It is the launch weekend for the final season of Downton Abbey, and as part of the preshow hoopla, I was given an afternoon of royal English treatment. Bruce had told me to vacate to the upstairs around 3:00. Shortly afterwards, I heard the clomp, clomp, clomp of footsteps in the hall, and there, making an appearance, were two black-clad footmen presenting tea and a muffin. The taller of the two was Bruce, and the mystery of the clomping became clear when I looked down and saw his leather wingtips, worn at our wedding 37 1/2 years ago and sporting almost that large a layer of dust.
The shorter footman was our grandson Sam, carefully carrying the muffin plate.
I dressed for dinner in all my jewels, some of which Sam had to alternately wear or place on the toy train track for crashes and other excitement. After an appropriate time of puzzle play and trains, dinner was served informally in the kitchen with all household members eating together. The dowager would be shocked, but after all, times are changing.