It was a chilly 3 degrees this morning in our neck of the woods. The wind has died down and there’s a peacefulness about this arctic/polar/vortex. Ms Bean sits at the kitchen door and looks outside resignedly. No hawks circling, no sounds of woodpeckers, just the gentle whoosh of gas fireplaces upstairs and down.
Speaking of a house divided by a staircase, let’s talk about the latest Downton Abbey episode. It was near midnight by the time I got home from our expedition to the Paramount Theatre on Sunday. On my way to Kay’s house (she was driving into town with 2 other friends), the woman directly in front of me hit a deer. The poor thing was just sitting wide-eyed in the middle of the road, while we waited for the police to put an end to its misery.
The incessant rain/fog coupled with such a morbid beginning made me wonder if venturing out so late at night would be worth it – but the season premiere of Downton, surrounded by so many other like-minded-Edwardian-loving women, proved otherwise. We feasted on a substantial array of English appetizers, swigged champagne, and thrilled to a lecture by Richard Will, Chair of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia,.
‘The Music of Downton Abbey” and film scoring was on the docket before that hound’s white rump started wagging along to those famous opening notes. Will and two UVA students performed music of the 20s and 30s, explaining how American ragtime permeated Europe after the war. There was a tension between old and new, the Edwardian and the Modern age. Young women could be seen in a public restaurant unescorted, and all classes were mixing it up on the dance floor. The Jazz Age ushered in a staccato subtext to the romantic, sentimental music that dominated the turn of the century.
I’ll not ruin the plot for those of you without cable, but the new season is shaping up well. There is frisson between fathers and daughters, maids and lady’s maids, and one or two surprising losses. I for one, am still getting over the loss of Matthew, and have to remind myself that the actor is in fact alive and well and appearing on Broadway at the moment. Having just finished reading “Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey,” fact and fiction collide on a regular basis in my brain.
The only cure is take one of those Viking cruises and tour Highclere Castle for myself! Anyone else interested, maybe this Spring? http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/index.html
Today I’ll cozy up with Ms Bean and search for a Corgi rescue and a good Highclere tour. Stay warm everybody! In the words of Al Jolson:
“Come on along, Come on along, Let me take you by the hand.”