Predictably perhaps, given the season, it’s all go here at Slightly Foxed, what with dispatching the new book bags (for which there’s been a gratifying demand – hurry while stocks last!), taking orders and sending off copies of the quarterly to new subscribers. Then, of course, there’s fulfilling requests for Slightly Foxed Editions, forwarding orders for slipcases (also very popular at this time of year), chatting on the phone to those of you who ring us with enquiries and suggestions (always welcome), not to mention all the stuffing and franking of envelopes that goes with a small business like ours.
We say ‘a small business’, which of course it is, but in the past months we do seem to have suddenly grown. As well as invaluable part-timers and a succession of helpful work experience people, we have a new addition to the full-time staff – Richard, who’s joined us from university and spends part of the week helping here in various ways and part of the week serving in the shop. He’s done sterling work on the Slightly Foxed Catalogue, which we hope has reached you all by now and is providing ideas for some additional winter reading and possible Christmas presents. Tony and the bookshop staff are standing by for any orders you may have.
Another development is the revival this year of the Christmas Fox – in a larger, more readable format. Those of you who’ve been with us from early on may remember the first two in this series – little paperbound pieces of original writing which (at £5) stand beautifully on their own as small presents or elegant substitutes for a card. We gave ourselves a break in order to establish the Slightly Foxed Editions, but this year our regular contributor and award-winning short-story writer Linda Leatherbarrow came up with a story we found irresistible. Between the Lines features two rather solitary people, a cat and a printing press – we loved it and think you will too.
We’re also especially pleased with the latest of the Slightly Foxed Editions, the author-illustrator Edward Ardizzone’s memoir of his Edwardian childhood, The Young Ardizzone (see p. 14). Written with the mixture of gentle humour and sharp observation that characterizes his drawings, and illustrated on almost every page, it tells the story of a somewhat peripatetic childhood spent, with his brother and sister, in the care of their much-loved but irascible grandmother while his parents were mainly absent in the Far East, where his father was a telegraph engineer. A must for fans of Ardizzone, young and old, and an excellent introduction for those who haven’t yet discovered him.
And finally, by popular request, another literary Christmas crossword. You’ll find it tucked into this issue. Entries should reach us no later than 14 January, and the first correct one to be drawn out of a hat will receive a year’s free subscription.
So put your feet up, charge your glass with something cheering and escape, for a moment, troubling thoughts of government cuts, global warming, the challenge of the e-book and other similar worries. As always, we do thank you for your loyalty and send you our very best wishes for the coming year.