Shield Thyself

Okay, let’s get it over with (I’m a little upset, don’t mind me), but first a warning. I’m about to blatantly talk about Season 6, Episode 4 of Downton Abbey. Shield thyself if thee wishes to remain clueless. MUSICA And for you who are new to this Blog, looking around and deciding it is a Downton Abbey Blog, that isn’t all it is . . . just for now, because so many of us are watching the series with avid uncontrollable interest, especially me, so I just have to talk about it! Click on some of the icons at the top of the blog, and you’ll go lots of other interesting places. So, what has me so upset?  WELL!!! 

IMG_5167It starts out okay. Love the dress and the gloves, they go so well with the fireplace and the ornaments on the mantle. Tom looks happy, but then . . . who walks in?


Eeek! It’s the dream shatterer. (Mary’s dream isn’t shattered, it’s my dream that’s the problem.)

IMG_5170Henry Talbot, the frivolous egocentric race car driver has returned. So nice to be able to talk about someone so badly and know that he isn’t real! I’m sorry, but he is just not my cup of tea. I see him as a problem to the future happiness of Tom and Mary. If she goes with him, they are only half of what they could be. Not him. Her. He could never be as good with children as Tom is. Can you see him as Lord of Downton Abbey? Might as well flush it down the drain. Good thing I’m not Lady Mary’s butinski Mother, I would have to nip this in the bud immediately and send her to Siberia or something.


Maybe Tom did eat an extra hot dog or two when he was in Boston, is that so wrong? Mary still seems to love “her brother”(how could she say that? Oh, you mean because it’s almost true?) as much as ever and is perfectly willing to share her Downton Duties with him. The connection remains. But the flirting between them . . . not so good.

IMG_5175Even Henry’s aunt, Lady Prudence Shackleton (visiting mostly to irritate Violet), says Hanks’s prospects are “adequate but not overwhelming.” Hmmm. I just don’t like him. Race car drivers are playboys, everyone knows that. Please God make Julian just be throwing us (me) off the trail.


She tells the playboy how completely uninterested she is in cars and that, as far as she’s concerned, it’s the same as collecting guinea pigs in Peru. He tells her that’s because she wasn’t “taught properly” about “cars” and acts as if he would be the perfect teacher. Please. Am I the only one who notices that he has a very narrow head?


The restaurant they went to was wonderful. Look at the carpet.


Just gorgeous. I want to go there for dinner!


Henry is impressed that Mary works (Tom thinks it’s normal). That’s because he never will. I think he will soon turn sexist on us, which I don’t think Mary will put up with . . . but for now,


They are flirting, grrr. Must Learn To Accept. It’s only a tv show, it’s only a tv show. My favorite line from Mary this week, “All we were taught was French, prejudice, and dawnce steps.”  


This episode, down seems to be up and up seems to be down and everyone is rethinking their lives, as in “why am I here?” Mary, Daisy, Tom and Barrow all said it. The only person who didn’t of course was the Dowager Countess because a. she already knows, and or b. she doesn’t care. Almost a food fight at the table over the hospital. And Donk “drank too much port.” Hurry up ladies, join the 20th century, we are going to need that hospital!


The Dowager takes her passport and goes to the kitchen for the “first time in twenty years” and doesn’t even leave a trail of crumbs to find her way back. Brave woman. But the whole upstairs had to go downstairs to join the jolly group in welcoming home Carson and Mrs. Hughes, who now, as Mrs. Patmore says, “knows the mysteries of life,” and despite that is keeping her maiden name to solve the problem of two Carson’s in the house, leaving everyone to exhale in relief that they don’t have to remember what to call her. The newlyweds looked happy, and out came my favorite white bunting again!


The other people who seem to know where they’re going are Edith and Lady Rosamund. How Lucky Edith is to have her, and did you notice, Edith drives! Of course she does, thoroughly modern millie. Look at the size of that steering wheel.

IMG_5206  Love these two together. Sense and Sensibility. You all probably know that Rosamund is Robert’s sister and the daughter of the Dowager. She is just such an interesting character.


Love this dress. Love the glass. Love the sparkle. Love the swinging earrings. Love the whole thing. 


Love these two together too. Baby on board. At least one, but two would be better. Hint-hint dear Julian.


Mary also expressed not knowing where she is going or what she is doing with her life, but note dismay and instant rescue mode she went into when she saw her best friend Anna was in pain. She wasted not one moment, hasn’t got a drop of dilly-dally blood in her entire body . . .

IMG_5237Boom! Get the car Tom while I lie to my parents and Bates, and OFF they go to York. Mary gets her doctor to get up in the middle of the night and he stitches that baby right back in there, and voila!

baby lamb


Happiness that shows in a million dollar smile. I ask you, if you were going down on the Titanic and you had a choice of getting into Mary’s boat or getting into Edith’s boat, which would you choose? 


I would not get into this boat ever. Another person fretting that he doesn’t know where he is going, but Barrow seems unable to stop himself from doing evil deeds despite admitting that he does care what other people think of him. He shows it by “outing” the charming ex-house maid at luncheon, which hurts no one but himself. As Miss Baxter (who has her own problems, which I am certain Mr. Moseley, aka Dudley Do-Right, will solve, then marry her) said to Barrow, “You are your own worst enemy.” How true. Who said the butler is supposed to talk to the guests? I didn’t hear anyone ask his opinion. I think in real life a butler could get fired for this. If there was a real life anywhere around here.


Anna with her baby glow on, loves Gwen, and we do too: a. for her good works with Hillcroft College, but b. because she gives all the credit for her success in life to Sybil, endearing her to the Crawley’s forever. Was especially happy to know she was married when I saw how much Tom liked her!!! Whew!


I think we came this II far from losing Daisy this week.

daisy border


Everyone was freaking out when she took off her apron and went upstairs to confront Cora, better known as Her Ladyship, to get her just deserts re: Mr. Mason and Yew Tree Farm. She almost ruined everything with her unwillingness to put up with even one more second of perceived unfairness, and was about to attack Cora for promising the farm to Mr. Mason and then reneging. Which we all know she didn’t do.

IMG_4922 But thanks to darling (but ill, soon to be well, we are sure, not to worry) Robert, who intervened and spilled the beans just in time . . .  


 Daisy dodged that bullet, and now her Mr. Mason has the farm!!! Another pair of happy people! You Go Girl! I hope they open a Country Bed and Breakfast.

daisy border


Then Daisy and that cute footman, Andy, made twinkle eyes at each other . . . Andy, who pointedly said,

IMG_5255 “Country life is what I’m after.” This is looking good.


They can raise daisies! They can name their daughters Petunia, Delphinium, and Bluebell.



Sad part came at the end when Mr Carson went to say goodbye to his room . . .


His bachelor bedroom, where I guess he probably lived for 30 or 40 years. I wonder what he is thinking? Life, going too quickly?


But I loved how he


kept his little name tag. This is a very sweet man. Mary would even do better marrying him than that playboy. Except Carson already has a wife. Oh well, we’ll just have to see what happens next Sunday!


But speaking of real life.


We had the most gorgeous blizzard here a couple of days ago . . . because, guess what?  It’s winter!  And that’s what we do!


It’s still beautiful but now it’s sunny and white! You need sunglasses to look at the rooftops!


And here we are, where we always are these days in our studio working away. I have such a terrible deadline with the printer (three weeks!!!!) . . . which I have to make, if I’m going to get to all these book signing events and meet you!  Check it out . . . More events have been added, and there are still more to come. It just gets better all the time!

border flower


But I have the kitties and I have Joe. He feeds me, and he surprised me with those roses. Perfect counter action to a blizzard. And I have the story in my book which I love more all the time. Our book. It really is. The roses, by the pink roseway, were congratulatory because I heard again from the movie people who are requesting an option on the new book for a movie or a TV series! They sent a contract! So it’s still on a burner somewhere out there. As the nominees for the Academy Awards always say, in the category of Impossible Dreams, “it’s an honor to be nominated.” I realized the other day that the actress that would play me would probably be about three years old right now, with the speed these things go. So no one should hold their breath! But it is wonderful to know that you are on my side! 

Off I go to the dream factory. Hope you all have a fantabulous day! Downton Abbey Forever! XOXO 

flower border

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Nibbly Bits, what the boring old posh people get between their teeth at weddings, was definitely not going to be good enough for Mrs. Hughes. She wanted a BREAKFAST. And a bit of hooey. And me too, I wanted what she wanted! Strike up the MUSICA!


And boy did we get it! Isn’t it gorgeous? Is this the schoolhouse? Because it couldn’t be more perfect. And my favorite white bunting is BACK. They had it at Mary’s wedding too. So festive!



Well, they did it again Girlfriends, I cried all the way through it! The work they put into this show, the details, the creative everything, makes me proud to be a human being. I just love this Downton Abbey. As I’m watching I can’t help but think about the things I’m going to miss.


Besides the stories and the laughter and the tears, I am going to miss the Drawing Room, the prettiest most elegant room.


I love the green wallpaper and how good it looks with tuxedoes, dresses, and lampshades.


And this room, my absolute favorite, because of what is hanging on the walls, and the beautiful woodwork, and the draped table, and the candles. Please don’t go!

IMG_4955And this room, with the long tables and the cupboards, and the wonderful copper pots and pans and the steaming kettle. Because, just like on the show itself, for us too, all good things are coming to an end.


This was such a sad little part. When poor Mr. Barrow (who only needs a partner of his own to be happy, and also for Mr. Carson to quit shoving him out the door) went to look for a job and he came into this sad house where life as it had been was pretty much all gone away and met that sweet man who lost both his sons in the war, who’d worked in this house his whole life, and was preparing for the good times to return again. So well written, hearing him remember the women climbing the stairs in the old days and the twinkling of diamonds? Tears and sadness for a lost era, where beauty reigned. Remember the garden parties? The hats? A changing world: nightmare for people we love.


And how I will miss this WOMAN ~ who knows “many happy couples who haven’t spoken in years.”  The Countess of Grantham, known to her close friends like us as Violet or Granny, was in rare form last night. Accusing Mrs. Crawley of secretly drinking her lunch! I fear she will not be getting her way this time, and there may be hell to pay. I have to tell you though, I have a very difficult time telling Lord Merton and Dr. Clarkson apart. Are they the same person with different makeup. Do we ever see them in the same shot together?  Hmmmm. It seems to me one of them has got to marry Isobelle!  


And Edith! Life is getting so good for her!  She better snap this guy up. Anyone who rushes in to help and works into the night, must be in el-oh-ve-ee, Love! Remember Bertie? (Of course Edith would have to go with a Bertie!)  He flirted with her at the shooting party when they went to that other castle? At the time he referred to himself as an “agent” ~ I didn’t know what that was, but it didn’t sound all that royal so I wondered if he was “good” enough for Edith. Well, lo and behold, he owns that castle, he is an Earl or a Marquess or something, perfectly up to standards, and obviously a hard worker too, not a spoiled brat like some people we know. I hope he’s the one. (Edith will have to quit calling Marigold her “ward” — I’m hoping Marigold gets a new title: Flower Girl!)


Fabulous! Edith took over the magazine and fired that miserable guy ~ and I bet this will be the BEST EVER ISSUE RECORDED IN THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH MAGAZINES! 


But look at Lady Mary’s face when Edith is receiving approval from her father.  YikesIMG_4968

Tra-la, they don’t notice! They are the normal ones! (Although I didn’t like it that Robert coughed in another scene. That struck me as a bit foreboding. I need ALL these characters to get out of this show alive.)


Look who has a secret.  Look who’s smiling and perky and cute for the first time in the history of this show!!!!  Baby on board! Hooray!baby


The wedding was perfect. Poor Mr. Carson, all packed up, saying good bye to his bed.


And Mrs. Hughes, saying a little prayer in hers.


The girlfriends working everything out in Cora’s bedroom, about how to cover the ugly brown dress so that Mrs. Hughes will look slightly better than just “tidy” on her wedding day. Oops, Lady  Mary thoughtlessly forgot to mention the idea to her mother. Uh oh.

IMG_4976So Cora hurts everyone’s feelings with unkind words like “stealing” which she was very sorry for so we forgive her instantly with her totally loving and heartfelt apology. Cora is a good person and despite what her charming daughter says, I don’t think she’s one bit a snob. 


And now, let the show begin! A perfect wedding . . .



With lots of friends, and hopefully  some hooey what ever that is, since Mrs. Hughes wanted it.


Elsie Hughes and Charles Carson, we now pronounce you man and wife ~ you may go ahead and look like you have just swallowed the cat bird. Or whatever that phrase is. While I’m busy crying.

the happy couple

I wanted to add this photo, where you can really see all the details on both of them! Our Girlfriend Angie sent it to me on Twitter ~ it’s so much better than the photos I’m taking of the TV! Aren’t they adorable? That coat!




And then, just as we are toasting the happy couple . . . (coat looks pretty good!) . . . 


Who walks into the room and MAKES MY DAY?


Tom and Sibby!  They’re home! And Tom is looking straight at spoiled Lady Mary!!! And he is going to stay forever! 


I don’t know, I could be wrong, but it seems to me the only sensible ending for this. When all else fails, you have to go with common sense! Even if I’m wrong, I’ve already decided to be happy, so don’t let my longing and wishing upset you. I can take it.


Plus, here is Sibby hugging Mary’s little boy, George, the heir of Downton Abbey. I’m just saying’.  And that’s it for another FABULOUS week of Downton Abbey. Now I will go watch it (actually I will listen to it) again, and probably one more time, while I paint away this snowy day. The whole time I’m writing to you right now, the snow plow is going up and down Birds in the snowmy street outside my window. Dawn is just now breaking, and my view is of a pure white winter wonderland Christmas card outside. Life is good. Joe is making all of our bookstore dates. The tour (30th Anniversary of first book, btw, who would have thought, not me!) starts off with a tea party and fund raiser, a talk and a signing, a big wonderful event at the new delightful bookstore called An Unlikely Story in the darling little town of Plainville, MA ~ then it’s off to RJ Julia’s in Connecticut, New Hope, PA, and from there, points west, not necessarily in this order . . .  Kansas City, St. Charles, Chicago (for another Tea Party), Cedar Rapids, Denver, Salt Lake, Danville, CA, San Luis Obispo, to Vroman’s in Pasadena, to still another delightful tea party in Prescott, Arizona (more info to come), to Book People in Austin, Texas, and right now testing watercolorswe’re working on the wonderful Parnassus Books in Tennessee, if any of you are interested in that, I’m sure it would help us if they heard from you. I think we also have stops in Arkansas and North Carolina and New Jersey planned also. And More. Keep checking COMING SOON/EVENTS in the right-hand column of the blog for new additions. We’re not done yet. I’m so looking forward to meeting you out in the real world! But FIRST, before any of that, I must complete the book and get it to the printer! That’s my job!  So, back into the rabbit hole I go dear ones. Have a wonderful day, can’t wait to hear your take on Downton, or any other thing for that matter!  Girlfriends Forever!  Love, XOXO, me.

If you do it with heart


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