Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Showing posts with label Highclere Castle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Highclere Castle. Show all posts

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Downton Abbey or Highclere Castle: the Seeming and the Real

Britta Huegel


"As Hamish talked, it all seemed very far away - the image of the castle (...) like something remembered from a film at the cinema."
"Death of a Gentle Lady"  M.C.Beaton

Dear You, 
maybe you know the book "Frederick" by Leo Lionni (published in 1967, which I discovered only in 1986 when I read it to our son). It is for very young children and tells the story of some field mice, who work hard to collect hoards for winter, and the mouse Frederick, who doesn't - he collects sun rays, colours and words - "because winter is grey", and he uses them, when the provisions are eaten up, and the mice become discouraged, to give them hope.
It is a wonderful parabel about the insight that not only practicality is useful.

So: Anne and I collected sun rays (and were lucky to find so many) and colours and words.
I will show you a few photos, speaking for themselves:

Three nights at Marco Pierre White's The Carnavon Arms (grade II listed), the former coach house to Highclere Castle:

Britta Huegel

Beautiful landscape: 

Britta Huegel

Britta Huegel


The vast gardens of Highclere (The Secret Garden, The Walled Garden, The White Garden etc):

Britta Huegel

Britta Huegel

Britta Huegel



Long, long walks (we were the only ones who walked - everybody else came by car or by bus). Surprises: three times - at different occasions - English women talked to us in German! (Always excited about lovely Munich). We were not allowed to take photos of the rooms in Highclere Castle - but those interested will have seen them in full splendour in 'Downton Abbey'. 

Britta Huegel

Here you see Anne, who is a teacher at a grammar school (English and French): she has four lovely daughters, renovated a huge mill, where she lives with her husband, created a beautiful garden, has now written her thesis on a German poet, owns a marmelade cat - and: 4 sheep! (That was my first idea, as 'Highclere' also found on Rosemary's blog  http://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.de/: I really tried to buy a special English sheep for her - but that was too difficult). Anne and I are often taken as sisters - here she is looking at a piece of art, the sculpture of a sheep's head (one item in The Carnavon Arms). 
We saw Newbury and Hungerford (I spare you lots of photos from there) - then back to London, where Anne left for Germany - and I stayed another 9 days. 



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Surprise is: Downton Abbey!

Britta Huegel


Dear You, 
friendship is about trust. And Anne trusted me blindly when she came from Darmstadt to London, waiting for me at the feet of St. Paul's, not knowing what would happen, or which destination was waiting for us. 
I arrived in time - though in Berlin it seemed that circumstances had plotted against me: 
first the alarm-clock of my cellphone didn't work (and husband lectured in Hildesheim). Luckily I had packed everything the evening before, and as I am an early riser, I got wary in the early morning and looked at the clock in the kitchen. Crumbs! Crumbs of time left, to be precise - only half an hour instead of a leisurely one... 
So my eyeliner wasn't quite as perfect as usually, but RyanAir was gracious (yes - it can be!)  and took me nevertheless - when I finally arrived. Which was at the last moment: having fetched the right underground and changed into the right overground (which needs about fifty minutes to go to the airport) - I relaxed. Looked dreamily out of the window. Suddenly I  wondered: 'Hermannstraße' was announced. 'Hermannstraße???' I hurried out of the overground - got a train back: I had forgotten to change at Südstern!  
There the next train to the airport was announced (and innerly I apologised to husband, who had advised me to arrive 90 minutes before the flight-departure at the airport - I had laughed a bit condescendingly at this proposal - but followed, and boy: was I happy that for once I had listened to the voice of reason!)
Imagine my horror when suddenly the plate announced: "The next overground to the Airport is cancelled". 
WHAT? WHAT? 
I hurried to the information desk. Yes, there was an alternative: a real train, coming in ten minutes. 
Well: "All's well that ends well" as your dear William S. remarked so wisely. 
From the moment I sat in the airplane (10 Euro more to be RyanAir's special guest - hahaha - meaning: you get in first, and have a seat with a little more room for long legs) everything was OK. 

And there she was, in London: my friend Anne. My friend since the time we studied together in Mainz. Who had now written her thesis on a German poet and had earned a doctor's degree. 
Such a joy! 
I wanted to give her something special for that. 
Only when we sat in a restaurant and I gave Anne a pair of long golden earrings with a (fake) emerald, she guessed our destination: 

Highclere Castle, belonging to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon - to most of us better known as "Downton Abbey". 


Britta Huegel


Enough for today (Now I will dip into your blogs, so I will write the sequel later).