“YOUNG LADIES DO NOT EAT CHEESE AT DINNER PARTIES…”
********* What a wonderful quote with which to open this particular blog?
And it perfectly sums up just how quirky, fun and original Adrian Tinniswood’s talk on ‘The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House Between the Wars’ proved to be.
Translated by me (and me alone) as: “If you loved ‘Downton Abbey’ you’d have loved this talk” it had ‘original’ stamped all over it.
Now whilst I wasn’t a fan of the hugely successful series - ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ with Hudson, Mrs Bridges and Rose is my kind of period pin-up - I have to say I adored this talk. Tinniswood as a speaker was as delightfully whimsical as his subject matter, revolving as it did around how the lives of the ‘other half’ lived, loved and entertained betwixt Fridays and Mondays (the term ‘weekend’ was, at that time, apparently considered vulgar).
Country house parties for the well-heeled boomed because of three reasons -
1. The burgeoning rail network
2. The affection for etiquette
3. And the relaxation of certain reproduction-linked taboos.
Clearly, if you were old and had money, young and had looks, and were only too happy to embrace and acknowledge the first two, life could be a ball.
As was this talk…