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An Outsider in Tregonissey

An Outsider in Tregonissey

There will be readers who find A Cornish Childhood too rooted in the egotism for which A. L. Rowse was well-known, or uncomfortably tinged with disdain for others – he dishes out verdicts such as ‘vapid’, ‘deplorable’ and ‘puerile’ with seeming equanimity and is unafraid of making dismissive generalizations about ‘the people’. At a distance of almost eighty years from publication, I mostly feel fairly forgiving towards such comments, amused rather than outraged and prepared to overlook them since his outspokenness seems so obviously a product of his particular circumstances.
SF magazine subscribers only
Simply Delicious

Simply Delicious

The food writer Theodora FitzGibbon was a late beginner, professionally speaking. Born Theodora Rosling in 1916 she received a cosmopolitan education, travelling widely in Europe and Asia with her Irish father Adam, a naval officer and bon viveur afflicted with wanderlust as well as a wandering eye. Theodora had a number of siblings conceived on the wrong side of the blanket. He also introduced his daughter to the delights of whiskey and cigars at a perilously early age.
SF magazine subscribers only
Hazy Memories of Hanging Rock

Hazy Memories of Hanging Rock

I have been reading aloud from Picnic at Hanging Rock for three hours when my friend touches the window beside her. I do the same; given the blasting air-conditioning, it seems impossible that the glass could be so hot. But it is – we have left behind the breezes of the coast, and the cooling altitude of the mountains. This is the Australian outback, 400 kilometres south-west of Canberra, and it is 44 degrees in the shade. We pull over and step out, and the heat hits us like a wall.
SF magazine subscribers only
Underwater Heaven

Underwater Heaven

I can’t remember what age I was when I came across Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies. I must have read it earlier than my other childhood favourite, Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which was a Christmas gift in 1948, but at that age I can’t have tackled the Kingsley tale in its full version. I must have read a shortened illustrated children’s text, of which there have been many. I loved the story of Tom’s adventures, first as a dirty chimney-sweep intruding on little Ellie in her fine white bedchamber, then when he went on the run through a landscape that strangely mixes Yorkshire and Devon, then as a water-baby, as he ventures down the rivers and into the sea. I sympathized with his loneliness and with his longing to find other water-babies, and rejoiced with him when he discovered that the sea was full of them.
SF magazine subscribers only
1st March 2020

Slightly Foxed Issue 65: From the Editors

It’s spring again, and a bit of news that feels cheering in today’s disordered world reaches us via an unsolicited email from ‘the world’s leading market intelligence agency’. It seems that the number of Brits who bought a print book was up last year from 51 per cent in 2018 to 56 per cent. The main reason people gave was that they prefer physical books to reading on devices. E-books certainly have their uses, but there are very particular experiences attached to the reading of a physical book, particularly a second-hand one – its look, its feel, its smell, its history as evidenced by the clues left on it and in it by previous owners. Every physical book, like a person, tells a story of its own in a way no digital book can, however convenient.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
1st June 2019

Slightly Foxed Issue 62: From the Editors

Here in the office, summer is when we try to relax a little, draw breath and catch up with the things for which there isn’t normally time. This year Jennie and Anna are further improving the website and putting on to the index our entire archive of contributions to past issues, so if you are a subscriber, any piece we’ve ever published will soon be available for you to read. Meantime we two will be settling down to some quiet reading in our search for unusual and outstanding memoirs to add to the list of Slightly Foxed Editions. We always welcome your suggestions, so if you have a favourite memoir that is now largely unavailable, do get in touch. There are plenty of forgotten memoirs out there we find, but few have that indefinable voice that makes them unique, and it’s a real joy when we come across one.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
28th February 2019

Slightly Foxed Issue 61: From the Editors

As many of you will already have gathered, if only from the discreet note on the contents page of the winter issue, this spring we’ve embarked on a new project, the Slightly Foxed podcast. Your reaction to this may possibly have been the same as ours when the idea was first put to us: ‘What exactly is a podcast?’ But now that, with some very knowledgeable assistance, we’ve got the hang of it, we realize what an enjoyable way it is of sharing with you more of our life behind the scenes at SF and introducing you to some of the interesting people who help to make the magazine what it is.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
1st December 2018

Slightly Foxed Issue 60: From the Editors

Well, this issue is our 60th, and it’s making us feel a bit ruminative – emotional even – remembering the little group (four plus a baby) who sat round Gail’s kitchen table, discussing an idea for a magazine that we weren’t at all sure would work. The baby is at secondary school now and the original four has nearly trebled, if we count all the great people, both full-time and part-time and with ages ranging over six decades, who contribute to the production of Slightly Foxed.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
1st September 2018

Slightly Foxed Issue 59: From the Editors

‘For weeks the trees had been heavy-laden with tired green leaves,’ writes BB when autumn arrives in Brendon Chase, ‘but now! What glory! What a colour ran riot in the underwood, how sweet and keen became the morning air.’ This is the season when ‘a new zest for living stirs within the blood, [and] adventure beckons in every yellowing leaf’. And sure enough, here at Hoxton Square, we’re in a decidedly adventurous mood.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
1st June 2018

Slightly Foxed Issue 58: From the Editors

For some months now the office in Hoxton Square has been ringing to the sounds of hammering, banging, drilling, and tools dropping on to scaffolding, and we’ve often struggled to hear one another speak. If you build an extension in London today it can usually only go up or down, and our freeholder is adding an extra couple of storeys. We’re told the agony is nearly over and now it’s summer we’re looking forward to coming out of forced hibernation and opening the windows.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
1st December 2017

Slightly Foxed Issue 56: From the Editors

From the start, we were keen that Slightly Foxed should feature not only contributors familiar from other book pages but also the voices of people who could write but who didn’t think of themselves as writers – people outside the literary world, who had other equally interesting kinds of experience, and for whom the written word was just as important. We’ve come to the conclusion that this describes many of our readers, judging from your sparky entries to the writers’ competitions we’ve run in the past. So, now the dark evenings have closed in again, we think it’s a good time to run another one.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors

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