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16-17 September


quoted eliot 16-9-23

“I wonder how girls manage to fall in love. It is easy to make them do it in books. But men are too ridiculous.”

George Eliot


quoted levenson 16-9-23

“Insanity is hereditary. You can get it from your children.”

American writer Sam Levenson


Beijing is considering banning garments that are “detrimental to the spirit of the Chinese nation”, with fines or 15-day prison sentences issued to those that don’t comply. Exactly which kinds of clothes are unpatriotic is currently unclear, though Japanese kimonos and “effeminate” menswear have already been the subjects of state crackdowns.


Early in his career, Elton John was hired to do a private concert for Queen Elizabeth II, says the musician’s longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin in his new memoir. I was only too happy to be a “fly on the wall”. The gig in question took place in a drab and musty room in what felt like “the bowels of Windsor Castle”. The audience was small, but contained “enough overdressed patricians and eccentricity to warrant weirdness of the first order”. The only recognisable presence besides the Queen was Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield, a celebrity photographer and “notorious libertine”. Sure enough, during a “particularly genteel rendition” of Your Song, the earl keeled over in an “intoxicated stupor”. Everyone basically ignored him – clearly, this was “standard procedure” – except the Queen, who turned her head slightly and said “Lichfield’s gorn again”. Whereupon a “clean-up crew” of four footmen, “powdered wigs and all”, trundled in and “whisked him out as if under a cloak of invisibility”.

Scattershot by Bernie Taupin is available to buy here.


The pied-a-terre

This one-bedroom flat is right in the hustle and bustle of London’s Soho, on a pedestrianised passage just off Dean Street. Occupying the second floor of a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse, it has a reception room with floor-to-ceiling sash windows and original limestone fireplace; a galley kitchen with cherry wood countertops; and a sizeable loft. The bedroom window overlooks a quiet internal courtyard. £1.05m.

The bolthole

Built as part of Swale House around 1750, this fully refurbished Grade II listed cottage in Richmond, North Yorkshire has a generous garden with far-reaching views, and all the benefits of living in the heart of a charming market town. The kitchen boasts high vaulted ceilings, windows on both sides, and underfloor heating beneath the Egyptian stone tiles. Both double bedrooms have en suite shower rooms. Darlington station is a 25-minute drive, with trains to London in two and a half hours. £375,000.