Page 105. " the Grand Canal "



The Grand Canal is one of the principal waterways in Venice, a city in northeast Italy consisting of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges.

In the past the main means of transportation on the canals was the gondola, a flat-bottomed boat. Nowadays, gondolas tend to be reserved for tourists, while residents use water buses (vaporetti) and private water taxis.


Google Map
Page 106. " two firsts at Crufts' "
Painting of Bramshaw Bob, Crufts Best in Show, 1932 and 1933
Public DomainPainting of Bramshaw Bob, Crufts Best in Show, 1932 and 1933 - Credit: Reuben Ward Binks

 Crufts is an annual dog show which takes place over four days. It is hosted by the Kennel Club and is currently held in Birmingham. The first Crufts show was held in London in 1891.

At Crufts, dogs that have qualified in regional rounds compete in a hierarchical fashion: firstly, they compete against members of their own breed to determine Best of Breed; then they compete against winners of other breed sections to determine Best of Group (groups being categories such as hounds, terriers etc.); finally, they compete against other group winners for the top two accolades: Best in Show and Reserve Best in Show.

Page 111. " I think you ought to do something to your hair. Why don't you have it waved? "
Marcel Wave (1926)
Public DomainMarcel Wave (1926) - Credit: Bain News Service
Marcel Wave (1927)
Public DomainMarcel Wave (1927) - Credit: unknown

Short, artificially-waved hair was a popular style for women during the 1920s and 1930s. Waves could be created using heated curling irons or simply by using the fingers and a comb on wet hair. Curling irons were first developed in the 1870s in France by François Marcel Grateau, and the effect created by them became known as the Marcel Wave. Waves created by the alternative method were known as finger waves.

Click here to see a picture of the young Daphne du Maurier with a Marcel Wave.

Click here to see some more elaborate 1930s hairstyles.

Page 111. " I never have cared for that Joan of Arc business or whatever they call it. "
Louise Brooks
Public DomainLouise Brooks - Credit: Bain News Service
Louise Brooks on the cover of 'Photoplay' (1927)
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike Depiction of Louise Brooks on the cover of 'Photoplay' (1927) - Credit: Luke McKernan

 Joan of Arc (known in French as Jeanne d'Arc) was a 15th century French peasant girl whose divine visions inspired her to take a leading role in the Hundred Years War. Following her capture by the Burgundians, she was burnt at the stake for heresy at the age of 19. She was canonized (declared a saint) by the Roman Catholic church in 1920.

In 1909, the French hairdresser Antoine devised a short haircut for women known as coupe à la Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc cut), the inspiration for which may have been a painting by Alfred Lynch. It became known in English as the bob.

The bob style, which is often fringed, is created by cutting the hair uniformally at jaw level, or slightly higher. In the 1920s, it became particularly associated with an emancipated breed of young women who were given the name flappers in English and garçonnes in French. During the latter part of the decade, its popularity was given a further boost by films starring the American actress and dancer Louise Brooks, whose hair was cut in a very sleek bob style.

Click here to see a picture of the young Daphne du Maurier with bobbed hair.

Page 114. " the magnolia tree "
Magnolai x soulangeana
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMagnolai x soulangeana - Credit: Jebulon
Magnolia grandiflora blossom
Creative Commons AttributionMagnolia grandiflora blossom - Credit: DavetheMage

 Magnolia is a very ancient genus of flowering plants which contains about 210 species.

One of the most commonly grown Magnolia trees in Britain is the deciduous hybrid Magnolia x soulangeana (saucer magnolia) whose springtime blossoms may be various shades of white, pink or purple, and are often fragranced.  One of its distinctive features is that its flowers emerge before its leaves.

Another popular British choice is Magnolia grandiflora, an evergreen, native to the United States, which is also known as the bull bay or southern magnolia. It has dark green glossy leaves and bears highly-fragranced white/cream flowers in late summer and autumn.

Magnolia x soulangeana
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMagnolia x soulangeana - Credit: TUBS
Page 115. " a mackerel sky "
King mackerel
Public DomainKing mackerel - Credit: NOAA's Fisheries Collection

A mackerel sky, so-named because of its similarity to the markings on a king mackerel's back, is a sky dappled with clouds of the cirrocumulus, or altocumulus type. It is occasionally known as a buttermilk sky.


Mackerel sky
Creative Commons AttributionMackerel sky - Credit: Hilary Chambers
Page 117. " Cost me a fiver at Harrods "

Creative Commons AttributionHarrods - Credit: Filippo Diotalevi
A fiver is an informal term for the British five pound note. Black and white five pound notes were issued for the first time in 1793, and from 1855 were decorated with a picture of Britannia in the style of a Saxon princess. This design remained unchanged until 1957 when a multi-coloured (predominantly dark blue) banknote was introduced. The earlier black and white notes were sometimes referred to as white fivers.

Click here and here to see black and white five pound notes.

Harrods is a smart department store situated on the Brompton Road in Knightsbridge in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. A small shop on this site was established by Charles Henry Harrod in 1851, and by 1880 was employing 80 people. When this business was destroyed by fire, it was replaced by the present-day building. Harrods is particularly renowned for the variety and quality of produce in its food-hall.