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Read on for news, forthcoming publications, events, competitions and more . . . 
This Winter’s issue of Slightly Foxed is a very special one for us. It marks the beginning of our anniversary year – ten years since we came up with the idea for Slightly Foxed and tentatively put together our first issue. They’re years in which we’ve got to know some of the most likeable and entertaining people – both subscribers and contributors – enjoyed some of the best laughs, been introduced to some of the best books, and had some of the most varied (and sometimes eccentric) experiences. During those years children have married and grandchildren have been born, Slightly Foxed has grown, and we’ve been joined by some exceptionally nice, clever and hardworking young members of staff. We can only say thank you to the Fox and to all of you who’ve supported us for giving us some of the happiest years of our working lives.

As Christmas approaches it’s all go in the office here with gift orders and subscriptions, and Jennie, Anna, Faith, Aimi (who comes in from the shop once a week to do the accounts), Chudleigh and the rest of us are dodging round a positive fortress of heavy brown paper parcels in the middle of the floor. These contain the first three Slightly Foxed Cubs – Knight Crusader, The Galleon and For the King – and Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece, the latest of the Slightly Foxed Editions. This enchanting account of growing up in Victorian Cambridge at the heart of the large and idiosyncratic Darwin clan must be one of the best-loved books in the English language, and it’s hard to think of anyone with an interest in people and a sense of humour who wouldn’t enjoy it. 

Read on for an extract from Period Piece and some last-minute Christmas ideas. Jennie, Anna and Faith will be beavering away in the office until the afternoon of Friday 20 December, so do order now and they’ll make sure your items go out straightaway.

With our very best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a more optimistic New Year

Gail & Hazel
and Alarys, Anna, Faith, Jennie, Steph and Chudleigh, the office dog


Prelude
 
In the spring of 1883 my mother, Maud Du Puy, came from America to spend the summer in Cambridge with her aunt, Mrs Jebb. She was nearly twenty-two, and had never been abroad before; pretty, affectionate, self-willed, and sociable; but not at all a flirt. Indeed her sisters considered her rather stiff with young men. She was very fresh and innocent, something of a Puritan, and with her strong character, was clearly destined for matriarchy.
    The Jebbs, my great-uncle Dick, and my great-aunt Cara, lived at Springfield, at the southern end of the Backs, and their house looked across Queens’ Green to the elms behind Queens’ College. Uncle Dick was later to be Sir Richard Jebb, OM, MP, Professor of Greek at Cambridge, and all the rest of it; but, at that time, he held the chair of Greek at Glasgow, and so had been obliged to resign his Trinity fellowship and the post of Public Orator at Cambridge. However the Jebbs spent only the winters in Glasgow, and kept on their Cambridge house for the summers, while they waited hopefully for old Dr Kennedy to retire, so that Uncle Dick might succeed him in the Cambridge Professorship. This was the Dr Kennedy who wrote the Latin Grammar, which we all knew very well in our youth, and he had not the slightest intention of retiring; neither was it by any means so certain as the Jebbs chose to consider it, that the succession would fall to Uncle Dick. However, after keeping them waiting for thirteen years, Dr Kennedy died in 1889, and Uncle Dick came into his kingdom at last.
    The earliest Cambridge that I can remember must have been seen by me in reflection from my mother’s mind, for it is the same picture as that which she draws in a series of artless letters, written to her family in Philadelphia in this summer of 1883, two years before I was born. In this, the first Cambridge in the mirror of my mind, the sun is always shining, and there are always ladies and gentlemen sitting in the garden under the trees, very much occupied with each other.
    It was quite a different Cambridge which I saw later on, when I looked at it with my own eyes. My mother had fallen into a world which was very strange to her. She wrote home: ‘I am at last at the Utopia of all my fondest dreams.’ It was a Utopia of tea-parties, dinner-parties, boat-races, lawn-tennis, antique shops, picnics, new bonnets, charming young men, delicious food and perfect servants; and it almost seems too good to be true. I suppose there must have been some difficulties, even in those days; and indeed all the right sleeves of my mother’s dresses would keep on getting too tight, from the constant tennis; and the helpings of ice-cream were far too small for an American; but, otherwise, you would really think, from the letters, that Unrequited Love – other people’s Unrequited Love – was the only serious trouble. And even the broken hearts of which we are told seem to have been very quickly mended.
    The Du Puys were of a good family of Huguenot descent; but they were not well off. There were many children, and Maud could not possibly have accepted her aunt’s invitation, if her fare to England had not been paid by her elder brother. He was now getting on well, and was generous to his sisters. The girls had been sent to fairly good schools; but in the case of my mother at any rate, Education, like an unsuccessful vaccination, had not taken very well. It was not a question of schooling, but of temperament. But my mother arrived in England with a great respect for culture, and eager to learn all she could. We find her struggling to read Browning and Tennyson and Shelley; battering her way with pride and tenacity through La Petite Fadette, and preaching the virtues of learning French to her younger sisters. But with all her respect for education – and no one could respect it more – learning was never her strong point. However, she got on perfectly well without it.
    In these early letters my mother told her family everything, higgledy-piggledy, helter-skelter, with the most perfect simplicity. And much of the information must have been quite mysterious to them, as she never explained at all about the unknown people of whom she wrote: neither who they were, nor what they did, nor where they lived. But then, even in later life, my mother assumed that you knew all about the people who came into her letters or conversation. If you didn’t, you ought to; and anyhow it didn’t matter much. In these first letters, both the spelling and the grammar are rather shaky, but, after a lecture from Aunt Cara, stern endeavour improved them very much. them very much.
    In writing to her sisters, Maud was always careful to tell them anything which might be useful to them, if they should come to England in their turn. She sends a list of words not to use: somewheres, anywheres, fix (as fix my dress), take it off of the table; ‘Dick [Jebb] says location is not a good word.’ She did a good deal of painting in oils, mostly of round ornamental plaques of her own designs of flowers; these are rather smudgy, but have some feeling for pattern and colour. Maud tells her young sister Carrie how she sketched King’s Chapel, and suffered very much in the process from cows, little boys and rain. She goes on, in a kind, but patronizing way: ‘I was ever so glad to hear about your reading. Aunt Cara said that every one who is not musical ought to be fond of poetry. So you ought to cultivate your taste in that direction. I am reading Browning, but think he is awfully hard to understand.’ [Too hard for you is implied.] ‘You could not help liking Shelley and Tennyson.’ . . .



Read on for a selection of Foxed Christmas present ideas
- perfect for bookish friends and relatives, or for oneself . . .
Corduroy

New in Paperback

The Young Ardizzone
 
There can be few author-illustrators whose books are remembered – and still read – with such affection as those of Edward Ardizzone. And affection is the keynote of this charming memoir, which brings alive in words and pictures the comfortable Edwardian world in which Ardizzone grew up.

UK: £12
Europe: £14
RoW: £15

 

Tea Towel

Tea towels, in our experience, come in two kinds – pretty and non-absorbent or practical and ordinary-looking. With the Slightly Foxed tea towel, we think we’ve achieved the best of both. Decorated with one of our most charming covers, it’s made of unbleached cotton and – ever attentive to detail – we’ve made sure it has a proper upward-pointing loop to hang it by.

UK: £8.50
Europe: £10
RoW: £10

 

Greetings Cards

Subscribers often say they wish they could have reproductions of our covers, so we’ve made four of the most popular ones into cards – two redolent of spring and summer, and two with a winter theme. They are made for us by Cornflower, another small firm with strong ethical principles, based in a village in the Berkshire Downs. Though small, Cornflower supplies several top museums and galleries, and our cards are beautifully produced. Appropriate for any occasion, they would also make perfect Easter or Christmas cards.

UK: £10.50
Europe: £11.50
RoW: £11.50

 
Slightly Foxed Edition No. 24
 
Period Piece

Gwen Raverat

320pp 
• Cloth-boun• Hand-numbered
Illustrated • 220 x 155mm
 
Gwen Raverat is best known for her glorious wood-engravings, but in her childhood memoir Period Piece she created a perfect small masterpiece of another kind – a deliciously funny, affectionate and atmospheric picture of life in the small world of nineteenth century academic Cambridge among the eccentric Darwin clan.

UK: £16; EU: £18;
Rest of World: £19



Mug

The popular Slightly Foxed mug is made by Hartley Greens & Co., a small firm with a distinguished history which, under its original name of The Leeds Pottery, has been producing its distinctive creamware since 1756. Our mug is in this traditional creamware – a type of earthenware made from white Cornish clay combined with a translucent glaze to produce a delicious pale cream colour. It carries an appropriately bookish quotation – hand-lettered by the distinguished calligrapher and artist, Susie Leiper – and our endpiece of the little fox in SF’s signature dark grey.

UK: £15
Europe: £17
RoW: £18

 

A Set of Foxed Cubs

We are publishing all 12 Carey novels by Ronald Welch as cloth-bound, hand-numbered limited editions over the next three years. The first three books, Knight Crusader, The Galleon and For the King will be dispatched straightaway and subsequent titles will be sent to you, or to a recipient of your choice, as they are published.

If bought as a set of 12, you will save £1 per book.

You’ll find a full list of titles and publication dates on our website.

UK: £180
Europe: £204
RoW: £216

 
Another Self

Going fast . . .

A Late Beginner
 
Priscilla Napier grew up in Egypt during the last golden years of the Edwardian Age – a time when, for her parents’ generation, it seemed the sun would never set upon ‘the regimental band playing selections from HMS Pinafore under the banyan tree’.

UK: £12
Europe: £14
RoW: £15

 

Book Bag

If, like us, you are forever carting books around (not to mention reading specs, bus pass, purse or wallet, pencil or pen, yesterday’s crossword and the odd bit of shopping); and if, like us, you’re reluctant to advertise your very large local supermarket, you might consider investing in our elegant (and ecological) Slightly Foxed bag. Made from hard-wearing dark grey jute with Slightly Foxed and our little book-reading fox picked out in cream, each one is big enough to hold at least 5 or 6 books, measures 30 x 30 x 20 cms and has handles long enough to fit over the shoulder, but not too long to carry in the hand.

UK: £7.50
Europe: £8.50
RoW: £8.50

 

Going fast . . .

Slightly Foxed Edition No. 23
 
The Past Is Myself
 
Christabel Bielenberg,
a beautiful woman from an influential Anglo-Irish family, spent much of the Second World War with her children in a small village in the Black Forest. The Past Is Myself is her unique and fascinating account of wartime life in this ‘other Germany’ and of her own nail-biting encounter with the Nazi regime.

UK: £16; EU: £18;
Rest of World: £19



Going fast!

Limited Edition
2014 Wall Calendar
 
Next year Slightly Foxed will celebrate its tenth birthday, and we’ve decided to mark the occasion with a 2014 wall calendar featuring some of the Slightly Foxed covers that readers enjoy so much. It’s a handsome, spiral-bound calendar measuring 26 x 18 cms and printed on sturdy paper with a board backing, and we feel it will raise the spirits and look good in any room.
 



 
It would make a charming present for anyone who loves Slightly Foxed, or indeed for anyone who hasn’t yet come across it. We’ll only be printing a limited number, so do order while stocks last.

UK £12.50
Overseas £14.50



For the full range of Slightly Foxed Editions, Paperbacks, Cubs and all things Slightly Foxed, please visit our online shop.

Completely Foxed

From our first cautious steps to the growing confidence of a decade in print, ‘Completely Foxed’ will extend across a bookshelf in a neat arrangement of cream and grey. The perfect present for those who like to go the whole hog.

Issues 1–40 • Annual subscription (Issues 41–44) • 11 Slipcases *Save over £100

The current issue is No. 40, Winter 2013. Issues 1–40 and 11 slipcases will be dispatched immediately, followed by Issues 41-44 throughout 2014.

UK: £499
Europe: £609
RoW: £653

 
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