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Episode 23: A Writer in the Kitchen

Episode 23: A Writer in the Kitchen

The food writer and chef Olivia Potts joins the Slightly Foxed editors for a literary banquet. Olivia was a barrister for five years before enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu, becoming a cookery columnist on The Spectator and writing A Half Baked Idea, a memoir with recipes. From finding consolation in cooking and precision in pâtisserie to nostalgia-soaked blancmange and family dinners in the Cazalet Chronicles, the conversation flows, welcoming Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, Charles Dickens and the extraordinary Fanny Cradock to the table along the way. And in this month’s taste from the magazine’s archives, Rachel Khoo’s cookbook conjures up feasts in an attic in Paris.
43 minutes
The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley

The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley

‘“It was Uncle who was your father,” she said.’ So begins SF Edition No. 33: The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley, Diana Petre’s utterly unselfpitying and often very funny account of what must be one of the oddest childhoods on record. Diana and her twin sisters were abandoned in 1912 by their mother, the enigmatic Mrs Muriel Perry, whose real name and true identity were a mystery. After an absence of ten years, Muriel reappeared and took charge of her children, with disastrous results. For the girls, one of the highlights of their isolated lives were visits from a kindly man they knew as ‘Uncle Bodger’. In fact, as Muriel finally revealed, he was their father, Roger Ackerley.
21st August 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 21 August 2020

It’s true that I’m writing this in Highbury, but mentally I’m in Suffolk. We came back yesterday from a week’s family holiday, and after months of being confined to London and seeing very little of our grandchildren, I’m finding it hard to make the transition. In my mind’s eye I’m still on the harbourside at Walberswick grasping the back of my 7-year-old grandson’s T-shirt as he crouches above the water, his small body tense with excitement as he strains over the edge to see if there’s anything in the net he’s dangling into the murky depths below. ‘Shall I pull it up now?’ ‘Well, wait a little bit, you’ve only just looked.’ ‘But there’s something in it. I know there is. I can see it!’ We peer down. Something seems to be moving, and yes! Oh joy! ‘Granny, it’s a crab! It’s huge. It’s gigantic. Quick, come and look!’
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
J is for Juster, Norton | From the Slightly Foxed archives

J is for Juster, Norton | From the Slightly Foxed archives

‘If a rainbow ever fell to earth and became a book it would be The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) by Norton Juster. It is a thing of light, and wonder, and beauty.’ In this week’s free article from the archives, we welcome you to Dictionopolis, the realm of words ruled by King Azaz in Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. You’ll find an extract in the newsletter, together with a link to read the full article by Rohan Candappa from Slightly Foxed Issue 29. We do hope you enjoy travelling beyond the tollbooth.
Episode 22: Independent Spirit

Episode 22: Independent Spirit

Small but discerning, choosing passion over fashion, Little Toller Books shares an independent spirit with Slightly Foxed. Jon Woolcott joins us from this publishing house based in a converted old dairy in Dorset, and charts the rise from cottage industry origins to a wide, prized backlist. With roots in rural writing, Little Toller has branched out to seek unusual voices, resurrecting the life of the wood engraver Clifford Webb, turning landfill into prose, uncovering Edward Thomas’s hidden photographs and finding a bestseller in the diary of a young naturalist along the way. We turn to the magazine’s archives for John Seymour’s advice on cheddaring, sparging and gaffing, and there’s the usual round-up of recommended reading from off the beaten track.
38 minutes
The Last Enemy | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

The Last Enemy | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

The Last Enemy by Richard Hillary is one of the great classic memoirs of the Second World War. Hillary was a charming, good-looking and rather arrogant young man, fresh from public school and Oxford, when, like many of his friends, he abandoned university to train as a pilot on the outbreak of war in 1939. At the flying training school, meeting men who hadn’t enjoyed the same gilded youth as he had, his view of the world, and of himself, began to change. Shot down in 1940 during the Battle of Britain, he suffered terrible burns and was treated by the pioneering plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe. During those brief and gruelling wartime months this once privileged young man was forced to grow up as he struggled to come to terms with his defacing injuries and mourned the loss of his friends
24th July 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 24 July 2020

On Sunday afternoon we set out for a walk in what is to me one of the strangest green spaces in this part of London, Abney Park Cemetery. Hidden behind the chic little boutiques and coffee shops of Stoke Newington Church Street, its 30-acre site originally formed part of the grounds of Fleetwood House and Abney House, both built in the 1600s and now demolished, one of which was lived in from 1734 until his death in 1748 by the preacher and hymn writer Isaac Watts.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
30th June 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 30 June 2020

My admission in an earlier diary that, whereas my husband loves our nearby park, to me it just feels like pretend countryside, produced one shocked email and several hurt comments from local friends. Our contributor Roger Hudson (compiler, too, of An Englishman’s Commonplace Book, which we’ll be publishing in September) told me that he had once felt the same way about Kensington Gardens, but had made a ‘conscious decision to abandon comparison with the real country of his childhood’. He was helped in this, he said, by the facts that parts of Kensington Gardens still felt rather like the parkland of a country seat, so providing a kind of transitional experience, not quite town and not quite country, and he advised me to strike out away from the joggers and dog-walkers into the wilder areas.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
Episode 21: A Bookshelf in Tripoli

Episode 21: A Bookshelf in Tripoli

Justin Marozzi, a travel writer, historian and journalist who’s lived in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Darfur, joins the Slightly Foxed editors on a journey through North Africa and the Middle East. His discovery of a nineteenth-century account of an expedition to Libya in a bookshop in Tripoli led to his crossing of the Sahara by camel, against the advice of Wilfred Thesiger. From dual chronicles of the desert penned by Rosita Forbes and Ahmed Hassanein Bey and tales of books hurled into the Tigris to the picaresque life of Ibn Battutah and travels with a Tangerine, the conversation ranges far and wide, and there are the usual recommendations for reading off the beaten track too.
40 minutes
23rd June 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 23 June 2020

There was a time when we toyed with the idea of doing a holiday house-swap. Friends and acquaintances returned with exciting accounts of economical summers spent in other people’s houses, and holiday company brochures were full of tempting descriptions and heartfelt praise from customers who had formed lifelong friendships with other families in faraway places, getting to know the local community and going back year after year.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors

The Great Oak Bookshop

35 Great Oak Street Llanidloes Powys SY18 6BW Tel: 01686 412959 www.greatoakbooks.co.uk
Stockists
My Grandfather & Father, Dear Father | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

My Grandfather & Father, Dear Father | From the Slightly Foxed bookshelves

We’ve been browsing our backlist of cloth-bound classics and thought it timely to open the covers of Denis Constanduros’s charming memoirs, My Grandfather and Father, Dear Father, published together in a handsome Slightly Foxed Edition. These delightfully funny and affectionate portraits of the most influential male figures in the author’s life conjure up two strongly defined characters and the times in which they lived.
16th June 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 16 June 2020

With the latest easing of travel restrictions, there’s a lot of talk of public transport and who should use it, which in London mainly means the tube. When we first moved here in the early 1970s the Victoria Line from Walthamstow to Brixton via Highbury and Islington had only recently been built, and this brought with it the first of the estate agents who arrived to cash in on an area full of elderly residents easily persuaded to move out of their crumbling Georgian and Victorian properties and sell them to people like us.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors

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