Friday, January 2, 2015

Counting down the days 'til "Downton Abbey" returns!

I've just finished reading the wonderful book my husband gave me for Christmas, "A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey" by Jessica Fellowes, and oh, the things I learned from the book are going to make my viewing of the new season so much richer! Although I started watching DA only in March of this year, I am quite besotted with it now and definitely share the American love affair with this show.

When I received this new "Downton Abbey" book, I started reading immediately without noticing the subtitle: "Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes." Naturally, once I realized there were recipes I wondered if there were any pertaining to teatime, and indeed there are: Scones (a must to try), Yorkshire Parkin (a type of gingerbread) and Scottish Shortbread. There's also a very simple sounding Soda Bread recipe I'd like to try for St. Patrick's Day this year.

I was delighted to find quite a few tea tidbits in the book as well, and here are some of my discoveries:

• "Six times a day in Downton Abbey, a full meal is served: two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners. Three for the servants and three for the family. Not to mention two afternoon teas, with all the homemade bread, cakes and biscuits they would involve." (I don't guess it occurred to me that the servants weren't eating simply a less grand version of the Crawley family's meals.)

• Remember when Lady Rose was presented at court last season? Well, the day after such an event, all those young ladies' names would have appeared in The Times, and "there then followed a round of balls, dances, luncheons and suppers in tandem with the London Season … with each girl throwing an event of her own, whether a full-blown ball in her family's London palace, as the Crawleys did for Rose, or a small tea party for the less ambitious or rich." (I would personally prefer the small tea party!)

• Christmas was a time of great celebration in a home such as Downton. "For Christmas Day, Mrs. Patmore will have her kitchen staff make as much as they possibly can, but it is a time for luxurious indulgences too. Hampers will have been ordered from London's Fortnum & Mason and Harrods," Fellowes writes. Also, "When the servants have finished their luncheon, footmen serve tea in the library and the family give their presents."

So how many "tea" scenes do you think we can expect when the show returns on Sunday night? I'm going to take a wild guess and say five. Because I regularly look at the Daily Mail online, I'm afraid I've accidentally come across a few "spoilers" regarding three important characters on the show. I try to look away when I see "Downton" in a headline, but sometimes it can't be helped! At any rate I'm greatly looking forward to — for the first time! — being part of the American audience watching "Downton Abbey" on PBS on Sunday nights. Who will be joining me in viewing?

Coming tomorrow: My new "Saturday series" for 2015 is quite different! I do hope you'll visit!


  1. I may have to watch on Sunday just see the tea references! Enjoy.

  2. I do love the tea scenes in Downton Abbey. Nice review of the book.
    Looking forward to seeing what you decide to do for your Saturday series.

  3. I can never wait for Downton to return! I cheat and read all of the spoilers ahead of time. I love tea time as well.

  4. Can't wait until the new season starts... it's always seems like such a long wait, and it ends so quickly!

  5. I've been watching from the start and look forward to season 5 starting on Sunday. The overview on PBS with Bernadette Peters gave a few sneak peaks of what's to come and I think it shall be an exciting series.
    Your book sounds like a good one, I have The Chronicles of DA but of course the show has moved on with different characters since it came out.
    Will you be making the scones from the book to share? A Saturday Series sounds intriguing...

  6. Can't wait for Sunday night!

  7. I'm excited about the return also :) Love Downton Abbey-I'm such a big fan.

  8. I'll definitely be tuning in. I got a 60-minute sneak-peek when I went to the PBS Season V pre-screening, but it hasn't diminished my anticipation of things to come. I'll be attending a Downton Abbey tea on Sunday afternoon at the Farmington Hills, MI library. The advertisement stated a focus on fashion through the ages, and we're encouraged to dress historically. I can't wait!

  9. I will be in front of the tellie teacup in hand with a plate of biscuits! Should we have a drinking game every time they mention tea? I sent the tea cozy info to you

  10. I too will be watching Downton Abbey on Sunday; however, now I am actually more excited for your Saturday series! You do make this so much fun for us you know! Have you seen Downton teas on your shopping sprees?

  11. I am also excited for the return of Downton Abbey. Bring on the swoon-worthy tea sets!


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