A proper “Downton Abbey” house party hosting a variety of friends for a few days in the country has some pretty rigid rules to be followed. This weekend we are having a first visit with Reena’s parents, and are totally doing it Downton-style!
Have a fabulous country retreat
instead of housing them in a grand estate with personal valets and maids they are camping in their trailer on the front lawn (we have hooked them up with water and hydro though, we’re not savages!)
Plan a variety of stimulating activites
Exciting weekend activities should include: horseback riding, shooting, long walks and hunting. We can cover most of those requirements: our horseback riding will, however, involve horsepower. We have the tractor, four-wheeler and a few motorcycles for riding, we do have skeet and target shooting capabilities (and training!), the long walks are no problem with 100 acres of land. (Just don’t forget the bug spray!) Hunting won’t be a problem either, provided nobody actually wants to hunt for anything other than their next drink!
Have fantastic dinners with lively music and conversation in an incredible space
While our big dinner is not anything close to typical English fare it is still very European so I count that as a win. Tonight’s dinner is 10lbs of lasagna with garlic bread and Caesar salad, I was even able to score a few servings of gluten-free lasagna and garlic buns for Reena so she can join in the fun! (I count that a mark of an excellent hostess, score one for me!) Wine will flow, conversation will get more and more rowdy (it’s not exactly a refined “lively” but still meets the Downton requirements I think) and since I have most of my musical instruments here (except my lovely piano, I miss it :(!) I think that we will be able to create some lively (if not necessarily pleasant) music. I learned last night that Reena was once a very good flautist, as was I, so we’ll be working up some sort of duet I’m sure! The grand salon, suitable for gatherings to visit and drink tea, is finally in place. In our case it’s the new garage, the drywall got finished a couple of days ago and yesterday the boys helped their Daddy paint and put in the lights. As you can see it’s as beautiful a space for gathering as Downton’s formal parlor!
Make sure that the liquor never stops flowing
Not a problem. Literally. My new fridge is full and the only things in it are what we need for supper tonight, the rest is liquor! My parent’s side has two fridges and one is almost exclusively devoted to liquor for parties. It’s actually going to be quite difficult to resist turning every day into a farm party day since most of the family will be here all the time. We’ll work on that as we go along, this weekend though I think we’ll be fine in terms of liquid entertainment for our guests!
So there we have it, a perfectly acceptable Downton-style weekend house party. Maybe one day we will be able to offer houseroom to guests that doesn’t need to be chocked up, hooked up or moved in order to cut the lawn. One day we will be able to cook 10lbs of lasagna all at once along with 4 or 5 garlic breads. One day we may have a lawn for croquet and lawn bowling instead of a mud flat.
Today though, we will have a fantastic time making new friends, hearing new stories (Reena’s mom Sparky told a great one last night about the time her Jeep caught fire!), making new music (perhaps even in tune!) and generally living the good (Downton) farm life!