August and September are always special months in my family’s and close friends’ calendars with many birthdays to celebrate.

Like all important celebrations, our preferred choice would naturally be to spend that time with those that mean the most to us. So, for a few brief hours, we are surrounded by love goodwill and happy memories. Although lockdown robbed us of all those precious opportunities, thank goodness for video calls.

During the restrictive periods placed on our leisure time, I took advantage of watching all episodes of Downton Abbey, and I found it to be as fascinating as it was informative.

Eventually, without realising it became a four-day viewing marathon, it served to highlight some interesting conclusions and left me with indisputable observations.

As it was intended to do, it showed the warmth and kindness extended to servants and tradespeople, whilst serving to bring into sharp focus the fact that people knew where they stood, and were inherently proud of their vocation. Of course, in these modern times, not only in our country but worldwide too, the dual arrows of lust and love have ways of scuppering the best-laid plans of mice and men.

Whilst everyone plans and thinks with their brains –whether they are pauper, prince, politician, king or queen –there is no steel of armour that can protect us from the feelings of desire or cherished loving thoughts. So, in some ways very little has changed.

Liaisons, outside conventional marriage and of course with all extra-marital affairs, it is the woman that will bear the brunt –the shame, humiliation, abortions, or the secrecy of the illegitimate child born and raised anonymously.

Globally men, as our own royal family has demonstrated, are not immune to the adrenaline rush that surges through their veins when they fall head over heels in love.

Dynasties have fallen, wars have been fought and presidents, princes, prime ministers, and yes, even servants can have their hearts pierced by the cupid’s arrow.

Downton Abbey had many separate storylines interwoven of undying love over decades, feuds, family, status, exquisite manners, courtesy, births, deaths, marriages, the role of women, education, illness, hard work, community, poverty, politics, plus great scenes of how cooking in the kitchen was achieved before the advent of modern appliances. No expense was spared for celebratory banquets and all birthday feasts were spent with those they held most dear.

No change there then.