Monday February 14th
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” Mr Darcy, Pride and Prejudice.
For all our technological advances, it is still impossible to either plan or legislate for love: it just happens. The precursor of this, of course, is that you have to be in the right place at the right time to even have a chance. From that premise an entire dating industry has been born, most of which these days, perhaps somewhat ironically, takes place online.
If any of you saw the film “Bridget Jones’s Baby” you will remember the plot line of the company with allegedly infallible algorithm for a perfect match which had been created by the dating-website billionaire Jack Quant (played by Patrick Dempsey), who nevertheless had failed to find love himself. In real life, there are any number of such sites – Bumble, Coffee meets Bagel, Matchmakers, eHarmony, Hinge, Happn, Tinder, Inner Circle – all of whom insist that they can help you find true love and live happily ever after.
Whatever the route taken however, the quest to find the love of our life has not changed much since the time of Jane Austen, nor has our essential desire for romance, to love and be loved, to care and be cared for.
Underneath its commerciality, Valentine’s Day marks a time to stop and think about your love. To either propose, imagining the dream and the journey through life together, or to take time out with your partner away from the exhausting detail of everyday life to remember the inner strengths, kindness and romance you share. Jane Austen’s novels always left each couple at the altar whereas marriage is the journey forged together whilst navigating all life’s changes. Like the inevitably mis-matched socks which appear out of the washing machine, it is not smooth sailing and tumbles you around.
The success of any book or film depends on our emotional engagement with the characters: the highs and lows, the laughter, sadness and the fun. There is nothing wrong with seeing life or people through rose tinted glasses but that is not always how it is. The same is true with relationships but sometimes first impressions (Jane Austen’s original title for “Pride and Prejudice”) get in the way before we have time for a deepening appreciation.
The more pertinent question therefore perhaps ought to be how to meet “the one” in such a way as to be able to make a good first impression? In the past, the answer might be through walks and dances, coffee bars, theatre, playing tennis, a dance or a party, school, university or work. What these all have in common is that they involve doing something which is possibly what makes it so much harder in the two-dimensional world of online where you are searching for a hidden nuance or fleeting expression to get a handle on your “match”. Then, when you do meet, the time is spent either consciously or subconsciously watching how the person you have got to know on line interacts with other people. Falling in love is a test as well as a romance.
On line websites look for what a couple might have in common and ask for photographs and personal descriptions, not all of which necessarily bear much resemblance to reality. One only has to look at the historical example of Henry VIII’s rose tinted view of Anne of Cleves, provided by the painter Holbein before the lady herself arrived in England, to see how disastrous that can be. The marriage was over before it began, though fortunately without this wife losing her head.
This last weekend and today, Highclere has celebrated Valentine with special teas and tours. With small numbers of guests, roses and chocolate hearts, everyone has a chance to feel special. As with most years we hold this event, we have had a proposal which is always a special moment but primarily it is couples are sitting down to say thank you to each other, glad for a moment together.
Random, unpredictable, exciting and fortuitous, perhaps ultimately though the most important aspect of love is its reassuring steadfastness.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of the other person is essential to your own.” Robert A. Heinlein.
Thank you for great words to start off my Valentines’ Day Monday. I just paused for a moment and thought to myself how thankful I am for having my husband in my life. Now, going onto to starting the week. Happy Valentines Day to you Lady Carnarvon and all your blog readers.
Thank you Eva
Sadly, I lost the love of my life this past Christmas Day. Although I miss him terribly, this article reminds me of just how special he was to me and how much we loved each other. I am so grateful for our years of happiness together. Hold tightly to the people you love.
All that is left to say is amen. Well said, dear lady.
Dogs are also a much beloved part of Valentine’s Day. Love is love, from whatever source.
Love the quote “love is the condition…..”
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.
Lady Carnarvon, everybody needs love whether it is to give or receive. It is a must in a persons life. With Kind Regards, Cheryl
I was lucky enough to have been at Highclere Castle on Saturday for the fabulous Valentines afternoon tea and tour of the house. Both myself and my husband had a wonderful time. Thank you to everyone at Highclere Castle for an amazing day
This Blogpost made me smile, I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day just because we celebrate our love every day but it’s nice to see others talking about it. I would love to do the valentines day event for the sake of the event, myself and my sister in law are visiting Highclere in April and we can not wait, Thank you for the amazing blogpost Lady Carnarvon
Happy Valentines Day!
Happy Valentines Day to you too!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for another wonderful blog, would just like to wish you and everyone at Highclere a Happy Valentines day
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Thank you for your lovely writing.
I think the day your husband met you ,
he was very lucky to find a beautiful unicorn.
Happy Valentine’s Day from across the pond in little ‘ole Prosperity, South Carolina! I hope your day is as special as the beautiful place you are blessed to enjoy every day! I hope to return someday to! And from you lovely entry today, I think I’d like to visit for Valentine’s. Have a heart-filled day!
Happy Valentines from Winnsboro South Carolina! I’ll be back to Highclere next season.
Lady Carnarvon, I wish you and “your” valentine a wonderful day. I hope the two of you have time to just sit together and reflect on your life and love. I shall do so with my husband, Steve.
Dear Lady Carnarvon: Thank you for this lovely, heartwarming message. May you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Good morning, what a perfect Valentines Day tribute.
Happy Valentines Day!
We were blessed that you chose to open your life and heart here! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Lady Carnarvon and lord Carnarvon happy Valentine day and lovely the pictures and lovely to visit highcelere castle thank you for your email did you and lord Carnarvon
Wonderful words! I’m a newlywed who really did meet my husband on Match lol!
Love is so essential to happiness, wherever it might be found! My husband and I will celebrate forty years this June – second time around for both. Both my family and his get along well with the other. His first wife undergoes cancer surgery today, so we are praying that God’s love and ours will help her and her surgeons enable her to get well soon.
I hope that you and Geordie are more in love today than yesterday – my Steve and I are!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Valentine’s Day from across the pond!
How fitting to reference Jane Austen. This past weekend my local PBS station ran a marathon of Jane Austen tv series. Pride and Prejudice is always the highlight. It was a weekend filled with romance on tv.
And after 42 years of marriage, my husband still sends me roses on Valentine’s Day. I hope you have a wonderful day with your dear husband.
thank you for the special reminder of why we celebrate this day~Joanna
Such a beautiful romantic setting for a wonderful Valentine’s Day
I simply love your castle and surroundings lady Carnarvon
“Love never fails”
1 Corinthians 13 v 8.
Love shared by two good communicators, being patient and kind, always hoping, always believing, endures all things.
Beautiful flowers in the photos! I really enjoyed the entire post. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.
Happy Valentine Day!
“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. Oh no! It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.” Shakespeare’s sonnet 116 in Sense and Sensibility. Happy Valentines!
Happy Valentines’s Day! What a LOVE-ly post. Who made those creative desserts? Are recipes in any of your books?
Most of the food is from one of the books – Seasons at Highclere has about 100 recipes!!
A lovely post…may I be a little presumptuous though, to add that for those like myself who have no significant other, neither close friends nor family nearby in these covid restricting times – love and treat yourself well too. You’re a rare thing, precious, and worth the effort.
Being kind to yourself, and like any oak tree each of us has our own roots
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you for your lovely blog. The roses in the photos are gorgeous. In contrast to the grandeur of the Castle rooms your little corner near the greenhouse looks really cosy. You and Lord Carnarvon look so relaxed in each other’s company.
I have a little magnet on my fridge door with the words Amor Vincit Omnia or
Love Conquers All Things which is a great motto for today and every day.
It is a great motto!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
As we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, I wish you and Geordie (an amazingly well-suited and lovely couple) the best of days.
My husband and I actually did meet online years back, apparently the algorithm worked well for us! We would have never met otherwise as we came from two totally different worlds. He was a university president, and I was in photography, optics and design. I am ever so grateful for my husband, he is unbelievably kind and sweet. He joined me on my quest to adopt sibling children from the foster system, and the rest is history.
I believe on Valentine’s Day we should be thankful for all who give joy to our lives. You, Geordie, and all the team at Highclere have given much joy to our family by sharing your lovely home with us where we made so many memories in our 5 extraordinary visits! (Each one so very different than the last.) Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit.
If any reader has not yet been to Highclere, I will tell you personally it will be the adventure of a lifetime. Every event is unique, so if you are near be sure to visit often!
Thank you !
Mooi geschreven Lady Carnarvon.
Ook voor u een mooie Valentijnsdag.❤❤
Happy Valentines to you too
Beautiful flowers! I immediately noticed that someone has been rearranging the portraits on your drawing room walls again. Wishing you many more Valentine’s Days with loved ones there.
Dear Lady Carnarvon and Monday Family,
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Today, one’s mind usually turns to romantic verse, such as your above quote from Robert A. Heinlein or Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s: “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”
Yet for some reason, Valentine’s Day is also a day for limericks and jokes, such as:
“It’s a corny old love song from me.
I’m feeling romantic you see.
I’ll sing you my song
And you sing along
Just like the bird and the bee.”
And it’s not just limericks. Simple jokes also seem to abound:
“A man said his credit card was stolen but he decided not to report it because the thief was spending less than his wife did.”
In fact, one often recalls the Valentine’s Day riddles and jokes from our youth, such as:
– “What did the stamp say to the envelope on Valentine’s Day? I’m stuck on you!“; and
-“Two antennae met on a roof, fell in love and got married. Their wedding ceremony wasn’t fancy. The reception, however, was excellent.”
Yet sometimes words that inspire come from unexpected sources.
The actress Eva Gabor (sister to Zsa Zsa and the long suffering wife to Eddie Albert in the 60’s TV show “Green Acres” – now I am showing my age) is credited with saying: “Love is a game that two can play and both win.” (I rather like that.)
However you may choose to express your feelings, may you each have a magical and lovely day. Again, Happy Valentine’s Day to all.
Thank you Jeffrey – lovely to hear from you again
Happy St Valentines’ Day
A Valentine’s Day, and everyday, full of love and happiness for you and all at Highclere.
What a lovely message you send us on this special Monday, thank you so much. The flowers are beautiful and the “family photo” with the doggies is so heart warming. All the best to you and yours!
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank you for your lovely blog, in these strange times we are living in, it is so special to be able to turn to your loved ones and share our lives together no matter what life throws at us and it has these past few years. Yours blog really says it all. Stay safe and sending you both and everyone Happy Valentine’s Day
Stay well! Thank you
Happy Valentine’s day to you and your Valentine. I am fortunate to spend mine with my husband.
This is our 40th Valentine’s day together.
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
I would love to know how you made your love “match.”
We did and today returned to the chapel where we were married to renew our vows
Thank you for this lovely and thoughtful post. So eloquently stated. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. (I also loved the movie version with Keira Knightley.) Happy Valentine’s Day, Lady Carvarvon.
I am a huge Jane Austen fan
We met at a local singles club event over 30 years ago. We didn’t date for almost a year, just saw each other at parties. Everyone said we made a cute couple but we still hadn’t dated. He lost a bet so had to take me to dinner and that was our first date. He later said he knew he would lose the bet but was too shy to ask me out! Happy Valentines Day to you and Geordie.
How lovely! Great story
Happy Valentine’s Day.
The photograph speaks volumes……..
Thank you for adding so much to our
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon, for your romantic thoughts. My high school Sweetheart and I celebrate our 49th Valentine’s Day, soon to celebrate our 45th Anniversary in May. So, yes, Love will find it’s way at the right moment and place in our lives. True heartfelt Love, even with its bumps!
By the way, we’re counting down the days to May 13, when our dreams will come true in visiting your beautiful, romantic Estate via a “Special Tour.”
look forward to seeing you!
Thank you, For letting my husband and I enjoy your lovely home on such a special daytoday
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Happy Valentines Day!!
Thank you so much for your blogs and historical information.
The flowers are gorgeous
I really love the picture of you and Lord Carnarvon.
Have a wonderful day!
You are kind !
You two always make tremendously beautiful photos.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Last 14th December I had been married for 63 years (1957) and still today with all our creaks and age, we still love each other and value every moment we have together.
Love is a gift to be cherished and should always be foremost in your mind. Love is the “glue” that keeps you together through all the trials and tribulations that your life together brings. Love is respect, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, not taking each other for granted and saying “sorry” when you are wrong. Love is all encompassing and if you work on keeping the romance alive it will last forever.
I did not receive flowers on Valentines Day, we did however sit with a cup of coffee and talk about our life together, what we had achieved, the joy our children and grand-children had brought us and expressed our love for each other. To us this was precious and as our life is coming towards its end we realised (as we do every day) how lucky we were to find each other all those years ago.
So I hope everyone had a happy Valentines Day and looked as happy as Lord and Lady Carnarvon do in that picture
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Lord Carnarvon❣️ You two are a match made in heaven! This entry sounds so romantic and I imagine Highclere being a perfect place to propose, have a wedding, or renew vows! It would be a dream to renew our vows in your Secret Garden when we reach our 50th anniversary in 7 years. ❤️
That sounds a lovely idea!
A lovely post and blog – thank you Lady Carnarvon for your time and effort at making this a lovely forum 🙂 x
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your heart-warming Monday blog. It was the perfect read on this cold and snowy afternoon here in Michigan.
The picture of the vase of roses is beautiful, and the one of you and Lord Carnarvon, Stella(?), and Rosie is a sweet tribute.
How lucky you are to have a pastry chef to make the pair of swans. Enjoy them, along with the bottle(s) of bubbly!
Until next week, Happy (St.) Valentine’s Day to, Lord Carnarvon, and everyone at Highclere Castle.
Thank you – and it was Evie Rosie’s grand-daughter
Dear Lady Carnarvon, as much as I enjoyed reading your missive, I will say the part I enjoyed most was the final picture. I hope you are as happy in your marriage as I am in mine, for then you are truly blessed.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day.
I am blessed – hope Geordie feels the same!
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! Lovely bit you have written and really very true. I love the flowers in the photos – they are stunning. Roses are my all time favorite. So look forward every Monday to your blog posts. They carry me through until I can visit in person! Much love!
Take care – thank you for your kind words
The love of my life died in my arms December 12 after suffering from Alzheimer’s for13 years. While he still remembered the date, Valentine’s Day would always include a beautiful love letter from my husband. I am bringing him home to the UK in April to scatter his ashes and celebrate his life with family and friends we’ve been separated from since COVID began. I’m hoping a visit to Highclere on April 8, with my brother and sister-in-law and two dear friends, will offer a brief respite from our sorrow. My husband would have loved the Egyptian exhibit. I’ll see it for him.
I am so sorry for you
Geordie is lucky to have you!!! Happy Valentines Day!!!
Happy Valentine’s day from Croatia, Zadar❤️
Dear Lady Carnarvon!
You write such Nice and interesting blogs that I enjoy to read so much.
I loved to see those beautiful Swan pastries, which reminded me that when I ws a kid, my Grandad or Mother sent me to The bakery just to buy them. I have also baked them myself. I just love them and especially when they look like beautiful swans.
What a lovely post! The pictures and the quotes are beautiful. I adore Valentines day!
Dearest Lady Carnarvon,
In such a mixed up and turbulent world we are presenting living in, you have found a calming grace, and quiet spirit to share your ‘meaningful’ thoughts and quotes about Valentine’s Day. Thank you, and Bless You for brightening all of ours!
Sincerest Regards, Jane Hrabak
Lovely images and beautiful flowers for the day of love and friendship. And I also celebrate my birthday this month!..
I’m a little late on discovering your website and blogs but I’m so glad I did. This one was quite lovely ♥️
Welcome to the Monday blog!