Summer has arrived at No. 53 Hoxton Square with the publication of the 54th issue of Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly and our 38th limited edition hardback, Adrian Bell’s The Cherry Tree. In the weeks preceding the Bank Holiday, the good people of Smith Settle were busy dispatching the new issue, and the office was awash with books and cardboard as we began to send out automatic orders for the new limited edition. The last weeks before the new quarter’s publications are usually rather busy and exciting as we rush around with postbags and feverishly consult To Do lists, ensuring that everything is just so, but this time, as 1 June rolled ever closer, there was a pervading (and slightly unnerving) sense of calm.
Early copies of the issue had arrived in good time and looked most handsome, the limited editions were stacked in orderly piles, the packing desk was full to the gills with brown paper and foxy ribbon for Father’s Day present-wrapping, the website was in good order, and soon it would be time to down tools for a relaxing long weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
The bad news came (hand-delivered, no less) by our friendly regular postie, who informed us that we’d been taken off his route and that he was only popping by on the off-chance that we had some post to pick up. And of course we did, and not just some, but hundreds of bags of VIP bookish post.
Hattie set her jaw and dialled the number for our local council in a rather threatening manner . . . ‘Your postal collection has been ceased’, they said. ‘No. 53 has been marked for demolition or reconfiguration’, they said. ‘You no longer exist’, they said. ‘Lawks a mercy!’, we said, and dug a little deeper. Sure enough, there on the Royal Mail Postcode Finder, No. 53 Hoxton Square no longer existed and SF HQ had been transported 4 years back in time, and a mile or so up the road to Clerkenwell. Curiouser and curiouser.
We won’t bore you with further details as we feel sure you’d all much rather read an extract from The Cherry Tree (which follows below) but please be assured that Slightly Foxed has not moved premises. The office is still here at No. 53 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB and, thanks to our high vis hero, our postal collections are continuing as usual. We’re now deep in the murk of council administration, being passed from department to department by way of desperately long email chains, but are hopeful that this petty squall will soon pass.
Meantime let us escape to a place where ‘the pace is slower, the view more tranquil’, to the farm of Silver Ley, with Adrian Bell, introduced by our Editor Hazel. We’ll be in touch again next week with some ideas for Father’s Day presents. Until then, we do hope you’ll enjoy reading the new issue, wherever you are.
With best wishes from the Office Foxes
Jennie, Anna, Olivia, Hattie & Katy