After coming across the Cathedrals and Churches of Britain feed a few weeks previously, I was spurred on to finally get across to Norwich and the cathedral that I’d been wanting to see for some time.


I went in on one those crisp, sunny, blue-sky winter days that are surely the perfect weather. The Close was looking like the most perfect Trollope/Elizabeth Goudge/ Catherine Fox literary fantasy, and the yew tree outside the cathedral was a rare corner of shade.


The cloisters – possibly my favourite part of any cathedral, as I tend to make a beeline for them – were beautiful.


I wasn’t expecting Norwich Cathedral to be such an old foundation


(there’s some wonderfully sturdy Norman columns underneath the lacy ceiling)


and the cathedral was still in Christmas mood, looking extremely welcoming in the sunlight.


In the side chapels was a mix of old stained glass (the Agincourt window) and more modern pieces.

I rather liked these two former bishops as well. Those were the days…


Afterwards I set off into the city, which was peppered with more churches, including this one on the main square with an excellent flying roof (so called because of the carved angels on the beams)




The Instagram feed @churchescathedralsofbritain could have been drawn up just for me. After a childhood of summer holidays involving a hefty amount of church crawling, I really believe these are some of great most beautiful overlooked buildings in the U.K. All photos from the feed.

Feed of the week


The Instagram feed of @susan_holloway_scott_author has such lovely paintings on it. I don’t know where she finds them all, but I especially love her ability to run a theme (women having tea; sewing; blue dresses; sisters) across a real variety of pieces. She must have a wonderful visual memory for finding ideas, and her feed really inspires me. Here’s a selection from her “sisters” series.


From top to bottom:

The three daughters of John Julius von Vieth and Gossenau by Anton Graff

Sargent – the Acheson sisters

The sisters – William McGregor Paxton

Bella and Hanna, eldest daughters of M L Nathanson by Cristoffer Eckersberg

My granddaughters – Edmund Charles Tarbell

Sisters – William Gabriel de Glehn

Sargent – the Misses Hill


Windows to the past


It’s a joke on the Backlisted podcast that if you praise an author on Twitter, a kind of intellectual race to the bottom begins, with fans crawling out of the woodwork to ask if you’ve read variously the short stories / letters / journals yet. But it is true that letters are wonderful things to find – full of jokes, turns of phrase and bizarre incidents. Dora Carrington telling an inamorato that she loved him as much as raspberries and cream is one favourite; Sydney Smith recommending warm fires, cheering books and a pleasant bedroom for seeing our depression is another, and Dicke s was renowned for firing off rockets by every post.

So I think Letters Live, which has actors reading aloud a series of letters from the past – a kind of brought to life Letters of Note website – sounds just right for a night out at this time of year.



Angela Burdett-Coutts was not only a formidable philanthropist and champion of Dickens, she also clearly had a good eye for a bit of gold-glitzed tartan. Joking aside, I do like how the National Portrait Gallery is finally including more women on its walls, from Georgian actresses and suffragettes to the artists themselves. About time! Follow along on their Instagram feed for more wonderful discoveries, including pieces from their recent photographic commissions.

You must remember this

I’m late to the party, but now I’m hooked on the Hollywood history podcast, You Must Remember This. Veronica Lake, Bette Davis, Peg Entwhistle, Jean Harlow, Gene Tierney, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly pre-Monaco, Bacall post-Bogie, and most of all Joan Crawford, are all lodged in my head.


Most of all what’s clear are the repeating patterns: Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe; Peg Entwhistle and Bette Davis; alcoholism; poor relationship choices (mainly Sinatra).


Listen in and get ready to fire up your Netflix.