Picnics, Shoots & Race Meets

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DOWNTON ABBEY IS VERY GOOD AT SHOWING the everyday lives of the Crawley family and how the rituals of the day, and the year, were signposted by meals. Much of the upstairs action takes place in the sumptuous interiors of the house itself, though the village is also well represented. On occasion we see the family elsewhere, however, either engaged in the seasonal pastimes of shooting or hunting, which invariably involve a lavish lunch as the autumn shadows stretch in the early afternoon, or taking part in picnics. Mary rides point-to-point in a steeplechase in season 5 while her family (and suitors) look on from a refreshment tent, and when she falls in love with Henry Talbot she’s drawn into the world of car racing, which also involves a catered spread.

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