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From the Editors

5th May 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 5 May 2020

A highly sensitive translator friend of ours once told us, quite seriously, that he couldn’t read in a room where there were other books. Their presence was too distracting, too powerful. We sniggered rather unkindly at the time, but this week, wandering round the bookshelves and feeling somewhat cut-off and unreal in the dim light of a wet afternoon, I felt acutely the presence of authors I’d once been passionately attached to and hadn’t thought of for a long time, especially the diarists, nestling in the ‘biography’ section in the spare room.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
28th April 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 28 April 2020

When the lockdown first began and we were instructed to leave the house only for an hour’s regular exercise we started going for an early evening walk in our local park. My husband loves Clissold Park. Over the years he’s run round it, watched birds in it, observed the trees in their various seasons, pushed our daughter on the swings, and played football with our grandchildren. He feels sentimental about it, and it is a lovely park. Like a lot of London parks it was once attached to a private house, and that has now become an upmarket café where yummy mummies sit chatting in the sun with their expensive buggies beside them, and media dads queue up for posh ice creams while speaking amusingly on the phone to other media dads.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
21st April 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 21 April 2020

There’s an old Victorian sofa in the bay window of our bedroom that we bought in a junk shop in Norfolk many years ago. It’s pretty battered now, the pale green loose cover is somewhat torn despite my efforts to mend it and some of the springs have gone. It really should be reupholstered but, apart from the expense, I’m unwilling. It feels like an old friend who’s seen me through various periods of my life and I don’t want to change it by giving it a facelift. The ends let down so you can put your feet up, and there’s a nice comfortable depression in the seat where your bottom goes. That’s where I’ve been reading in the afternoons for the past few weeks.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
10th April 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 10 April 2020

The room where I work – to call it ‘my study’ sounds too grand somehow and ‘my office’ feels too businesslike – is almost at the top of the house and faces on to the garden. Sitting at my desk I look out into the branches of a giant sycamore where grey squirrels race up and down, but if I stand up I can look down into our own small garden, and the others in the terrace stretching away in a sort of wedge shape, getting longer as they go. In some of them the flowering cherry trees are out (‘loveliest of trees’ as Housman called the woodland cherries), and the big hawthorn at the bottom of our garden, which hides the worst of the red-brick care home over the wall, is just coming into bud. Through the arch in the entrance to the care home I can usually see cars moving along Highbury New Park, but there are almost none today. The schools are open only to the children of front-line workers now, and I can hear the little girls next door calling to one another in the garden.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
3rd April 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 3 April 2020

It’s no secret that neither Gail nor I are entirely comfortable in the digital world, but stuck at home as we are I’m having to try to get to grips with all the untapped possibilities of my smartphone. I’m finding this something of a challenge as my communications are usually limited to calls of the ‘I’m on the bus now and should be back about 6.30’ variety. This week our kind neighbour joined me up to the street’s WhatsApp group and shortly after I found I was broadcasting the conversation I’d had with my husband at breakfast to the entire street and didn’t know how to stop it. This has unnerved me, but I’m told the world is full of puzzled children looking at pictures of disembodied knees and hands as grandparents attempt to have a conversation with them on FaceTime or Skype. 
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
27th March 2020

Slightly Foxed Editors’ Diary • 27 March 2020

We thought it might be cheering for all of us in these unusual and unpredictable times if we kept in touch with you via a weekly diary. It won’t be a work of literature, and it won’t be simply, or even mostly, about books, but just a way of sharing with you, wherever you are in the world, how the two of us are living our day-to-day lives in very different parts of England. We feel we’ve come to know so many of you as friends from your letters, emails and phone calls, and if there was ever a time for friends to keep in touch, it’s surely now. So here goes. Gail is writing from her West Country house on the edge of Dartmoor while Hazel is holed up at home in Highbury, North London.
- Gail Pirkis & Hazel Wood
From the editors
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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