Merchandise to Console the Anglophile's Soul Upon the Demise of Downton Abbey
I’m pretty sure that I was meant to be “to the manor born.” I’ve always been a bit of an anglophile, but I never realized how deeply it was imbedded in my DNA until I became involved in life at Downton Abbey, which strikes a chord in me that can only be described as nostalgia. I am convinced that Downton should be my home, and must have been in a previous life. Fate can be cruel (just ask Lady Edith) and some strange twist has landed me in the role of impoverished observer rather than lady of the manor. As if that’s not bad enough, now I must face the fact that cherished access to the lives of my long-lost family is to end with the show’s finale on March 6.
Whatever shall I do, besides weep into my English breakfast tea? Well, we Brits (both native and adopted) are known for our stiff upper lips, so I suppose we’ll just have to pull ourselves together and carry on. If Lady Mary can do it, so can we. In anticipation of Downton withdrawals, I’ve been pulling together this sampling of items we diehard anglophiles can console ourselves with when the final season ends.
We’ll Have Tea in the Sitting Room, Carson
Won’t you join me for a traditional afternoon tea? We can sip, daintily munch on those tiny little dry sandwiches, and commiserate together. If I actually had a sitting room, I think we’d be sitting in it for a very long time waiting for my footman (a/k/a my ten-year-old) to bring us a nice hot cuppa. I may not have a houseful of servants to prepare it, but this traditional English tea gift basket ($50) from the English Tea Store includes everything we’ll need, from a teapot and P.G. Tips to clotted cream and a mix for homemade scones.
My Kingdom for a Mrs. Patmore
I would gladly give up the modern conveniences of dishwashers and microwaves if I could only live as the English aristocracy did, without ever having to set foot inside a kitchen. My budget doesn’t stretch to a personal chef, but I can set an elegant pretty table, reminiscent of a formal dinner in the Abbey, with these fluted porcelain plates ($30, Cost Plus World Market) designed as recreations of the actual Downton china. Now, can entice you into sampling my attempt at a rib roast and Yorkshire pudding? Yes, it’s supposed to look like that - just scrape off the burn-y bits.
Sitting in an English Garden…Not
I would invite you out to view my garden, but alas, rather than sculpted hedgerows, climbing roses and verdant rolling fields, I’m afraid all you’re going to see is an expanse of concrete and a somewhat murky pool (give me a break, I told you I don’t have servants and I spent all day on that blasted pudding). For a sweeter view, I’ll have to ask you up to my bedroom. No, I didn’t mean that - mind your manners! It’s just that indoors is where my garden grows, as you’ll see when you step into my blooming bower of a boudoir, topped off with this Cath Kidston antique rose duvet cover ($96).
Oh! I see you’re not quite up on your etiquette, my dear. Don’t you know you never accept an invitation to afternoon tea without the proper attire? Ladies must always don a hat for these occasions; but don’t worry, I have extra. This frothy pink straw hat ($99) from Hats in the Belfry is perfect for setting off an English rose complexion (otherwise known as pasty winter-face - you might want to hit the spray tan later). Your gentleman companion is in perfect form with his Jack Wills bow tie ($19). Well done, old chap!
Is That a TARDIS in the Corner?
Why, yes, thank you for noticing. I’m planning to use the TARDIS ($100, ThinkGeek) to return to Britain at the turn of the century and reclaim my rightful inheritance and title. Failing that, I guess I will have to mourn the passing of Downton by exploring some of the many other BBC series available to feed my anglophilia. Visit the Ultimate Coupons BBC Shop page for DVD collections of Poirot, Upstairs, Downstairs, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Absolutely Fabulous, Little Britain, Black Adder and more to fill the empty void the end of Downton Abbey will leave in your life.