The White Cliffs of Dover
Early on in World War Two, in the spring of 1940, the 6th Earl of Carnarvon was offered a role in his old cavalry regiment as adjutant to Baron Amherst. The 7th Hussars were stationed in a strategic part of the country at Shorncliffe, near the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent. Originally classed as medically unfit, Lord Carnarvon had struggled to join the war effort so was utterly delighted with his posting and set off in a camouflage painted car with Gibbins his chauffeur, Robert Taylor his valet and Monsieur Pascal his chef.
There was not a huge amount to do but the air raid shelter had a very well stocked bar. To begin with Gibbins and Taylor would try to outwit their curfew and reprovision from Highclere or slip off to see their sweethearts but, as the Battle of France unfolded only 30 miles away across the Channel, the mood became more sombre and everyone fell into line.
One of Churchill’s first acts in office after May 1940, was to get out from behind his desk and inspect the troops. Arriving at Shorncliffe, he growled over the ridiculous location for training a cavalry unit. “You are right next to an aerodrome and if bombs fell, the horses would gallop over the cliffs into the sea.” They were disbanded and Lord Carnarvon went back inland, once again looking for a job.
World War Two was a great leveller in the UK, just as we are facing an indiscriminate leveller today. In our case, the call to action to swathes of people is to stay at home, the key to supporting and protecting the nurses and doctors and associated services. Entire countries, their businesses and life have come to standstill. Highclere is settling quietly, holding its breath, until we can begin to turn the propeller again, albeit slowly.
The team here cannot work remotely (visitors and guests come here) and, as the world crashed, we have retracted into a tiny nucleus around Geordie and myself. As ever, it is about communications and, to begin with, it was overwhelming in both volume and spirit. Despite the spring weather, and like many others, we have been inside, often working late into the night, answering thousands of emails and assisting our IT department as they wrote computer programmes to offer reschedules to much later this year or next year. As that began to work, and the kindest of people stayed with us to transfer, we have begun to work on vouchers where those who are rescheduling holiday plans, perhaps from abroad, can look at the next eighteen months to see when they can plan to tour their beloved “Downton Abbey.” The uncertainty will begin to clear.
The other side of this work is to plan how we can start up again, perhaps keeping our tour numbers small. We are an infinitesimally small part of a large industry: in 2018 the tourism and hospitality business in the UK was estimated at £100 billion, encompassing 127,000 businesses and employing at least 1.6 million people. Like many stately homes, visitor attractions, seaside towns, hotels, bars,pubs and restaurants in the UK, Highclere was about to welcome thousands of visitors for the start of spring. Like others, this is what keeps the roof on and pays the bills.
We buy locally, people come here by train and taxi, they stay in hotels and pubs, eat in cafes and even rent vintage cars for fun! Tourism, hospitality spread threads throughout society from full and part employment to a sense of inner well being for customer, for families. On a busy Spring day when we are open, there might well be towards 100 Highclere team on site. Now, in order to do the most essential work, there are Geordie and I and three part time support team,so this keeps the castle systems ticking over.
Down on the farm, Simon and Tom each sit in a tractor on their own to drill the spring crops, Matt and his team with Clive the sheepdog are busy lambing and Maggie continues to look after the horses with Sam and my husband, who does the weekends. The pigs and chickens still need feeding too. Paul continues in the gardens so that when we are able to welcome a few visitors again, the walks, spreading trees, lawns, flowers and views might restore spirits. Sadly all the beautiful pots of flowers grown for spring visitors are now just wilting in their pots. Unlike Lord Carnarvon’s time in Shorncliffe there is no French chef. I try to cook lunch for whoever is around, and we all sit with sufficient space between us, taking the time to eat and update each other.
I do slightly feel as if we have inadvertently jumped over the White Cliffs of Dover and are trying to pull the parachute open before we land a bit hard. In this country, we clearly have to stand still, to hold the line, for what in our lives will be a short time so that we, and the doctors and nurses, may all have a longer time. Easter is about hope and finding faith and a new life. Continuing the story, Jesus Christ stayed on earth for a further forty days (or approximately 5 weeks) before leaving on Ascension day. Maybe our future too is about having faith and waiting for 40 days or so to start a new life.
Lady Carnarvon, For many people they are wondering when this is all going to be over. No one can give a time when this will happen. We must have faith and it will come to us. Prayers to all.
Just sat through downton abbey again and loved your home a lover again.
My wife and I will visit when times are better for us all. My wife is disabled so suspect a visit my be difficult. Just the walk upto the house will be of great pleasure. See you soon mi lady.
One way we can all help keep things going is to order online from the gift shop. If you are buying a present for someone’s birthday during lockdown you can have it delivered directly to them. I’ve just bought a jigsaw of the castle which will keep me going until I can visit again and at the moment I have time to sit and enjoy doing it. I really enjoyed seeing the farm on the TV recently too. The photos on the website really lifted my spirits. Keep going everyone!
Thank you – you are so kind!
The White Cliffs of Dover, and the Secret Garden, are just as majestic as the song “White Cliffs of Dover”
I hope ALL that read my email are having, or had a great Easter!!!
All the Best,
Thank you John
I so enjoyed your post. My deepest wish is to someday visit and to meet you . My husband and I were in England for a wedding 7years ago already unfortunately too early in the season for a visit. I am a widow now almost two years, but I still have hopes of touring your lovely country.
How beautiful, Happy Easter
I want so to visit when we are able. They will all return. Thank you Lorelei Munger Sutter California
Look forward to seeing you
I so enjoy reading your blogs.
I too am planning a visit and look forward to seeing the glory of many places in England including Highclere, York, Oxford and London. Thank you for keeping it beautiful!
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Always so nice to read your blogs. I’m believing as well, as you put it so nicely, in 40 days from now when Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, a fresh start for all of us, the whole world safe, no sickness and no fear and we can all get on with our lives and plan travelling again. God bless.
Your inspiring and compassionate message lifted my spirits. Thank you.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
I do not know what happened to my original comment, but again, I find your stories informative and interesting.
Always enjoyed the “Secret Garden”, Hallmark’s 1987 version is my favorite. Someday, I hope to be able to visit Highclere Castle’s.
Hope you had a Happy Easter, and continue to remain safe.
Until your next blog.
A delightful posting for a very different type of Easter Sunday. I look forward, as do so many others, to a return to Highclere, an afternoon tea and a walk on your grounds. My you and yours continue your mission of hospitality and education to the public.
Yours in belief of a wonderful spring ahead,
Such wise words and encouragement Lady Carnarvon. Just the ticket!
Happy Easter and keep Highclere Castle and its staff safe!
Yes it is a really strange time to say the least. I hate not having contact with my family who really is right here in the same town in Oregon. Yesterday on Easter I was by myself and it was a little sad for me. We are used to having big family dinners and hopefully this passes quickly and we can get on with our lives but personally I fear it will never be the same in my lifetime. Best to you and your family and the wonderful people that work for you
Thank you Judy!
We are sharing a global experience—not only this terrible disease itself, but the disruption, isolation, and worry. As the Allied populations knew during WWII, we all have to rely on our personal and collective resources of brains, determination, humor and compassion. And, as the 6th Earl’s servants also knew, a stiff drink can also help. Greetings from hard-hit New York City. I look forward to a return visit to Highclere some day; it’s cheering to know the gardens will be in good order.
The best any of us can do at the moment is to find ways of ticking over.
I am sure your parachute will open and you will have a soft landing.
Wishing courage to us all.
Stay safe everybody.
Thank you bless you and your family
Beautiful story and thoughts. Thank you.
Have been to Highclere twice in the last 10 years and each time I visit it is inspiring to see the way you have kept things rolling along for the sake of history and your family. In the words of Her Majesty The Queen, “we will meet again”.
This situation that the global globe is going through is unusual. Of course we will hope that beautiful days will come.
Lady Elisabeth Carnarvon fought malaria in my country, Albania in 1923-1929, when she passed away, but until 1939 her mission continued.
I also wrote a book about Lady Elisabeth Carnarvon’s work. The Municipality of Kavaja in Albania has given her the title “Honorary Citizen” after her death.
The Carnarvon family deserves the highest praise.
She was amazing and gracious!
What a wonderful response and information, Muharrem Shqarri. What a fascinating addition to the Carnarvon narrative. Thank you.
Thank you sor another lovely and uplifting story. We can only hope this will all end soon. Stay safe.
Thank you for the update on how you are holding the line at Highclere. Your beautiful Secret Garden just made my whole morning, as I sit in Minnesota, looking out at the aftermath of our Easter blizzard from yesterday. (about 6 inches of snow!) I am one of many teachers trying to teach students on line from home. Your garden gives me hope that spring is really here!
Thank you for your posts. I always look forward to reading them.
I thought I would post Secret Garden photos on our Instagram later today
Wishing you Easter blessings! This is a time of learning and re-evaluation for us all. Hopefully, when “normalcy” is restored, we will have learned a new appreciation for those things we so easily take for granted, never truly appreciating the effort their availability required. It’s a good time to assess what is necessary and worthwhile in our lives, and to take advantage of all the wonderful things life has to offer, Highclere being one of them. Including you and your staff in my prayers for sustenance and patience! <3
Stay safe Lady Carnarvon. I know that the actual numbers might differ but the hitherto unknown financial implications for all of us regardless of station can be quite worrying. It’s all relative. Hopefully you and your team make it through as unscathed – though I know almost certainly not unaffected- as possible. May the joy of the risen Christ be with you and your family.
You are a beautiful person expressing these thoughts. I am crying as I read them this morning from my Winchester, Virginia home as I too must stay home. My tears are not of fear for the future this morning. My tears are building internal strength so I can be strong and be safe. I have been to Highclere Castle and it is a beautiful place. Hope to get there again. God bless you and yours.
Stay strong and see you here!
Good Morning, Your Ladyship,
Well said. Thank you ever so much for your kind words of hope.
Countless people hold their breath with you.
In the words of my late father, “Hold a good thought.”
My best to you and yours,
Another beautifully written blog. Thank you. The new normal will be different and eventually some of the present restrictions will lift.
Take care. Keep strong and safe.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
We in the U.S. are struggling also.
My husband and I own a garden maintenance company. Several of our properties are colleges, which have closed. They have no money coming in, and have asked us not to work. It will be a hard year for all. And we feel for everyone. Hopefully things will come back stronger. Perhaps people will be more grateful and plant in the future.
I was lucky to visit Highclere last September with my daughter and granddaughter. May you hold on and stay safe.
Thank you it will be a hard time -but it will get better
Not to worry: “There’ll be blue birds over the White cliffs of Dover, tomorrow just you wait and see…” For some reason, during this “War on Virus”, I have been humming these tunes, so i had to smile when I saw the first photo of your blog today. All around the world just about everything has come to a standstill, no visitors here to the Acropolis or the Greek Islands as well. Just everyone staying in, “sheltering-in-place” , no tourists, no Greek Easter festivities, no lambs on-the-spit, and no huge family gatherings…empty streets, closed shops, curfew on travel and traffic, not too unlike the days of the Nazi Occupation during WWII. However, there are no tanks in the streets, or bombs falling, or villages being burnt to the ground. So…time to keep our spirits up, “home alone” and and start singing:
“We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…but I know we’ll meet again one sunny day” 🙂
We’ll meet again
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon, for your words this morning. Reading them from the Tampa area, I fondly recall , a few years ago, when my husband and I stood on the White Cliffs of Dover! It was a very remarkable and poignant experience! As I have a lot of” extra” time these days, I was cleaning a closet and came across an old Righteous Brothers album. Just under the “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” is the song “White Cliffs of Dover”. Their rendition of this powerful song, I think, is fabulous! I just listened to it again. Seems to always deeply touch me. Stay well!!
What a trip down memory lane. I remember Jack quite well even though I must have been less than 10 at the time. I also have a picture (alas again somewhere) of the 6th earl in uniform. Very distinguished looking. I also Robert but not so well. Did Jack and Robert stay with his lordship during his sevice time?
Jack (Gibbins) left Lord Carnarvon during the rest of the war and went to drive the Royal family I believe. He then came back post 1945
Lady Carnarvon, thank you for this encouraging message. You share the smallest details and somehow make “us” feel included.
Thank you for another beautiful link between two eras of waiting and worrying. I hope our “forty days” will find an ending after which we can breathe a huge sigh of relief. We who are on the other side of serving others, whether through medical skills or feeding sheep and pigs, will try to do what we can to help others, as Jesus taught.
Waiting and wondering,
i enjoyed reading your article and in special your 40 days till we start a new life,from your pen to God’s ears I pray.
We are all in this together,enjoy your cooking and taking care of your beautiful castle,I hope I can visit Highclere Castle one day soon!
I hope so too
What a lovely post, Lady Carnarvon, even if it did make me cry a little bit, but then Churchill’s remark made me smile. We here in Overton also love Highclere very much and cannot wait to come back and visit again and again!
I look forward to seeing you. “KBO” as Churchill said!
Lady Carnarvon, it is both reassuring and pleasing to have the chance to see the secret garden, even on a photo. I would love to visit the castle once the Ascension day comes.
Greetings from the other side of the pond.
I would love you to visit
Prayers for you and your community .. hopefully it will start back up soon
Carry on Highclere is now more appropriate. The sequel to Downton Abbey, the Movie in your plans?
That would be something to look forward to !
Thank you Lady Carnarvon for your Monday message. Yes, we are all in this pandemic together no matter how many miles apart we may be. It was a very different Easter for all of us but we will overcome this latest test of mankind’s strength, hope and faith.
God bless us everyone.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
This is so beautifully written and reflective of how so many of us are feeling. We are truly all in this together.
Wishing you and Geordie wellness and all the best through this time.
Thank you Bonnie
Thanks for that information.
Care you and stay home.
Your ladyship- I have located a photo of the 6th earl in uniform taken by my mother. I only know it was taken in the 1940’s sometime and it is on the gravel ground outside the castle.
Wow amazing – may I ever have a copy?
I will get a copy to you very shortly.
My husband & I live in the country we too are tring to figure out what is coming next. I was going to make containers for the church garden (we are all getting older )so that we don,t have to bend over. That is on hold. I don,t give up. I,m making them at our home. We need to get the plants started or we won,t have anything for our church family & friends come fall. What keeps coming to mind is the stories my mom told me about the war. Their 1st child had an orange crate as a bed. The peddler would give them whatever was left on his cart at the end of the day( usually cabbage). We celebrated Easter yesterday ( turkey,bread stuffing, mashed potatoes,gravy, & glaxed carrots no dessert) & I thought of all the people that get together & the food that is shared. I did a lot of phoning to let them know we were thinking of them. I love the secret garden. We are determined to get to Highclere one of these yrs. Talk care of one another.
I look forward to seeing you here!
PLEASE, isn’t there anybody there who can find time to give those potted flowers their life water??
Noone to sell them to – too many and we have not enough hours in the day.
Uplifting as always and thank you for taking the time when you now have so many plates to keep on sticks. Will promise to come to Highclere and help boost the coffers again when we get the all clear! And you are right, Easter appears to start badly but ends well. Maybe this will be true for covid isolation.
It will be true, but many of us have not faced ever what many of our ancestors faced
It sounds very interesting. Four of us were planning an European tour early in the fall. That looks like it needs canceling until a vaccine is available. I was interested what you said about the area around Highclere with pubs and rental antique cars. Is there a website that hosts that information? My dad spoke english with an Italian-British accent. He was a prisoner of war and worked on a farm somewhere I believe in Cumberland. thanks for writing these, I love to hear from people all over. Vince Baccari Baton Rouge Louisiana.
I think there were Italian prisoners of war near here too.. We list lots of place to stay on on our website. I thought I would begin to plan a way out on our events now.
Dear lady, Carnarvon,
You are such an inspiration! You show how people the world over are facing the same isolation, uncertainty, and worries. I loved Highclere and the Secret Garden–had lots of photos there– and hope to return one day. Blessings!
Thank you – I hope you will return – see you here
“We are all in this together”: takes on new meaning as the world suddenly has the same enemy. We look forward to the new beginning, but like you, we will place hope in a brighter future, though it seems uncertain now.
It is learning to walk again.
Thank you for another lovely story linking two eras of waiting and worrying. Having patience and resilience gives us our “40 days” of hope, knowing that it will end, but not knowing when. All of the service workers need our support, from the medical world to caretakers of sheep and pigs, we thank them, and try to do our part to help others as much as possible.
So sorry for the duplicate – wasn’t sure my first went through….. anyway, thanks for your Monday morning uplifts! Keeping calm and carrying on…
Good Morning Lady Carnarvon. In-lite of all that is going on in the world, you still, through your writings make everything seem so easy and right. Yes, life goes on, and this too shall pass. I hope your Easter was Blessed, and you felt the warm embrace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Have a lovely day.
Susan, life is not easy for many but whether I am up or down I try to share glimpses of sunshine. We each and all have resources we need to find to begin to learn to walk again
What a touching story and the all so true parallel you make with our current circumstances. I fondly remember my trip to Highclere Castle with the Diversions group out of Baltimore, MD USA and meeting you over lunch. Bless you and your family.
Your message gives hope in this time of physical distancing. I especially enjoyed your picture of the White Cliffs of Dover and the Secret Garden. They remind me of my various trips to England.
Stay safe, healthy, and happy, Barb V, Middleton, WI
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Having seen first hand the breadth and depth of the beautiful Castle and gardens, I am in awe of your work to keep it all moving forward. In the most heartbreaking of times, when it does feel like things are “going over the cliff”, it is the positive steps towards the future that bring hope. A daily routine of projects, while tiring, helps to diffuse the uncertainty of wondering when will things return to a “new normal”. Work in the yard, cleaning out closets and drawers that have been stuffed with “stuff” in busy times, all are helping me stay focused on late Spring and Summer.
I think I will be quite pleased that I accomplished something despite the scourge that engulfed us. With gratitude for my health, being in the higher risk category, and the health of family and friends, and daily prayers for all who are suffering, I believe in my heart of hearts that our strength will triumph over this disease. And, of course, the hard work and genius of our medical staff throughout the world will lead us through.
Your words and photographs are inspiring, and further cements my resolve to return to Highclere again. A very special place that gladdens the heart.
Thank you, and I hope you and your family had a happy and blessed Easter. Stay healthy and God bless.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
My husband and I went to Folkestone the day after all our Highclere adventures in September. We planned to follow in his grandfather’s WWI footsteps, so with diary in hand and a wonderful volunteer from the Shorncliffe Trust who met our train, we spent 24 hours exploring world and personal history before taking the ferry from Dover to Calais and beyond. It was a very meaningful time of discovery and reflection. Your words reminded me that many generations before us and after us will be challenged in unforeseen ways. Hold the line we will and we look forward to our next Highclere visit whenever that may be. Thank you.
I am looking forward to the next 40 days, so Jesus will walk among us and give us hope ! God bless you and your husband during this stressed time. “ He’s got the whole world in His Hands“
Your Queen said it best.”We will meet again.”
I was very blessed last year to travel to the White Cliffs of Dover to walk thru the Castle and the tunnels. I can picture what you were talking about we stayed in an B&B over looking the channel. We could see France across the channel. At the end of our trip going to Oxford then on to Highclere Castle. That was such a delight to visit there.
May the Lord bless you and keep you
This is my first time on your site as one of my readers sent it to me saying she thought of me when reading your post (I have a food and travel blog.) Lovely to read your story and sentiment and praying this will all be a distant memory very soon. Stay safe,
My daughters and I are some of those who have had to postpone our visit to Highclere. We were all set to come there after a Viking Cruise, but have had to change to summer 2021. That seemed like a big deal to us until we remembered all the people who are suffering in much more serious ways than we are. We in Montana have shut down our tourist venues and even closed National and State parks for the first time ever, so I know re-planning is going on everywhere. Volunteers are helping out all we can.
Thanks so much for your up-dates. They are helpful for us to know that Spring has sprung even with all this going on world-wide.
Great comfort to be found in God’s Word today.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever.
Words of inspiration…thank you from across the Pond! I am “borrowing’ your photo of the Secret Garden for my FB cover photo…it is so beautiful and the renewal of spring gives hope….thank you! Stay strong…stay safe!
You too – thank you
I have been thinking of my parents lately and how they coped with four years of war and the sacrifices, fear and uncertainty they must have felt. Thank you for a beautifully written and illustrated post. My husband and I had planned to visit Highclere in the spring……, we are regulars, …….and we WILL, have no fear, once this is over. WE can do this together. Super sponge too.
They also did not know when it would end
Dear Lady Carnarvon & The Monday Family,
Happy Easter to you all. Even in these uncertain and unprecedented times, there exists a clear and evident fellowship of goodwill.
Although we are practicing ‘social isolation’, in reality mostly of us have never been closer.
Yesterday in Milan, Andrea Bocelli sang at the Duomo to an empty congregation but to a global online audience to celebrate Easter and in the spirit of hope and good will. It is worth watching more than once:
I am sure that all fellow bloggers join with me in conveying the very best wishes to you, Lady Carnarvon, your husband, Geordie, your entire family, staff, the local community and suppliers. Your spirit and determination is an inspiration to us all.
To all of our ‘Monday Family’, I wish an enjoyable and relaxing conclusion to the Easter long weekend.
It was amazing – amazing
Thank you for another lovely blog. Your talk of the White Cliffs of Dover reminds me of the movie, Mrs. Miniver, and the most recent one, Dunkirk. Your Secret Garden is beautiful. I also was hoping to come and see your beautiful home this Fall, but, unemployment has changed those plans for next year. I also work in the Hospitality world. I’m afraid its going to be awhile before we are all back to work.
Right now, your articles are a breath of fresh air.
Prayers for you and your family including your team.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for the lovely photos and your uplifting view of life! I especially love your garden photo.
I spend soothing minutes among my gardens every day. They have restorative powers for me. I pick a few stems and bring them inside to prolong the feeling of rebirth. We are sheltering in place, missing our children and grandchildren. Luckily, with with modern technology, we have photos and videos of their Easter egg hunt. We were with them in spirit!
Thank you for lifting my spirits on this rainy Monday in Virginia.
Shelley in Virginia
I love your linking of Jesus stay after Easter, to our waiting time too. It’s definitely something to think about! We are all just waiting for when things can start to open, and how to time it for everyone’s safety.
Yes – you know Quarantine is from “40” (quarante) days so maybe our ancestors knew a thing or two..
Beautifully written. God bless you all.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank you for your kind words at this time. The Secret Garden and Victoria Sponge are inspiration as we garden and bake at home. Hello from Shorncliffe, Queensland, also a beautiful location, reminiscent to someone in the past of the White Ciffs of Dover. Kindest regards to all.
Hello Shorncliffe Queensland!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
As always I enjoy reading your stories. On a different note I want to give you some feedback on the Highclere Castle gin and cigars. Having just ended my annual abstinence on Good Friday I felt it would be a perfect time to sample your products. I thoroughly enjoyed both. I like that the cigars are Nicaraguan grown and the gin was also very enjoyable. Thank you very much for producing them.
Thank you so much. They are young businesses please do spread the word!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I understand how you feel. My husband and I live in Orlando, Florida. It’s home to Disney’s 79,000 Cast Members. Their furlough begins April 19th and will add 5% to our unemployment numbers. Now add Sea World and Universal Studios and it really is a wake-up call. All of those folks staying home, versus having dinner or an evening out. The wheels stopping in one section of the clock can really screw up everything.
The health of the world is more important at this time, in spite of our personal losses. Tomorrow is my 70th birthday and we had a great car trip planned for later this week and next. We wanted to see Williamsburg for our 5th trip and visit Monticello since T.J. was born 13 April 1743. We’ve cancelled and I feel a deep sense of loss since I won’t ever be able to pull back my special milestone seeing all of the gorgeous tulips blooming. But, again let me say, it is more important to save one more life while keeping our own as normal as possible. We will get through this with patience. I wish you and your husband a happy April.
Happy birthday tomorrow and perhaps just keep the clock there and have a special 70th birthday every year.
Peggy, I wanted to wish you a very Happy 70th Birthday! I celebrated my 70th in December. I wasn’t feeling well, so we did do anything special for it either. We live in Englewood, Florida, just two hours from Orlando. My husband worked at Disney for four years when we lived in Kissimmee. The effects of this event are staggering for our state. I understand.
God Bless you on this special mile stone birthday! Maybe we should meet when this is over and celebrate our BIG 7-0 birthdays together! We will get through this…together!
Happy Monday , Lady Carnarvon and our Monday Family!
What a wonderful post today. This is a very strange time to be living. I think we have all taken a lot of things for granted. I never realized the ‘domino effect’ this isolation would have on our world. It is staggering. We live in a tourist area as well. Our Beaches are closed. We took a drive yesterday just to get some fresh air. We did not stop and did not get out of the car. We drove to my favorite place, the beach. How sad. All of the yellow ‘danger’ tape draped across and around the entrances and the drive ways. Our entire society is suffering. Today we had Dr appointments. So we donned our surgical masks and drove to the next town up the coast from ours. It is so strange to see stores closed. Some of them were new and have yet to welcome customers. I wonder if they will ever be able to open now? I do wish that everyone here would honor the order to stay home.
Our Granddaughter in Ohio was very sick with it. But they would not give her the official test because she is not a first responder. They diagnosed her with the virus with out a test. Thank God, she recovered. She said her eyeballs even hurt….
God Bless you, Lady Carnarvon. We will meet again…soon I hope!
L. Sue Smith
IF we quarantine ourselves now and stay home we will have a summer of sorts.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Just reading your newest post aloud to my husband from our little Pacific NW “bubble” over here in Bellingham, WA. It was nearly 1 year ago in May 2019 we were thrilled to visit your home. It was how I wanted to celebrate my 60th birthday. I think of all the people who helped us get from London to your home that day in May, from the ticket agent at Paddington Station, the train engineers and ticket takers, to the man w/ the snack cart on the train, the taxi drivers to and from the train station and all the staff at Highclere Castle, and wonder at how they all are doing. As I read your last paragraph with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes I was touched by the comparison of Jesus final days on earth and the entire world who are all now waiting for this time to end and new beginnings. Thank you again for your inspiring words as here – we begin our 5th “stay home” week.
Thank you so much !
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Reading about the White Cliffs of Dover comforted me today. They are such an icon of strength. I loved your analogy of the 40 days when Christ was here after the Resurrection. That gives me hope. God does have His purposes. How wonderful it would be to emerge from this on day 41! Thank you for the “grounding” that your posts give your readers.
I am reminded of what my late father told me about the British during WWII. What amazing people they were to have stood up against the Nazi regime the way that they did, and what a phenomenal leader they had in Winston Churchill. Your picture of the white cliffs of Dover made me think of that, and reminded me of the song of the same name. That generation of people were truly the greatest generation. Challenging times we are all experiencing, Lady Carnarvon, but we will prevail, and this will pass.
I always love seeing pictures of the beautiful Highclere Castle and grounds – the animals, the sweeping vistas, but I especially love your “Secret Garden”.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I so enjoy reading your entries. You English have such a sense of calmness about you which I wish I had. Your messages either bring a smile, or a tear, or a moment of contemplation, and sometimes all three! They have a soothing effect on me which is something much needed in today’s world. I pray each night for those of you across the sea as well as for the United States. The world will learn from this terrible experience and grow stronger together. You are right. Jesus is walking through this valley with us. Having Him and people like you will get us through it all.
Blessings and prayers for good health from a thankful reader in Indiana!
Good morning Lady Carnavon
I am in country New South Wales Australia and have been in lock down now for almost 5 weeks. Staying at home does work so please everyone, stay home!
It is aggravting, boring, difficult, strange and seems to be going on forever but there is an upside too. My cupboards have never been more organized, I have cleaned things which I have been meaning to do for ages, caught up with all my mending and sewing and my husband has at last found where the kitchen is located in our house 🙂 We are taking turns to cook which is a bit of a revelation for him.
This pandemic is testing us all and I believe we are realising just what is important in our lives and I for one have made plans to keep holding the important things closer to my heart. The huge loss of life all over the world is showing us just how fragile life really is and my heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones.
God really does work in mysterious ways but we have to believe in him and hold our faith until we get through this dreadful time. We will come through this experience stronger and more focused in making our world a better place.
Thank you to those people who are describing us as “The Monday Family” such a lovely way to think of us all. I love the picture of the Secret Garden something beautiful to see in such a terrible time.
Keep yourself and your family safe and well Lady Carnarvon
You are kind and best wishes to you!
Thank you for a wonderful post – Yes I agree with fellow blogger that the English have a way of staying calm through whatever comes at us. I love reading all the comments from other “Monday Family”. It so nice to feel connected to everyone and read their thoughts. Our SF, CA is doing so well that the medical staff are leaving to help more affected areas in USA. There is an end in site – God Bless until we meet again – Highclere will endure!
That is good new- we all need good news!
We really enjoyed reading your blog, we were blessed to have visited your lovely home several years ago and hopefully will return when we are free to travel. Thank you for sharing your home and your life with all is us. Blessings on you and your family.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I’m sure you keep very busy running the estate, but I have a query concerning my grandfather, whom I never knew, due to the fact that he passed away prior to my birth.
His name was Frederick W Page Roberts (sometimes hyphenated)and he was a Captain in the Hampshire Regiment.During the battle of Kut,in Mesopotamia,he was gassed & was returned to the UK,where he recuperated at Highclere Castle.I am just wondering if you have any record of his stay.It would have been between the years of 1915-1916.If this is a simple request,I’d greatly appreciate any information that you hold in your archives.
I was born in Surrey,moved to London when I was five years old and settled in Australia in 1980.A photographer by trade (alastairmcnaughton.com) but have now, started writing an autobiography and a work of fiction.
I will have a look and see what I can find.
Lady Carnarvon, for all the people that now have to wait to visit Highclere Castle, it will be even more precious to them when they come to visit. It could be even more popular than before, if that is even possibly. The Victorian Sponge cakes will be flying out of the kitchen at a fast rate. To you and yours, stay healthy and safe.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I hope that Highclere will return to normal soon and continue to host visitors from all around the world. These times are a trial for everyone and even beautiful Highclere Castle is not immune. I hope you and your staff take heart and know that so many people are wishing the very best for you and your beautiful home. Highclere will again be a focus of much joy and meaning for so many. In the meantime, stay well all and know your wonderful work is so much appreciated. When we do return to normal we will never again take the pleasures of being together and seeing beautiful places like Highclere for granted again. We all hope and pray for those days to come back and will all work through these times together.
Ann Catherine Flood
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
In ordinary times, your words are encouraging and enlightening. In these times, they are so much more than that. As you “carry on” at Highclere, we are also encouraged to “carry on.” Thank you for letting us see inside your beautiful home and its history, and for your words of courage and strength.
West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I would really appreciate a picture of the “Secret Garden “. It looks so beautiful. A place to contemplate.
The Dover Cliffs are just lovely.
The coronavirus is keeping us from traveling. I pray that it will go away soon. You and your family stay safe.
War is no joke. And I pray to our heavenly father.
Peace and Love,
24420 64th ave s Kent, Wa 98032
Oh my gosh…that garden! It is perfection!! <3
Lady C: I’m always amazed at what a good writer you are. Today’s entry is nothing short of brilliant. You shared a peek into the past and shared a bit of Highclere WWII humor before seamlessly tying your story back into the present.
Moments before I reached that point in your story, I had wondered what Lord C of the World War II era would have thought of running the house and entire estate of Highclere with a support team of only a wife and three teammates – hardly more assistants than he took to war! I expect he would have been overcome with laughter at the mere idea! (But what would Mr Carson have thought?)
Lord Carnarvon’s brief adventure at Shorecliffe appeals greatly to this retired Air Force wife. For three life-changing years, my husband commanded the only American squadron at RAF Uxbridge, and he brought only a staff of one – me!
Thank you for sharing your interesting life and peeks into Highclere’s past.
Bonnie in Alabama
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
What an interesting story. Thank you for sharing.
Until next time,
Until Monday next!
This is so beautifully written Lady Carnarvon. It made me teary. I enjoy all your posts, and wish I could go back to England and enjoy a semblance of the country life I grew up with in America. I appreciate the words about Easter and Christ. God bless you all.
Beautiful, uplifting words Lady C!
Always such lovely pictures too.
Stay safe and well
“We clearly have to stand still, to hold the line, for what in our lives will be a short time.”
Such wise and beautiful words. (And it rhymes, too.) =)
Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts and days with us. I hope your Easter, while quiet and reflective, was a beautiful one. May we all pray and believe in good days to come.
Cathy in NY
Thank you for keeping us up to date with the happenings of your home.
The song, ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ by Vera Lynn was the 2nd last song my dad heard before he left this life. Whenever I see a photo of the cliffs or hear the song I remember that moment, sad but also heartwarming.
My husband and I visited Highclere a few years ago and one day we will be back. Beautiful home and gardens.
We live in hope.
Thank you from Australia
thank you – I have just posted some lambs on instagram – hope
You and Highclere are on my mind and in my heart. During this time of stay-at-home I connected with Highclere and its motion picture family through the 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.. I was supposed to visit in-person on May 26th. This too share pass and I hope to be there one day soon.
Be well and stay safe.
Susan in La Jolla, California
Lady Carnarvon, I saw the photos of The Secret Garden on Instagram. They are outstanding. Did you take the photos or one of your staff. It is truly beautiful. Blessings on your day.
There are no staff – that was my photo!!!
Late to the posting this week due to #houserehab issues- such a wonderful post. The Highclere family world over is facing this challenge through the paradigm of “We are all in this together”. How encouraging to read this; I’ve lost members of my #community(worldwide). It reminds me of the beginning of the #AIDS epidemic; healthcare workers didn’t share their experiences then because it resulted in ostracism.
I’m in rescheduling mode for traveling to Highclere and other locations. So many events have been canceled; I have no tears left.
Thank you for your heartfelt posting; it truly illustrates that no matter our status/beliefs/professions we are all adjusting to a new world.
I just celebrated my birthday alone (with dogs & cat). My children live in another state and aren’t allowed to travel here. My plan is to celebrate next year and visit/revisit my favorite locations. I do have a friend who’s in Weymouth now. She was caught in the Quarantine Orders and her plans were altered. As a published author, I believe she’s using the time to relax and begin her new series! So inspiring.
Best wishes to all who are part of the Highclere community throughout the world and to the Carnarvon family. I’m following the conditions in our locale & now have masks. I have no intention of going out anywhere. It’s strictly for emergency purposes.
May all be blessed with good health, safe homes, and financial stability/security in these challenging times. Shalom.
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon…I have just discovered your blog. I look forward to keeping up with the goings on at Highclere through your writings. During these uncertain days, it helps immensely to connect with one another.
Thank you for allowing all of us in the world at large to enjoy your lovely home.
Blessings to you and yours!
Thank you and all best wishes to your family
Your blog is my favorite on Monday mornings, and your heartfelt message is so touching during this time of crisis throughout the world.
I had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful Highclere last October, and hope to return again. Please, to the best of your ability, along with others who are part of your extended family, continue to “hold the line.” You are loved and appreciated throughout the world.
Thank you !
Very moving. I will be getting a new email and cell phone soon due to a recent internet attack against me.
I am so sorry for you. It is not easy and then someone sends the kindest email which always reduces me to tears. We all live much better with thanks .. thanksgiving is not just one day
Thank you for such an inspiring story. I was sick and disappointed about having to cancel my visit. I rescheduled for October for my birthday and the 4th anniversary of my kidney transplant. After I booked my trip I saw that the house is not open in October. So maybe I’ll just cancel again and see what I can do once, praying, we get this all behind us. So looking forward to a happy visit. Thank you for these Monday blogs, enjoy the history immensely.
We will have many tours through October – we think small and few guests. We are trying to anticipate and plan and by we there are not many of us here – mainly the dogs!!! We hope to begin to gently post events during the next 2/3 weeks. We have tours every week..
Oh Thank you so much Lady Carnarvon, I just saw your reply. I will be so looking forward to fulfilling this, assuming all is contained with this wicked virus. I will be checking in with my tour company asap. I will be in London Oct 12-19, I can’t wait.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank you for sharing your stories
I’d like to share one with you
My mother and her family we’re having a picnic on the Cliffs suddenly they heard the noise of a bomber German plane coming right towards them
My mother said they all started praying and they could see him looking down at them . Thank fully this German nazi didn’t bomb them he flew over turned around and went out to sea .
This story from so many years ago sheds a little light on war times and some times there was empathy and goodwill.
Your blog brings comfort and normalcy to us all.
Chin up don’t let the buggers get you…. my mum always told us.
We all will weather this and get through it as humankind always has done .
Best regards ,
That is a great story – thank you
I love your stories. Let’s hope this all ends soon and we can get life back on track. Do not worry, we will be there to see your lovely place as soon as we can. Until then we can at least live through you being there and sharing.