So How Was It For You?

So how was it for you? I must admit I shed the odd tear and although it was about as action packed as a plum pudding, I still enjoyed seeing everyone’s faces as they received their happy endings courtesy of Saint Julian of Fellowes.

Yes, of course I’m talking about the last ever episode of Downton Abbey which those of us in the UK were able to watch on Christmas Day after we’d stuffed ourselves silly on sprouts and all the other stuff we only eat once a year.

It will be missed, there is no doubt about that and by me in particular as I’ve felt a huge affinity to the series because of Ethel North’s letters to my grandmother recounting her time as lady’s maid to Lady Winifred Burghclere, sister of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. I often found myself looking at those fabulous interior and exterior shots of Highclere Castle in Berkshire where most of the “upstairs” scenes were filmed and imagining Ethel strolling around the magnificent grounds or helping Lady Burghclere dress for dinner in one of the beautiful bedrooms when they were visiting Highclere.

But all good things must come to an end and no doubt there will be some spin-offs from the series or even a film, not to mention endless repeats on ITV2 for many years to come.


Highclere Castle AKA Downton Abbey. Photo credit: Deans

I have to confess I didn’t actually watch the last ever episode on Christmas Day but saw it on  New Year’s Eve instead. It felt fitting that the episode ended with a celebration of New Year and a “looking forward” to the future, whatever it might bring.

I’m certainly curious as to what could happen in 2016 regarding Ethel’s letters to my grandmother and my attempts to get them published as a non-fiction book. A great many things happened last year that were very unexpected and it felt like a really important stage in the “journey” I seem to be undertaking. It was not without its setbacks (the copyright issues and the problems with agents to name two) but it was also the year I discovered and subsequently met some of Ethel’s living relatives, an experience I shall never forget!

Although I haven’t set any definite New Year resolutions regarding my proposed book, I do feel strongly that I should like to be much closer to having transcribed and researched all the letters at the end of 2016 than I am at the start. I should also be very pleased indeed if I could finally, once and for all, find out exactly who the copyright holders are as I’m now leaning much more towards self-publishing the book than I was before and therefore probably need to sort out the copyright issues myself. A little matter of having to raise almost £1000 to pay a solicitor who specialises in intellectual property is all that is holding me back at the moment!

Anyway, whatever 2016 holds, I look forward to sharing my progress with you.

Happy New Year!