Downton Abbey Goes Dutch

I like to think I would have enjoyed being an Edwardian lady of the landed classes. I love elegant clothes, sewing, reading, writing letters, the countryside and horse-riding. Knowing my luck though, and given that I come from a farming background I probably would have ended up working below stairs, having to get up early to fire up the house and scrub and darn till my fingers bled or something equally gruesome. Both my granny and great-granny were in domestic service and without disclosing too much of their personal details, they had a rough old time of it.

But nowadays a girl can dream and have ideas above her station! Last week I visited a former colleague who lives in the picturesque village, de Steeg in the province of Gelderland. I Googled B&Bs and found a link to Kasteel Middachten. Always having wanted to stay in a castle, I booked two nights in the newly renovated, former stables.

Before arriving we went for a walk in the Posbank, a wooded, hilly area in de Veluwe, a national park which I blogged about here. The autumn colours were truly stunning and we were fortunate enough to have dry and sunny weather. After a heidelunch in Paviljoen De Posbank, we set off for a walk stopping on the way to collect chestnuts and photograph mushrooms. It felt like we had entered a magical world, the golden sun filtering through the trees and the whispering sound as the leaves fell.

After arriving at the Castle, we were given a very hearty welcome and our friendly guide, Ria gave us a brief history of the building. It was built in the 12th Century and is still in private ownership, having passed down the male and female lines of just a few families right up to the present day! The Castle isn’t officially open to the public, only on special occasions, but as we were staying two nights we were given a guided tour on the morning of our departure. More details about the history of the Castle and estate can be found on this site,

On the way to our room above the stables, we walked through the tack room where the leather collars and harnesses for the carriage horses are still kept. The smell of leather took me right back to my childhood and I felt instantly at home! You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl; Lady Mary Crawley, I ain’t!


About susancarey

Angela writes using pseudonym, Susan Carey. She has dual nationality, GB/NL and lives in Nijmegen. Susan has had short fiction published on multiple platforms and was a runner-up in the 2018 and 2017 Casket of Fictional Delights Flash Competitions. Her writing has also been published and performed by amongst others: Mslexia, Liars’ League, Reflex Fiction, the Casket and of course the wonderful Writers Abroad. In 2020 she published her short story collection, Healer. Tweets at @su_carey
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6 Responses to Downton Abbey Goes Dutch

  1. Joanna Lamb says:

    Great blog post. I love Downton! Just heard on the radio how to create your Downton ‘name’ – first name of your grandmother (or grandfather if you’re a male) then the surname from the name of your first school. Then you decide whether the character would be ‘upstairs’ or ‘downstairs’. My name would be Lily Church! Not sure where that fits, maybe a bit of both 🙂


    • susancarey says:

      Ooh, great name Jo. Sure you can give Lily Church a great part in a story. My Downton name would be, Isoline Birch. Downstairs methinks! Although Isoline is a very unusual name and I have no idea of its highly or lowly origins…


  2. Sherri says:

    A girl can dream, right? What a lovely place to stay 🙂


  3. susancarey says:

    Thanks, Sherri, it certainly was dreamlike and heavenly!


  4. pfornari says:

    Fabulous! You look absolutely stunning! Though next time we must see you in one of those long flowing Downton Abbey dresses!


  5. susancarey says:

    Thanks, Paola. A friend of mine has a collection of 1930s dresses and we won a fancy dress competition once, years ago. There’s a photo of us somewhere, will have to try and root it out!


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