Page 176. " she read The Diary of a Nobody "

The Diary of a Nobody is a comic novel in diary form written by two brothers, George and Weedon Grossmith; Weedon was responsible for the illustrations.

Serialised in Punch between 1888 and 1889, it was published in book form in 1892. It has never been out of print.

An extract from The Diary of a Nobody:

April 27 - Painted the bath red and was delighted with the result. Sorry to say that Carrie was not, a fact we had a few words about. She said I ought to have consulted her, and she had never heard of such a thing as a bath being painted red. I replied: "It's merely a matter of taste."

Full text



Page 179. " in the bar at the Tokatlian "

The Tokatlian was a hotel in Istanbul during the early part of the 20th Century, and possibly prior to that. It does not appear to be in business at present, although its closure date is unclear.

It was situated on the Grand Rue de Pera (later, Istiklal Caddesi, or Independence Street) in the area of Istanbul inhabited by the European and American communities.

In Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, there is a reference to Hercule Poirot staying at the Tokatlian.

Does anyone have more information about this?

Page 179. " the Embassy staff put us in the boat to Piraeus "
Piraeus harbour in 1913
Public DomainPiraeus harbour in 1913 - Credit: unknown
 Piraeus is a port city situated close to Athens in Greece. Historically important as a port since the time of the ancient Greeks, it possesses the largest harbour in the country.


Google Map


Page 192. " and went round to the Travellers' for a game "

The Travelers Club was a gambling club in Paris which was popular with Americans. 

Does anyone have more information about this?

Page 193. " 'I usually go to Ciro's.' 'Why not Paillard's?' "
Dinner is served!
GNU Free Documentation LicenseDinner is served! - Credit: KillerChihuahua, Wikimedia Commons

Ciro's restaurant was situated on the ground floor of the Hotel Daunou in the Rue Daunou in Paris. A highly fashionable eating place, it was one of a chain of restaurants with the same name, branches of which could be found in Monte Carlo and Biarritz.

There is reference on the internet to Paillard's being a highly respected restaurant in Paris in the early years of the 20th Century, but information about its location, origins and subsequent history is sparse.

Does anyone have more information?

Page 193. " I remember the dinner well "
Rationing almost over - poster heralding the return of the Mars bar (1945)!
Creative Commons AttributionRationing almost over - poster heralding the return of the Mars bar (1945)! - Credit: Smabs Sputzer, Flickr

In his prologue to Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh notes that he wrote the novel while suffering the privations of wartime ('the period of soya beans and Basic English'), and that as a result he may have gone somewhat overboard in his descriptions of exotic food and luxurious eating experiences.

However, as this passage shows, he did have a particular talent for depicting such scenes, and many readers would have been sorry had he held back on his gourmet descriptions.

Page 193. " soup of oseille, a sole quite simply cooked in a white wine sauce, a caneton à la presse "
Rumex scutatus
GNU Free Documentation LicenseRumex scutatus - Credit: Kurt Stueber, Wikimedia Commons

Oseille is sorrel. French cuisine uses French sorrel (Rumex scutatus) which is different from the Garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa) which grows wild in Britain.

Try this recipe for sorrel soup

Caneton à la presse (Vegetarians, look away now!), known in English as pressed duck, is duck served in a sauce made from its own blood and marrow, these ingredients being extracted using a specially designed press.


Page 193. " caviar aux blinis "
Beluga caviar (black) and salmon caviar
Creative Commons AttributionBeluga caviar (black) and salmon caviar - Credit: THOR, Flickr
Caviar is the salted roe* of large fish (especially the sturgeon); it is generally served as an appetiser.

Strictly speaking, the term caviar is reserved for the roe of Caspian sea sturgeons (which is black), but it is sometimes used to describe other roe, such as salmon roe.

Salmon roe is often known as red caviar.

Blinis are thin pancakes which contain yeast; they are traditionally made with buckwheat flour.

Recipe for blinis.

*fish eggs

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBlinis - Credit: Gordon Joly, Flickr






Page 193. " 1906 Montrachet, then at its prime, and, with the duck, a Clos de Bèze of 1904 "

Montrachet is Grand Cru chardonnay from the Côte de Beaune subregion of Burgundy, and is considered one of the best dry white wines in the world.

Chambertin-Clos de Bèze is Grand Cru pinot noir from the Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy.

Page 198. " his golf with the Prince of Wales, his membership of Bratt's "
Edward, Prince of Wales in 1919
Public DomainEdward, Prince of Wales in 1919 - Credit: unknown

The Prince of Wales in question was Prince Edward, who would later become King Edward VIII. Born in 1894, Prince Edward was socially very active during the 1920s, and was a much sought-after member of aristocratic society.

In 1936, he provoked a constitutional crisis when he decided to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson; this decision led ultimately to his abdication.

Listen to the abdication speech of Edward Vlll:

Listen on Spotify


There is no such club as Bratts, but there is a gentlemen's club in London known as Pratts. It was founded in 1857, and is situated off St James's Street in Mayfair.

Page 199. " they had been married very quietly at the Savoy Chapel "
The Savoy Chapel
Creative Commons AttributionThe Savoy Chapel - Credit: Elliott Brown, Flickr

The reason for Rex Mottram's and Julia Flyte's rather low-key wedding is explained later in the novel.

The Savoy Chapel, or Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, is situated off the Strand in London.

It was a chapel where a marriage without banns could take place, that is, a marriage which had not been publicly announced in a Christian parish church prior to its taking place.

The significance of this will become clear.