High Tea at Downton Abbey comes to the Plainfield Public Library!

While working the check-out desk at the library in 2011 a patron started gushing about a television series called Downton Abbey.  She explained that the series was about an aristocratic family in England, they had servants, etc.  I listened to the patron while thinking the series didn’t sound like my cup of tea.  Just when I was thinking that the patron said, “You would really like it. I just know you would.” That comment surprised me especially since I didn’t know the patron at all, and they didn’t know me. Inwardly I thought, “Challenge accepted.”  From that moment on I was prepared to hate Downton Abbey.

When Downton Abbey’s first season came out on DVD I put a hold on it at the library and finally one day I sat down ready to hate its guts.  But I didn’t hate its guts.  I absolutely freaking loved its guts!
I loved following the lives of the Grantham and Crawley families and their servants. The series began with the death of Downton Abbey’s heir in the sinking of the Titanic and then delved into securing a new heir, the distant and quite modern cousin Matthew Crawley.  Lord Grantham is of course interested in marrying off his daughters, which backfired on more than one occasion. Lady Mary, Lord Grantham’s eldest daughter, is my favorite of the upstairs characters. She can be selfish, arrogant and cold, but she feels very deeply and cares about the servants downstairs.  

http://evergreen.lib.in.us/opac/extras/ac/jacket/large/9781608833894And then there are the servants, the people who make it possible for the aristocratic family to enjoy the cushy life they are accustomed to.  They are the grunt laborers who spend the majority of their time and lives cleaning, primping, cooking, and caring for their masters. There are so many great servant characters but my favorite is Daisy, the scullery maid. She is young and unsure, but a completely genuine spirit who never fails to make me laugh.  

So now that I am an official Downton fan I thought it might be fun for other fans of the series to take part in a very special High Tea at Downton Abbey on Sunday, May 19 from 2:00-3:00pm. Participants will get a taste of Downton Abbey life with a special English high tea at the library. Tina Jesson from Tina’s Old Traditional English Tea Kitchen will talk about life during the time of Downton Abbey, etiquette, and master/servant relations during the post-Edwardian era.

Participants will enjoy scrumptious scones served with several jams and clotted cream, a variety of delicious sandwiches, as well as English Breakfast Tea with cream served straight from the pot. Attendees are encouraged to dress up and bring their own tea cup and saucer. Registration for this event can be done at the main Desk in the library beginning April 1. A registration fee of $13 will be accepted at the time of sign-up.

If this sounds like your cup of tea (pun intended) please give me a call and I can point you in the right direction!

-Joanna Carter
317-839-6602 x2159

Downton Abbey

It’s almost here, Anglophiles! Season 3 of Downton Abbey begins on Sunday January 6!
If you want to enhance your Downton experience or find a fix for those days when the suspense around Matthew and Lady Mary’s romance just isn’t enough, you might enjoy some of these titles.
Manor House – Reality television as done by PBS. One family gets to be the aristocrats. Everyone else is a servant. If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy others in this series like Colonial House, Frontier House and 1940s House.
Gosford Park – Surely you’ve seen this dazzling murder mystery, written by Julian Fellowes and starring Maggie Smith?

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence – Censored by the US government and not (legally) available here in all its naughty glory until 1959 (Wikipedia has a great run down on the legal fight to overturn the government’s censorship of the text, including the tantalizing threat of one US senator to read the steamy portions of the book aloud on the Senate floor),  DH Lawrence‘s tale of class conflict and smoldering sexuality in the post-World War One Britain is a classic.
Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones This recent novel from acclaimed British writer Sadie Jones mixes dry wit and dark humour.

Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey: the lost legacy of Highclere Castle by the Countess of Carnarvon Take a look at the history of the majestic house used for the fictional Downton Abbey.
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett – Grand in size and scope, this 1000+ page novel chronicles the upheaval wrought by the First World War across Europe and the Americas.
The Time Machine by HG Wells I put this book on the list in a nod to the Dowager Countess. After electric lighting and a telephone are installed at Downton, the Dowager exasperatingly says   “Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an HG Wells novel.”
The American Heiress by Daisy Godwin A wealthy American named Cora marries into the British aristocracy near the turn of the 20th century. Sound familiar?