NEWBURY, England — He is a farmer, she says, and she is a farmer’s wife. They are active in their community. She writes a bit on the side, her writing room only recently having been wired for electricity.On my recent visit to her home, she was warm and welcoming. Her yellow Lab, Bella, followed her closely as her mistress ushered visitors into the house.And oh my. What a house. Two hundred rooms. Forty bedrooms. Silk wallcoverings in one room, 16th century Spanish leather wallcoverings in another. An original Van Dyck. A display on Egyptology, in honor of one of the previous occupants who just happened to have discovered King Tut’s tomb.Hundreds of other treasures make it abundantly clear that you are not in Kansas anymore. You are, instead, on the set of “Downton Abbey,” but it’s not a set at all. It is Highclere Castle, and when Season 4 begins Sunday for American viewers of the wildly popular PBS show, it is this magnificent home they will see, … [Read more...] about Under the spell of Highclere Castle and ‘Downton Abbey’
Hard work paying off
Being ranked No. 1 and trying to avoid complacency is hardly new for Alabama.The Crimson Tide rose to the top of the rankings ahead of the team’s first open date after a five-game stretch of easy wins over unranked opponents.Bigger challenges lie ahead for the Tide, and there remains plenty of room for improvement ahead of a visit to No. 25 Texas A&M on Oct. 12. That’s especially true on a freshman-heavy defense.Off the field, Alabama’s Nick Saban said coaches talk about avoiding the external hype, or clutter, “just about every day.” “You kind of ignore some of those things because I think humility is very important to paying attention to detail and doing things the right way,” Saban said. “I don’t think it really matters at all where you’re ranked or rated right now. It only matters when it’s January when the season’s over. That’s all that matters.“And it can slip away very, very quickly, and as it … [Read more...] about Alabama using bye week to do ‘quality control on every unit’
This is the 21st season of Dan Snyder’s ownership, and the Redskins seem to have hit rock bottom. The team drafted quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round, but fans have little hope. The Redskins haven’t made the playoffs since 2015 and the season-ticket wait list is history. The roster has almost no star power, and coach Jay Gruden will be fired sooner rather than later. “The Patriots have a real problem, because Bill Belichick is known for taking away an opponent’s strength, and he’s got nothing to take away this week,” quipped Frank Herzog, the Redskins’ radio announcer from 1979-2004. “Good luck, Bill. You’ve got your work cut out for you.” The Redskins under Snyder have mostly been known for dysfunction and failure. In 21 years, Snyder has had seven full-time head coaches, four first-round quarterbacks, and only five playoff appearances. The Redskins’ .429 winning percentage in Snyder’s 21 years is … [Read more...] about Redskins appear to have hit rock bottom
When you think Tuscany, you think Florence, Siena and Pisa, but there is another side to the region. A seemingly endless expanse of wild terrain that’s home to tiny hilltop towns and hospitable locals known as the Maremmani. It’s been my home for almost a decade, but I’m channelling my inner tourist and dragging my born-and-bred husband on a weekend road trip to (re)discover the Maremma’s highlights. An early morning dip at Saturnia We’re kicking off the weekend at the Saturnia hot springs. The Maremma is located deep in Southern Tuscany and these hot springs are about two hours from Rome. They’re the area’s most popular tourist attraction and it always pays to get in early, unless you enjoy elbowing German tourists in the face for space. The pools are naturally carved travertine basins fed by a small waterfall known colloquially as the Cascate del Mulino. It’s close to 37°C at the source, but a much more temperate 35°C at … [Read more...] about Weekend Wanderlust: The very best of the Tuscan Maremma
Even before a big winter storm looms into the forecast, you should be aware of your travel rights for winter storm flight cancellations—which can come in sudden, widespread waves, causing airport panic that makes it hard to think clearly. Because passengers actually do have an array of rights in winter weather cancellations. The first fact you need to know is that, in recent years, airlines have adopted a policy of making widespread, preemptive cancellations in advance of an actual storm. They rely on weather reports in order to manage their planes and flight personnel more efficiently, to make sure planes and crews are in a position to re-start operations most readily, and to avoid the huge fines they have to pay if they strand you on the tarmac for more than three hours. While this approach occasionally means cancelling flights that could really have operated, for the most part, preemptive cancellations seem to work better. Related:5 Insurance Tips for Avoiding Winter Flight … [Read more...] about What Are My Rights in a Winter Storm Flight Cancellation?