Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Downton Revisited

I have finally sickened myself on the Downton Abbey videos; I know the script by heart and I've paused a million times to study the details of the clothing.  So I will put it all away and come back to renew my pleasure at a later time.  Before stepping off the fantasy train, however, I checked out the place where the series was filmed. 

Highclere Castle is located in Berkshire (that's pronounced Bark-sure by the way).

Between London and Bath, Oxford and Southampton, it's a 'good address' I suppose.  If you're at all curious, best enter their postcode "RG20 9RN" into Google maps and browse to your heart's content.  I can recommend the Highclere Castle website as well, giving all the information one needs to time a visit and a stroll.  I should warn you that the video on that website is a bit of a jolt.  Several of the actors, the author and the owners - as in the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon - are  shown in real life.  Let's just say they are a stark contrast to the appearance and behaviour portrayed in the television series.

If the name Carnarvon rings a bell, well it should.  George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon was involved with Howard Carter and the discovery of the Tomb of King Tutankhamun.  It sometimes strikes me that my life runs in circles - pardon me, please, whilst I digress.  Just the other day, Jg. commented about my word, pentimento, and introduced me to another:  conflation.  I chewed on it a bit and decided it might be a bit rich for my diet, but then I ran across it again here, courtesy of Delia.  I was very pleased with myself for recognising it.  In another slightly vaguer but similar circle, Egyptology is the background theme of the Amelia Peabody series, written by Elizabeth Peters, that I've been working my way through.  Let me reassure you here that I do still know the difference between fantasy and reality, but you could be forgiven for wondering at times.

Finally, Bill was struck by the Highclere website as well, given that his family tree eventually links him to the Carnarvon family.  It's a tenuous and dangling twig, that connection, and I confess to being a tad skeptical about that.  In spite of the fact that the present Earl is just my age, and I'm sure the Countess and I have loads in common to talk about , let's just say we're not likely to be calling round for tea.  I'm afraid I much prefer the television series viewed in the comfort of my own castle, thank you.  We might wonder over for a stroll through the estate, however, should we find ourselves in the neighbourhood.  I'll be sure to take my camera, I promise...

1 comment:

Jg. for FatScribe said...

ah, proof that I truly am an Anglophile. Downton Abbey has been a fave of mine (even before they had a run on PBS over here recently in the States) since I first watched ALL of the videos in one sitting ( had them listed, along with the new version of Sherlock Holmes, which I quite like actually, with Martin Freeman and that other chap). someday perhaps i'll be able to take that same journey you did. awesome post.