In the dim and distant past, as an accountant, I remember the issue of the valuation and reflection of goodwill in the balance sheet. It is an intangible asset: a debit in the top half of the balance sheet and a credit to capital in the bottom half. It is usually only realised and given a value when one company acquires another at more than book value. Like any asset it can become impaired and after a short time in some cases it can wholly evaporate.
For many of us this is a reflection of much of our life this past year. Many of our daily habits which we took so much for granted have vanished and our goodwill, so essential on so many levels, is fragile just now. As a result, it is likely that for some this goodwill would have had a different value at the start of the pandemic than would be assigned to it now.
What can be said though is that these past months have highlighted the positivity of goodwill. It remains entirely essential to many businesses, not just in accounting terms but in terms of both customer goodwill and the goodwill of the team, the people who are at the heart of every endeavour.
At the moment, at Highclere, we cannot meet any of our customers face to face and not all our team are here. This is challenging on all sides and our approach has had to become a constant quest both to express goodwill and to share it. As we juggle the need of the business and our clients with our future events calendar in these most uncertain of times, there is a certain irony in the fact that our “Wood of Goodwill” has become the place in which many of us here are currently choosing to walk whilst we contemplate the day.
Peopled by trees, gifts from and for those who have and do work here, as well as friends, it is currently smothered in spring bulbs which shine out in the current rather gloomy weather. It is an arboretum but, like so much at Highclere, it has developed out of the plans of a succession of people who have lived and worked here and the natural landscape rather than as the result of a team of talented landscape designers. Many of the trees, native or exotic, have their own stories as do the those who chose them.
One of my favourites involves Albert Saxton who was Clerk of Works here for fifty years. He had originally worked for British Rail at Guildford and loved cricket and gardening. Typically, he would sit by the radiator in the Estate office, one leg balanced along it, re-stocking his pipe (back in the days when smoking was permitted in the office) before knocking it out on various cupboards. His record keeping was immaculate and he also noted the weather each day. Sometimes I would ask him what he thought about a new idea I had or event.
For example, some years ago now, I ventured to suggest holding an Easter Egg Trail for children. He sucked in some air, peered over his glasses and suggested I didn’t. It would probably snow and no one would turn up: “waste of time”. He was a resolute “Eeyore” from AA Milne whose opening gambit might be “If it is a good morning, which I doubt”…..
For the entire of those 50 years, Mr and Mrs Saxton lived in a Gate Lodge. After he sadly died, Geordie and I thought we would plant a tree in his memory and Mrs Saxton chose one with beautiful autumn colours. It is a lovely way to remember a kind friend.
Pat and Mike Withers have been at the Castle for almost as long but luckily are still going strong. They have also kindly given us a tree and appropriately it has two strong stems growing up, one for each of them and a beautiful bark at all times of year. A girlfriend of mine who, along with her family, has stayed with us at Christmas has given us a group of forsythia, a promise of spring, whilst other friends have given us a collection of viburnums. Likewise, my mother-in-law gave us a cut leaf beech.
The variety of trees, the shrubs and the underplanted flowers in turn draw in both the pollinators and other wildlife, many of whom view much of it as their own personal larder. The gardening team have mixed feelings about the squirrels who eat the bulbs but we can share. Thus, the arboretum continues and we walk, often with the dogs and occasionally with a horse, amongst friends and their gifts, always grateful for their goodwill and enthusiasm.
At heart, I hope it really is a Wood of Goodwill. After all, to quote AA Milne once more: “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”
I always look forward to your Monday blog post, and today’s was no exception. I love the idea of trees planted as memorials or remembrances, and in fact planted a southern Magnolia for my husband who passed on 4 years ago. The spring flowers are lovely and they always give us hope, I think. Something we especially need just now.
Well said…a cheerful message shared with us faithful followers today!
Beautiful pictures to go with Beautiful thoughts. Make it so.
Thank you for this lovely mental wandering through your Wood of Goodwill, and for the important reminder to appreciate everything, big and small, and all those who contribute to these gifts –
Dear Lady Carnarvon. What an absolutely beautiful idea! I am so touched that you and your husband have such high regard for the people who work at Highclere. This attitude is rare today sadly. It is very lovely to see the bulbs springing to life. I do hope things pick up soon in England and that Highclere can once again be open to charm it’s many visitors.
Lady Carnarvon what an beautiful wood and goodwill beautiful flowers l like Highclere castle do you get sunset they
Another inspirational blog. During this pandemic, the sunshine for me, is a couple of quotes my dad who passed away, always said to me.” To give is better than to receive. Your reward will be waiting in heaven.” This is a daily reflection for me. If it means only a phone call to check in on someone or cooking a meal to pack and take over. We will all learn new things as well as bring back some of the simple life pleasures we stopped doing. It has been wonderful to watch mother nature take a breath of fresh air and see the waters clear and the air clear. Have a great week everyone and as always look forward to the next Mondays Blog…Thank you
Your pictures of spring flowers are like a tonic to me, here in snow-covered New Brunswick Canada! Thank you for this cheerful reminder that Spring may indeed come to my part of the world in time, which is about one month from now. I enjoy your Monday morning posts so very much, and long for the day when I might actually set foot on your property. God’s Blessing to you and your husband for taking such good care of Highclere.
Spring is just around the corner!
Another of your comforting and inspiring posts. I went on a city walk yesterday in search of signs of spring, and took a few photos that happen to be of the same flowers that you show above. I try to identify plants when I walk. I think one of your photos, after the one with the pony and daffs, includes “Lenten Roses”. I saw and learned about them for the first time, yesterday. How wonderful that crocuses, daffodils, and Lenten Roses are common signs of spring across oceans and continents. Thank you.
My state of Iowa suffered a derecho (essentially an inland hurricane) last August 10 — another indignity of lockdown! — and we lost a huge number of trees. I’m still waiting for the arborists to fit me into their busy schedule, as I have three damaged trees in my own yard, nature’s partial destruction of which needs to be fully accomplished by capable human hands. I planted a magnolia when I bought my house 21 years ago and it had grown into a beautiful full tree, only to lose two thirds of its graceful shape in the half-hour long storm. But the remaining third has new buds on it! A symbol of both survival and renewal.
Thank you for encouraging hope in this morning’s post.
Thank you Daniel
Daniel, it was a heartbreak to see such devastation in Iowa on our news last August. Thank goodness for Hope! And your ability to see it and embrace it.
Your talent of putting thoughts and ideas into words each week is such a blessing! Thank you for all these beautiful photos from your home. Here in the the Pacific NW – WA state we too are seeing similar sights. I do have one question about the horse. It looks as though the fur has been shaved off part of his body. If so – why is that done? Good chuckle too from your Albert Saxon story.
Muffet the pony was clipped underneath which is unusual in a Shetland but it was trying to not let her overheat as the weather chops and changes…
Your flowers are beautiful! May they bring goodwill to all.
Thank you so much for these absolutely lovely photos and these wonderful thoughts today! You have no idea how much I needed them this morning and how timely they are! I had been musing earlier about the number of friends and family I lost in the past year (including both of my siblings, who died within six months of each other), and overall it was a rather depressing muse. But seeing your lovely spring photos and reading your post helped to restore some balance. Thank you for writing these posts.
Nancy I am so sorry for you – my thoughts are with you…
Nancy, Yesterday I listened to Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California. He said something that astounded me. He said 2021 would be a year of grieving for all of us as we all lost something. Your loss is profound and I will pray for you. As you grieve, may you will find the mighty arms of a loving Lord giving you a comfort that goes far beyond understanding.
I was very touched by your post, Nancy. It is heartbreaking to lose siblings. My deepest sympathy.
Dawsonville GA USA
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thanks so much for these lovely little glimpses into the behind-the-scenes world of Highclere Castle. Your posts are most enlightening and entertaining.
I am curious about the horse in the photo near the beginning of this post. It looks like his or her coat has been trimmed in a way I have never seen before, though I am no expert on these matters—it appears that the legs and upper half of the neck and body have been left alone, and the bottom half of the neck and body have had the more woolly winter coat shaved away in a precise pattern. I don’t even have a name for this phenomenon to be able to look it up. Can you share any further information about this?
Wishing you good health and all the joys of spring, from the middle of the USA!
It is called clipping and can be quite useful and stop too much sweating. We then have a huge number of rugs to keep everyone warm!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
What lovely thoughts at the beginning of the week. Thank you for the glimpse’s into life at Highclere Castle, and the beautiful photos of your spring flowers! I do enjoy reading your messages throughout the week!
My lady Carnarvon
What a beautiful empathic and kind blog of wholesome words during these unprecedented days for many.
Spring is a well need view and uplifting needed time for many the sun shining longer. Brite in early rising to cheer our hearts, and thoughts as we press forward each day perpetually.
Flowers full of beautiful colors and scents to truly uplifting every soul during this lenten season so thank you again for your kindness in this blog.
Thank you for the lovely post, and accompanying pictures. It’s a great start to Monday and a mental respite from the constant barrage of pandemic news. I appreciate having a Wood of Goodwill to reflect upon, a reminder there is much Good to still be thankful for today.
Once again you have transported us to the beauty of your lovely Estate! Be encouraged that what you are recording in these Blogs does “transport” us to the grounds of Highclere Castle! We should all strive to plant or be a part of “Wood of Goodwill”!! Thank you again!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
the gardens at Highclere are looking lovely, thank you for sharing the pictures and also for your goodwill to us. Sending you lots of goodwill in return, and goodwill to everyone here.
Thank you Jane!
Beautifully written! Thank you!
I am so sorry about the close down. The flowers are so beautiful, maybe I’ll see them next year. Stay hopful see you soon.
I too look forward to your Monday morning blogs! They always seem to find something positive to focus on (especially as we recover from the pandemic!). As I sit and read I imagine myself walking along on the many paths around Highclere enjoying all the splendor that each season brings! Someday (when we are free from the pandemic) I hope to experience a little of the splendor in person!
We do have to journey with hope despite the bumps
Thank you for taking us all on a stroll through the Wood of Goodwill and to see the daffs and crocus “Spring” up from the ground. Such a hopeful message this Monday,
as we mark a full year of the pandemic. May the day come soon when Highclere can open its gates to the public, and may the staff return and be filled with such cheer and goodwill.
Love your breath fresh air and lovely refreshing words from Woods of Goodwill! Have a lovely week. ☘️☘️
You too Nancy
A quilting friend who has since passed, gave me a lovely Daisy plant in remembrance of my Mother-in-Law. I had totally forgot about it and noticed it last year while it was in full bloom next to the pool house. A childhood friend passed away and I planted a Dogwood tree in her remembrance. It too is going strong. I have just started taking up gardening as my gardener moved away, leaving me the task. I never new such joy as to watch seedlings sprout from their little starting homes. Our garden this year will most likely provide us with fruits and vegetables for over next winter. As I walk our dogs outside, I am now noticing more life growing. Spring is my favorite season with all the new life sprouting from the ground. I anticipate the warmer weather and hopefully the ability to get together with family and friends.
Thank you for you insightful thoughts every Monday.
Thank you for taking me for a walk in your Wood of Goodwill! Such beautiful stories of trees and people.
Thank you again for an absolutely Beautiful Blog. As I await my 2nd dose of Morderna Vaccine I am looking forward to travel back to Europe in Summer 2021. The end of this Nightmare is possibly near it’s End!
I do hope so Yale
Thank you for another inspirational blog to set us up for the week. The sight of bulbs blossoming and a tiny bit of warmth in the sun fill us all with hope through these rather dark times.
Thank you, thank you, dear Lady Carnarvon, your words and the pictures are so heart-warming
and so very welcomed and appreciated. God bless you, and your wonderful staff, for working
so lovingly and carefully to share the riches of this site.
Stay safe, stay well.
I love your photos of the blooming flowers. It makes me long for spring. We’ve had spring-like weather in Wisconsin for the past week. However, today 1-3 inches of snow is in the forecast. Thanks for brightening my Monday morning.
When I read your blog full of love for nature and beautiful surroundings, I am so thankful you escaped the life of an accountant! Cheers to a beautiful life!
Thank you for bringing such beauty into our lives today, on this very chilly day in Michigan. Snow and sleet are predicted for this afternoon and evening, but tomorrow is supposed to be warm again. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s these spring days, when the temperatures dip and rise so dramatically that is what our beautiful maple trees need to produce the delicious sap for the syrup we have waited for all winter long.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
In my dealings with your Highclere staff during this difficult period, there has been no lack of goodwill. In fact, the standard set has far exceeded any expectations. If there was an award for Goodwill, Highclere would be the winner. Ribbons all round! Thank you. I look forward to visiting next year.
You are kind thank you
Your blog of Highclere just made my day with spring just around the corner here in Canada. A special perk at these trying times during Covid. I have used some of your recipes and received many compliments. Thanks again for this website.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
GOOD DAY MILADY AND MONDAY FAMILY,
LOVELY, LOVELY, LOVELY, WOW, WONDERFUL ,ABSOLUTELY STUNNING .BEAUTIFUL PICTURES AND WORDS . LOVELY PLACE FOR A PIC -NIC IN THE NEXT WEEKEND. CHAMPAGNE. CHAMPAGNE, MILADY AND GIN HIGHCLERE CASTLE.
RIO CLARO – SP
*big sigh* Just lovely. Thank you for a sweet moment in my morning.
Hello Lady Carnarvon.
Trees and plants always provide treasured memories of friends or places. I had some nice snowdrops from Hever Castle and Penshurst Place.
Next week why not fill the blog with some more stunning photos, as we continue our lockdown and cannot visit Highclere.
Wonder what Lady Mary and Tom Branson would think of Downton if they could see it now in its Spring glory.
Soon be time to cut the grass in expectation of re-opening. Hope so.
Carry on Highclere. Debits on the left, near the window.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Beautiful blog, seeing the crocus, daffodils, snowdrops and the hellebores, makes you feel much better, when the sun is out and the birds are singing, really makes me smile and gives us something to look forward to.
Wishing you all the best
The sun makes us all smile
I love your Monday morning boost. It begins my week in a wonderful way. Counting down the months until we can actually make the visit to Highclere and enjoying your gin in the meantime!
I look forward to welcoming you to Highclere
It was such a delight to see the picture of the lovely “winter/Lenten roses” this morning. I planted them last year in my garden, but had to leave them when we moved to a retirement home in the late fall. Little did I know but they were outside the entrance to our building! Seeing the beautiful Wood of Goodwill and the abundant flowers and trees brings hope of a place to visit again as the end of the pandemic seems to be in sight.
Thank you for a lovely way to start another week!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for the lovely words and pictures of Spring! We have only 2 inches of tulips and daffodils peeking through the earth here. I am happy to report we have rebooked our Highclere Castle tour for October 2021, and we can’t wait! I chuckled at the comments on your pony’s clip. Yes, dear reader, horses get too sweaty with a Winter coat on, and this speeds up the drying time.
Happy Spring and we look forward to Friday’s cocktail party!
I look forward to your weekly blogs . Today, on this beautiful sunny day as I sit looking out at my tiny garden , I dream of my past visits to your amazing gardens and home. My friend and I look forward to visiting again in ’22
Our dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for today’s inspirational journey. Much of what we have experienced is similar to what was day-to-day life for previous generations. Generations that are not so very long ago. How easy it has been to take what we have for granted until we didn’t have it.
The roller coaster of emotions has gone from annoyance at the inconvenience, to impatience with the duration, to fear of the unknown and now, we are weary, discouraged and depressed. Your uplifting message will help us break through the barrier and direct focus on how we can be better for the experience. Learning how little we control was a harsh lesson but, we CAN control how we respond to those lessons. Joyously embracing every sign of spring is a positive way to see the hope in the vaccines and encourage more “goodwill” everywhere and at every opportunity.
Keep up the good work,
Thank you Deidre
Dear Lady Carnavon,
Once again you have taken us away to your lovely property and home with sweet memories of what is to come. Hoping one day that i will be able to experience your surroundings in person.
Thank you for your Monday posts.
I too hope one day you will experience Highclere
Beautiful words and a tribute to Goodwill/memorial trees which are always, I think, the best way to remember and celebrate the future. I can’t agree more about your thoughts on the past year and here in British Columbia where a few crocuses are starting to poke out of the ground (along with too many vigorous weeds) , I think we all need the sunshine, gentler breezes, and luscious scents of spring to support us as we enter the second year of C19 , at least this year, with the prospect of vaccination. I pray that goodwill will not be lost through complacency!
Our little world, it’s grounds inspired by Highclere and Chatsworth (Yet only on a 5 acre scale) will literally have an infusion of new life a week today when my first grandchild comes in to the world!
I’ve pulled out the Silver Cross pram, patiently waiting for action after 25 years (that is when the last of my four children snoozed in it) , and I am enjoying creating a nursery for Nana for when she is on duty!! I certainly hope that is a lot.
I feel a little like a Copper beech tree with brittle crinkly orange leaves just waiting for the fresh purple fronds to unfurl in the warmer air….. not for a few months now but there is always hope to be found in the garden and the woods as you so accurately emote.
Thank you as always for your Monday musings❤️ Let’s keep up that Goodwill even when we rarely escape to the market where maybe crabby people are in line…. a little kindness and goodwill goes such a long way! It’s been a long year but your writings always bring hope.
Thank you ,
B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L, L-O-V-E & T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U are the only words I have for todays blog.
I left the UK ,for Canada,when I was 6yrs old ,in 1948. I love watching anything on Britain. I wish I could visit one last time. Your home and gardens are lovely. It helps me to forget it’s 20degrees F out side. I still remember my Grans lovely flowers in Leics. and the party we had in the summerhouse before we left. So many happy memories. Susan
Lady Carnarvon, It does the heart good to give someone kindness whether it be a gesture or the spoken or written word. It is a winning combination for the receiver and the one giving it. With Kind Regards, Cheryl
Dear Lady Carnarvon.
Today’s blog was so uplifting. I enjoyed the beautiful pictures of the Garden of Goodwill while I read. I imagine it is wonderful to see the trees friends have given, especially now since you may not be able to see them. I’m sure it brings comfort.
I do hope things begin to turn around in Great Britain and businesses like yours will be able to open sooner than later.
This week marks one year since the beginning of the pandemic in the US and all that has happen because of it. The 13th of March my school shut down and as an event planner, all my event were cancelled. This week, working on the unavoidable taxes to be submitted at the end of the month, the accounting of the last year is an actual document, with its assets and liabilities. Although the bottom line is certainly less than in years past, I am reminded that we are still the lucky ones, with a roof over our heads, food in the cupboard and most importantly, still healthy despite all that has happened. Each month I decorate my home according to the calendar, so of course, this month my little house displays green and gold and all things Irish. One of my favorite decorations is a little black ceramic kitty holding four leaf clovers in her tail. This afternoon I will be going out and purchasing two shamrock plants, one for myself and one for my friend who I will be visiting this week. The pandemic is so much harder for her and others of my friends who have lost their spouses recently with the stay at home order deepening the isolation involved. I have tried hard this year to make the phone call, mail the card or letter, drop off the small gift, to make sure that all my friends and family know how much I love and miss them. My husband and I have received the first of our two vaccine shots, with the second to be administered in 11 days. Then as advised by the doctors, another 14 day waiting period until we can begin to meet with those who have also been inoculated. We have already planned a very small dinner party, only three household groups as allowed by law but we are so looking forward to it. Spring always brings the promise of better days ahead, this year more so than ever for us. I have read about your situation and know how having to furlough cherished workers is so hard, I have had to not use many of my helpers for my small company and I know it brings hardship for them. But I truly believe better days are ahead and am hoping when they finally get here, we will have not forgotten the important lessons this pandemic has taught us. All my best, Gayle
I truly hope we can “tap the tiller” a little after this long year.
Lady Carnarvon lovelywalks around Highclere Castle did you have a good Mother’s Day yesterday and pictures and looking around houses
I too notice the unusual trim on the Horse. If it makes him more comfortable I am for it.
My Grandson in North Carolina just bought a 4 1/2 acre Horse Farm with five stables. I can’t wait until he gets some Horses.
Thank you for your wonderful Blog. I enjoyed the stories along with the Flowers and Trees there all beautiful.
You are a lucky Grandmom! I hope his farm is near Cary where we live!
Another fan of Lady Carnarvon,
Lady Carnarvon your homeand had lots of flowers and horses
Thank you ! For your uplifting Monday posts. Today’s was especially meaningfull.
Have a good week!
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of flowers and Highclere Castle horses
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for writing this week Monday’s inspirational blog. I enjoyed the walk through the Wood of Goodwill. In the United States, the planting of trees in celebration, honor, or memory of someone has become quite popular as an environmentally friendly gift and/or gesture.
Looking at all the beautiful, colorful pictures of the early Spring flowers lifted my spirits. Winter has returned to Michigan with cold temperatures, ice, rain, sleet, and snow predicted for the late afternoon, throughout the night, and possibly into tomorrow. I am so glad that I have not raked the leaves from last Fall off from the flower beds. They will continue to be a good insulation for the garden.
Until next Monday, have a good week and keep thinking Spring.
P.S. How kind of you to acknowledge Nora Sutcliffe by planting a tree and recognizing her 42 years of dedicated service in your Instagram presentation. Looking forward to Friday night’s Saint Patrick’s cocktail party, even though March 19th honors St. Joseph.
St Joseph is forgotten too often … never have enough saints
Not only is this Friday St Joseph’s Day, the entire period between 8 December 2020 and 8 December 2021 has been declared by Pope Francis as a Year of St Joseph – in honour of the 150th anniversary of Saint Joseph being named as patron of the Universal Church.
Oh, what lovely Spring flowers! Thank you for sharing!
Is beautiful! Spring is coming so as good days !! We all hope! Thank you!
Dear Lady Carvarvon,
Spring always brings the promise of better days to come. Thank you for being the light in the dark days this past year. Your spring flowers help brighten my day. Tomorrow I receive my vaccine shot and it will give me a boost, too!
Blessings and Aloha,
Well done you !
Lady Carnarvon, You are so very kind. Out of your busy days, week after week you share your life and loves with your people. I want to say again thank you and I so appreciate all what you do. Cheryl
So lovely to see the flowers and trees there. Our visit was too short and we missed most of the grounds due to rain, however we do look forward to returning again one day. We currently have around 2 feet of snow here in Denver from our weekend storm, so your beautiful pictures remind me that Spring is just around the corner.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for that wonderfully descriptive guide through Highclere’s ‘Wood of Goodwill’.
Also, you reference to Mr Saxton’s response – that it was likely to snow on your ‘Easter Egg Trail’ – reminds one of the following passage from ‘Pooh’:
“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
On a different note, Happy St Patrick’s Day to all.
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
Happy St Patrick’s day to you too!
Lady Carnarvon, the two books you wrote on Finsa, the lab puppy, Afternoon Tea and Good Manners are a delight to read. Not only for children but I truly believe an adult, like myself would be delighted to read them. The illustrations are lovely. Best Wishes, Cheryl
Thank you Cheryl!
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
IS IT TRUE THAT WE WILL HAVE THE NEW MOVIE DOWNTON ABBEY RECORDED AND SHOWN LATER THIS YEAR, MILADY ? ? ?
RIO CLARO – SP
It would be nice…
Lady Carnarvon, I finally got through on the phone to make an appointment for my Covid shot, April 24 is the day. I am so glad it is on its way. Have a restful weekend, Cheryl
Marvellous well done you