Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hour and Half till Dinner/Not quite Downton Abby!

    I have 3 friends that I often go out to dinner with here in the country on Saturday nights. We used to always go to the golf course here in town. Eagles Bluff is a beautiful golf course, 18 holes, and we are so lucky to have it in our little town of 400 people. I have never played golf, not my style, but the club house is lovely and on weekends it was open to the public. It was a casual place and the food was down home, comfort and affordable. Well they have closed for the winter season and that has left us without a place to go. We tried several other places, but was not the same. For the past couple of weeks I have just opted not to even go. Yesterday my friends came in and asked  if I wanted to dine out and the notion hit me, for us to dine at, My Old Historic House. Well this was around noon and I had to work in the shop till five, so I said about 6:30. They all agreed.

Welcome to my castle.No jumping right now Sissy.

      Clarksville, my little town, has no grocery store. The nearest is 30 miles, one way, from here. We do have a gas station/quick shop. It is small and limited. I had planned to make mac and cheese  this week, so I had most things needed for that. I always use cream of mushroom soup in my cheese  sauce and I did not have any. So to the gas station I went, they had a can, off brand, had to do. I make mac and cheese kinda as a complete meal. I add chunks of ham or in this case hot dogs.I had the slim makings of a salad and needed a desert. I asked my guest to come up with that. They have a home in Louisiana,Mo. 8 miles away. Where it has no grocery store either, it does have a Dairy Queen, Dollar Store and larger Quick Shops. I'll show you the desert latter!

    At 5:00 I hurried home from the shop. I live two blocks away. I  go several blocks, round about as I use that walk and time for Ms. Sissy, well you know why! As soon as we made it home, I feed her and lite the fire place in the kitchen( gas log) and shut the dinning room door. I just finished reading a book about Alminia, Countess of Carnarvan,of Highclere Castle. Highclere is the English country home that Downton Abby, the Masterpiece mini series is based on. Highclere was built in 1849 and has 100 rooms. At that time, central heat was not heard of, especially in a country house, of that size. The book  describes in great detail about when  Alminia was first married to the Count of Carnarvon and moved to Highclere. She was used to a more modest sized home that was warm.. She tells of how cold it was, and how only a few rooms were used in winter and she wore her fur coats in the house. Well, My Old Historic House,  does not have 100 rooms, only 14, but in winter it is cold. I have central heat, but the cost to run is more than I can afford. So I too, live in only a few rooms and often wear my coat, not fur, To warm up the dinning room for my last minute dinner party, I use the kitchen fire place and shut the dining room door. This takes a few minutes, that is why that was done first.

Love the hat, what would, Alminia -Countess of Carnarvon ,think?

I guess they liked it, almost all gone.

At least the silver was polished.

   Since I was having a guest that had never been to my home, I wanted to make it as special as I could, serving mac and cheese with hot dogs.I asked myself, what would Alminia do?? So I moved the French bronze and crystal candelabra from the mantle to the table, replaced the candles with fresh ones , dinner would be by candle light .I set the table with nice china and had full intentions to go to the yard and pick some magnolia leaves for added inspiration. Time was against me, as remember, I only had  one and half hours to cook and pull this together, And there is no staff at, My Old Historic House. Alminia had over 50 servants are her beck and call. I barely had time to throw the junk that was on the dining room table, upstairs in the closet.

The desert table is ready!

   My guest arrived and wearing there coats, we had a fast tour of the two parlors, and then into the warm  dinning room and kitchen. As I finished our  dinner , mac  and cheese needed a little more oven time,we all gathered around the fire. Finally it was done and to the dinning room we went. I wear about 5 layers of cloths in winter, by this time, the fire was starting to really warm the house, so as I excused myself, off came a few layers. Kinda seems like a comedy almost at this point.
   We dined on mac and cheese with hot dogs and salad. We had water and no bread. Alminia, Countess of Carnarvon, would  had to have smelling sauce.And for desert, Little Debbie's, right out of the box. I thought latter, I should have at least placed them on a silver tray.But we had good conversation and it was warm, after all.

It's cold in here, might want to leave your coat on!

The big finish!

  My guest left and I was left with a pile of dirty dishes. I rang for the staff, but no one came. Where was Mrs. Hughs when I needed her??? I washed them up, turned off the fireplace , replaced the  candelabra to the mantle, enjoyed the smoke rising as I blew them out.Went out for Ms. Sissy's last walk and was surprised to see we had a nice beautiful snow. All in all, I felt like it was another successful event at, My Old Historic House. Come by any time. Give me at least and hour and half and I'll fix us something to eat. Sissy will always meet you with a jump and a kiss, but I can't always promise you snow!!
A parting gift for my guest, a fresh fallen snow!

You all come back now.


Suzan said...

Very, very lovely!! Bet every piece has a story!

Divine Theatre said...

When we come to visit we will bring the macaroni and cheese! What a lovely meal with good friends! They say if the party was a success you won't remember the menu.


Kisses to my Darling Sissy!


Ivy and Elephants said...

Oh, Richard! You such know how to party. I'm sure they enjoyed the company no matter the meal. Your home is so gorgeous, I'd pass on the food and just drink in the decor!


Oh my friend, what do I have to do to go to your castle for dinner???!!! I won't even bother with the food pal, just to be there, lol.. Love all your decor, specially the side table with the gorgeous cloche collection aaand I saw your blue and white onion china too...but really, I love it all!! Have a great week.

Marcia said...

You can take a simple idea (macaroni and hot dogs, no less), and turn it into an elegant affair in an hour and a are an incredible host with imagination, a sense of humor, and the foresight to know it would work. What a fun blog, and fun to know that you are down-to-earth, even though your home and furnishings are over-the-top gorgeous! Loved this blog entry!

An Historical Lady said...

My style, Richard! Bravo! You are so gracious. Your home, the ambiance, and your charming personality would make any evening special! The dinner sounds down-home good to me!
We have friends coming soon to help us drywall a room upstairs, and due to our pitiful financial reverses and job loss they have kindly offered to donate the drywall we need! We want to feed them dinner while they are here, and I am making my frugal and absolutely delicious 'Cowboy Spaghetti', and a homemade 'S'mores Pie'---I already have some Marshmellow Fluff, etc., in the pantry!
With a fire in the ancient dining room fireplace, and some candles lit, my little 240 year old house will be most welcoming, and I wouldn't choose a grand castle over my little cape no matter what!
Blessings to you and Sissy,

Entertaining Women said...

My kind of entertaining. Limitations in menus can never overcome the delight of good company and conversation around a beautifully set table. Well done! Cherry Kay

Pearl said...

Sounds like a lovely evening, and yeah next time put little debbie on a tray. Your to fun! Your place looks so fine as usual. Loving life Hugs, Pearl

Lottie said...

LOL! Wonderful post! Love the comparisons to Downton Abbey! Beautiful snow, too!

Shelia said...

Hi Richard! Oh, I love hearing about your evening! Now I've made your mac and cheese and know how good it is! I'm sure your guests loved it all - the food and your wonderful home! Just a gorgeous table and your silver is stunning! I can't imagine snow as it was almost 70' here today.
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Love Of Quilts said...

Sounds like a great dinner..macaroni and cheese can't be beat! With no place to eat. or buy should have your friends over more. What about opening up a groc store!

Susan said...

Sounds like a most delightful evening, Richard. And the table and candelabras looked, well, quite elegant! Great job all the way around. Susan

Sissysmom said...

Richard - It sounds like the perfect "event". So glad you and your friends enjoyed a good time.


Sandy said...

The rooms are so elegant then out
came the "Swiss Rolls" and I had
to laugh... Such a good time with
Love it!

Elizabeth Maxson said...

THIS is the best kind of dinner pretense, no prep time...just fun, laughter, and lots of memories. I am so glad you stopped by so I could visit you - I always have such a good time when I am here. Your readers obviously love you and I am so happy to be able to wrap my arms around you. Thanks so much for the kind words - and the kind words you wrote about my article. It is very easy writing/shooting when there is eye-candy. :-)

You are a treasure and your dinner party (boxed dessert and all) is most likely be a dinner that most will envy just because you were present.

Lots of hugs

MissFifi said...

Your home looks so beautiful. The table really looked divine and what a great dinner! Good for you, enjoying time with friends and ending it with decadent Little Debbie :)

Curtains in My Tree said...

I would gladly eat anything , just to sit in your elegant dinning room.

I love those little Debby cakes and they would have been wonderful with a cup of hot tea served off one of your silver trays in the dinning room

Well it was fun we all agree

Also you tell a great story

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful home you have! Your dinner party sounds wonderful!

CLMT said...

Just found your blog with this delightful entry. You, my friend, are truly living as a Victorian would.
It is too bad that a good cook is hard to come by (I see you do that yourself - I have the same problems)
but the beauty of the accommodations at the table are what count most as well as the spirit of hospitality.

I really appreciate the picture of "cleaning up". At least you can do it in a kitchen which is beautifully decorated!


Tea in Texas said...

Hi Richard! I always love to read what you and Sissy are doing! You have a wonderful way of writing and I am glad to read about your Downton Abbey Evening. The was delicious for the dish was empty and the setting was so elegant and warm from the atmosphere. You are a great host and have sweet friends and I love lLittle Debbie Swiss Rolls. I love your Sissy and would love you to see the new collie puppy in our family! We are going to Lubbock, TX now for our son is there and no longer in Missouri! I still love the china set I bought from you! Please pop over to Tea in Texas blogspot for puppy photos! Pam

Jewel Sauls said...

I am drooling over your house! Sounds like an interesting book! said...

A plain meal among friends is a feast indeed! What a wonderful idea to have it at home. Now you have made me hungry for mac and cheese and it is not on my diet!