Page 227. " I love to go to Harrods Food Hall "
Harrods Food Hall meat section
Creative Commons AttributionHarrods Food Hall meat section - Credit: malte.mathiszig

Harrods is an upmarket department store situated on the Brompton Road in the Knightsbridge area of London.

It has an opulent and well-stocked Food Hall, where a range of luxury foods and wines are on offer.














Harrods Food Hall chocolates section
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHarrods Food Hall chocolates section - Credit: Richard Croft

Google Map


Page 230. " She played the beginning of Chopin's Scherzo No. 2 like a courier starting a motorbike. "
Portrait of Chopin
Public DomainPortrait of Chopin - Credit: Ary Scheffer

 Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was a Polish-born composer and pianist who settled in Paris from the age of 19 onward. Most of his compositions are solo works for the piano, but he also composed two piano concertos.

His Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31 was composed and published in 1837. As mentioned later in the text (p.238), Schumann described this scherzo as 'over-flowing with tenderness, boldness, love and contempt'.

Listen here to the Scherzo No. 2 on Spotify.



Page 234. " They pulled in behind the church at the crown of Ladbroke Grove "

St John's Notting Hill


This is the Church of St John the Evangelist, the Parish Church for Notting Hill. It is a Victorian Gothic building which was completed in 1845. It is situated on Lansdowne Crescent.


Google Map
Page 234. " the reredos was designed by Aston Webb "
Reredos at St Barnabas Church, Pimlico, London
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeReredos at St Barnabas Church, Pimlico, London - Credit: Steve Cadman

 Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930) was an English architect. His numerous architectural projects include the design of the main building of the Victoria and Albert museum, the Queen Victoria Memorial, and the redesign of the principal facade of Buckingham Palace.

A reredos (sometimes raredos) is a an ornamental screen covering the wall behind the altar, or the communion table, in a church. It generally depicts a religious scene and may be painted or carved; it may also contain recesses for the placing of statues. A reredos is very similar to an altarpiece  or a retable.

Click here to see the Aston Webb reredos at the Church of St John the Evangelist in Notting Hill.







Reredos at Chapel of Our Lady, Holy Trinity, Winchester
Creative Commons AttributionReredos at Chapel of Our Lady, Holy Trinity, Winchester - Credit: James Bradley
Page 237. " a thin-lipped man from the Cabinet Office "

The Cabinet Office is the department of the United Kingdom Government whose function is to support the work of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Cabinet (the decision-making body of the Government consisting of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and senior ministers).

The Cabinet Office is located at 70 Whitehall, adjacent to the Prime Minister's official residence at 10 Downing Street, and employs more than 2,000 staff.


The Cabinet Office at 70 Whitehall, London
Creative Commons AttributionThe Cabinet Office at 70 Whitehall, London - Credit: Gene Hunt

Google Map


Page 238. " 'No, sadly we're at Badminton that weekend.' "
Badminton House, Gloucestershire
Creative Commons AttributionBadminton House, Gloucestershire - Credit: Adam Blake

The Badminton Horse Trials is a three-day equestrian event which takes place annually in April or May.

It is held in the grounds of Badminton House, the family home of the Duke of Beaufort, in Badminton, Gloucestershire.






Badminton Horse Trials, 2011
Creative Commons AttributionBadminton Horse Trials, 2011 - Credit: Adam Blake

Google Map


Page 238. " It was a couple of Schubert Impromptus that followed, the C minor and the stream-like E-flat major "


Portrait of Franz Schubert (1827)
Public DomainPortrait of Franz Schubert (1827) - Credit: probably Anton Depauly

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer. He is particularly remembered for his 600 Lieder ('songs') which are compositions written as settings for romantic German poems.

An impromptu, as its name suggests, is a spontaneous musical composition, usually for a solo instrument.

Schubert's Impromptus are a series of eight solo pieces for the piano, composed in 1827. No's 1 and 2 are in C minor and E-flat major respectively.

Listen here to Schubert's Impromptu in C minor;

Listen here to Schubert's Impromptu in E-flat major.



Page 239. " Beethoven's 'Farewell' Sonata "
Portrait of Archduke Rudolf of Austria
Public DomainPortrait of Archduke Rudolf of Austria - Credit: Giovanni Battista Lampi

 Ludwig van Beethoven's Les Adieux ('Farewell') sonata, also known as Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat major, Op 81a, was completed in 1810. It was written to mark the enforced departure of Archduke Rudolf of Austria (Beethoven's patron) from Vienna during the siege of the city by Napoleon.

Listen here to Beethoven's 'Farewell' sonata on Spotify.



Page 240. " even Parsifal he had described as 'great fun' "
'The Temptation of Sir Percival' (1894)
Public Domain'The Temptation of Sir Percival' (1894) - Credit: Arthur Hacker

 Parsifal is a three-act opera by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on medieval literature about the Arthurian knight Percival and his quest for the Holy Grail.  It is a very serious, religious work, beautiful but hardly "great fun".

Listen here to the prelude from Parsifal on Spotify.



Page 242. " Rachmaninov's Prelude in C-sharp minor "
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Public DomainSergei Rachmaninoff (1901) - Credit: unknown

 Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1941) was a Russian-born composer, pianist and conductor. He left Russia in 1917 during the Russian Revolution and eventually set up home in America.

Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor for piano is one of his most famous compositions. It is part of a set known as Morceaux de fantaisie, and was first performed in Moscow in 1892 by the composer himself. Later on, Rachmaninoff published a further 23 preludes.

Listen here to Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor on Spotify.



Page 242. " Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, in the famous Busoni transcription "
Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach (1748)
Public DomainPortrait of Johann Sebastian Bach (1748) - Credit: Elias Gottlob Haussmann
Ferrucio Busoni
Public DomainFerrucio Busoni - Credit: unknown

 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a German composer and instrumentalist, who was a particularly talented organ player.

Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor was originally written for the organ and was not published during his lifetime. A transcription (re-writing) of the composition for piano was made by Ferrucio Busoni (1866-1924).

Since the 1970s, the attribution of the original work to Bach has been questioned by several scholars.

Listen here to the Busoni transcription of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor on Spotify.



Page 242. " the Sabre Dance by Khachaturian "
Aram Khachaturian in the 1930s
Public DomainAram Khachaturian in the 1930s - Credit: unknown

 Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was a composer who was born in what is now Tbilisi in Georgia. He moved to Moscow at the age of 19, graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1934, and remained in the city for the rest of his life.

He is particularly well-known for pieces from two of his ballets: Spartacus and Gayane.

Listen here to Khachaturian's Sabre Dance from Gayane.

Listen here to Khachaturian's Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia from Spartacus.




Page 245. " the Medici Quartet at Hawkeswood for a marvellous evening with Giscard d'Estaing "
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1986
Creative Commons AttributionValéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1986 - Credit: Roland Godefroy

The Medici String Quartet has been in existence since 1974. They have been ensemble in residence at the University of Surrey since 1996, and have strong links with the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Click here and here to see images of the Medici String Quartet.

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is a French politician who was born in 1926. He served as President of the French Republic between 1974 and 1981.


Click here to listen to the Medici Quartet play Haydn's String Quartet in C Major, Op 20 on Spotify.

Page 246. " Denis Beckwith, a handsome old saurian of the right enjoying fresh acclaim these days, had hired Kiri te Kanawa "

Sauria is the name given to the sub-group of reptiles to which the lizards belong.

Crocodiles and extinct dinosaurs were also at one time classified as saurians.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is a soprano who has had an enormously successful career as an opera singer. She was born in 1944 on New Zealand's North Island and is of Māori and European descent.



Page 246. " 'Oh? ... Heseltine? "
Michael Heseltine in 2010
Creative Commons AttributionMichael Heseltine in 2010 - Credit: Financial Times

 Michael Heseltine, who was born in 1933, was a U.K. Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001. He held various ministerial positions in Margaret Thatcher's government between 1979 and 1986. 

In 1990, he stood for the leadership of the Conservative Party, a move that led directly to Margaret Thatcher's downfall.  He failed in his bid, but became Deputy Prime Minister under John Major in 1995.