The Ladies' Tea Guild

Friday, January 4, 2013

_Downton Abbey_, Season 3!

original ca. 1915 cotton dress
from my collection
Who's excited that Downton Abbey is being shown again?  ME!  I'll probably have to see it online like last season because not everyone in my household is a fan, and the television was often busy on Sunday evenings with non-Downton programming ... but I'll be at a friend's house this Sunday for a Downton marathon and tea, where we'll review Season 2 and then watch the first episode of Season 3 together, all while drinking tea and enjoying cake and a variety of tea savories.  So very civilized.  Apparently there will be some heart-wrenching scenes in this season, so I might have to get out one of my vintage lace-trimmed hankies ... 


Ashley said...

My husband (thankfully, he's a fan) and I watched it last night. Ahhh, I can't wait to see what else is in store for the season!! I may have to go home and rewatch the premiere...

Also, it was funny when Lord Grantham and Matthew had to wear black tie to dinner rather than white because of the downstairs drama. My husband kept asking, "What is the big deal if they were black ties?" So I piped up, "It's simply not done!" And then I went on to explain how at Prince William and Catherine's wedding that morning coats were required, just as they were in DA, and that a lot of these social standards are still in place among the wealthy because "it's simply not done." ;)

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

I liked Mrs. Levinson's comment "You're dressed for a barbecue" when Lord Grantham came down in black tie! Of course, black tie vs. white tie reflect different levels of formality for different social occasions. Black tie is ordinary evening dress, whereas white tie is formal evening dress. It's not just the color of the tie but it's also the kind of shirt (and coat) that you wear with each. When you watch episode 1 again take a look at Lord Grantham's and Matthew's shirt fronts and collars when they're wearing white tie vs. black tie.

Black tie is a regular dress shirt (like a tuxedo shirt) where you can see the shirt buttons down the front, and the front of the shirt has lots of pleats and doesn't lie perfectly smooth when worn. White tie includes a starched shirt front that goes over the actual shirt buttons and covers them up, and stays perfectly smooth because it's stiff. The starched shirt front is sewed to the shirt at the collar, or (for the middle classes) is a separate item that can be buttoned on to any regular dress shirt. It's held in place, when worn, by one or two pearl or diamond shirt studs that are the only button-like things visible on the shirt front. Lord Grantham has separate sets of dress shirts instead of having removable collars and shirt fronts which would be seen as a cheap and stingy cost-saving measure and therefore unworthy of the aristocracy. Which sets him up for Miss O'Brien's prank on Thomas.

I'm still trying to figure out why Mrs. Levinson's maid Miss Reed was featured so much. What is the point of showing her flirting with the new footman? Other than to illustrate the "fast American" vs. the "proper English" girl. Anyway. It's the only soap opera that I watch!

Karey said...

Love, love, love Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, I've got it recorded and can't watch it until almost a week later (tomorrow) because I'm trying to be loyal. My daughter and I watched the first two seasons together and now that she's away at college (with no television) she's counting on me to wait and watch it with her. I could cheat and watch it twice (since I probably will anyway) but she'd be able to tell.

I'm avoiding your previous commenters in case there's a spoiler, but I hope you had a lovely time and that your lace-trimmed handkerchief held up. How was the cake? I have a soft spot for cake.

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

Hi Karey,

I didn't actually end up needing the hanky! But apparently I will need it for future episodes ... I hope you like it when you get to see it! The cake was delicious. My friend made a spice cake with fresh apples in it, and baked it in a decorative Bundt pan. We also had dates stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, and broiled. One of the guests brought it halfway through the evening, but the hostess had prepared us for it by saying "Don't worry; there will be bacon." We joked that those are the four words almost everyone loves to hear: "there will be bacon."

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)