Page 3. " An expedition, I should say, which I will undertake alone, in the comfort of Mr Farraday's Ford "
1928 Model A Ford
Creative Commons Attribution1928 Model A Ford - Credit: Richard Smith
Model T Ford, 109th Poynton Show
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeModel T Ford, 109th Poynton Show - Credit: Mike Kirby

The Ford Motor Company was established in America at the  beginning of the twentieth century, and it revolutionised the motor industry.

The book opens in 1956; the model of the Ford is not made clear – it is possibly the Model T or the later Model A, but it is certainly vintage given comments later in the book:

Harry Smith ..... said to me, 'Your car would be the vintage Ford up there on Thornley Bush Hill, sir?' (p. 183)

Page 3. " the finest countryside of England to the West Country "
Map of England
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMap of England - Credit: Morwen

The English West Country encompasses the counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

From 519AD, the Saxons ruled the Kingdom of Wessex, reaching as far as Berkshire and Surrey; the name of Wessex is still in popular use today.

Page 5. " the responsibility of every butler to devote his utmost care "

The profession of butler requires reliability, conscientiousness and a strict adherence to a code of conduct. Following training, a butler would be expected to run a household and know everything there is to know about its management and staffing.


Page 11. " I do not imagine German bombs have altered our countryside so significantly "

During the Second World War (1939-1945), Britain was repeatedly bombed by German planes. The West Country suffered a significant share of the bombing, being close to the south coast and less well protected by RAF squadrons.  Ports and industrial centres were the main targets, although bombers that couldn't locate their target would often drop their payload on any village or town that presented itself.

Page 12. " I served afternoon tea in the drawing room "

Drawing Room in Dublin Castle
GNU Free Documentation LicenseDrawing Room in Dublin Castle - Credit: Donaldytong
The drawing room is a formal reception room used to entertain guests (derived from withdrawing room with the same function).

Afternoon tea is a particularly English custom and often involves tea, cake, pastries, and elegantly cut sandwiches, minus crusts of course. Everything stops for tea ...

Page 12. " returned from his short walk on the downs "

Ewelme Downs
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeEwelme Downs - Credit: Colin Bates
The downs are an area of chalkland in the south of England, covering about 650 square miles and eroded over time into separate areas. The north and south downs cover an area stretching from Dorset in the south west to Kent in the south east, and include Salisbury Plain and the Savernake Forest. The whole area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Page 15. " the landlord of the Ploughman's Arms "
The Boot Inn
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Boot Inn - Credit: P L Chadwick

Generations ago, painted pictures and signs outside shops and public houses (pubs) were visual signposts to help illiterate people find their way around a town. The Ploughman's Arms would have had a picture of a ploughman, the "arms" originally referring to the heraldic coat of arms of the local titled landowner. The pub sign tradition exists to this day, although illustrated shop signs are not as common.

Page 23. " in a guest house in the city of Salisbury "

Salisbury Cathedral
Public DomainSalisbury Cathedral - Credit: John Constable
 Salisbury is a medieval city in the county of Wiltshire, its origins going back to the Roman era over 2,000 years ago.

Google Map

The tower and spire of Salisbury Cathedral constitute the highest medieval stone structure in Britain, at 404 feet. Recent research suggests that massive hurricane damage in 1362 led to wooden renovations having to be made to the interior of the spire.

The original cathedral was built at Old Sarum between 1075-1092; work on the current cathedral began in 1220. Although the main cathedral was completed within 100 years, building works continued over the centuries, concluding with the completion of Wren Hall in 1720.

Old Sarum, site of the original cathedral
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeOld Sarum, site of the original cathedral - Credit: Chris Gunns