Aging, Menopause

Downton Abbey–Will I Be the Next Dowager?

maggie-smith-downton-abbey-2

A  post by Downton Abbey fan Judy Ackley Brown:

Season 3 of Downton Abbey is ending soon, and I am quietly grieving.

My obsession with the show is strong.

My Sunday nights best not be interrupted during the DA run!

This season I was intrigued with Maggie Smith’s character of the dowager.  It prompted me to double check on the exact meaning of this uncommonly used word, which is “a dignified elderly woman”.

Where are the dowagers in our culture now?

Have they lost their purpose?

Do we need to regain this quiet but powerful role?

Do we behave with dignity?

Violet is bold, opinionated, sly, but also witty and wise.

Ever present in the daily lives of the family she is the typical matriarch.

The dowager has dated opinions for sure and appears to struggle with the inevitable arrival of a new and modern world. Edith, her granddaughter, a journalist?  Tom Branson to baptize baby Sybil a Catholic?

What struck me this season, in a warm fuzzy way, is that despite Violet’s rigidity, she deeply cares for each family member.

The continuance of the estate and the well- being of the family unit is at the center of her often unsolicited advice.

She embraced Branson when a new great grandchild was in the horizon.

Despite her subtle and manipulative ways, she did play a key role in restoring peace after Lady Sybil’s tragic death.

I hope Violet sticks around for a long while.  I look to her with a new sense of awe. She has qualities I might want to embrace.

This stoic but outspoken dowager might just have her priorities in alignment.

After all, as she says, “It seems a pity to miss such a good pudding!”

Lady Violet has some of the wittiest lines in the show. Her clear opinions of Americans, as seen in this video, endear us regardless of our nationality!

Marathon!  Don’t miss the Downton Abbey Marathon Sunday on PBS

Judy Ackley Brown lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina and enjoys travel, writing, and photography. A professed anglophile, she hopes to plan another trip to England soon.

The photo below shows Judy as a toddler with her paternal grandmother, Fern Ackley. Fern sits stoically like a dowager!

Judy and Grandma

Aging, Hot Flashes, Menopause

Special Guest Post: Hot Flashes at Downton Abbey?


This is Lady Cora….with a twinkle in her eye.  Shall we all work on a menopause twinkle?

A special guest post from Judy Brown, hot off the presses while this PBS Masterpiece Theater Series is extra hot:

Every Sunday night at 9 PM sharp I escape to Downton Abbey.

I sit quietly in Lady Violet’s jeweled hat and chuckle at her bickering.

I crouch behind Lady Mary’s mirror on her dressing table wondering if I would like a hand maiden to fix my hair everyday.

I sneak into the car while Lady Sybil flirts with her chauffer, Branson, and hope that she can loosen up a tad.

Best of all, I get showered with flour as I dash from Mrs. Patmore’s wooden spoon.

Do the ladies of the house ever get hot flashes or are they too proper in their ways? Just imagine a hot flash, or feeling bloated, in a corset!

The Crawley family household is dominated by women. Surely they get moody, get cramps, or suddenly strip off their sequined lace shawl  because their internal heat is unbearable. I ponder whether they even had such a word back then…HOT FLASH! I know it would have been unthinkable to make such an exclamation at the dinner table.

Do I want to be Lady Judy? Does Martin want to be Earl of Hillsborough? I suspect Martin would love to have me call him Lord Brown.

I think I will stick with plain Judy. Even though I envy the socialites of Downton Abbey, I prefer my jeans, my short haircut, blogging about the Pause, and the casual life.

Anyone else obsessed with this British miniseries? If so, who is your favorite character? Mine is Lady Mary.  She is stoic but sensitive.  She has become hardened by life.  I am still hoping that she will succumb to Matthew!

Just FYI…..on February 19th there will be a Downton Abbey Marathon from 1-9 PM!!  And then the two hour finale!  Cheers!


Sisters Mary, Edith, and Sybil.  Do any of you have sisters?  I have three.  About as much drama as Downton Abbey! 🙂

Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a great confidante as Anna?  We could share and get counsel on everyday issues.

I would love to have afternoon tea with Lady Violet and glean from her menopausal wisdom.

Downton Abbey, the whole family, upstairs and downstairs.

This is a picture of Martin and me at the baths, in Bath, England several years ago.  We loved the countryside and even mastered the round-a-bouts after a few days.  The history, the food, the accent, the pomp, the circumstance, all made for a fun adventure. I look forward to my next trip to Great Britain.

Check out the PBS Downton Abbey website  here.