John Milton (1608 –1674) was an English poet and intellectual. He lived during a tumultuous century which saw not just an English Civil War, but thirty years of conflict in central Europe which devastated entire regions through casualties and through consequential famine and disease. After that, there were wars between the Portuguese and Spanish, the Polish and Russians, a Franco-Spanish war, Austro-Turkish wars – not a peaceful time. Yet we could also celebrate the century as one of extraordinary creativity from science to the arts, from philosophy to politics, of men such as Milton, Newton, Galileo, Rembrandt, John Donne, George Herbert, Locke, Vermeer, Cervantes and Hobbes.
Milton was born in London, his father sufficiently prosperous to afford a tutor for his son. The young man was an outstanding pupil, a scholar of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, and Italian, to which he later added Old English.
During the English Civil War, Milton supported the “Commonwealth of England”, writing a treatise which defended the right of the people to hold their rulers to account and which thus implicitly sanctioned the execution of the King. Charles I was duly executed by parliament in January 1649 and Oliver Cromwell, the army and parliamentary leader, became “Protector of England.”
In return, in March 1649, Cromwell appointed Milton Secretary for Foreign Tongues. His main job description was to compose the English Republic’s foreign correspondence in Latin but he was also called upon to produce propaganda and to serve as a censor. However, his real legacy was not his civil service career but his poetry, above all his epic poem “Paradise Lost”. This is an astonishing epic poem of emotion, language and imagination, of a world turned upside down, written after he had become blind and impoverished following the restoration of King Charles II. However, given his association with, and promotion of, the “Commonwealth of England”, he was perhaps lucky not to lose his life as well.
Some of his language used in his poetry is still familiar today. His poem “Comus” includes the lines:
“Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove”
It is an encouraging turn of phrase which has come to suggest that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspect.
Just six months ago, the past catastrophes we studied, seemed just history with no hint of what was to come. I have written about and imagined life at Highclere in World War Two where people pulled together in adversity, dividing up jobs, working together, living from day to day but with a constant level of activity perhaps absorbing some of their anxiety. Today, by contrast, most people are confined to their homes, which may not always be a haven, and without tasks to alleviate their worries. But, like 80 years ago, we are being asked to switch from what we would like to do as individuals to acting for the collective good.
In May 1940, the Local Defence Volunteers (The Home Guard) was formed and swiftly peopled by dedicated volunteers, armed for the most part with antique weapons as there was nothing else available. Today, another type of army, volunteers to aid the NHS and community , has exceeded all hopes and arguably the NHS and support teams have some of the same inadequate provisioning. If we do things together, we feel better but this is harder, mentally, to achieve if we have to stay physically apart.
After the devastation of the Second World War there were some silver linings – in the UK social insurance and the National Health Service, in the USA, the GI Bill along with rights for women plus the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The virus sweeping the world today has made it abundantly clear that borders are less relevant than cooperation and responsibility which, in itself, may be the silver lining of our times. The current lack of human activity has clarified that it is us who are responsible for pollution in the atmosphere and that it was not very fair to blame cows, that the sea can recover if we stop the pollutants and that equally it may be the small details of life which can act as a restorative to our mutual anxieties – the promise of spring, the birdsong as darkness turns slowly to light, and the simple cycle of days.
We are approaching Easter, a time of renewal and reflection. Most of us in the west are unused to limited everyday resources and the shock has created fear but the human race is resourceful. We are re-learning how to work together to create a vaccine, to share information and to look after those who are vulnerable. There have been some extraordinary moments of shared music, of applause, of the kindness of neighbours and an appreciation of all those who serve to save.
Silver linings indeed but still challenging. Even in Milton’s Paradise lost, Eve found it quite tough going living with Adam all the time.
Lady Carnarvon, a person never knows when the Silver Linings come but when it does it is like a gift from God. In past and present day, all the wonderful people who help those in need are a gift themselves. No won wants to be alone in these trying times today. Whenever a person can help another, it gives that person hope and reassurance.
I think we only realise how social we are when we can’t be!!!
I’ve faithfully read and enjoyed every single one of your blogs but this one touched me deeply. It is such an extraordinary time for all of us. I am also thinking of another post I read this morning which reminded me that Anne Frank and her entire family lived over 700 days in one room. Your perspective on what we can learn from this is spot on. Your writing is inspirational and beautiful and I look forward to visiting your beautiful home some time in our silver lining future.
That is an extraordinary fact
We read Paradise Lost in one of my English classes in college; the professor asked for requests and I requested it simply because it’s the lynchpin of writing in the Western World; seemingly referring to everything written before, it is a frequent reference in that which came afterwards.
I’m so grateful for your continuing blog posts; I’ve been sequestered in my apartment for 2 mos, with few expeditions to the outside world the last 2 months, not due to illness or anything except a remote opportunity with long hours that fortuitously came up at the end of January, just before people began working at home. I have the freedom to come and go as I please; my church is closed so other than the grocery store, I don’t have many needs.
Today the sun is shining and I’ll go for a walk this afternoon, in a prettier part of the city; I live just off downtown and the pretty area closest to me is down a hill, which is all well and good when I leave, but could be a problem to return.
You are right it is an amazing book and to those who have not yet read it, there are 12 books within it and you will recognise books written today from it.
Brilliant, thoughtful and eloquent as always!
Well said dear lady. We must all do what we can to put this in the past. A memory and a lesson learned. Stay safe.
I am avoiding all films around this current situation. May I recommend The Vicar of Dibley? It is charming if you have not seen it.. I know there are various platforms which may have it ..
the Vicar of Dibley is perfect right now!
This enforced “rest” will lead to an explosion of creativity from composers, writers and all artists. A silver lining indeed.
This enforced time of staying home has caused my family to draw closer together. I know that is one of the silver linings of this experience. We are hoping to come to High Clere in July for the summer session. I’m hoping this will all be passed us by then. Stay healthy and happy.
So do we hope so – staying further apart I am sure and finding peace un de th trees!
Silver linings indeed. Thank you, Lady Carnarvon.
Not seeing the ones we love the most is hard in itself. Giving support to others fills the void myself and my neighbour who misses her family too have a closer bond supporting each other.
So every cloud indeed has a silver lining x
Giving does help so much
Thank you. I always look forward to and appreciate your BLOG. Please stay well and God Bless you and yours.
Linda from Florida.
Thank you and you – I have done some yoga this morning and strengthening my muscles (there are some somewhere!) helps general health
Thank you for the encouragement that there is a silver lining ahead. I really
needed that today thinking about another 30 days of confinement.
You could try reading a book of Paradise Lost? Read it out loud – we don’t do enough of that
Thank you for your blog, Stay safe and keep your blogs coming I look forward every Monday
Thank you for your beautiful words. I look forward to your “Monday” insights. Stay safe.
Estimados Señores míos
En estos momentos tan difíciles que vivimos en el mundo, si Uds. me lo permiten deseo tan solo desearles que la salud y el bienestar los acompañe permanentemente en compañía de sus seres queridos.
De corazón se los desea, un amigo desconocido desde Mexico, pero que los lleva siempre en sus recuerdos.
Dios los bendiga, Lady y Lord Carnarvon.
MD. Jesús Rogel
Pd: espero reciban estas palabras con afecto.
Thank you – thinking and praying for others does help oneself as well as them!
Thank you for another lovely post. Your blog has given me comfort during these uncertain times. I am using this time at home for self-improvement. It really feels as if I have been in the wilderness, which fittingly is the theme for my church’s Lenten season (chosen before the virus broke out).
Your post reminds me of my dear friend who is living in Shanghai. Recently, she wrote: “This (COVID-19 situation) is similar to what was experienced in China less than two months ago. Please know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The situation in China is improving incrementally, and so will the US and the rest of the world once it gets over the hump.”
Love and prayers to you and the rest of the world!
Lets keeping passing that message
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I couldn’t agree more, we must all stand together in these uncertain times. I work in a Supermarket, and today, my colleagues & I have received so many thanks for what we are doing, it’s nice to be appreciated. I wish you and your family all the best. Keep safe & well. Regards Lorraine.xx
Thank you for what you do – amazing
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank-you for the reminder about silver linings. Highclere is truly a beacon of hope!
I believe that if we can all find ways to express gratitude, choose optimism, invest in relationships and simply live to serve, perhaps this may be a period of our lives that we look back upon with acknowledgement – that we tried our best to meet the challenge.
Your message resonates, thank-you.
Thank you for your encouraging message during these challenging times.
Thank you! I always learn things from your delightful blog, and I never knew that Milton had been appointed a position by Cromwell, nor that “silver lining” was later popularized by him. We are indeed in challenging times, but there are good aspects of spring that can be some of our focus. Thanks for all that you write.
I just love Milton’s job title – hugely cheers me!!!!
Good Morning from Florida. My husband and I are in the middle of Downton Abbey series for the umpteenth time, and every night we make a comment about how awesome the huge painting in the dining room is. Thank you so much for sharing the information about it. Tonight I will share with him my new found history. I hope and pray all is well in your part of the world.
We are fine, very strange, very odd, very anxious and then slithers of hope
Thank you so much Lady Carnarvon, these are indeed difficult and unsettling times. However as the old saying goes “if it rains look for rainbows.” Our rainbows are of course The NHS and also everyone else who is aiding the crisis from supermarket workers, refuse collectors, support workers, emergency workers etc and of course neighbours.
Everyone adding to the silver lining.
Thank you so much
I am beginning to look for rainbows.. still a bit deluged!
Your graceful writing always lifts up my Monday mornings. Thank you!
A tiny note, perhaps: Does your Web Master need to update the copyright year on your blog?
May He make His face to shine upon you and yours …
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Indeed, it is at times like these that the best of the human race appears, with creativity, new ideas on how to help others, even remotely. We are also blessed with the technology to be in touch, specially those that have our family far, far away. After many days of confinment without eating fresh food, only defrosted one, two of our neighbours reacted to help us. One, Sebastian that has a van and worked with tourists could not work anymore because of the moving restrictions, but has a special permit to move around (essential these days)started to buy fresh vegs and fruits for the people in our building at one of the big markets in town (Santiago, Chile), another one, Daniel, a lovely young lad, that has a bakery, is offering to bring to your door fresh bread every time you need it. Orchestras, choirs and artists and museums are opening on line their music, performances and exhibitions to all of us. And, most importantly, the EARTH is now BREATHING much better without human nocive activity. So, let us all look at the positive side of all this. Bless you.
What amazing people there are!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
As I read your column, sip my coffee, and listen to our friendly towhee trill in the calm of the morning, I muse on the many blessings for those of us who are still well. I pray that the health care workers have a beautiful silver lining in their lives as soon as possible. Thank you for sending much-needed peaceful thoughts across the pond. May you and your family and our world soon enjoy peace and calm once more.
Good Morning, and Thank You for the encouraging note. Together we can overcome anything. May you be Blessed.
Since WW2 we have amplified individuality – this is a real challenge to dampen that down.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for this post. I appreciate your inspirational words.
Thank you for another lovely post. I look forward to them every Monday. Sadly, our planned trip (like the rest of the world!) to Highclere in April had to be postponed, but we hope to reschedule for the future. Meanwhile, I shall enjoy Highclere weekly from afar though your insightful writings.
I will so look forward to seeing you – stay safe for now!
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon
You have found a Silver Lining in your post today.
I have always loved the piece and tranquil mess of my 3 acres on which I live, alone but never lonely.
I now have my 92 year old mother living here as well and keeping her safe and well are my chief concern.
This virus will spread its germ upon every human and slowly become one of the “bugs” we humans have to contend with every year.
I pray for the scientific community who WILL find the vaccine that will turn IT around. Thank God for people who love to research and find those little germs so interesting and ways to control them. They are always searching for a cure and that Silver Lining.
Thank you for the reminder that throughout history there have been times of conflict and crisis.
Life renews itself over and over.
Human nature and nurture come to the forefront always.
So many people have found ways to remain relevant and give comfort.
The global music community is doing a wonderful job sharing a smile through music via the internet and podcasts. Also on Public Television. Garth Brooks won the Gershwin . Writers Aware.
I watched the rebroadcast on NPT.
WONDERFUL. JOYFUL. UPLIFTING
EVERYTHING from Classical to Country is available.
With so much news that turns a smile upside down, it is wonderful to escape to music which evokes memories.
Have there been music event there at Highclere. It would be interesting to hear what writers and artists may have visited Highclere.
The cloud will lift. Joy does return.
It is always a delight to see your Monday post.
Thank you for such an uplifting message.
You certainly have a gift for writing, thank you.
I think now, in these uncertain times, of my parents who had only been married four years at the outbreak of the last war, both had lived, as children, through the first world war and they now had a baby daughter (me) to care for. How worried and frightened they must have been, my father was called up, served in the air force and didn’t return to civilian life until 1946, and yet I remember my childhood as being a time of feeling happy and secure thanks, I now realize, to how wonderfully my mother coped on her own. We were lucky, of course, in that we lived in the country and had a big garden in which to grow our own fruit and vegetables and to keep hens. My mother had grown up on farms and would not hesitate to wring a chicken’s neck and prepare it for a delicious meal, something I admit I could never do. But we were self sufficient and took great care never to waste anything, a lesson that many people will have to learn now I fear.
My husband and I also lived through very anxious times during the Cold War, because he, as a result of intelligence tests, was sent as a national serviceman, to work in the hub of intelligence deep underground in Hong Kong. He served in ‘G’ INT where they operated Typex machines and received and decoded encrypted messages sent to them from listening stations all over the world. My husband never told me this, all he told me, before he married me, was that he could be recalled at any time at a moments notice and that he would have to go. I have discovered what he actually did and knew as I have researched the subject since he died, but he and I lived with that possibility that he could be recalled throughout the early days of our married life, and thus we took life one day at a time, although the Cuban missile crisis was a nightmare.
The human spirit can, and will, learn to deal with any crisis and this is best done by thinking of others and making sure that those less fortunate and more vulnerable than ourselves, are cared for and safe.
My best wishes to you and to everyone, stay safe, stay strong, and stay at home.
We can deal with it – what an amazing story you share
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Hoping you, your family, and staff stay safe during this trying time. My visit to your beautiful home two years ago was just magical and will always be one of the highlights of my travels.
Take care. Regards from Prince Edward Island.
It makes me realize: it’s a small world after all. Living near Disney has made me realize how travel for people has become normal. Our lives here have certainly changed.
Thank you Lady Carnarvon, you are a silver lining…
Adam and Eve indeed! I had a knee replacement in February before this all started so my husband needs a very long golf weekend away after all this…
So, I have been doing a Downton marathon…a lovely escape…and BritBox, our window to all things British..I love history, but small mercies that my mother is not alive to see this. She was born in 1914 and died in 1998 and her times were turbulent enough. I remember feeling grateful she didn’t live to see 9/11. Please, you and your family stay safe…and I am today preparing a few of your soup recipes for comfort here in Houston. Thank you for that. God be with us all.
I made a very good soup (probably should not say that myself ) from a chicken stock after Saturday lunch – curried parsnip with tumeric too and apple.. my husband has just finished it tonight. It is rather cold here and a two hot water bottle night!
How good of you to boost our spirits with the “silver lining” over Highclere Castle. Thank you so much! The dark cloud of the virus will turn and fade away and there will be a silver lining. In this day and technical age, we are able to “be home alone” without being lonely. And we must do our little part to “STAY HOME” in order to let the nurses and doctors and pharmacists and volunteer delivery people and supermarket workers, all those for whom it is necessary to be out there…with the virus splashing around…to do their job without getting overloaded. Yes, there are horribly strong hits to the economy, and the economic loss for this year’s visitor season to the castle must seem devastating. Imagine that Greece saw 35million tourists last year, and this year = 0. “We will one day recover from the economic loss, but the loss of one human being we cannot recover”. Stay IN, stay safe, stay well.
Goodness knows how we will find our way out, but putting one foot in front of another is a start.
Thank you for reminding us about silver linings and the source of the phrase, Lady Carnarvon. Milton was brilliant, and Paradise Lost was an epic work. How appropriate for these times!
Although we are isolated, we aren’t alone. School children make cheerful yard signs. Neighbors pitch in and help one another. Long distance friends and family keep in touch using modern technology. Friends gather together and tailgate while observing social distancing guidelines. We remain connected to one another despite the current crisis.
Thank you for lifting my spirits today. It is so appreciated!! Wishing you and your family all the best! Stay well!
The Woodlands, Texas
Greetings from Fort Worth, Texas! I have an amusing story to share. I have to do physical therapy exercises every day to “strengthen my core” because of lumbar problems. While on the floor with my trusty yoga mat, I had a back spasm that absolutely took my breath away. I wasn’t able to get up from the floor or able to receive assistance from my husband since he is disabled. As I lay there, my two cats decided to investigate my condition, one licked a tear from my cheek, then they proceeded to lie on top of me and take a nap. I proceeded to have a fine pity party, then started giggling. At that moment I realized that if you can laugh at it, you can cope with it. Shortly after, I was able to gradually pull myself up using the knobs on my dresser. Felt like a lizard scaling a garden wall. Then my husband called out from another room, “What’s for dinner, love of my life?” Some things never change. I decided at that point that we must try to laugh at adversity. It does change the color of things, even though people will most likely look upon you with puzzlement.
Goodness me husbands are the same everywhere.
Thank you Lady Carnarvon. This time the world is united in crisis and all on the same side in fighting the enemy virus. You make a good point that we cannot bond together as your picture of Highclere’s Home Guard in WWII did. Social distancing is not natural for us as we long to comfort each other by standing side by side. This time we are called to trust God and not ourselves.
What a beautiful reminder of the examples from the past of meeting challenges. We are in “lockdown”; people are ignoring it for the most part, it seems.
This is a moment for history books and medical epidemiology studies. Policies in healthcare and a shift in disaster preparedness will be discussed/revised.
May everyone maintain good healthy and find moments of peace. There have been 4 deaths in this small town. My contribution is to maintain physical distance, continue with my projects, have a healthy environment for the construction crew to finish rebuilding my house and practice self-care.
As my birthday approaches, I admit these events have altered my planned celebration. I will celebrate being alive, functional and anticipating a healthy future.
Have a safe, healthy and pleasant week to the Carnarvon family, Highclere extended family and the Highclere Diaspora.
I think I will give more time to the quiet moments too
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
As all of your reader’s have commented, I too, am staying at home, learning to take the time and really listen to the birds singing while enjoying beautiful blue skies. All of us are having to “re-learn” how to go about living our daily lives, while maintaining some sense of mental, physical and emotional health. Thank you so much for your weekly posts; they are such a joy to read!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for such a masterfully composed and appropriate blog. Your words have reminded me that beauty lies everywhere and in everything.
The opening to John Keats’ poem, ‘Endymion’, also seems both relevant for our current times:
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.“
Our homes are currently our shelter, our ‘bowers’ and how much we need to appreciate all that is beautiful around each one of us.
Best wishes to you, Lady Carnarvon, and all our Monday Family. Stay safe and well one and all. May your lives always be full of love, joy, good health and God’s blessings.
Thank you Jeffrey – I love Keats. My father used to read it out loud in his efforts to educate us!!!
Thank you again for your insight. Reading about your reference to John Donne reminds me of teaching British Lit to high school students here in California. The line from Meditation 17 was meaningful to my students: ” God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again.” We all will be bound together again!
I am a huge fan of John Donne… I used to try to get up early at 5am as he did to study but I am afraid I failed!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
The most precious gifts we have are the people in our lives. The most difficult thing for me is the physical separation from family and friends. I have an older sister who lives an hour away and my first grandchild (4 months old)who lives twos hours from us. Technology is a gift. We can at least FaceTime one another but it doesn’t quite measure up to seeing one another in person.
So many people are suffering and some losing their lives. It is a sad time in history. To quote you, dear lady, “We are being asked to switch from what we would like to do as individuals to acting for the collective good”. We will get through this. When that time comes, the silver lining will be that we are kinder and more gentle with one another. I’m looking forward to that day!
May the Lord keep you safe and watch over everyone in our blog community.
We are together, even if alone, together
it is WE who are responsible for pollution in the atmisphere. Not us. WE.
Catherine M. Splane
Dear Lady, thank you for your inspiring Monday message. It fills my heart to realize SPRING is here…I have a Mother Duck nesting again in my garden while the Daddy walks about proudly on watch. I have Bluebirds nesting in their house and Robins nesting in my wreath at my front door. They have all worked diligently to make a home for their coming babies. They have no idea what we are enduring. I take great joy in their positive drive to continue on in bad weather and humans coming and going checking in on them. They have FAITH that all will be fine here in their nests and beyond. Reminds me of the old sayings “Be like a duck calmly floating across the water while they paddle like crazy underwater” …and then Tiny Tim “God bless us everyone”
The dogs, sheep horses are truly not bothered.. it is just us who have failed to understand consequences. We will get there – together
I live in one of the areas of America, San Jose CA, with many COVID cases as we are a city of technology with many foreign workers. Companies such as Apple, Google, Adobe, AMD, Alphabet, Applied Materials, Intel, Cisco, Ebay, HP, Lockheed, NASA, SAP and more are located here. They often make things, such as cell phones, which in my opinion, seem to bring us together but often isolate us from others. The silver lining is that now they allow us to send messages across the globe, video chat with friends and family from near and far, and work from home. The fact that I am sending you this message from over 5,000 miles away is, quite frankly, a miracle. So that which can isolate can also bring together, a silver lining if there ever was one. Happy Monday from 5,000 miles away. We might not be together but we share the sky, the sun and the stars, and oh, the internet.
It is a discordance isn’t it? I so enjoy hearing from you all and you are part of my life yet the technology can also be emotionally undermining. Perhaps that is just us and the choices we make as in the Garden of Eden
Good Morning from America. I so enjoyed and appreciate your latest posting and have forwarded it on to friends. I’m glad that you mentioned John Milton as his life was filled with harsh trials that required deep faith to get through every ordinary day. By age 44 he was completely blind and had to rely on others for every bodily need. And yet, in his blindness he wrote from his heart some of the greatest poetry the world will ever know. Of his own blindness he wrote, “It is not miserable to be blind; it is only miserable not to be able to endure blindness”. His wonderful attitude of acceptance of loss applies so deeply to what the world is now experiencing.
I’m encouraged to read how many people are recalling the incredible stamina that England showed to the world during World War 11 when days were so filled with fear, heartache and huge losses. As Milton did, you endured what came your way. And so we all must follow your examples. Thank God for memories shared that give us the courage to overcome this totally unexpected enemy virus. I hope and pray that history will not find us wanting in our duty and that soon we will be able to say to each other, “Well done”. May the Lord bless and keep you all in His loving care.
Milton’s life was extraordinary, he endured so much and yet gave such imagination and poetry
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for another exceptional post. In the world’s most devastating periods, it helps to keep hope alive by looking for the good – those silver linings. The care, concern and dedication of others, the tireless devotion of family, teachers, and health care providers, the eternal cycles of the seasons, the day and night sky in all it’s glory – they bring us back to our connection, and the importance of good. Our beautiful, wonderful world is facing an immense challenge, and we see everyday the best, and worst, of our citizens.
Your beautiful words, coupled with the humbling insights of Milton, are truly a gift..a silver lining….a warm response to those who are suffering. May we all, Earth included, breath easier as our incredible researchers look for effective medications and a vaccine, and we are one day closer to the end of this awful scourge. Peace, blessings and prayers for all. I hope you and your family remain healthy and well. Yoga, walking and free-weights have helped me immensely. Face-time with family, friends, and school family is also a gift!
Looking forward to next Monday –
Charlotte Merriam Cole
Thank you – stop and stand and stare – the old ways are not bad!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for your blog. It is so informative and touching. Before I read it this morning, I had written a letter to my daughter detailing all the delights that have come of the quiet. I can hear the birdsong so clearly, the flowers seem more fragrant, my husband and I have time to ride out bicycles and enjoy nature. Some neighbors and I put together a little outdoor concert on Friday. We all stayed in our own properties but the children from each family played music for us all to enjoy. We had two violinists, one violist, one trombonist and one electric guitar player. They took turns playing, and we also had a brother and sister duet on piano with the sound amplified for us all to hear. These delights have been the silver lining for me.
With kindest regards from Texas and best wishes for the Carnarvon family’s continued health,
Jaime Connor Pierce
That sounds amazing and I was lucky enough to attend your Rodeo one year and was humbled by the number of volunteers and working together – I hope I can return and they say I could ride in the pageant!!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon
To all in the UK including my friend Zoe, take care. Thank you for your writing this week. Kindest regards
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
It was quite brilliant how you wove Paradise Lost into the situation we all currently find ourselves in. I look for silver linings every day. We have to, otherwise we would be lost.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Happy Monday!
Thank you for being our rainbow; hopefully we can be some of the strong stitches of your silver lining.
Reading out loud is such a lost form; and we do not realize that there was not such a thing as private silent reading only a few centuries ago. How lucky that we have this choice, for voice can be the friend we so crave at times like these. Thank you for your reminder! As always Sincerely Yours Elizabeth
Thank you for your inspiring words today. But even more, on behalf of ALL women, who are practicing self-isolation with their husband or partner, THANK YOU for the enormous laugh your last paragraph generated! I literally screamed aloud.
I wasn’t expecting that—but I’m grateful for it.
I pray your family, staff, and friends stay healthy and content.
Paradise Lost is full of suprises!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your timely blog on “Silver Linings”.
During my home state’s Stay Home, Stay Safe, I have tried to make the confinement part of my Lenten observance of daily sacrifice. Admittingly, it has not been easy. I am looking forward to Easter and eventually resuming a new normal life style.
So look forward your next inspirational blog.
Thanks you for your enlightened accounts of your British history and that of Highclere. My husband and I, both in our 70’s, are isolating at our comfortable 100 year old home (not near as old as yours!) in Norfolk, Virginia and always look forward to the five o’clock cocktail hour so that we can indulge our fondness for Highclere gin!
We’ve heard that they may be closing our state-controlled liquor stores as part of the Covid-19 restrictions, so, while we don’t feel safe going in, we may have to figure out a way to obtain more! Who knows how long this could go on?!
Thank you again for your “visits” to Highclere.
I can solve one problem: you can buy the gin on line in the USA!! https://www.caskers.com/highclere-castle-gin/
Thank you for this! I really needed to hear this today. Trying to control the anxiety and boredom is getting old. Take care of yourselves please.
Our imagination does not get old! Have you ever followed our instagram? @highclere_castle
You are the light that writes in this time of uncertainty – thank you for your Blog! I hope you are getting some rest during the shelter at home – not sure if you are sheltering in place like us. It is definitely a time of reflection – Thanks for the suggestion to read Paradise Lost out loud – I know its somewhere in the house – something else to do as I go looking for it…
Good afternoon – As I sit here in southern California and look out the bay window at the beautiful blue sky with big puffy white clouds, I am grateful that the lack of much of our usual traffic has produced it. Day 10 of our statewide lock down, and when I feel too house bound, I look out at the lake in front of my house and marvel at the dove that has built a nest above my bay window, and at all the ducks, geese and cranes that still come to visit. My calico cat has somehow learned to make peace (through the window) with the squirrel that makes it his business to hop across my deck every day. Appreciating the small wonders will help get us through this.
Without doubt I am listening to and appreciating the birds and the tiny spring flowers!
Thank you for posting. Life in a Florida is rather surreal…the reality of the virus has not hit home. I am. Blessed to be an optimist and can usually see light at the end of the tunnel ..which for me will be getting `home to Yorkshire
Thank you once again for a wonderful Monday letter.
I do so look forward to these every week.
I have been in isolation for 11 days now and there is not to much to look forward to.
Thank you Thank you.
Kathleen from Canada
Thank you for reading it – can you log on to instagram? you can go through google..look for @highclere_castle
Lady Carnarvon, you are Monday morning magic for me. Always an upbeat blog and interesting information. My husband and I (both in our 80’s) have been self isolating for the past two weeks, we are quite well but are following our Prime Minister’s advice.
To keep busy we include a stroll around the garden every day, do some of our jigsaw (and doesn’t greenery and the sky make it hard to find pieces), take turns to make quick telephone calls to our children, check on our neighbours health (more of our age group), cook something for dinner being inventive with what we have, read a book, look at a video, put on some music to sing and dance to and speak with the Lord. So far we are not bored at all 🙂
I am reminded of the phrase “united we stand, divided we fall” and can see a positive in those words especially as I notice how people are coming together to help each other. It reminds me of war time when we all shared our rations and food from our gardens, cut down clothing to make new clothes, polished our nearly worn out shoes so they shone and even improvised to cover the holes in the soles by making inner soles out of whatever was waterproof.
Caring and sharing is being practiced and community spirit is alive again. Isn’t it great? Out of the corona virus adversity something wonderful is happening and I think people are realising that helping each other should be our normal way of looking at life.
This “storm” will soon pass but in the meantime we should all think about what is truly important to us………love, compassion, generosity and humility…..lessons we should carry forward in a very different world.
Take good care of yourself and I hope your husband and children are all well.
Thank you what a wonderful essay – caring and sharing. I hope that is what we are doing, respecting distance and using our resources carefully. Being Scottish I am trying to cook each meal for £5 to £10 between 3 of us!! My sisters and I lost our parents too young to capture enough stories form WW2 and I only vaguely remember them now. I know our mother rode her pony to school (this was when she was 5 to 10 years old) and my father was sent to school in Scotland when he was 6 years old..it was about making do. New clothes were a luxury.
What synchronicity to find this post today, as just last night I was quoting Milton to my husband as inspiration to find new ways to approach this new reality we all find ourselves in.
“The mind in its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
And so just like the title of your post, we listed the silver linings of the situation.
Thank you for expanding on this so eloquently and with so much historical context. It made my day.
Thank you also for your very kind response to my note about Valentine’s Day at Highclere. That event feels more like Heaven by the day!
We hope you are all keeping safe and well at Highclere.
Dear Lady C,
Again thanks for lifting our gaze to the “silver linings” of life. At least the TV in Australia is now focusing on random acts of kindness instead of fear.
I went to my old school (1962)Book of Poetry to find Milton, and maybe it is time to read Milton’s Paradise Regained. We all, I think, are praying for Paradise to be regained in our countries and lives.
May the Good Lord bless you and all who read your pages.
Aloha from Hawaii. Thank you for reminding us all of the silver linings that appear during times of hardship. The silver lining for me has come in the form of family ties. We communicate more often with our sons in Oregon by text, phone calls, or FaceTime. Connecting with the outside world becomes so important to not feeling isolated so much. Being able to look forward to your Monday post is such a blessing. I also communicate with my Bournemouth pen pal of 56 years more often. Connecting half-way around the world with her means so much to us. Please take care, and blessings to you, your family and staff.
Thank you – taking the time to find out how friends are!
Isn’t amazing what it takes for people to get along with one another?
Your words are inspiring.
Thank you for sharing this important information and time in history.
It is wonderful to see nature enjoying the peace and what seems cleaner air resulting from the reduction in traffic and human movement…..a good start to the healing process I think. The sun continues to shine even though it is still chilly…thank you for another interesting and thoughtfully relevant blog.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for your blog. I am always intrigued when John Milton and “Paradise Lost” are mentioned. My stepmother grew up in the dual town(s) of Milton-Freewater in the state of Oregon. The story was always told to us that her ancestor named the original town of Milton after John Milton in 1868. They had just fled the South after the American Civil War and considerd the South as their personal Paradise Lost… hence their new town became Milton.
Today I live in the town of Kirkland, WA, the first epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States. As I am about 8 blocks from the nursing home that has been associated with 37 deaths, our lives have changed dramatically. Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and wipes have become staples whenever one goes outside. As I work as a grocery supplier I am still able to work but am extremely careful. Most of my neighbors have been at home for weeks. We all wonder what is ahead… but a sense of continuity and community has been formed through the phone and the internet with many old friends checking in with each other. It is an interesting and challenging time!
You are a key part of continuing life – amazing – it is a thank you to you too
Thank you once again. Every week you find beautiful inspiring words for your readers.
I think the silver lining at this exceptional time is that people in the UK really appreciate what they have in their wonderful NHS. Having worked in NHS hospitals for 50 years (starting in 1968) and only recently retired I have seen many trends and political directives come and go. Through it all the my colleagues have unfailingly given their all for their patients. They will be tested to their limits of endurance in the weeks and months to come. I hope the outpouring of gratitude shown to them this week by the public will buoy them up for what they have to face.
This was what our VE day was about and I have now taken it October 10th to say thank you – thank you for those who serve and those who save – those who serve to save.
I was extremely impressed by this blog….you have a unique clarity of the situation around us….thank you for these words!
Dear Lady Carnarvon and ‘Tuesday Family’,
In keeping with the theme of this week’s blog that started with verses from Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, below follows a link to an uplifting video now on YouTube by the ‘Dear Evan Hansen (The Musical) Choir’.
From around the world, fans from 31 countries have lent their hearts and talents to the “You Will Be Found” Virtual Choir, proving once again that every voice matters.
A very uplifting chorus of voices for a song that is most appropriate for today.
A song of hope for these troubled times.
How amazing thank you for sharing!
Lady Carnarvon, Today is the day when I email friends and family here in Canada and England, my husbands family is in England, to make sure everyone is all right regarding the c virus. I wanted to reconfirm that you and your family virus free. Through your website and blog a person feels like they know you. I feel that you must be a very kind and caring person. I wish for you healthy days today and the days ahead.
You are as caring or more so than I – we all just need to put that at the forefront every day rather than the hurly burly of rushing though life
Greetings from Buffalo, N.Y. I am so happy to have discovered your blog and lovely post. Such nice comments from everyone. I am also just finishing your Lady Almina book and thinking about the silver linings found during the war and that hard time as well. Looking forward to starting Lady Catherine next! Thank you for the wonderful distraction as we all do our part to flatten the curve. The only way out is through. Lots of love for the U.K. as my brother and family lives in Nottingham!
Thank you – yes we need and will make our way through this
I was just introduced to you today, via Viking.tv. Thank you so very much, lovely lady, for sharing your beauty, knowledge and background with us. You are a ray of sunshine in this world of ours at this time. Blessings to you and yours for many continued wonderful years ahead.
You are kind and stay safe yourself!
We were just visiting your website to see if you had posted your Christmas visit programs. No luck in finding your Christmas schedule. Gail and I have a travel agent friend and several of her client friends that we want to share our Highclere experience with them. After visiting with you, Herrod’s Christmas decorations and doing the Portobello Street Market, it’s then off to shop several Christmas markets in Germany. We hope also to sample some of your Highclere Gin that you so eloquently describe, to the point of almost tasting it, during our Christmas visit to see how many bottles we can take home to Chicago. We also enjoy picking up our autographed copy of your “At Home at Highcclere” and paging through it to look for new recipe to try. Beetroot-cured salmon will give us something to do as its takes several days of marinating the delicate flavors before we can enjoy the salmon. We are all healthy and self confined here in Chicago. Give your dogs and extra petting for us.
We will post a schedule – it is really just me and my dogs running round 20 computers and working with our wonderful computer colleague .. apart from any hoovering or sorting etc.
Pencilled: Christmas Afternoon teas 27/28/29 November – there are books talks and other events the following week, the Christmas Fair December 8th and 9th, our Sing for Peace (Christmas tours and Carols for MSF) on the following Sunday, then Christmas Carols and tours – singing around the tree is the best! Gerald Dickens on the 18th December .. There are more events but my head space is rather stuck in today!