‘My mother was rather unlike other children’s mothers in her ways, but though she could be embarrassing I was quite proud of her, and of my father too, because they were bold and good-looking. I should not have liked the funny-looking parents who fussed about everything that some children had.’ – P.Y. Betts, People Who Say Goodbye
If you’re in need of inspiration for bookish presents for Mothering Sunday, or any other occasion, please visit the Slightly Foxed website where you’ll find a whole host of ideas, including gift subscriptions to Slightly Foxed, limited edition cloth-bound hardbacks, notebooks, gift vouchers, our practical and attractive book bags, and much more besides: www.foxedquarterly.com. All presents will be wrapped in brown paper, tied up with foxed ribbon, and sent with a hand-written card bearing a handsome wood engraving and a message of your choice.
The office foxes are in full preparation mode this week in anticipation of the forthcoming issue of Slightly Foxed (No. 49) and spring books, published on 1 March. We’re much looking forward to the arrival of the new quarter and to hearing from you all early next month. Meantime we leave you with an extract from one of our funniest and most charming Slightly Foxed Editions, People Who Say Goodbye.
P. Y. Betts was one of those mysteriously disappearing authors, successful early on as a short-story writer and contributor to Graham Greene’s prestigious but short-lived magazine Night and Day, which was scuppered by a libel suit in 1937. In the 1930s she also published French Polish, a funny and sharply observed novel about a girls’ finishing school. She was then heard of no more until, fifty years later, the writer Christopher Hawtree came across her name in the British Library and ran her to ground, living contentedly alone on a remote smallholding in Wales. Encouraged by a publisher, she took up her pen again and wrote People Who Say Goodbye, a sharply comic clear-eyed account of life growing up in Wandsworth in the early 1900s. The result is a delight – a powerful evocation of a time and place and an unsentimental account of being a child that has the unmistakable ring of truth. Here we join Phyllis’s energetic, forthright mother on laundry day.