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7-8 October


Children first, books second, lovers third

“Books or babies?” It’s a choice that has presented itself to female novelists for centuries, says Margaret Drabble in UnHerd. And for a long time the answer, mostly, was books: great writers from Jane Austen, George Eliot and the Brontës to Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf all chose the pen over the pram. But there have always been those who managed to buck the trend. And as a female novelist and mother, I have long delighted in collecting their tips and tricks.

The townhouse

This five-storey Gothic Revival house is just off Ramsgate’s bustling high street, and seconds from the historic Royal Harbour. The three-bedroom home retains many original features, including dark, richly stained floorboards, sash windows, and one of the last remaining timber-framed facades in the area. The train station is a 20-minute walk, with services to London St Pancras in 75 minutes. £460,000.

The great escape

The Khao Yai resort in Thailand isn’t your average InterContinental, says Messy Nessy. Set among thick jungle and fruit orchards, the railway-themed hotel consists of train carriages that have been converted into luxury accommodation. The (admittedly narrow) suites feature upmarket versions of the futon-style beds you find in sleeper trains; guests take their meals in the dining car and afternoon refreshments in the tea carriage. A moss-covered railway track cuts through the middle of the property, past an airy lobby styled on a classic Thai railway station. Book your stay here.


quoted 7-10-23 DFW

“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realise how seldom they do.”

David Foster Wallace

Tomorrow’s world

A flying car first sketched on the back of a Silicon Valley napkin in 2015 made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show last month, says Robb Report. Built by California startup Alef Aeronautics, the Model A has a body made from lightweight carbon fibre mesh that conceals eight propellors, each with its own computer-controlled electric engine. The vehicle – which can drive on the road and take off vertically – is aimed at the general public, with an expected price of around $300,000. “I can teach you how to fly and drive this in about 15 minutes or less,” says Alef founder Jim Dukhovny. “If you can tell the difference between the right, left, up, down, front and back, you can do this. It’s pretty much the only controls it has.”


THE MILL This Grade-II listed former flour mill is in the hills just outside the picturesque village of Lympstone in Devon. It has five bedrooms, high ceilings, excellent light throughout, and a reception room overlooking the garden and mill pond. There is also a separate one-bedroom flat on the top floor of the original wheelhouse. The mill itself hasn’t been operational since 1950, but it has the potential to be used again to generate electricity. Lympstone railway station, with direct services to London Paddington, is a 10-minute walk; Exeter city centre is a 10-minute drive. £1.5m.

From the archives

When the Norwegian Jon Fosse was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday, the prolific novelist, short story writer and playwright earnestly described himself as “overwhelmed, and somewhat frightened”. When English novelist Doris Lessing heard she had won the same award in 2007, her reaction was less effusive. See the full video here.


quoted 7-10-23 Woolf

“Why are women so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”

Virginia Woolf