On the return of a long-lost book

In her memoir, ‘What Language Do I Dream In?’ Elena Lappin recounts the tale of a novel being returned to her, years after she and her family had left behind their home in Prague.

I’ll leave you to read the story in its entirety (and if you’ve not already done so, would urge you to seek out the memoir) but I can tell you of my excitement on learning of Lappin’s ‘slim paperback with a shiny red, blue and white cover…’ slipping from its envelope, and my surprise at the twist borne by its blue-inked inscription, added to the title page by her brother. She says of the experience, ‘I was speechless.’

On Finding Pennerton House

An early reader of Silver and Salt wrote to me yesterday: ‘I would like to go to Pennerton.’

‘So would I!’ I wrote back, explaining there was no such place. The sprawling country house in Kent, where much of the novel is set, is made of fragments of memories of houses I’ve visited in my life. One New Year in my 20’s, I sang a concert in London and took a train to Somerset. I walked in the Quantocks every day of the week I was there. Happening upon Alfoxton House, one-time home to William and Dorothy Wordsworth, I found its gardens largely neglected.

Feather-Clock

This is my first post. I’ll give you something different every time; today it’s the object that has hung above my desk since 2008.  When someone asks me what it is, I’m surprised by the question.  To me, it’s perfectly obvious. In a house-move, one of the feathers (the fluffy white one) was damaged.  I…