You might well be wondering what exactly I am going to write about here! By way of explanation, Justine very much sits in the driving seat in the Estate Office, so much so that I bought her a toy driving wheel with indicators and hooter to adorn her desk.
Underneath her steering wheel, however, she has a set of “office” drawers. The word “office” is out of context as, in fact, the drawers are full of dog treats, biscuits, soups and snacks. All the dogs, but especially Stella and Freya, are interested in her drawers and, in true Labrador fashion, they bound into the office and put their paws up on Justine’s lap to offer kisses, hoping she will open her drawers for their delectation. They are always in luck, although first of all she asks them to sit and shake hands. They then curl up around her chair and feet until the magic drawers open again.
Hannah G, who sits at a round table in my office, has no drawers at all. Next to Hannah is a vibration plate machine which is supposed to be good for us, and particularly for Maggie, who helps with the horses and who has hurt her ankle. She comes in for a wobble after a feeding round. Sometimes she wobbles twice a day.
Hannah has to launch herself around the wobbling machine and Maggie in order to answer the telephone, whereas I have to climb past a dog bed, so sometimes it is just too tricky to achieve and we do coffee rather than phones.
Alfie, who is Stella and Freya’s uncle, is always sloping off to the Castle office to see what he can rustle up by way of a snack. He quietly makes his way round the office bins, checks for open drawers, but tends to give John the Castle Manager a wide berth as, although John’s drawers are so full they are overflowing, it is with boring things like pens and paper. Other tables in his office have no drawers at all but just big brown paper files piled high.
Alfie rather prefers Sally’s gift shop and desk area, which has drawers which don’t shut and baskets acting as additional drawers on the floor. The door opens the wrong way for him to nuzzle back out of, so he can sometimes find himself inadvertently shut in with Sally’s drawers and, if he is missing, that is always a good place to start looking.
The Castle itself has some beautiful desks and it is always worth opening the drawers from time to time to see what might have been left there. In one rather large old desk, I once found a small Egyptian photo album from 1922 which was just amazing. Inspired, I started an almost systematic search for other drawers to open. The archive room in particular has a huge desk with many draws full of treasure and every time I look through them, I seem to find something new.
The word “drawer” and its homonyms are rather curious in that they are used in so many contexts. You can draw water from a well, draw a parallel or a conclusion, you can be a drawer of a picture or even use the word to refer to an item of clothing. The phrase “top drawer” is used to describe something that is first class and I suspect Freya and Stella think that Justine’s bottom drawer is precisely that.
I really loved this today – Lady Carnarvon you write so well. What would we do without our dog/s!
Ah yes dogs and drawers gonso well together. I volunteer at a Cancer Care center and one of therapy dogs there, Gus, will systematically go around to waiting rooms, doctors’s desks, front desk area to get treats he knows are there. Since Gus has had to lose a bit of weight, he comes to me for his regular bask massage, sitting on my feet till I comply.
They are the best!
Thank you for such a smile. The dogs and description of the Office left me laughing with tears rolling down my cheeks. Such a relief from recent events is so welcome. Have a wonderful week. Time to meet with another contractor. Ida
This was so fun to read. Love the pictures of Freya and Stella giving hugs. My black lab Pibber does the same thing.
Labradors give the very best hugs!
As I am re-watching Downton (I’m finishing up Season 4) in anticipation of the film, I love reading about the real “Downton”. Last night on our US telly was the story of Downton and the Lord’s great-grandfather, the Egyptian explorer. So finding an Egyptian photo album isn’t surprising! We plan to visit next year and are SO looking forward to it.
Please do visit – I am sure you would enjoy it all.
Thank you for today’s story.I love Monday so that I can read your newest adventure,
Loved and enjoyed fro
m Kathleen in Canada..
Glad that you enjoyed it – anything that cheers up a Monday morning has to be a good thing.
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon
A TOP DRAWER story!
I love “dog stories”!
Well what can I say! I’m still in heaven after visiting Highclere – so many highlights to mention here – but I did miss meeting your 4 leggers! I was really hoping to meet Sally in the gift shop but she was not there that day. My Mom had a sweater that had holes in the pocket after many trips to the dog park where other doggies would help themselves to the treats. We have a saying ” you know which side your bread is buttered on” – so goes the same for the doggies and Justines drawers! – thanks again for a wonderful visit!!!
I am delighted that you enjoyed it. Hope the British weather was kind to you.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I always enjoy your posts and pictures. The top picture was “top drawer” to see three contented canines enjoying the sun and all that the day has to offer.
My dog, Emma, is mostly Labrador, with some Chow ancestry and a little boxer. So she is honey colored and she has blue spots on the tongue courtesy of the Chow component. The two dogs on the left look just like her when she is happy, which makes my heart glad.
The dog on the right also reminds me of her when she is looking serious. Thank you so much for getting my week off to a good start. In a few minutes, we will do something she dearly enjoys, which is a walk.
Walks are good for us and our four legged friends alike.
I love to see happy dogs!! It sort of rights this crazy world.
Happy dogs make happy people!
I loved this charming tale of many drawers. Do you feel you have totally explored Highclere? As an idea for your weekly writing do you have any stories about discovering parts of the castle that have been closed up?
Every day is a new day!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
I very much enjoyed your blog today, and the stories about the dogs. I have a drawer with treats also, and my youngest Bichon goes to it after dinner and makes sure I know that she knows dinner is almost finished and it’s time for her treat! Thank you for sharing tidbits of your life with us!
Thank you. A little treat after dinner is good for dog owners too – a small square of exquisite dark chocolate perhaps?
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a wonderful way to start Monday! Love those dogs. On August 8th I visited Highclere, and was absolutely overwhelmed by its beauty. The gardens were in full bloom, and I had the added pleasure of speaking to The Eighth Earl of Carnarvon. He was making his way out of the gift shop, and I said hello. He was so nice, and gracious. Loved the whole experience.
I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit – I too am a big fan of the 8th Earl!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Loved your post today. Dogs just make life better; more fun.
Have a great week!
West Memphis, Arkansas
They certainly do – I miss them when I am away.
I really enjoyed this post today as I am meeting my new grand puppy this afternoon who coincidentally has the name Freya. She is a Mastiff so truly want to be on her good side as she grows. I’m thinking a treat is in order today.
Welcome Freya! I am sure she will be delighted by any treats you may have.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a fun dog story for a dreary Monday morning here across the pond. My sister has 2 Schnauzers and for my birthday this summer they gifted me a Teacup Schnauzer. I can’t wait another month to pick her up. My Niece Elizabeth has already named her Beatrice Alexandra Mary, as our love of all things English. The Downtown Abbey movie preview aired here last night and made me realize how I miss being able to see your beautiful Highclere every week.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I miss the series too!
Love it, love it! Sounds very much like our house where “they” all know the dog biscuit jar is! I think working in this kind of atmosphere is wonderful and if you are looking for another office worker, my skills are pretty good — office management jobs in the past, typing about 60 wpm, good with people but especially DOGS!
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon, your Monday morning “pick me ups” are a great way to start the week!
Thank you! We work very hard here at Highclere and laughter, fun and dog cuddles are so important to get us through the long days.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Oh, how I LOVED this post – thank you!
I don’t have a dog, sadly…but I do have a water bowl and a plastic box with dog treats in my yard, so all the neighborhood pups stop and visit. (The plastic box is to protect the treats from marauding raccoons…..) I can see them from my work-at-home office, and it’s such a joy. My little (human) neighbor calls me the Dog G’ma, and of course that’s marvelous.
I wish I had met Sally or one of your canine crew when I visited Highclere. Maybe next time!
Thank you for this,
Joan in St. Louis, MO
You sound like a wonderful doggie grandma! My labradors would be beating a path to your door on a daily basis.
Always fun to explore! I find things stashed away that I’d completely forgotten I still owned!
I once closed a chest drawer and after a few minutes, a new kitten I had jumped in while it was open and had my back turned! I heard a tiny meow
Always love to hear about your sweet dog family❤️
You know what they say about curiosity and cats – they can’t let anything go undiscovered.
Justine’s drawer brings to mind a thoughtful coworker who
gave me an Egg McMuffin when I was struggling with morning
sickness many years ago. I hid it in my file cabinet among the more tolerable snacks, and although it was spirited away by day’s end that drawer smelled like cooked egg from that day on.
We haven’t found any fast food yet – all the treats are quite healthy.
Love that this an animal loved and active place. Love the stories of all the animals. You can feel it when at Highclere. Not a cold museum atmosphere. Love my visits there but missed having you speak to us last May ( as if you don’t have anything else to do). Thank you to EVERYONE behind the scenes. Everyone does a great job.
Thank you – you are too kind.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am new to your blog but have so enjoyed the last three blogs you have written! Highclere is such a beautiful place and the puppies also make it a happy place! I look forward to receiving your notes on Mondays and find it a lovely way for o start my week! Thank you so much and I certainly look forward to further blogs!
Thank you and welcome to the blog!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
A delightful post. After 30 years of Black Lab ownership, we find ourselves without a dog for the first time in our married lives. As we are both pushing 70, we are not sure that it would be kind to adopt another one, as it might well outlive us, which could be difficult for the dog, upsetting long-time routines. But every time I read about yours, I am tempted.
You can be a doggie auntie or neighbour – or just offer to walk the dogs at your local rescue centre.
I so enjoyed this column and a vicarious visit with the dogs. Our former neighbors used to stroll down our block with their German Shepherd in tow and sometimes stopped in for coffee on the way back. The dog also got a treat from the cookie jar that was in a kitchen cabinet. On afternoon I looked out of the window and there was the Shepherd by himself walking up to our door. We let him in and he walked straight over to the cabinet and sat down waiting for his goodie. When his mother come to get him she said he had learned to open the latch on their gate and then disappeared! He knew where he was going and what he wanted.
They soon learn which side their bread is buttered (as we say in England)
Another wonderful post with dogs included. My favorite!! That last photo makes me smile. Nothing better then huge hugs from dogs. Thank you for opening all your drawers Lady Carnarvon
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a delightful blog! I look forward to your Monday morning chats and always get a reminder of how different your life is from mine…but yet so alike. My husband and I were sitting on our deck in Tulsa, Oklahoma this morning, companionably reading, when our dog, Susie, a mixture of several breeds, began “talking” to Fred. You see he is the one that is most tuned into her vocabulary. He calmly got up and went to the treat jar to give her a tidbit which she obviously had asked for.
Both very well trained – dog and husband!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
The first time we met you and your husband, you were just coming out of the office. My husband and I have visited many castles but never have we been lucky enough to meet the owners. You were kind enough to speak to us and many other visitors that day. I really felt I was visiting your home and your large extended family. Your blog today shows me I was not wrong. Justine sounds like she has everything under control. A valued member of the family. All the dogs seem to think so too. Even if Stella and Freya have a hidden agenda. Lol
This evening I was watching The Antique Roadshow on television and I was wondering if Highclere Castle has ever hosted this show?
Stella and Freya are full of love – for people, for treats, for cuddles. We did host Antiques Roadshow way back in 2002 – it was great fun.
Ps: Have just down loaded Highclere Castle IPad from the Ap store. I love it. Just wish I knew about this before I visited Highclere. It is narrated by Carson (Jim Carter). Hope others enjoy it as well. Cheers
I need to promote it more -thank you!
Dear Lady C :
Somehow dogs find the deepest part of our heart and embed themselves in us forever even those that have passed. I can’t imagine not having a dog in the house!
Yes, driven by treats but my latest dog almost 2 does not like treats! He will take them and hide them all over the house, in crevices of furniture, in all corners of a room and under bed pillows! It is the funniest thing but really so very endearing! Our darling Snuggly, a golden doodle, is our sweetie!
Enjoyed your story about your dogs- great Monday morning read!
This was by far my most favorite post! Because we have a house full of pugs, I can relate to the “favorite drawer” or should I say “favorite cupboard” at our house. At precisely 9 pm every night they all form a line at the cupboard waiting for their nightly treats. Each has their own treat bowl. Then it is to line all the goodies up on the dining room table for me to dole them out one by one. One has to loved doggies as much as they love us!
That would make a wonderful photograph!
Hello again. I forgot to say I am from Glenn Heights, Texas in the USA.
Perfectly wonderful post! Thank you for a lovely start to my day.
It would be a delight to work in the office area at the Castle and entertain furry visitors. Love given and love received makes the days so much better. 🙂
Have a great week, Lady Carnarvon, staff, and all the great companion critters that roam the halls and hills of Highclere.
All the best from here in Summerville, South Carolina,
You are so right Natalie
What a delightful commentary on drawers and dogs! One of my favorite pieces of antique furniture to look for and learn about has been the “chest of drawers.” These chests over time have been fashioned in so many ways and for so many purposes. I believe the first ones were from the time of Charles I. Perhaps a follow-up blog on the wonderful examples you must have there??
A quick change of subject if I may – I have been checking the booking site to watch for mention of the Highclere Spring Festival next May. I do hope it is still being planned, I will be in England at that time with friends whom I would love to bring to Highclere. Do you have any idea when it might be available to book?
Thanks again for your Monday morning blogs!
Our plans for next Spring are progressing well and I imagine we will launch the tickets this Autumn – probably around the first week of September so do keep checking our website.
Loved absolutely everything about this post. So well described that I could visualize clearly and also feel great love and respect.
That was so much fun to read. You painted an incredible picture, I love it! Would also love to see those pictures in that photo album as I am a lover of ancient civilizations and especially Egypt, it was my favourite unit to teach.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON ,
LIVE ALL YOUR DREAMS IN THE PRESENT. DREAMS COME TRUE.
THANK YOU FOR THE POST. LOVELY SUMMER FOR ALL.
RIO CLARO – SP
We so enjoyed our visit to Highclere Castle in July! Thank you for opening your home to us and other Downton Abbey fans. Seeing the beautiful library was a “must do” for our trip to the U.K.
We tried to locate the walkway shown in the opening credits. We think an entrepreneur could set up a business providing the Labrador and creating visitor videos of “the walk” towards the castle. From behind, of course! Has there ever been a more iconic dog’s hindquarters?!
Thank you again.
Wonderful to live in a place where you can open a desk drawer and find a treasure from the 1920s! When I was young I would search my grandfather’s attic and find old photos, letters and newspaper clippings in some of his steamer trunks.
When I was an undergrad, I took a history of language class where we had to write a paper on one word, consulting the OED for all its meanings and history. You’ve just written such a paper with the word “drawer.” Thanks for reminding me of this enjoyable project!
I missed your Monday blog early due to internet difficulties in Newport, Rhode Island. Later, my husband and I were stirring on the Topside Deck at the Naval Officers Club at the Navy Justice School and War College there having brunch when an officer ambled by with her dog, a Welsh Springer Spaniel that looked like our own. We chatted a moment and I learned she was born in London when her father was in the US Navy. So, while your family dogs make theirselves at home, pooches that live on the Narragansett Bay live a life of doggie leisure, too! Glad to connect with the blog at the airport on our way back to Raleigh.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Loved this blog, anything to do with dogs, my Shih tzu is 20 months old, and knows exactly which drawer her treats are kept in, she also gives you wonderful kisses, and the best welcome, when you come home from work, shopping etc. Also out walking your dog, you meet some many wonderful people out with their dogs, while the dogs play, you can have a good natter.
Labradors are the best! It was fun to read about yours. Ours used to work together with our cat when they felt like hunting. The cat would be in the cut grass and our lab would run through the tall field grass. When a rabbit jumped out of the tall grass, kitty would be there waiting for it. Of course we tried to rescue the rabbit, much to kitty’s chagrin! I’ll bet you have some good Lab stories too.
My loving Black Lab, now 12, doesn’t think any special time of day is necessary. She will sit and put up her paw, and if not noticed paw me! My husband says I have created this “monster”. If I eat, she expects to eat, too …
To Scott Mathews, please consider adopting an older dog. It’s harder for them to find a good home and your lives would be enriched, once more!
My grandmother bought me a pretty desk in elementary school. It’s with me to this day and every drawer is a time capsule of my life …
What a lovely doggie, drawer blog. I love that we all have common threads in our lives …
Enjoy your busy week with lots of doggy company …
Shelley in Virginia
What a wonderful post. Oh how I would love to work in those surroundings and having the dogs visit and stay each day. That would be a fantastic way to work. I love reading your posts as it keeps my memories of a fantastic visit back in 2017 alive.
One day I hope to get there again. Thank you for sharing the history and fun things about the Castle and the people who live and work there.
Keep up the wonderful posts.
We have found good ways to work and live!
Such fun to read about your pups! They certainly do enjoy an interesting life!
Another wonderful blog! Love the last picture. Dogs (and all pets) are the best.
Have a wonderful week.
For many years I worked at a ski resort as a dog trainer/handler. My Shepherd knew every drawer in the resort where dog treats were kept and made regular rounds on our way to and from the locker room and the lifts. At each office/shop she had a different routine. At the ski shop, she shook hands with the staff; at the ticket office she stood up to peer into the ticket window; at the admin office she scooted around the desk and laid her head on the admins feet until she got her treat, of course that drawer was low to the ground. I never taught her to do these things, they just evolved over the years into her routine and new staff got trained by her every season. Now I am retired and have a lovely rescue who loves the hardware store because she knows exactly which counter has treats behind it and doses her pitiful pup routine to get some every time.
They are good teachers for what life is!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
How I would love to write and type as well as you because it will take an eternity to describe my utter delight, admiration coupled with satisfaction and too many other necessary adjectives after an incredible evening in your wonderful home.
June 29th .. Formal Dinner
Everything you graciously enabled us to enjoy was as fantastic as your marvellous descriptions of everyday life at Highclere in your super book–THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY –how I love it !!
It arrived as per my instructions, only 2 days ago, because of my extended travel .No one home in Oz.
I could not have been more surprised or delighted at its format. Not at all like so many coffee table exhibits. You have linked life together so one can instil themselves in your castle , enjoy the grounds , the food , and entertainment ..if not gossip, of the times.
Those historic figures in history that we have read about came alive . Your home and castle are truly fascinating.
The main motivation to visit , I have not mentioned is, my life long interest in Egyptology.
How superb was the 5th Earl of Carnarvon!!
Love the succinct book EGYPT at HIGHCLERE too. Could go on and on with more superlatives–just wish I could visit again.
I did see you walking the 9 dogs outside..before dinner.
I have a lab too , named Crimson.
Thanks for the chuckle today. It brightened my day.
I am glad!
Thank you for this lovely post– posts about your doggies never fail to amuse and satisfy. A book (s) in your future could cover “tales of Highclere through the eyes of your dogs.” Fun reading for kids and kids-at-heart.
Blessings on you and your lovely staff (family).
Thank you – there are so many things to do!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I was online looking to learn about the real Highclere Castle after watching Downton Abbey again in anticipation of the movie and I came upon your web site. I am beyond excited to learn that you are also what we in the U.S. call a “dog person”. I’m so enjoying reading about the antics of your dogs. It’s like sitting and having tea with a friend sharing our dog stories. My two are 11-year old Great Pyrenees mixes named Dollie & Charlie.
P.S. Now that I found it, I’ll be checking in often.
I post every Monday at 1pm GMT
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am new to your blog and am finding it fascinating and such fun to read.
My friend and I recently visited Highclere which was spectacular to say the least! We loved it!! To our delight and amazement, you were in the dining room speaking to all the visitors, telling stories of the room, paintings, the filming of Downton, etc. It was simply lovely, (my new saying, said in an English accent as best as a Mid-westerner can).
We had also been in the back of the castle courtyard and looked up in one of the windows and there sat an English Springer Spaniel, looking out the window at all the people. He was being so good and we could tell he really enjoyed “taking it all in”, just another day with visitors. He certainly was a cutie.
Thank you for sharing your stories and life at Highclere!
Good afternoon, Lady Carnarvon. I smiled through your entire story! Especially the portrait of the dogs in front of the castle! Thank you for brightening my day! I enjoyed my visit last May, so very much! I can’t wait to return.
That is a lovely story about your dogs! Life is much more enjoyable with our pets. . Hubby enjoys hunting beagles and the kids and I adore cats of all kinds. Our home isn’t a castle, but a Kansas farmhouse, yet our old female kitty believes she’s the queen.
Thank you for sharing your home with all of us–it is amazing to see such beauty and history. I may never get to Britain but I can visit each day via Downton Abbey and marvel at all the beauty your home offers.
We so enjoyed our visit to Highclere Castle in August! Thank you for opening your home to us and other Downton Abbey fans. Seeing the beautiful castle was a “must do” for our trip to the U.K.
We enjoyed the gardens, so relaxing. The interior of the castle was so beautiful and beyond imagination. The Downton Abbey program does not show the true beauty. We enjoyed the day spent there and will be forever etched in our minds.
Thank you again.
I too love dogs but currently do not have one; therefore I am always waiting for a ‘dog fix’ at any given time. I have a lint roller in my car and one in my work desk just in case. I may have to incorporate a ‘drawer’ of treats too.
Ohio, United States