Page 177. " spitting it into a Kleenex "

 Kleenex is a brand of tissue, the name of which is often used generically to mean any paper tissue. Registered to the Kimberly-Clark Corporation in America, Kleenex was the first facial tissue of the Western world, released in 1924 as a way to remove make-up or creams. Only a few years later was it marketed as useful for colds and hay fever, which by the 1930s had become its main use.

Today, the Kleenex brand also covers toilet paper, nappies and paper towels under different trade names such as Huggies and Viva, and the products are sold in over 170 countries around the world.

Page 179. " the enclosure at Royal Ascot "
The royal carriages leave after the Queen's procession to the races at Royal Ascot
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe royal carriages leave after the Queen's procession to the races at Royal Ascot - Credit: Steve F

 Royal Ascot is a five-day horse-racing event held at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire every June. The meeting was founded by Queen Anne (who opened the racecourse) in 1711 and is still attended each year by members of the royal family, usually including Her Majesty the Queen. The royal family and their invitation-only guests occupy the Royal Enclosure; the remaining two enclosures are for other race-goers.

Over 300,000 visitors attend Royal Ascot – it is the best-attended race meetings in Europe. A particular highlight is the Royal Procession which marks the beginning of each day of racing. The Thursday of the week is always Ladies’ Day, on which the Gold Cup race is held and the fashionable hats worn by the lady guests are the focus of much attention.

Page 184. " a stopover in Bangkok. We went to the red light district "

A nighttime view of Soi Cowboy, another of Bangkok's red light districts
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA nighttime view of Soi Cowboy, another of Bangkok's red light districts - Credit: moomoobloo
 Bangkok (population 12 million) is the largest and capital city of Thailand. Its Thai name is Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, meaning ‘city of angels’. Bangkok has been an important trading and strategic defensive city since the 15th century and is a global city in that many multinational companies have their South-East Asian headquarters there. Bangkok is also visited by thousands of tourists every year, who come to see some of its more famous sights including the Grand Palace, Wat Po (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn).

Patpong, the red light district, is another of Bangkok’s most famous sights. Home to a daily night market, the area is also synonymous with Bangkok’s thriving sex industry and markets itself, unfortunately, to Western tourists and expats. Patpong features numerous go-go bars, strip clubs, sex shows, ‘massage parlours’ and other brothel-like establishments - some of them are illegal, many not.

Page 184. " one of those kimono type dresses "

A group of women wearing modern kimonos in Morioka
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA group of women wearing modern kimonos in Morioka - Credit: Ümit Yaldiz
The word ‘kimono’ means, in Japanese, ‘thing to wear’, but has come to mean a full-length traditional robe which can be worn by men and women (in practice, usually women). The kimono is a loose robe of straight lines with long, wide sleeves; it is wrapped around the body with the left side over the right and secured with a sash called an obi.

Traditionally a kimono is sewn by hand from a single and entire bolt of fabric, often a richly coloured and patterned silk. Designs are often varied to be appropriate to the season, incorporating different flowers, animals and birds.

Today, a kimono is usually worn in Japan on special occasions, although some women and men may wear one on a daily basis. The kimono style became popular in the Western world in the early 20th century and a ‘kimono type dress’ is likely to be a loose, flowing wrap-around dress in a bright oriental-inspired pattern.

Instructions for making a kimono.

Page 185. " I've got Sherwood Forest "

A glade of birch trees in Sherwood Forest
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA glade of birch trees in Sherwood Forest - Credit: ntollervey
 Sherwood Forest is a Royal Forest and ancient woodland in Nottinghamshire. Once the ‘Shire Forest’ of Nottinghamshire, it was a royal hunting forest but is now greatly reduced in size, though still covering 423 hectares.

Perhaps Britain’s most famous forest, Sherwood is associated with the legend of the outlaw Robin Hood, who hid out in the woods with his followers. Roughly half a million tourists visit every year and the Robin Hood Festival is held for a week every summer.

Page 188. " the mock Gothic school buildings "

The town hall in Wroclaw, Poland, which is built in the Gothic style
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe town hall in Wroclaw, Poland, which is built in the Gothic style - Credit: Kolossos
 Gothic architecture originated in France in the 12th century, spreading throughout Europe and lasting into the 16th century. The style was revived in England in the 18th century – mock Gothic –, and spread throughout Europe (and, to a lesser extent, other areas of the Western world) where it lasted into the 20th century, latterly only used for churches and universities.

The style was most commonly used for churches, cathedrals and abbeys, and also for important buildings such as palaces, town halls, government and university buildings, and occasionally private homes. Features are towers and spires, arches, vaults, large windows and ornate decorations, particularly gargoyles, all designed to give an impression of might.

Page 189. " in the line for Pimms "

A glass of Pimm's No. 1, served traditionally with fruit and mint leaves
Creative Commons AttributionA glass of Pimm's No. 1, served traditionally with fruit and mint leaves - Credit: Dinner Series
 Pimm's is a British brand of fruit liqueur (technically a fruit ‘cup’), popular as a summer drink. It was invented in 1823 by James Pimm, a farmer’s son who owned an oyster bar in London – the drink was first offered there as an aid to digestion made from a secret combination of gin, herbs and fruit, and referred to simply as ‘No. 1 Cup’. It began to be mass-produced in the 1850s and subsequent ‘cups’, based on different spirits, were then invented.

Pimm’s No. 1 remains the most popular of all Pimm's brands and, due to its fruity taste, is enjoyed at summer parties where it is mixed with lemonade and served with a large quantity of fruit. Other brands, No. 3 and No. 6, are available occasionally – they are based on brandy and vodka respectively, whereas No. 1 is based on gin. The Pimm's brand is currently owned by Diageo.

Page 189. " his familiar black Range Rover "

A third generation Range Rover
Public DomainA third generation Range Rover - Credit: IFCAR
The Range Rover is an expensive luxury car produced by Land Rover. Introduced in 1970, the car is a large, powerful four-wheel drive and is about to go into its fourth generation of models.

Page 192. " in a Miss World competition "

The Miss World competition was introduced in 1951 in the UK by Eric Morley. It is the world’s longest-running international beauty pageant and continues to take place annually, now co-chaired by Morley’s widow Julia.

Entrants to the competition must have won the beauty title for their native country and attend a series of preliminary balls, galas and events. The competition itself is usually a month long and consists of beauty pageants, talent contests and, more recently, other challenges designed to test intelligence and ambition.

The winner of Miss World spends the next twelve months touring the world to raise awareness of and funds for the Miss World Organization which promotes various charitable interests. The winner of the 2012 competition was Yu Wenxia of China.

Page 193. " a lazy Dixieland drawl "

Dixie, or Dixieland, is a nickname given to the Southern United States. This is generally considered to mean the eleven southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. The origins of the name are unclear, but are thought to be based on either the old currency issues in Louisiana, on the notes of which was written the French word ‘dix’ (meaning ‘ten’); a famously kind slave owner called Mr Dixy; or Jeremiah Dixon, a surveyor instrumental in establishing the Mason-Dixon line which divided the USA unofficially into areas of free and state slavery.

Page 195. " wanted to stay at the Savoy "

The entrance to the Savoy Hotel
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe entrance to the Savoy Hotel - Credit: ChrisO
 The Savoy is one of London’s most famous luxury hotels and has held its prestigious position since it first opened in 1889. Built on the Strand by theatre mogul Richard D’Oyly Carte, it was the first luxury hotel in Britain, incorporating touches such as electric lighting throughout all the rooms, ensuite bathrooms and electric lifts. Managed on its opening by experienced hotelier César Ritz, the hotel was famous for its excellent kitchen and the famous entertainers – a tradition which has continued throughout its life.

The Savoy gave birth to a group of hotels which are now owned by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. It recently underwent extensive renovations which have kept it firmly at the pinnacle of the London hotels.

Page 195. " overlooking the Thames "

The River Thames flows through southern England and is the longest river in England. Beginning at its source in Thames Head in Gloucestershire, it flows over 215 miles (346km) to the Thames Estuary where it runs into the North Sea. It is most famous for flowing through central London and has become an iconic image of the city, but it also flows through other towns and cities including Oxford, Windsor and Henley-on-Thames. Over 80 islands are dotted along its course and the river is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. It has been used by humans as a fresh water source, transport route, economic industry and leisure facility throughout the ages. The Thames is the home of competitive rowing in the United Kingdom, with over 800 clubs along its length and some of the country’s most famous races, including the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race and the Henley Royal Regatta.

The River Thames where it flows through Central London
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe River Thames where it flows through Central London - Credit: David Iliff

Page 198. " the winding alleys of Siena "
The narrow streets in the historic centre of Siena
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe narrow streets in the historic centre of Siena - Credit: Tanyel

 Siena (population 54,000) is an historic city in the hills of Tuscany. Originally settled by the Etruscans in 900-400 BC, Siena was a strategically positioned hill fort. It still retains much of its ancient Roman and Medieval architecture such as the cathedral and town square, the Piazza del Campo, as well as numerous other churches and gardens. The town centre has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Siena is famed for its art, architecture, cuisine and handicrafts and is visited by hundreds of thousands of international tourists every year. One of the main attractions of the city is the Palio, a medieval bareback horse race which is run in the Piazza del Campo twice every summer.


A view from the Campanile of Siena's rooftops
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA view from the Campanile of Siena's rooftops - Credit: Raymondlafourchette