The afternoon is also like a scene out of Love Actually with charades, bad board games and general silliness. I remember trying to play the 'traditional charades' as per the Brit tv show with Frenchies. They just didn't get the whole four words, first word, two syllables thing. They wanted to act out the whole film. I ended up looking like a Pernickety Brit.
When you're living in a strange place, it's all too easy to focus on what's missing and what's wrong. That's particularly true at this time of year, when the holidays are close and family feels far and the weather turns icy and it's pitch black at 4 p.m. like the place is run by goddam vampires.
Even though I have sat through the past eight weeks nit-picking and exclaiming in cod-horror every time one of the cast appeared with one too many buttons fastened, this third series of Downton Abbey has been excellent.
The end of Downton series 3 is in sight. Quite frankly I don't know how I will cope when its gone. But let's not dwell, and focus on the issues of etiquette that were featured in the penultimate episode of this stellar series.
It's a tragedy that Ealing has no cinema of its own, as this is the neighbourhood of London that has created some of the most treasured British films.
Mrs Crawley drank her soup perfectly! It amazes me how many people today still cannot manage this.
It seems almost callous to start unpicking the etiquette of tonight's deeply moving and sad episode... but here we go...
It was so refreshing to get some quality drama on ITV1 last night following the farce that came before this week's stellar episode of Downton Abbey.
Episode 3, perhaps my favourite one of the series to date, contained relatively few etiquette slip-ups, which for a large chunk of the episode worried me that I would have nothing to say! But, panic not, I found some, as well as some other interesting matters of note.
Terms such as flexitarian and semi or demi-veggie (sounds like a ballet move) give you freedom: freedom to sit on the flaky food fence somewhere in the purgatorial coalition half-reality where strong opinions have been humanely removed.
The custom of pouring wine right up the top of the glass is something only modern (high street) restaurants do. For a moment last night the dining table of Downton looked like Pizza Express.
Downton Abbey waltzed back on to our screen last night, to the gratitude of the nation. It will come as no surprise that this is one of my favourite shows, not just because of the drama and characters but also the etiquette, customs and clearly defined class structure that was present at the time.
Living abroad my boyfriend and I subscribe to Love Film to get our fix of British and American TV.
This is what Britain needs to concentrate on. Murray has lost Wimbledon, and what with all the hype I'm sure we'll do dismally at the Olympics. But we can be proud of our cultural output, from the sixteenth century to the present day. The Hollow Crown, elbowing its way through all of those Olympic adverts, screams "LOOK OVER HERE! LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN DO!"
The railway arch is enjoying something of a renaissance. Far from being a glorified cupboard, it now has more uses than probably any single piece of architecture out there.
100 years ago one of the biggest calamities of our century happened. A disaster of Titan proportions.