May at Slightly Foxed is a time of great anticipation and preparation. The craftsmen and women at Smith Settle are carefully nipping, trimming, blocking and binding and here in the office we’re busy shuffling books, moving boxes and clearing out cupboards to conjure up a little space for the impending Summer issue and new SF Edition. As we carefully move past editions from shelf to shelf to make room for the new, we’re reminded of a character from our 17th book in the series, Mango & Mimosa – a gentle, book-loving man who opened a bookshop but could not bear to sell any of his cherished books. Unsurprisingly the shop did not stay open for long!
Slightly Foxed editor Hazel was first introduced to Suzanne St Albans’ memoir, Mango & Mimosa in 1999 when a light editing job dropped through her letterbox – ‘“ . . . a new edition of a memoir by the Duchess of St Albans”, the publisher had said on the phone. Preparing myself for some gently rambling aristocratic reminiscence, I made a fresh cup of coffee and sat down to take a look. Hours later I was still sitting there, entranced. I had never heard of its author, but from the first page of this magical memoir I knew I was in the company of a natural writer and a most unusual and lovable human being – someone with a sense of fun and adventure, and an affectionate eye for human (and animal) eccentricity. I constantly wanted to be reading bits out loud to whoever was around’.
Read on for an extract from Mango & Mimosa – and please feel free to follow Hazel’s lead and read bits out loud.