everyone, as I do, must feel they have received a post from a relative or chum from school days.
The History Lesson aspect is wonderful. It would be wonderful to hear the more about Highclere during both Wars. There’s an intriguing future book I would love to read.
Blessings to you and yours and much appreciation for the time and sharing of all things Highclere.
Thank you. My book ‘Lady Almina’ tells the story of Highclere during the First World War when it was a hospital. My book ‘Lady Catherine’ tells the story of the 1930s and 1940s at Highclere including WWII. They are available from Amazon and all good bookshops and have been translated into multiple languages. https://www.amazon.com/The-Countess-of-Carnarvon/e/B00DVJU2ZA
This post made me laugh! My husband and I argue all the time while trying to navigate the roads. He is Mr. Technology and I prefer the old-school way of doing things. I always have a current map in my car, just in case technology fails me, which it tends to do from time to time. Wonderful post, as always!
Thank you for your blog. It made me feels better that we are not the only ones who get in an(disagreement) when traveling. Now as you said my husband cannot decide whose instructions to follow so he has his cell phone, GPS and car navigation system going on all at the same time. So I listen to three different women’s voices talking to us. Yipes! Happy Traveling!
Your delightful post brought back memories of a trip long ago in the 1970’s that my boyfriend, who several years later became my husband, and I took, a cross country road trip from the east coast of the US out to the west coast. We had picked up a hitchhiker at one of the national parks and hit the road for the next one. I was navigating, my boyfriend was disagreeing and we ended up fighting like cats and dogs. Our bewildered hitchhiker in the back seat said we should get married because we were fighting like a married couple already. Haha.
Enjoyable reading, as always. I have experienced that scenario on many occasions. Doesn’t stop us from new adventures however. You know what they say about off the beaten path…
Looking forward to being at your gate in May.
Please check the map carefully when you come!
So fun to read this…and such a common scene to us all, I think. I, too, love real maps and like studying them, but I also like Google Earth and thoroughly believe that my husband and I would still be going around and around a round-about somewhere near Heathrow Airport if it weren’t for the lovely lady (gps) that came with our rental car. But later in the same trip we actually had her just give up on us and pout silently for miles. Then we really needed that good old paper map! It’s interesting how we humanize these electronic devices.
Thank you, again, for the lovely read each Monday!
Good morning Lady Carnarvon! I am a map person and I was trained to fold them perfectly after using them. As a teenager my father was driving us to Maine and about 1/3 of the way in the U.S. I felt we were amiss on the route. My father was very proud and just kept driving until the road turned into a mud road until it came to an end in a farmer’s field. Having started the drive to Maine with my parents when I was 12 and going every year in the summer from that time on, I found this predicament very funny but did not dare laugh. Your blog reminded me of this and I certainly chuckled. I also had a very tough experience with GPS trying to get to a friend’s home in the country outside Ottawa and I never used it again! Your blogs are a real treat – thanks so much for them. Have a good week! Diane Bourdeau
Thank you, funny how men will never stop and ask directions either.
Hello Lady Carnavon and Diane B. I grew up in Maine. In 1957, we took a family trip to the West Coast by car, our fairly new Willys Jeep. Bright red. Staying at a friends ‘camp’ at Rincon Beach, one day we started early to go to Ojai, the home of the recently opened Disneyland. True to form, my Mom read the maps, Dad drove. Suddenly, we found ourselves within sight of Disneyland, but we could not find a way to drive there. Everywhere there seemed to be one-way streets the wrong way. Mom would say go three streets and the next right would put us on a one-way going the correct direction. Finally, my dad just put on his right blinker and drove down a one-way the wrong way. It was a hot day, we had our windows down. On both sides of the street people were yelling various things at my father, calling him names and noticing our Maine license plate only ‘stirred the pot’. Mom was wringing her hands, we three kids were sitting in back trying not to laugh, and Dad drove proudly down the street toward our destination. We arrived at Disneyland with no more hitches!
You stated a disagreement between man and wife that is age-old. I could not agree more with letting the husband make all the decisions. It was certainly easier in the situation I described above!!
How funny – you made it
Oh my goodness we’re you listening in on our car? Ha! I thought I was reading a conversation with MY husband. It made me smile knowing you are like me. I love to read the maps as I travel too. It does give you a better sense of your surroundings and peace of mind.
You are quite right
We nowadays always bring our GPS but also bring our trusty road atlas. Then we are set no matter what happens. And my wife knows she can override GPS whenever she sees fit. After all, before cell phones she and the maps was the navigation system. And she got us all over the U.S! 🙂
So you still have your original Sat Nav lady – in the seat next to you.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Another wonderful post! Once again you have been the bright spot in my Monday morning.
My Veteran Husband retired in 1995 after 30 years in Public Works service for the State of Ohio.
We were so excited to begin this new chapter of our lives. Both our Fathers passed away much too young, so even though we were only in our late 40s, we decided to go for it. We spent our Winters in the Florida Keys. During the 5 years we made this our tradition, I was the ‘navigator’ for the trip. Our well worn Road Atlas should be encased in glass for posterity. It is filled with notes and plans for future trips. We would see a sign post or land mark and Ed would say, “make a note of that for a future trip!” Most of the time, we did not go back, but the notes really bring back great memories. Flipping through the colorful paper pages also kept my mind off of bad traffic or icy roads.
Isn’t it wonderful how we all have so much in common? Even across and ocean, we are more alike than different.
You are absolutely right!
I love your nav sat story. When I was in London some years ago a friend took us to Brighton in his new car. He was very familiar with the route and wanted to show me specific scenic areas. The nav system kept “shouting” recalculating when he deviated from it’s route, until eventually we had to stop for a break as we were both laughing so hysterically. Here’s to real maps!
Good Monday morning! I chuckled over my coffee today remembering my map folding,atlases and arguments with our gps…..No matter how close or far the distance,certain travel experiences will always be shared! Have an adventuresome week!
I live in California and we have LOTS of traffic. One of the biggest discussions we have involves driving on either the freeway or the surface streets. As we approach the freeway turnoff, my husband will ask, “Should we take 101 or the surface streets?” I might say, “Well, the traffic is not a problem on 101 at this time.” My husband will then take the surface streets which infuriates me because he always does the opposite of what I advise. So I have a new tack, when asked a question about the drive(Which way should we go, what radio station should we listen to and such), my answer is, “You are the driver, you get to choose.” One wonderful aspect about this approach is if hubby messes up, then he is the responsible. I just refuse to argue. I will say, our GPS is fabulous. I can also link my cell phone to the GPS system and the Google maps portion will advise us of upcoming issues, like a huge accident ahead. My husband is a scientist and I guess living in Silicon Valley makes us so used to technology. However, I do also love maps and keep a copy of an atlas next to me as I watch TV. If I hear of a place/country, and don’t know its location, I grab the atlas. I have also downloaded a map of the Middle East. As I watch the news, I often consult it. Bottom line, men, cars and directions, can’t live with ’em, can’t live without them. As we say here in Caliland, “Chill out and go with the flow.”
I love the idea of having an atlas next to you whilst watching television.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I found out what a sat nav was en route to Highclere Castle! Funny you talk bout it today. We of course call it GPS in North America…
The lovely B & B at which we were staying was in the middle of the countryside and we desperately needed help to get everywhere with the car. So when asked how we could get to your estate, our host simply told us follow the sat nav… at first we didn’t understand!
With a GPS, or sat nav… no arguments should occur in the car though! (c ;
I read Lady Catherine and Almina and loved them both, so I’m looking forward to another ancestor’s story eventually?
Thank you !
I shall be so interested to see your book on Lady Catherine. My mother remained connected to her as Mrs. Momand, if I have that correct, for a number of years.
correct – do you have any stories or photos?
I have some photos and letters but have to locate them amongst my mother’s belongings. I am afraid I didn’t place much importance to it all when I came across it.
I am pretty sure there was correspondence from your husband’s grandfather, Lady Almina and also the Lady Catherine. I will endeavour to find them. I guess my mother got to know them when she worked at the castle – the time frame I am still not sure about.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, my GPS navigator leads me directly to the spot I’m searching for. When it’s wrong, it’s usually only wrong about which side of the street my destination is located. Only once in 10 years was it so far off the trail that I wound up in a creepy area that appeared to be inhabited by vampires waiting for their dinner (it was dark on that occasion). I turned around immediately. Even with satellite navigation, or especially with it, we have to remain very aware of our surroundings; there’s no telling when our high-tech guide is going to drive us off a cliff just that one time.
I think you cannot beat “nouse”
Married 45 years. We now use WAZE. And he will insist she has it wrong. Big dummy . I’ve made her have a British accent
Maybe that is what I misuse before I resort to a map
I am still smiling – several minutes after reading your map and traveling blog post — been there done that — more than once while traveling with my husband! The good news is that after my husbands loud statement of “I am never lost Leslie, just temporarily confused” have past we have a good out loud moment of laughter! Life is good and your post helps to remind me of the many blessings in life that I have! Leslie R
I don not think it matters being a little lost and late – c’est la vie
Oh my goodness! Your description sounded like so many of our “car” conversations; especially the part about referring to the car nav as well as the two phone versions! In the end, we arrive, we kiss and apologize the one another if necessary, and we enjoy the place and people to which we were headed.
Thanks for a great Monday morning read.
I drive back
What a wonderful posting today and the responses were revealing, funny/enjoyable, too. When I lived in the western USA in the desert, there was no GPS. Directions were given by landmarks, blaze marks on trees, and the number of cattle guards(cattle grids) one must cross to arrive at the destination. In a strange coincidence I once ended up at the location of the UFO abduction in Arizona of Mr. Travis Walton. California was another experience, too. It was essential to use a cassette tape recorded at standard travel speed. Freeways and exits were planned before starting the trip.
In Southern Louisiana I grew up in an area where all directions were given by landmarks, fenceposts and “remember where such-and-such” used to be or “remember where Maman/Tante [name]” lived. The most unusual landmark was the place where “Nonc [name] barn that burned when Cousin [name] got married!”(Naturally that event occurred many years before I was born.)
I’m laughing as I write these memories.
My sons are reliant on their phones for directions and update them regularly. For highway travel and emergency updates these seem to navigate very well.
As a widow I now deal with hired drivers who use their phones and personal knowledge of this small town. Technology is great for so many travelers as long as it’s updated and the highway system is modern.
Thank you so much for the chuckle this morning after a challenging month.
(Through this repair/renovation I take heart knowing almost everyone has faced these challenges, too.) I am so looking forward to visiting Highclere Castle. That’s my reward to myself after all this focused energy and work.
Wishing everyone a wonderful week with peace, light, love and joy!
Thank you – the earliest maps here reference old ways and hills
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
You and your husband are still young and “newly weds” after only 21 years. Your tires still have tread on them! My husband and I married in July of ’73 so coming up on 46 years. And, My Dear, I still hate driving with “THAT MAN!” We now have Sally, our GPS system, who is over 10 years old and doesn’t have many options. And I swear she sounds exhausted after saying, “Turn here.” “Turn here!” “TURN HERE!” To which, my husband says, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. We’re going “this” way.” We also have a GPS nav on our phones and listen to the Ladies give different opinions on the distance before the next turn-off.
All-in-all, if you got to your destination for the evening without a hitch, what would you have to write about? A good tale is always the best payment for a little squabble. It keeps Life in Saddle interesting, don’t you think?
Love your Blog. And someday we are coming to visit you, Geordie and your four-legged children.
Thank you and I hope I have many more years and catch up with you!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank you for the combined Humanities and Social Sciences lessons add technology. Yes maps are full of interest. On a detour I read that the Downton Abbey II movie has been approved yet to be written. Is this true? In anticipation, kindest regards
They lead down various enticing garden paths!
Very first class article. I was a cartographer during the 1980’s and 1990’s for the Defense Mapping Agency in St. Louis Missouri. I love the old fashioned maps that you displayed at the bottom of your post. Downton Abbey season 1 and 2 gave some back ground on what life was like and travelling to and from Highclere before and during WW1.
The maps here are outstanding -some of the ones on here are 1790’s..
My husband especially enjoyed today’s blog. He collects maps much like I collect recipes. He has several of England including a cloth map given us by WWII Royal Air Force friend who was much concerned when we made plans to drive in UK. He was correct to worry.
How funny !
Thank you for giving me wonderful memories of driving from Massachusetts to Florida each January with my late husband! We consistently argued with the GPS and he insisted that I have the map book open to each state as we traveled down the east coast. I still have that book of maps, with our notes on each state to guide us through the difficult traffic areas (for example, driving north, make sure to take the upper deck and to get in the extreme right-hand lane on the George Washington Bridge (in New York City) in order to make the correct exit to head north to New England).
We don’t have a GPS and my husband refuses to have a cellphone. He has several trusty OS maps and I do all the driving. However being a dedicated train buff he is much more interested in where railway lines and bridges are and even where the lines used to be! Suffice to say every outing to a new area is an adventure!
I enjoy adventures ever more..
Dear Lady Carnavon:
I loved this blog entry! Yes, how familiar your road map reading adventures are! Brings to mind a time when my husband and I were visiting my sister and husband in another State (US) and my brother in law, native to the state, was driving. He kept taking “short cuts” to get to our destination. My sister, new to GPS with her Iphone was handling the navigation, and kept saying, “Byron, the lady, says to turn left here!” Thereupon a discussion ensued about which route would save more time and get us back to where “the lady” would pick up directions! It was a riot! We all were in stitches.
My Dad was the inveterate road map person. He carried a whole shopping sack full, and had every inch of the trip marked out in advance! The night before we left on trips, while we were all madly stashing last minute items in our suitcases, he would be pouring over his maps laid out on the dining room table, and make lists of route changes and mileages we would be going! Dad was an accountant, so adding things up was his specialty! And woe be to anyone who suggested deviating from the route once started!! He always got us there and back, usually without a hitch, and finding many interesting things along the way! Great memories.!!
Adventures in life!
Thank you for such an entertaining Blog! My GPS, just last evening, wouldn’t let me put in the address where I wanted to go! And, being VERY directionally disfunctional, I was pretty frazzled by the time I arrived. I applaud your determination!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
First of all, I must tell you that my long overdue book, Christmas at Highclere,
finally arrived on Friday after having ordered it on December 5th. I don’t know how my issue got resolved so quickly but if you had anything to do with it, thank you! I sat on my sofa and started reading it when all of a sudden my husband came and stood in front of me and said:” Is there dinner tonight?”
I had read through the dinner hour and my patient husband had to wait another hour before he ate!
The GPS issue is always entertaining especially when we come to your country and trying to navigate the roads. I will say something to him like” you want to take the next left in about 1/4 mile” and when we get there there would be three left hand turns in a very short space so he yells” which left?” You can imagine the ensuing volume that erupts from our car!
I do have one other concern and that is your blog has stopped coming automatically into my email box on Mondays. I have to go search for it on your website now. How can I rectify that?
Another interesting subject Lady Carnarvon, thank you. You always brighten my Tuesday mornings. Yes, I can relate with you and a few people here. I too am not too impressed with GPS navigation. It has taken us in a round about direction many times and yes if one is not in a hurry, it can be quite surprising. Give me a map any day though, especially maps for large cities. However when reading your post this morning I was reminded by the talented Pam Ayres on Map Reading. Just a reminder:
She is brilliant!
My daughter and I traveled in the mountains of Virginia, USA, a couple of years ago and used Nigel, with a British accent, on our GPS. We were lost much of the time and it took us about two hours longer than if we had followed the map. We laughed and had more fun because we blamed Nigel on being lost because we couldn’t understand his accent. He took our remarks better than our husbands would have I am sure… Loved your story this week. Thank you.
I think the issue of navigation is a universal one. Many years ago my husband and I decided to take a shortcut rather than the designated detour. A couple sitting on their front porch waved as we went by. After we arrived in their cornfield and turned around they waved again as we made our retreat. This was only one of the travel adventures we’ve had in 50 plus years of marriage. Now we simply call these errors “taking the scenic route”’. Thank you for making me chuckle today.
We have ended up in orchards..
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Our “female” voice is called “Emily”. And I also often disagree with her instructions although my husband feels we should follow her directions unwaveringly to the grave if need be! But mostly I totally enjoyed that you and your husband go through the same driving trials as the rest of us! I too like to have a bigger map in addition to GPS instructions so I can see the surrounding countryside, provinces, country… I read your blog today to my husband triumphantly and said “SEE? It’s not just us!”
It is funny – we are all the same..
Inspirational and humorous,love your blog,all the apps in the world will never capture the feel and smell of a good map,let’s keep picnics real aswell,lol
Thankyou for making me chuckle i even showed my husband and also brougt a simle as well
Lady Carnarvon, Hearing some horror stories about people getting lost with their GPS, I think I will stick with the old way. Your photos on your website and blog are lovely. It is wonderful to see the interior and exterior of Highclere Castle and surroundings. Thank you.
Love your blog. I am a Brit living in the US with an American husband, but we have the exact same scenario while driving. Thank you for your amusing anecdotes, and for taking the time to delve into the history of Highclere and what was going on in the area. Keep writing!
Very interesting story which we can relate to and good points. I do not have a GPS. I hope I am not the only one to look at mapquest before going to a certain place… Love the photo of the children playing during WWII.
It must be the same the world over. I always asked my husband to pull over until I worked out where we were and where we were going, but no! He would keep driving turning every which way he thought we should go and then get annoyed when I couldn’t work out our location. Once the navigation system came into being, our son would keep changing the accent on the voice to many different nationalities. Most of us in the car found it very funny!
I have just returned to Australia after a winter visit to Highclere with my 2 daughters. To be able to experience this visit with them was as absolute thrill.
Thankyou so much to your family and all the Highclere staff for making these visits possible and so enjoyable and informative.
I chose a lovely English accent for my navigation voice and he still makes me mad!
Lady Carnarvon it’s lovely to read nearly every couple has the same trouble with navigating. I used to be an enormous fan from the AA road maps. When we travelled to England I prepared the route and made notes for my wife before we left home so she could see at wich page we were “driving” at that very moment. Unfortunately now and then we got lost because something like a “horse for sale” had caught her attention. So when I bought her a new car in 2011 I was very pleased that it was equipped with navigation. I’ll never forget that we arrived in England and I made the decision to use that navigationsystem. The new car was a bit wider then the old one and a bit longer as well. The nav leaded me trough roads I’ve never been before, becoming narrower and narrower. For me the width of the car in combination with the fact that I had to drive at the left side of the street made me feel very miserable. We made it without a single scratch or more serious damage. Since that day I do use the AA Road atlas as I used to do.
Prior to our marriage, my husband and I would take day trips through the Iowa country side. This was also before the age of GPS. As long as I knew which direction the Mississippi River was I could navigate anywhere. I grew up along it and the Iowa land mass is west of the river. So, I always knew east/west and could figure out north/south pretty quickly. It irked my husband to no end when he’d ask, “Do you know where you are going?” I’d say, “Yes, it’s over there somewhere,” and point to a place off in the distance. We’d always arrive at our destination.
Three weeks after Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida my husband and I drove there to visit his sister who then lived about halfway between Miami and Homestead. The hurricane had blown down all of the street signs and had destroyed many buildings and much of the foliage so we couldn’t even get a feel for how far to go before reaching her house. We drove far past her house and spent hours trying to find our way. We did finally find her and luckily her house was still standing and pretty much intact except it was green instead of white from the force of all the leaves hitting the house! I expect it was kind of like trying to find your way during the war. As I remember we compared the area to what we imagined a war torn area would look like. Thank you for your post – it was highly entertaining.
Sandie Whitefish, Montana USA
I so enjoyed your blog today.
My 93 year old father and I went on a “roadtrip” to New Orleans a few years ago. He insisted that we use his navigation skills and his maps rather than the GPS as he likes to take country roads. Of course we became hopelessly lost in the hills of Kentucky so he then pulled out his map. It was from 1966, in complete tatters and showing roads that no longer exist. He and I at one point chased a turkey down the middle of a road! We still laugh about his maps.
Pamela, Moline, Illinois, USA
Outstanding narrative! Were you in our car yesterday as we encountered the exact same experience? LOL. That is so wonderful that God saved Highclere as a haven for children during the war. I can’t imagine having to live during such a terrifying time.
Your humor and insight is priceless. Blessings for a wonderful day in any direction.
I wrote about WW2 here – “Lady Catherine and the real Downton Abbey” I learnt so much – loved it and cried ..
Universal with all husbands and wives! I just say pull over if you want to get there in one piece – HA! Very funny blog today – I can’t imagine driving in the dark in your neck of the woods – I was happy to have a taxi when we visited last year!
I like taxis in the USA too!
Lady Carnarvon, please forgive me if I am being a pest, but I put on your blog that I sent you a card and mentioned our Calmar post office does have problems. Your reply was that you would let me know. I had emailed the office at Highclere to make sure I got the right address. A lady emailed me back with this address, The Countess of Carnarvon, Highclere Castle, Newbury, Berkshire England and I cannot remember the postal code she gave. Again please forgive me if I am being a pest. Blessings on your day.
You are kind to write – I think sometimes there is a rather large post eater figure sitting grinning somewhere..
Delightful as always. Reminds me of our adventure a few years ago as my son Jim and I searched for Highclere Castle. It was our first visit from the US. Our rental car was missing a GPS feature. It was stressful but worth it when we first caught a glimpse of your beautiful home!
I think you might have done better without it!
I agree. Maps bring us to a time of substance, holding something tangible. Recently traveling to Europe, I used a map as much as I did a walking map on my phone. The history of walking through the streets, I thought how it must’ve been for the people to discover every path, stream, and source of travel that we take so easily for granted now.
Thank you for your posts.
Oh my goodness! I loved reading this! I think myself as well as fellow readers always picture you two a fairytale of sorts. I am so glad you’re just as real as the rest of us! I can tell you my husband and I have had those road trip arguments that lead to silence, loud music, and eventually a hand and a kiss.. but it’s nice to know we’re not alone! ♥️
Ah, the challenge of the map for the miles…paper or plastic? Real paper maps are wonderful. Plastic technology functional, indeed. It’s a matter of personal taste. Who are we to judge? The heated discussions ensue when patience has run thin, one is either tired of sitting in a car, hungry, thirsty, bored, or frustrated with others on the road. Directions notwithstanding, two people should just start out knowing it’s an adventure, a journey of sorts, not a combative competition. Play music, listen to books on tape, agree to not discuss adversaries or sensitive subjects in a moving machine. Make fun of the maps. Don’t forget to laugh. Safe travels.