A scene played out between Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton on Downton Abbey last night, and the subject, parenting.
For those of you entirely out of the know, Smith (right) plays the Dowager Countess, a woman who doesn't mince words and sounds and acts as if she just walked off the stage of an Oscar Wilde play. Wilton's Cousin Isobel is less well-to-do, but equally steadfast in her beliefs. These two hens cluck and spar with each other every chance they get.
DOWAGER COUNTESS: One forgets about parenthood. The on-and-on-ness of it.
COUSIN ISOBEL: Were you a very involved mother with Robert and Rosamund?
DOWAGER COUNTESS: Does it surprise you?
COUSIN ISOBEL: A bit. I'd imagined them surrounded by nannies and governesses being starched and ironed to spend an hour with you after tea.
DOWAGER COUNTESS: Yes, but it was an hour every day.
COUSIN ISOBEL: I see, yes. How tiring.