Tuesday, 2nd May, 2023

After a slightly later than usual wake up time, we had a tasty you-know-what, you-know-where and headed off to Highclere Castle. This was the principal filming location of the TV series "Downton Abbey". Having enjoyed the series and associated movies a great deal, I was excited to visit the castle. Although it is somewhat smaller than I had imagined, it is a very impressive building. It was constructed in 1679 with major rebuilding in the 1840s. It is the seat of the Earls of Carnarvon. The 5th Earl (Lord Carnarvon) partnered with Howard Carter in discovering the tomb of King Tutankhamen in 1922.

Not unexpectedly, but still disappointingly, photography inside the castle was not permitted. This is, perhaps, just as well as I would have taken hundreds! Like the other stately homes we have visited, the interiors are just amazing. A Google search such as "Highclere Castle interiors" will result in many photos.

There is also an exhibition of ancient Egyptian artefacts and replicas of some of the items found in the tomb of Tutankhamen.

This tree, along the entry road to Highclere Castle, made me think of the "Ents" in "The Lord of the Rings"!

If you look hard, you may be able to see Satoshi standing just to the right of the base of the trunk of the huge tree!

This crest is above the front door. The inscription reads "Ung je Serviray" which is the family motto, meaning "Only One Will I Serve".

The door knocker is a little gruesome in my opinion!

The seat is known as "Lady Mary's Bench" because of a scene in the TV Series.

The size of the tree is apparent in this photo!

I don't know what these little yellow flowers are, but there were a lot of them!

The daffodils that I have enjoyed so much are beginning to wither but there are still many tulips to see!

After leaving the Castle, we decided to go to the town of Highclere to find the church. Find it we did but, sadly, it is only open for services.

St Michael and All Angels' Church, Highclere

As we did yesterday, we returned to our accommodation and caught the bus into the city in order to attend Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral. The Cathedral Choir sang the Responses by Shephard and the canticles by Stanford in B Flat. The anthem, "Psalm 133" was written by Frances-Hoad. The organ voluntary was "Pastorale" by Vierne. The standard of the singing (and organ playing) was, once again, superb.

We had dinner at Cosmo again tonight. They had a robot waiter. It was capable of delivering food to tables, singing "Happy birthday", and reacting to human touch.

As we get closer to the Coronation (May 6), we are finding that there are a lot of souvenirs available. Some of them are quite tasteful. Others, well...

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