‘I had a nice bumper crop of books for Christmas. I’ll review them in good time, but right now I want to wax lyrical about some absolutely gorgeous books that arrived in my stocking and under the tree . . .
. . . I read a review of [Slightly Foxed] a few months ago, focussing on the binding of their books, which are really things of beauty: hand finished, lovely quality, and the cover embossed with their logo. At £20* each, they’re a bargain. (I’m not on commission here!) I’ve been watching their catalogue for a while, and a book popped up that caught my fancy: Period Piece, a memoir of turn-of-the century Cambridge written by Gwen Raverat, Charles Darwin’s grand-daughter. I’ll leave the last word to her, describing the river Cam at the time:
“I can remember the smell very well, for all the sewage went into the river, till the town was at last properly drained when I was about ten years old. There is a tale of Queen Victoria being shown over Trinity by the Master, Dr Whewell, and saying, as she looked down over the bridge: “What are all those pieces of paper floating down the river?” To which, with great presence of mind, he replied: “Those, ma’am, are notices that bathing is forbidden”.