Page 43. " Five guineas, Ben reckons "
Guinea of George III - 1795
GNU Free Documentation LicenseGuinea of George III - 1795 - Credit: Carlomorino, Wikipedia Commons

The guinea was the first machine-made gold coin, in use between 1663 and 1813. Its name came from the West African region of Guinea (not the country), from where much of the gold was sourced.

At first, one guinea was worth 1 pound, or 20 shillings. As gold prices rose, the price of the guinea fluctuated (up to 30 shillings) until in 1717 it was fixed at 21 shillings.

Long after the coin was withdrawn from circulation, prices for luxury and high class goods and services were quoted in guineas.

Page 44. " Peter has been preoccupied shredding mangel-wurzels "

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMangel-wurzel - Credit: MarkusHagenlocher
Mangelwurzel or 'mangold wurzel' is a root vegetable used to feed livestock, although it is also suitable for human consumption.

It comes from the German Mangel/Mangold, meaning 'chard' and Wurzel, meaning 'root'.

Page 48. " listened to a military band play Strauss without much enthusiasm "

Renowned as one of the world's great composers, Austrian Johann Strauss (1825 – 1899) was known as 'The Waltz King' for his impressive collection of light dance music, including more than 500 waltzes, polkas and other dance scores, as well as a ballet and various operettas.

Some of his most famous works include 'Kaiser-Walzer', 'The Blue Danube', 'Tales from the Vienna Woods' and the Pizzicato Polka. The operettas, Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron are also popular.

The son of the successful dance composer Johann Strauss I, the young Strauss strongly encouraged to take up banking instead. Strauss did not follow his father's advice, and instead studied music with composer Joseph Drechsler, taking violin lessons in secret. 

Strauss died aged 73 of double pneumonia, in Vienna in 1899.

Page 48. " I long to go to Vienna "

Vienna meant art and music, above all. It meant grand concert halls, pristine palaces, dazzling architecture and literary talent.

Home to Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss and Schubert, it was a musician’s paradise and remains so today.


Vienna Opera House
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeVienna Opera House - Credit: JP
Page 48. " I long to hear Wagner "

The German composer Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig on May 22, 1813. He is revered for his monumental operatic works, such as The Ring and Tristan and Isolde.

A controversial figure, he was a pioneer in his field, creating new compositional techniques and theatre designs. Tristan has been viewed as the start of modern music.

Composing his first full opera at the age of 20, Wagner moved to Dresden in 1842, where he worked for the next six years. He was exiled after the 1848 revolutions for his part in the nationalist political movement, which sought constitutional freedoms and wanted to unite the many small German states into a single nation.  After a period in Switzerland, he moved to Bavaria under the patronage of the eccentric King Ludwig II.  Although the two men eventually fell out, Ludwig in large part funded Wagner's magnificent opera house at Bayreuth, built in 1876 specifically for The Ring.

Wagner also wrote myriad poems, articles, essays and books on politics and philosophy, although these were tainted by his anti-semitic views.

He died in Venice on February 13, 1883. He was highly regarded by the novelists W H Auden, Thomas Mann and Marcel Proust, amongst many others.


Page 48. " at the Opera House "

Vienna's Opera House lies at the heart of the Austrian capital, on the Ringstraße. 

It was built between 1861 and 1869 as part of the Viennese 'city expansion fund' project. The Vienna Court Opera (Weiner Hofoper), renamed the Vienna State Opera (Weiner Staatsoper) in 1920, was not always popular with the people however. Some thought its style less impressive than the Heinrichshof, and it was likened to a 'sunken treasure chest' because the Ringstraße was raised a metre in front of the building whilst it was being erected. 

The stage and auditorium were destroyed by flames in a WW2 bombing raid in 1945. It would be another ten years before the Opera House reopened at its original site, restored to its former glory. 



The Opera House is also famous for hosting the annual Vienna Opera Ball, which attracts the world's wealthy each year on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.


Page 48. " stroll up the Korso "

The Korso is Vienna's Ringstraße (Ringstrasse).

It is also spelt 'Corso', and is a key area within the city, encircling the Innere Stadt district.



Page 48. " Lucy and I went to Innsbruck yesterday "
Public DomainInnsbruck - Credit: Ironmonkey285

Innsbruck lies in the Inn Valley, and is overshadowed by majestic mountains on either side.

Located in the west of Austria, it is the capital of the state of Tyrol. The name 'Innsbruck' is derived from the German word 'Brücke', which means 'bridge': the bridge over the Inn.

Innsbruck is now a popular ski destination. 

Page 48. " see the Votive Church "
Vienna's Votive Church
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeVienna's Votive Church - Credit: Peter Bubenik - Aufnahmedatum: 31.10.2004

Vienna's Votivkirche safeguards the tomb of Viennese Commander Count Niklas Salm, who defended the city against the 1529 Turkish seige.

Built between 1856 and 1879, the Church was commissioned following an assassination attempt on the Emperor Francis Joseph I. Such was the gratitude of Archduke Ferdinand Max that his brother's life had been saved, he funded the project.

The Votive Church boasts three impressive gabled portals, complete with archivaults. Two towers flank a beautiful rose window.

Intricate and elaborate in design, it features gargoyles, winged beasts and pinnacled buttresses.

Page 49. " beside her stood a tall man, in a macintosh and a Homburg "
Public DomainHomburg - Credit: Bernard B. Demonvel (?)

A homburg is a hat usually made of felt or wool. Its defining features include the single dent through the centre of the crown and the firm fixed upward curl of the brim. Although similar to the trilby and fedora, it is less malleable than these.

The homburg was made fashionable by Edward VII, who took a liking to the hat after a visit to Homburg in Hesse, Germany, and brought the style back to Britain. Most commonly found in black, grey or brown, the homburg can be obtained in various other colours. 

It was also known as the 'Anthony Eden' during the 1930s, after the Government Minister and later Prime Minister. 


Page 50. " effortfully pushing father in his bath chair "
Bath Chair
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBath Chair - Credit: Rwendland

The bath chair had a hood, which could be folded over to keep its occupant dry. It had three or four wheels, and could either be pushed (as LMS did ) or pulled.

As suggested by its name, the chair was invented in Bath, England, by James Heath.


Page 50. " listening to Brahm's first piano concerto "

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg in May 1833, but spent most of his professional career in Vienna.

The German composer and pianist is synonymous with the Romantic period in music. His many compositions include symphonies, piano concerti and chamber ensembles, and a celebrated choral work, A German Requiem.

Brahms died of cancer in 1897. He was buried in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.


 Braham's Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor, Op 15 was completed in 1858. It premiered in Hanover in 1859 when Brahms was just 25 years old, but the second and third movements were later rewritten.

Page 50. " on the gramophone "
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGramophone - Credit: Ludmiła Pilecka

 Gramophones represented the first widespread method of recording and replaying sound.