Page 356. " I think I'm right in saying he became the Poet Laureate "
Statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras Station, London
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStatue of John Betjeman at St Pancras Station, London - Credit: Simon Palmer

Lady Partridge has confused John Berryman with John Betjeman.

John Betjeman (1906-1984) was a poet, writer, and broadcaster who was the British Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death.

His poetry gained great popular acclaim because of its straightforward style, strongly rhythmic qualities, and a sense of being quintessentially English. These characteristics may be seen in the following extract from 'A Subaltern's Love Song', one of his best-known poems:


               Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,

               Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,

               What strenuous singles we played after tea,

               We in the tournament - you against me!


               Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,

              The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,

              With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,

              I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.


Click here to read the full text.

Click here to watch a snippet of an interview with John Betjeman.

Page 360. " he said he thought it might be by one of the Huguenot silversmiths working in London in the mid-eighteenth century, perhaps by Paul de Lamerie "
Silver kettle and tripod by Paul de Lamerie
Public DomainSilver kettle and tripod by Paul de Lamerie - Credit: Daderot

 The Huguenots were followers of the theologian John Calvin and members of the Protestant Reformed Church in 16th and 17th century France. Because of religious persecution, about half a million Hugeuenots were forced to flee France and settle in countries sympathetic to the Protestant faith, such as England, Scotland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Silver cake basket and stand by Paul de Lamerie and Paul Storr
Creative Commons AttributionSilver cake basket and stand by Paul de Lamerie and Paul Storr - Credit: Sean Pathasema/Birmingham Museum of Art

 Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751) was a Dutch-born silversmith whose father, a Huguenot, had been forced to leave France in 1685. The de Lamerie family later moved to London where Paul eventually became apprenticed to the Hugeunot goldsmith* Pierre Platel. He established his own business in 1713, and became an acclaimed silversmith, particularly renowned for pieces in the Rococo style.

* goldsmiths were capable of working with both gold and silver.

Page 361. " Something called the Big Bang had just happened "

The former London Stock Exchange, photographed c.1983
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe former London Stock Exchange, photographed c.1983 - Credit: Richard Hoare
The Big Bang was the name given to various reforms which were implemented in the London Stock Exchange on October 27th, 1986.

The reform programme was initiated by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government who believed that over-regulation and elitist social networks were impairing the efficiency of the financial markets. The aim of the reforms, therefore, was to promote meritocracy and the concept of the free market.

The picture on the right shows the former London Stock Exchange at 60 Threadneedle Street in the City of London. This is where the Big Bang took place.

Page 362. " 'Le Matin aux Champs - it's a study, or a little version, of the picture in Brussels.. "
Paul Gauguin (1891)
Public DomainPaul Gauguin (1891) - Credit: unknown
'La Maison Blanche' (1885)
Public Domain'La Maison Blanche' (1885) - Credit: Paul Gauguin

 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was a French impressionist painter whose work was not particularly appreciated during his lifetime, but became popular after his death.

He painted in France, in Martinique, and in Tahiti, where he produced some of his most striking and colourful works.

No painting with the title 'Le Matin aux Champs' appears in a catalogue of Gauguin's complete works (789 paintings) on the Internet, nor does there appear to be a painting with any other title which matches the description in the text.

If you'd like to double-check, click here!



'Riders on the Beach'
Public Domain'Riders on the Beach' - Credit: Paul Gauguin

Page 364. " it looks like a Hereford cow "

The Hereford breed of cattle originated in the English county of Herefordshire, and has now spread throughout the world.

Hereford cattle have distinctive white faces and brown coats (usually described as 'red'). They are renowned for their docility and good-natured temperament, and are generally reared for beef production.


Hereford steer
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHereford steer - Credit: Fir0002

Page 364. " 'Probably a Charolais,' "

The Charolais breed of cattle originated in the Charolais area of France, and is now to be found in many locations throughout the world.

They have off-white, or cream coloured coats (usually described simply as 'white') and are generally bred for beef production.


Charolais cow and calf
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCharolais cow and calf - Credit: Forum

Page 366. " 'She might think she's been taken to Greenham Common by mistake,' "
RAF Greenham Common runway (late 1980s)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRAF Greenham Common runway (late 1980s) - Credit: Fender 100

 RAF Greenham Common, which opened in 1942, is a former Royal Airforce base in Berkshire, England. During the 1960s, it was transferred into the hands of the United States Airforce and in 1980, it was decided that the base would house 96 cruise missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

In response to this in 1981, a group of women established a peace camp at the site to protest against the cruise missiles and to carry out a campaign of non-violent direct action. This action included mass encirclings of the base, the cutting of the perimeter fences, and blockading of convoys leaving the base. As a result, women from the peace camp were arrested, taken to court, and imprisoned. In August 1989, one of the camp participants, a young woman called Helen Wyn Thomas, was killed when she was struck by a vehicle towing a police horsebox.

Changes in nuclear defence policies  meant that cruise missiles were eventually removed from the base in 1991, and the base itself closed in 1993. However, the peace camp remained until 2000, when permission was granted to house a memorial on the site.

Today, Greenham Common has become an area of public parkland and the site of a Business Park. Several memorials have been created to commemorate different aspect of Greenham Common's history. These include a memorial garden dedicated to Helen Wyn Thomas.


Women's mass encirclement of the base (December 12th, 1982)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeWomen's mass encirclement of the base (December 12th, 1982) - Credit: ceridwen


Plaque commemorating Helen Wyn Thomas at the Greenham Common Memorial Garden
Creative Commons AttributionPlaque commemorating Helen Wyn Thomas at the Greenham Common Memorial Garden - Credit: Chris Funderburg

Google Map


Page 368. " 'God, that Miss Moneypenny's a pain,' "
Lois Maxwell in 1947 (before her Miss Moneypenny days)
Public DomainLois Maxwell in 1947 (before her Miss Moneypenny days) - Credit: Trailer screenshot

 Miss Moneypenny is a fictional character in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, and in the films based on the novels. She is the private secretary of M, the head of M16 (the British Secret Service) and is smitten with Bond; however, even though she flirts with him, she never manages to have a relationship with him.

In the Bond films, Miss Moneypenny has been played by six different actresses, including Lois Maxwell, Samantha Bond, and Naomie Harris.

Page 370. " 'Rudi' Nureyev used to cruise that particular lav "
Rudolf Nureyev in 1991
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRudolf Nureyev in 1991 - Credit: Roland Godefroy
Rudolf Nureyev in 1961
Public DomainRudolf Nureyev in 1961 - Credit: Pressens Bild/Scanpix (source:

 Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993) was a Russian ballet dancer who defected to the West in 1961 whilst on tour with the Kirov ballet.

He subsequently danced with the Royal Ballet in London where he formed a famous dance partnership with Margot Fonteyn. As well as this, he did film and television work and toured in Australia and the U.S.A before being appointed Director of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1983.

Nureyev was openly homosexual and had several long-term relationships with men, including one with the Danish dancer Erik Bruhn who died in 1986. In 1984, he was diagnosed as being HIV-positive, and by 1992 was suffering from the final stages of AIDS. He died in a Paris hospital in January 1993 and is buried in a Russian cemetery at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, not far from Paris.