Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On reading and viewing

I am one of the rare people that jumped off of the Downton Abbey train. I enjoyed two seasons but just could not bring myself to go crazy in anticipation of season 3. Honestly I think I may be committing heresy but I haven't even watched any of the new season. Yes, I already know some of the spoilers. There is a reason why you have to keep up with the crowd on these things. Thank goodness I managed to read the 7th book of Harry Potter before someone told me who did and did not make it.

Even though I am not all caught up in the TV show, I've been reading Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon. In case you did not know from the title; Highclere is the fictional Downton. It is where the show is filmed.

The book, so far has not discussed the show, which I am very happy about. It gives a loosely historical look at the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and Highclere. I am enjoying taking a look at what it took to run a country house at that time. Heck, I would love to take a look at what it takes to run a country house in this time. While I learn about the Earl and Countess's lives, I am also learning about the house and the servants lives. Turns out it takes a village and an estate to run a house like that.

Reviewers have said that the author sees the 5th Countess through too rosy of glasses, but I have not seen it yet. It is clear she admires the strength of character it takes to step into that role. Which I think is totally understandable given her perspective. I may be fascinated by royalty and aristocracy but I would never wish it on anyone. Talk about an exhausting job, one that you could not really turn away from.

I am planning to read Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson. I am thinking this book may give a different point of view. And really I just love reading about English country houses.

I would love to travel back to England and see more of the countyside, including some of the country houses. I had looked in to diverting to Blenheim Palace  but my timing was off as the palace was closed to the public. Turns out January in England is not the full tourist season. That of course was one of the reasons we went at that time.

We have however, toured a couple of American mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. The Breakers is something to see! D enjoyed it less than I did but he was good trooper. That was where I bought my copy of The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan. This was the book to introduce me to the difficulty of living as an aristocrat. A loveless, arranged marriage between two people that ended up hating each other. It is great having all that money and all those estates, it really brings you ultimate happiness.

Well anyways that is what I'm reading and enjoying. How about you guys?

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