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26-27 August


The golden age of English fiction

Everywhere I look, says Susie Goldsbrough in The Times, I see Charles Dickens. He appears in Zadie Smith’s first historical novel, The Fraud, out next month; earlier this year Olivia Colman camped it up in the latest adaptation of Great Expectations. Partly it’s because Dickens was so prolific – he wrote 20 novels and seven plays, as well as “roughly 70 letters a day”. But perhaps it’s also because “the novel died with Dickens”. That may be an exaggeration, but the Victorian era saw one of those freak bits of historical alchemy where “very specific economic conditions” meet the “lightning strikes of individual creative brilliance”.

Tomorrow’s world

No one has set foot on the moon in more than 50 years, says Jon Kelvey in Popular Science. But the world is taking an interest once more. Nasa has “committed to landing astronauts on the Moon again in 2025”; China plans to do it in 2030. In the meantime, this week saw an unsuccessful Russian attempt, and a successful Indian one, to land robotic craft on lunar surface. This is no “second space race”, but a gold rush. America, China, Russia, and India are aiming to exploit the moon’s resources – including ice and valuable minerals – for economic ends, rather than embarking on a “non-military proxy contest” in space.


quoted Marx 28.8.23

“I intend to live forever or die trying.”

Groucho Marx


The beach house

This three-bedroom former church house is set on a winding street in Hastings Old Town. It has an open-plan kitchen, a huge living area with triple-height windows, and herringbone parquet flooring throughout. There’s also a self-contained apartment with a private entrance, perfect to let as a holiday rental. Outside, there’s a sunny terrace, and the seafront is just a few minutes’ walk. Trains from Hastings to London St Pancras take an hour and 20 minutes. £1.5m.

The townhouse

This Grade II listed, four-bedroom townhouse lies in the centre of Congleton, Cheshire. Its 3,000 sq ft interior includes a drawing room with dual-aspect views, a large kitchen, and a wealth of original features, including cast-iron radiators, a wood-burning stove and a moulded stone fireplace. Outside, there’s a 180ft garden complete with a terrace for al fresco dining. Congleton station is a 15-minute walk, with direct trains to Manchester in 40 minutes. £750,000.





quoted bos 26.8.23

“When women gossip, we get called bitchy; but when men do it’s called a podcast.”

Comedian Sikisa Bostwick-Barnes