One of the dates that was locked in 6 months ago was the July 15th visit to Highclere Castle. Since the show the visits to that house have increased about a hundred-fold, and they sell out quickly, so Melissa was on it the day they went on sale.
Little did we know that the standard tour would have a huge bonus. Lady Canarvon is arranging a huge WWI commemoration, and in hoping to spread the news wanted to talk to Chris. So we (not really me. I mean, sure, it’s probably not everyday that she gets to meet the one person in the world who teaches a Downton Abbey elective to high school boys, but Chris is the titled one in the crowd, my timing was just “spot on” as they say) were invited for coffee the morning of huge tour. We were allowed to drive past the standard parking and park behind the house, and then hung out in there old stable yard while we waited for her. While we were waiting, Lord Carnarvon greeted us, and then she came. We headed in to the old coach room that is now a cafe and had coffee and a chat, and she told us all about this massive event. Going to be in the area on August 2nd and 3rd? Check it out!
It’s really going to be quite a day, and my favorite part is when there will be an England/Germany soccer match, and if I understood her correctly, what ever the score is, the Archbishop will act as referee and make sure it all comes out a tie in the end!
She is very nice, very smart and quite down to earth. After coffee she walked us around to the front of the house, and we said our farewells. Very cool! Then we got to the real action, because of course the fan girl in me really wanted to check out the house! It’s very beautiful, smaller than it seems on tv, and as another cool bonus has a large display of Egyptian artifacts, because the earlier Lord Carnarvon helped fund Howard Carter and the Tutankhamen find. We took our time in there house (kind of had too, as there were lots of people there, ogling along with us.)
After some snacks, we walked around the grounds, which are very open, with beautiful big trees, I think perhaps they are cedars, I want to say cedars of Lebanon, I don’t know if that applies. They are huge, and some date from the 1700s. That is the thing that is continually amazing here; there is stuff that was around and organized long before we were even a country.
It was a great visit, really neat to see it after watching it so many times on the tv. Of course, now I am going to have to go watch it again, and see those rooms in action, now that I have seen them in real life.