January 11, 2017

Dickens ala Downton Abbey

For the past few years, I always had Downton Abbey in January to help with my post-holiday blahs. But what to do now that it is finished and all of January stretches before me - no Earl of Grantham roaming around his estate, no pithy Lady Violet remarks to chuckle over, no downstairs shenanigans for Mr. Carson to control? Fortunately, my husband had the cure for my DA withdrawal pangs.

For the holidays, I decorated my dining room buffet using the lovely stained glass window in my childhood church as inspiration...

I used my antique kerosene lamp, stained glass panels my sister made me years ago, and a beautiful Johnson Brothers winter plate that I found at Home Goods and couldn't resist.  I also proudly displayed the small ceramic nativity set that a cousin made and gave me years ago and that I have displayed every year in every home that I've decorated for Christmas for over fifty years.  And, of course, my family Bible was open to the nativity story in Luke, the same passages my mother would read to us every Christmas Eve.

But I opened a special gift from my husband on Christmas morning, and honestly, I think he was as excited to watch me open the box as I was to receive such an amazing and thoughtful gift!  Oh, he knows me so well...I fell head over heels in love with this new Dickens Village piece, and this is what is now gracing my dining room buffet...

So even though I no longer can curl up on my couch with a cup of tea and watch Masterpiece Theater on Sunday evenings for further drama and nefarious plots and improbable love stories I can now sit at my dining table and gaze into the lit windows of the Abbey and wonder what the lords and ladies and downstairs servants are up to.  Is Mrs. Patmore still turning out multi-course dinners while bossing Daisy around?  Has Thomas reformed, or is he still a black-hearted nave?  How are Anna and Mr. Bates adjusting to parenthood?  

The lovely white tea pot is from the Downton Abbey collection at World Market last year and I like to think that my Johnson plate depicts the nearby village in winter.  Perhaps Edith and Marigold have strolled down to the village to have tea with Lady Violet, enjoying the feel of soft snowflakes brushing against their cheeks as they stroll the country lanes?

I love this picture from a couple of seasons ago...I was rooting for Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes from the beginning.  And while dreaming of snowy country lanes is all well and good, right now a beach and a water view sounds mighty appealing.  Stay tuned, as I just might have more to say on that subject soon!  In the meantime, English poet Alexander Pope captures how I feel when I gaze on my Downton Abbey tableau and day-dream of strolling along the gravel path that leads up to the Abbey. The Quiet Life- in health of body, peace of mind - sound sleep by night - study and ease...now that is truly my cup of tea!

The Quiet Life
Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breath his native air
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
Blest who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mixt; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

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