Hide and Seek
You may well have played Hide-and-Seek – as a child as I used to play it all the time with my sisters. One person, the seeker, has to close their eyes and count out loud to twenty (or perhaps a bit more), whilst everyone else has to quickly run off and hide. Crouching in some dark corner you would hear one sister sing out “Ready or not, here I come!” when she finished counting and some stifled giggles from other sisters perhaps less well hidden. It was the thrill of hiding and the fear of being discovered. We used to play on many evenings in the twilight around the house on the beach in Cornwall and now occasionally in the Castle.
Geordie’s grandfather, however, preferred played Sardines – one person would hide and each of the party would then try to find them, the difference being that when you found them, you got in the same hiding place and hid too. We have played that in the Castle as well, limiting it to two floors, although sometimes we get bored looking and gave up, whilst those who were still hiding also became bored. So, I think we remain childish in spirit if, sadly, older in terms of years.
In fact, hiding seems to be a part of everyday life at the Castle, whatever our age. John, the Castle manager, seems to be particularly keen on it. Some eleven years ago John Legend and his team came to Highclere for a day to record a music video. It was an amazing day with a charming American director and a then not very well-known friend called Kanye West helping him. Some of the video was filmed outside at Jackdaws Temple but much of it took place in the Saloon, which has excellent acoustics. At one point, however, they suddenly switched to the Library. John the Castle Manager and Diana from housekeeping, who were in the Library at the time, realised they might be in shot and quickly crouched down on to their hands and knees behind a large table hoping they might be out of sight and trying to be quiet.
John thought he heard the director say “I can see asses”, “Stop! I can see asses” but, ever optimistic, he whispered to Diana “stay still and we should be ok”. The director then appeared behind the table pointing out that it was their asses in his shot and would John, in his brightly coloured trousers, kindly remove himself. He was polite enough not to mention Diana, still down on the floor. The finished video is only a few minutes long, but it was a joy listening to the extraordinary voice of John Legend.
Fast forward a few years and it is towards 7pm one evening and nearly the end of a Downton Abbey filming day. John, Geordie and I were hoping it would soon be “a wrap” – it had been a long day for all of us. Richard E Grant and Elizabeth McGovern were filming a final scene in the Saloon and Elizabeth – “Cora” – was then exiting towards the Red Stairs, where we were all standing and waiting.Gestured to get out of shot, Geordie and I quickly went around the corner and into the hallway. John, equally quickly, decided to improvise and squeezed – just – between a wall and a large, tall, dark, antique chest. Unfortunately, he then got his trousers stuck on a protuberance and was thus caught in a slightly awkward position. Geordie and I were crying with laughter, trying not to make a noise. “Cora” exited past John who tried to smile and make little waves with his free hand which “Cora” very sensibly ignored. Luckily, it was indeed “a wrap”.
Lady Carnarvon, like most kids I too played Hide and Seek and continued with it with my sisters kids and their kids. I am not a petite person at all so there was always some part of me sticking out. They always thought it was so funny. It has for me many happy memories. Kind Regards, Cheryl
This is brilliant! Love the thought of rear ends sticking out in a video! Gave me a great laugh, about Downton filming as well.
So so funny
Thank you so much for these tidbits, love them.
What a delightful story! To recall the innocent pleasures of a more care-free era is to give hope to all.
I look forward to Monday and receiving your Post. Today’s missive is charming and made me chuckle. Thanks.
I discovered Downton Abbey for myself three years after it was actually off its prime time showing. I finally decided to watch it on reruns in 2018 after repeated exposure to the surrounding hoopla (do you know the word? means craziness and chaos) and hype. I was hooked. I have now watched the whole series through 3 or 4 times. I saw the movie with a friend the day it came out in US theaters, and just saw it last night again on Amazon prime video. I have also enjoyed your special presentations on PBS. Your weekly blog is so fun to read, you write in such expressive and clear language that I can see before me the wonderful scenes you describe. I am learning from your clarity in writing such clear word pictures. I have a pipe dream, daydream, of someday vising Highclere. I live close to our own American castle in miniature, Biltmore House, and my father asked me ages ago if I owned it yet, since I had been to visit it so much. According to your blog and other activities, you must never slow down. Hope your husband appreciates you and all your hard work, seems like it must be a labor of love. Thank you for sharing Highclere!
I can’t imagine playing hide and seek in Highclere, but I would love to try!
When our children were young they played hide and seek with our dog Tia (a Boxer). She was an amazing dog with them. We have rescued and loved many dogs since then but she has a special place in our hearts.
The game of hiding, which you played as a child, has been and is a game that is played by children in Albania.
Children’s games are very beautiful and will not be forgotten!
Muharrem Shqarri, Albania
Such games are universal ..
Thank you for another charming and lighthearted story. It made me think of the games I played in my childhood and start my week with a laugh and smile. Always enjoy the pictures too! Thank you, Rose
Thank you Lady Carnarvon for another great story. As I’m still on furlough waiting to go back to work, I look forward to your stories and podcast. We have just finished bingeing Downton Abbey again and hope one day to make it to Highclere, and a taste of gin. Best wishes for a great season now that you are now open.
I have just recorded my next podcast…
We recently enjoyed “dipping in” to Downton Abbey marathons (and getting hooked for the full run)on our 3 PBS stations in the Philadelphia area as they bade farewell to their contract for rebroadcast, even though we have a full set of discs. The pleasure of rediscovering specific scenes and story lines and seeing “old friends” has been easily the most appealing programming available and transports us to our Highclere visits in 2015 and 2016. Thank you again, Lady Carnarvon, for ‘letting’ your home play its central role in the series. I’m sure, however rewarding, it required much more work for much longer than anticipated.
I imagine there were thoughts of Hide-and-Seek as you reopened to visitors this weekend. We look forward to hearing how it went! Best wishes for a smooth ‘new normal’ and for a season of cooperative weather.
The weather has been kind today again … it helps practicalities and mood!
Dear lady carnarvon. The old games are the best so much fun so whatever your age have fun as laughter is the best medicine we are all young at heart and age is just a number best wishes to you an the family Mrs Muriel Alice staffieri.
I love this article and the photos! The other side of Downton Abbey that we did not know. I always wondered if the Highclere family was there when the show was filmed. A delightful article that is needed in these gloomy times. Thank you!
A very charming way to start a Monday!
Wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing.
I’m wondering if, in the future, you could comment on the
tree in the first photo. I fell in love with it when first seen
in Downton abbey. It is just magnificent. How old? Is there a
reason you have no other trees closer to the castle?
It is about 250 years old – there are trees around but nothing too close to detract from the statement made by the Castle
Thank you for lovely stories they make my week.
Thank you for your wonderful Monday blogs. I look forward to them. I hope that your opening went well. I was fortunate to visit Highclere several years ago. Stay well.
Thank you so much!
I love your blog.
Oh, how funny, seeing John between a rock and a hard place. As a child we lived in a house with many houses up and down the street. Our house although far from being in the middle was the gathering place for all games. Our outside “hide and seek” game was called “ kick the can”. The “it” person covered their eyes, standing over an old soup can, while the lot of us would run and hide. We all would wait hoping not to be found. If you were found you went and stood by the can (which was now your jail). While the “it” person went looking for others, one of your cronies could come in and free you by kicking the can. The “it” person would have to come back, find the can, and replace it, as you went off to find another hiding place. This was just one of many games we played as children, which could number up to 20. I can’t even imagine playing in the vastness of a castle or on the grounds. You could actually loose a child or an adult. I know I would always be found if anyone looked in the horse barn. That would be my favorite place to hide.
Th funny thing is leaving people there….
We, too, played “kick the can” in the early evening summer dusk, under mimosa trees, crickets and frogs chirping. Thanks for the memories!
I remember kick the can too!
Very funny story today! How is your opening coming along? Laughter is the best medicine!
Thank you – our opening is calm and visitors seem happy!
Greetings from Fort Worth, Texas. What a wonderful way to start my Monday morning, with chuckles and smiles, remembering scenes from my own childhood. My sister was quite the tree climber, so when we played hide-and-seek with the neighborhood children, I made a point to pretend not to find her when she hid, since it was expected that the finder climb the tree, or roof, to touch-tag the one hiding. One time my grandmother was watering her rose bushes, saw my sister on the roof, and hollered at her to get down, that ladies don’t climb on a roof. Alas, Granny refused to touch-tag her. Beautiful memories.
Hee hee! Fun at all ages! Can’t beat a castle for scary hide and seeks!
Not at all ….
What fun stories. Now, I will always look for funnies (Easter eggs) like that with each episode.
Thank you for sharing such lovely memories, which brought back my fun-filled childhood games of hide and seek so many years ago.
The older I get the more vivid my childhood memories have become, funny how that happens. I think it must be a small gift from God that helps offset the wrinkles and other distasteful realities of old age.
I’m so happy to see that the castle is now open to receive visitors once more. May this summer be a happy one for you…busy and lucrative!
Sending many good wishes your way from sunny Florida!
Love the simplicity of the game of Hide & Seek. A game that even adults can have fun playing. As always, thank you for your stories from Highclere Castle. Hoping your week there goes well!
Thanks for making me laugh! 😀
I just wiped tears of laughter from my eyes and used another tissue for my nose! I read your post to my husband, a DA fan, muting the kitchen TV from other-worldly unsettling news, and he had a hearty laugh, too. Adults and children often have to play Hide and Seek, only to get caught red-britches! This left a wonderful picture in my imagination – a super way to start the morning.
I wonder if sometime you would write about your early years in Cornwall and ‘the castle.’
All of your readers know a lot about Geordie, but your childhood was surely an interesting one your readers would enjoy knowing about, too.
Thanks again for a delightful story.
I am so glad – I cried with laughter as I wrote it
This is such a lovely story of having fun. Highclere Castle is an endless place of little hiding places.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I absolutely loved playing hide and seek as a child, and often played with my children when they were young. I would hide and they would try to find me, shrieking with delight as I would chase them once they “found” me. Great fun and great memories! I love that you and Geordie and the team hid during the filming of Downton…. giving the cast, I’m sure, surprises around many corners! And indeed, under the furniture. Sounds like great fun for all!
Thank you for smiles on a warm summer Monday, and all good luck as the reopening continues. No hiding from the guests, as I’m sure you welcome them with open arms.
Stay healthy and well! 1,2,3…. Ready or not….here we come…..!!
Charlotte Merriam Cole
I hope people do come and visit us this summer and I suspect we will be busy next summer!
I loved your story. As I read it I realized that today I would /should be checking out of Grotto Lodge after a three night stay. Due to COVID, our trip had to be cancelled and now looking forward to next year’s rescheduled plans.
Grotto will still be here and the garden even better – we are over run with enquiries for it!
We played Hide and Seek as well. We also played a game called ‘seven steps around the house’. That one would definitely be a challenge around the castle.
The lovely thing about this blog that you write so well is that everyone who reads it can relate in one way or another. Love the “Hide and Seek” stories especially getting caught where you were not supposed to be!
I wish I could enter the castle soon and say the line: “Ready or not, here I come”! I have to wait until next June, though. See you then……
See you then and you will know more secrets by then!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
A lovely story, I had tears of laughter streaming down my face reading about John & Diana hiding behind the table, and then John getting stuck. I used to love playing hide & seek as a child.
Have a good week.
The table is the one in the photo with flowers on it…
This was a funny story. And now Kanye West says he’s running for president.:)
Oh I howled out loud!! So funny. Thanks for the human touch and such laughter. I love it!
downton has been a favorite of mine… watching it over and over so much my grandson shakes his head…. “not this again”… yes…. AGAIN… i love the story but also seeing your home and grounds.
HOWEVER…. which room in the series is the Salon? i know the diningroom… and the one with all the books.. which is very long and has the red sofa’s which i’m assuming is the library. but the salon, i’m lost on … perhaps… well, i dont know. also, when you say red stairs… are those the main ones we see in the series…. and i realize maybe not the servants stairs… did they call those hidden doors… Jib doors?
anyway… thank you so much for sharing everything. i’ll never be able to come to england, even though i am 82% british… I feel i can visit via your posts. thank you so much
Downton calls it the Great hall
OH,, me again… I have FOUR sisters !
Dear Lady Carnarvon and our Monday Family,
WONDERFUL post. The Bible tells us that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. You just gave us all a dose of very good and much-needed medicine! I imagine we all laughed and made our hearts merry while reading about the filming of Downton. A good ‘belly laugh’ is what you gave us. We will take our medicine gladly.
Humour – it helps us through
I love Geordie’s Grandfather’s variation of the game! What a wonderful place to play. I could see where there would need to be some restriction of area or the game could go on for days before finding someone. Hide and go seek outdoors was hard for me because I had flaming red hair. I was always found right away. Thank you for sharing your home, history and blog with us. I really would love to see Highclere someday.
I hope you will visit some day..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I’m from México and yes, we do also play hide & seek. I remember playing with my two cousins who I call sisters (I have no sisters – only 3 brothers). You have definitely brought up some wonderful memories. But with your story definitely made me laugh, just imagining it.
A thought came to mind that even though we are so much apart and we live in completely different atmospheres we all can relate to a wonderful, simple game that we all have enjoyed as being simple little children.
Blessings to you and your family. ♀️
What a funny post! I loved the stories of how everyone copes with quickly hiding during filming and the various diversions created to play. I always think of Hampshire as ready for a downpour and having indoor games a necessity for family and guests.
Best wishes on the opening and may all the animals(esp. dogs) adjust the new tempo of life.
May everyone stay healthy and practice proper procedures to ensure safety for all.
Continuing my recovery journey through house rebuilding very carefully. Living with intention of healthy outcome through physical distancing, hazeitwashing, and masks when interactions with people are necessary.
Again, best wishes on the reopening and once again I’ve rescheduled my trip because the USA has no entry into the countries I had planned to visit.
Tomorrow is my mother’s yahrzeit; it is the first anniversary of her death. I so appreciated the kind note Lady Carnarvon mentioned last year.
Life continues. I’m grateful for this blog and the other Highclere Castle videos; they lift me out of current circumstances and provide a moment of enjoyment.
Ida Lee Duplechin
May all your plans go well..
nosotros ,con mi hermano mellizo,primos y amigos ,siempre jugabamos a las escondidas ,como se lo llama aca en argentina,y era un momento magico y a la ves de mucha nerviosismo de que note encontraran,recuerdos maravillosos que los de nuestra edad casi 60,siempre recordamos.juegos que uno despues fue transmitiendo de generacion en generacion,tambien jugabamos a otro juego que se llamaba la mancha ,y el que elegiamos nos coria y no teniamos que dejar que nos toque y nos diga mancha,asi podiamos seguir jugando,lindisimos recuerdos.
Whereever we live – still the same games of childhood and memories to make us smile Dondequiera que vivamos, siguen siendo los mismos juegos de infancia y recuerdos para hacernos sonreír
The most wonderful thing about having had several visits to Highclere is when you, Lady Carnarvon, tell your stories we can visualize it all very well and it comes to life…and often we too cry with laughter while reading them.
To you, the readers of this blog, have not yet visited the castle, you must do so! We send everyone we know there as it is always a pleasure for whomever goes.
If you are able to go to an event Lord and Lady Carnarvon attend, also do that as they are the most welcoming and personable hosts…and fun!
Lady Carnarvon, as always, thanks for the Monday morning chuckles.
Thank you so much !
I so enjoy your stories. But this one is now my favorite! Having Downton Abbey filmed there must have been stressful, but at the same time a wonderful experience. I am a huge fan of Downton and visited the castle last July. It was a dream come true to walk inside and see this beautiful place which I was so accustomed to seeing on TV. But to be there in person was breathtaking! We were so sorry we did not get to meet you. But I follow your blog and love every story you tell. Thank you for allowing me to come back to the dream!
Thank you – there were such funny moments …
What a fun read today! I can just imagine playing Hide n’ Seek in the Castle. Comical indeed!
Thanks so much for this happy entry.
Thank you for bringing a smile to my lips. Our granddaughter (age 4) adores Hide-and-Seek, and she’s very good at it, too. She helps me find her by giggling softly throughout in delight and anticipation. I pretend not to hear her, of course, because what would be the fun in letting her know she’s giving away her position? If I’m not quick enough, though, she throws in an additional, “Noona! I’m over here!” to help me out.
Blessings to you. I love reading your blog and hope to visit Highclere someday!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a fun blog and all the stories in it!
Have a great week.
I see that Buckingham Palace has entered the gin market! Given the long relationship of the Queen and the Carnarvons in horse-racing, I’m sure the “competition” will be a friendly one. I look forward to stocking both.
Thank you for being so open and giving of your time, each week, to those of us from near and far who have developed an attachment to your lovely home.
I still play hide and seek with my grandchildren. There are plenty of places to hide on the farm. What’s funny is my youngest grand daughter always wants to tell me where the “good” hiding places are…so she can find me of course!
Continue to enjoy those child like moments. It keeps us young and smiling.
Good laughs, these stories of asses and caught pants while video tape is running! When my older brother and I were little, we played hide and seek nearly every summer evening in our backyard. My mother loved daylilies, which afford a wonderful hiding spot if you’re fast enough to slide in and conceal yourself. Thing is, slugs also delight in hiding in the foliage of daylilies. We, after having been found, were apt to emerge with many a sticky hand and slimy knee.
Writing here in Marysville, up in the Great Dividing Range in Victoria, watching the gentle movement of the leaves in the tall eucalypts, I dream of being in England. why is it, Lady Carnarvon that England seems like Home?
Yes, I have lived in a little village outside Oxford, and we have every blessing imaginable here, but your blog makes me “homesick”! Officially my family are 6th generation Australians! Your blog is like a balm to my soul, thank you so very much. May the sun shine, your visitors smile, the flowers bloom and all the birds sing, especially the chaffinches and most importantly may God bless you and all at Highclere.
How kind you are – Highclere gives men a strong sense of place and time which helps find an anchor and I often think that is what we all need wherever we find it
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for the delightful story. It brought a smile to my face.
Also, thank you for sharing a personal touch (black and white) photograh of you and your sisters.
The lighting in the Library photograph seems to have strangely exaggerated the color pink from the floral arrangement onto the carpet and furniture.
As you may be aware, Kayne West has announced his desire to run for President in 2020.
Even though I found it funny about the staff members attempting to hide (and subsequently being found) from the film crew, I thought it somewhat strange that an entire film crew and session was abruptly moved from one location to another without any notice being given. Seems it would have been a daunting task, and not one of fun and games.
Oh well, until next Monday, I wish you a good week.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I love starting the week with your blog and always read it several times. At first read this morning, I was filled with joy in several ways – the reminder of happy moments for us as kids in simpler times gone by, the hilarity of anatomies protruding into video, my laughing out loud envisioning a Lord and Lady themselves trying to suppress their laughter – I can see the Castle Manager standing perfectly still, stuck in a most awkward position, except for being able to meekly waive just one hand and Ms. Montgomery acting as if she didn’t see the whole fiasco. It’s also a nice way to end the day.
It is heartwarming for us to hear – through your colorful writing – your laughing again as you wrap up the lockdown and start the transition into the next chapter of your lives.
Steve and Robin Schroffel
Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Thank you both !
You all have too much fun!
It’s always good to bring out the kid in you, I believe.
We played “Hide and Seek ” also.
Love the flowers on your table. What are they called?
Geraniums – they have scented leaves
So much laughter and joy jumps off the page as you so delightfully turn
Our memories back to times of
“Hide and Seek.” Thank you, yet again for your wisdom.
Every good wish for a successful
Reopening. Stay safe. Stay well.
Lady Carnarvon, I made your recipe for scones from your book At Home At Highclere. They were so very tasty, like no other I had before. As mentioned before At Home At Highclere is a book for everyone. It has it all, a must have! Best to all, Cheryl
You are kind – thank you. It is a cookbook and a story book and a photographic book and a history book and it is challenging sometimes to promote it is because it is different!!!! Again thank you
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
There is a very old, but true saying that “laughter is the best medicine”, and even adults need to ‘let go’, smile and laugh. Sometimes My friends and I will get a case of the giggles and we can’t stop! It’s never a bad thing to play, and personally, we used to hide under the bed , but after a few times, we moved outside to our favorite tree house. Yes, you heard me correctly, we were ‘tomboys’, that was a different time. (!) I’m 68, but it doesn’t mean I can’t have a good time ‘playing’, I’ve just slowed down a touch. I do enjoy your stories and beautiful photos so.
Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to each share.
Regards, Jane Hrabak
Lady Carnarvon, On your Instagram, the photo of Alfie is just beautiful, heartwarming to the very max. All the best to you, Cheryl
Thank you Cheryl so much
All of our grandkids loved playing hide and seek and the funny part for me was having the younger grandkids use whatever hiding place I had just been found in as their next hiding spot sometimes several times in a row. Seeing their faces light up when you found them was priceless.
Good Luck with the reopening.
Thank you so much!
OMG what an awesome story! I would love to go back and try to find the episode. As a young child I loved hide she seek, but as a teen sardines was more my speed!
Thank you for the stories.