Bozemama Misses Downton

August 24, 2013

Posted By: Bozemama

Oh, I do miss Downton , don’t you? As of this writing, the countdown clock on the show’s homepage reads 134 days, 8 hours and 4 minutes until the premiere of season 4 on January 5, 2014. How perfectly dreadful! When season 3 ended, Hermione and I were so despondent that we spent a week or so moping about, Googling updates on season 4 and researching which of the many walking tours of Highclere Castle we will take some day.

Sometimes our only comfort comes from checking the website’s casting updates, drooling over the Downton jewelry collection and taking the many quizzes: Which Downton character are you? Which Downton job is right for you? No matter how many times Hermione takes that first quiz, she’s always Thomas, which is quite worrisome really, particularly since one of the questions involves eating raw meat.

But we do our best to muddle through. Keep calm and carry on; make the monarch proud. You see, for Charlie, Hermione and me, Downton signals a way of life. The urgent, melodic opening piano music triggers a Pavlovian craving for tea, McVitie’s digestive biscuits, linen napkins and a cozy fire. We’ve spent the last few winters hunkered down by our tea tray, re-watching our favorite episodes and scenes again and again.

What can I say? I’m a drippy Anglophile. I was raised on Masterpiece Theater, my childhood teddy bear was named Aloysius (after the character on Brideshead ), my favorite movie was Chariots of Fire and I read Evelyn Waugh’s entire canon during the summer before freshman year. My husband and I went to Ireland for our honeymoon (where we bought me a heart-shaped locket to hold a lock of his hair), he gave me Wuthering Heights for our first anniversary and, of course, I adore anything and everything to do with Jane Austen. I seem to have passed this weakness for all things British to my children, particularly Hermione who randomly breaks out the accent (kinda like Madonna) and has high hopes of going to Oxford some day. I guess there are worse things, right?

Actually, one of the nicest things that happened this last year was that Hermione, at age 13, started reading Austen herself. And she gets it! She understands that Austen’s preoccupation with the minute particulars, the tiny fibers connecting all her characters, is what makes up the tapestry of real life. Yes, Austen has her haters (Mark Twain among them) and that’s OK. So does Downton . Not everyone has the predisposition or patience to care deeply about what Miss Bates has to say about her letter from Jane Fairfax in Emma or about whom among the Downton staff stole Lord Grantham’s cuff links. Some people just can’t give a toss, as my transatlantic friends would say.

But, for some of us, this is the best way to look at life – through the finely focused lens of beautifully nuanced characters, their interactions and connections, the momentousness of everyday life. Maybe it’s escapist. Yes, the world is scary and always changing; government disappoints, wildfires rage, and there’s continued unrest in the Middle East. I want to know about these things and do what I can – but sometimes I want to tune it out with a cup of tea, a biscuit and an episode of Downton or an Austen novel.

And so if, like me, you are missing Downton and need a bit of a Brit-laced balm to soothe the discomfort, then do yourself a favor: Pick up an Austen novel. Fall back in love with Sense and Sensibility ; take a look at true friendship with Persuasion and embrace the importance of making mistakes with Sense and Sensibility . You’ll be glad you did.



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