Your Letters

We love receiving your letters and hearing your views on Britain, your travels and the magazine. Check back here for regular updates from our mailbag

Denise Bridge’s photograph of St Michael’s Mount

Making Memories

The photo on the cover of the September 2019 issue [Vol 87, Issue 4] took me back to St Michael’s Mount, which I visited for the first time last year. After seeing Mont-Saint-Michel about 20 years ago with an aunt and uncle I was delighted to journey to Cornwall last spring with the same aunt and uncle and another aunt to explore the English island and it did not disappoint. As you can see in the photo [attached] it was a glorious day! Less touristy than its French counterpart, St Michael’s Mount offers fantastic views from the castle – well worth the climb up – and the gardens were a riot of colour despite the heavy snow earlier in the year. We ended our day in St Ives for dinner – delicious pasties which we managed to eat without the gulls getting any! Although we saw many destinations in the county from our rented cottage in Looe, such as Port Isaac, The Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Fowey and Polperro to name a few, the article on Hidden Cornwall has given me many more ideas for a future trip. Nearly every article in this issue brought to the fore many memories of other trips: Cadbury’s World which was a delicious experience; Chatsworth House in the Peak District; the Isle of Sky, Portree Harbour and the story of Flora MacDonald; Bettys tearooms of which I have visited a few in Harrogate and York; Totnes and its motte-and-bailey castle; Brighton Pier; and Portmeirion village where I started my collection of tableware in 1993. Thanks for the memories; this issue was a delight from beginning to end!

Sincerely,
Denise Bridge, Ontario, Canada

BRITAIN REPLIES

This issue was obviously made with you in mind! How fortuitous that we covered so many of the places you have visited – although by the sounds of it, you are very well travelled in Britain… We hope we can continue to conjure up such happy memories for you.

A Series of Fortunate Events

I wanted to write to let you know that your article on Hidden Cornwall [Vol 87, Issue 4] reminded me again why Cornwall is such a special place for me.

Many years ago, I watched the original Poldark series. I fell very hard for Ross Poldark and the people that surrounded him. I was not quite a teenager, and it all made a very strong impression on me.

Then, in 1997, I found that there was a Poldark Appreciation Society which was holding annual lunches in London. I went and had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees (Ross and Demelza). A kind lady befriended me at that lunch, and we went to the 1998 luncheon together. She was pregnant at that time and asked if my husband and I would be the godparents. My husband did not want to fly, but just couldn’t let her down. So he flew overseas for the first time – because of Poldark.

The founder of the Society drove us all around Cornwall and to the Poldark sights in 2004. That was an incredible treat. Angharad Rees had opened a jewelry store in London, and my husband and I were pleased to visit her there. I couldn’t believe that he was meeting her. She was a lovely lady.

Thank you so much for the beautiful article. I hope to be in Cornwall again one day.
Lori Padova, by email

BRITAIN REPLIES

Thank you so much for sharing your truly incredible story with us. The places a passion can take you!

“Our Mount”

I was thrilled when my copy of BRITAIN [Vol 87, Issue 4] arrived. There on the cover was a remarkable picture of St Michael’s Mount! “Our Mount” to the residents of Penwith, including some of “my people”. Prior to the Second World War five farms had unobstructed views of the Mount. These farms were cultivated by my grandfather’s brother, whose descendants still reside there.

Not long ago my wife, Carin, and I rented a Penwith cottage for a month. During our stay we experienced almost all of the locations featured in the article Hidden Cornwall, and more.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy BRITAIN. I look forward with anticipation to future copies.
William D. (David) Thomas, St Albert, Alberta, Canada

BRITAIN REPLIES

We are very jealous that you had the opportunity to spend such a lovely long time in Penrith, but deservedly so as you have such local ancestors! We hope you enjoyed many uninterrupted views while you were there.

Proof We’re Not Perfect

We’ve received numerous letters and emails about our reference of speaking to the ‘ancestor’ of Richard III in Volume 83 Issue 2, which of course would not be possible. We did of course mean ‘descendant’ and we can only apologise for this heinous error and promise to keep a closer watch over things in future.

Here are some of your choice responses:

Descendant, Not Ancestor

The cover of my May/June edition states “King Richard III – We talk to one of his ancestors” . Clearly impossible ! And this mistake is repeated in the referenced article where the author Susan R Frost is described as an “author and ancestor of King Richard III” . Two unfortunate errors in an otherwise interesting genealogical study.
Nick Tyler, by email

Glaring Error

On the cover of the May 2015 issue of BRITAIN, it states: ‘King Richard III, we talk to one of his ancestors’.  I think you meant to use the word ‘descendants’, since ancestors live BEFORE the person referenced, while descendants live AFTER said person.  The correct word was used in the opening to the article on page 43.

I myself am a lateral descendant of William of Wykeham [NF] (one of several early spellings of the name including Wycombe [AS] (1324-1404), Bishop of Winchester, Founder of Winchester College and New College Oxford, and Chancellor of England (1367-1372) during the reign of Edward III. I have my direct line of descent back to Edward and Joan Wickham, who were married in Chichester, Sussex, in 1539.

I am looking forward to visiting Leicester when I am in England in August.
Joann Wickham Sugg, by email

How Did This Happen?

I would be very interested to know how you managed to talk to an ancestor of Richard III. I doubt Susan E Frost claims to be his ancestor as you write on page 44 under her picture, of course she is a descendant. You seriously need a proofreader.

It was a good article – I too have Plantagenet ancestors, as do many of us in the United States who are descended from families with royal lines who fled to Virginia in the 1600s. I am proudly descended from 16 of the Magna Carta barons and have researched 42 families I am directly descended from who came to Virginia in the 1600s.

Your magazine is beautiful and I have saved copies since 1997. I have arranged to pass them along to a fellow Anglophile. They have been very useful to me in my 20 trips to England over the past years. I find it difficult to see how such an error could make it onto the cover.
Linda L Cummings, Addison, TX

A Land of Glory

I just wanted tell you how much I enjoyed the article ‘A Land of Glory’ in the November 2014 (Sep/Oct 2014 issue for UK readers – ed). In 2009 I visited the British Asparagus Festival and stayed in the Vale of Evesham at the Evesham Hotel.

I totally enjoyed the hotel and the area. One of the days I was there, the hotel owner asked me if I was doing anything and I said that I didn’t have anything special planned. He informed me that if I wanted, he would see if an employee had the time to drive me around the countryside.

Later that morning, he brought an employee to me who was available and we agreed on a time. She picked me up about 2.30pm and drove me around the area for two-and-a-half hours, stopping when I asked to take pictures and telling me about things as we went. I had the greatest tour of the area I could ever expect, including Stratford-upon-Avon and other areas on a beautiful May afternoon. She got paid her hourly wage and some petrol money.

On my last day, I took the train past Evesham to visit the Morgan Motor Company, which I also enjoyed. In fact, just yesterday on the TV programme Factory Made, there was a piece about the Morgan Motor Company and their cars with wooden bodies. From there I went back to London for two nights before returning home. I thought I would go back to England in a heartbeat, and I did last year. I visited a friend in Chelmsford, which was great. The bottom line is: England is a wonderful place to visit, but stay away from London.

Lee Edgerton, by email

Insufferable Know It All of the Year Award

Hello.

We have just come to the end of a busy year, with almost continuous touring right from the beginning of spring. Due in part to inclusions in Britain magazine. Thank you for your efforts.

However, in my endeavour to be awarded the prize for Insufferable Know It All of the Year I must warn you that you might be deluged with letters from every history pedant who reads your magazine. On page 71 of the November/December 2014 issue (January 2015 in the US) there is a caption that describes an engraving as Charles I after he was ‘sentenced to the guillotine by Parliament’. Please join me in my quest to be Insufferable Know It All of the Year by telling your editorial department that Charles I was not sentenced to the guillotine.

Firstly because this efficient means of despatch was never used for judicial executions in England and secondly, if he had been subjected to such a sentence, it would be a long wait for it to be carried out, as the guillotine was not introduced as a method of judicial execution by Dr Guillotin, and even then not in England, until the mid 18th century, about 100 years after his unfortunate demise.

How did I do? Did I win the prize?

Best wishes,

Paul, by email

BRITAIN REPLIES

Well done Paul – you spotted our deliberate mistake. No, honestly, this should have been picked up by the team and we will give our sub a firm (metaphorical) slap on the wrist.

Mince Pie recipe corrections

Mince-Pies
Mince pies from the recipe in our Nov/Dec UK 2014 (Jan 2015 USA) issue

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I just tried to make the recipe for mince pies as printed in the January 2015 (Nov/Dec 2014 in the UK) issue of your magazine.

Hello, ‘juice of one orange’? The orange from my backyard tree (navel) yielded ¾ cup of juice, which made a very sticky dough. Adding more flour made it heavy. What about providing a specific measurement of liquid needed? Remember, all oranges are not equal, in size or amount of juice.

My second problem – nowhere does the recipe tell what the oven should be preheated to. Doesn’t it matter how hot the oven is?

Anyway, I took a chance on 375°F. Poor guess. The end result was that the birds in my yard enjoyed the disaster, and I’m just happy that I didn’t wait until the day before Christmas to make your mince pies.

Merry Christmas,

June Prance, Florida, USA

 

I await eagerly each edition of BRITAIN magazine and have been reading it for over 30 years since I lived in England. I enjoy the articles that remind me of my travels then and have helped me plan for the future. I was going through the January 2015 (November/December 2014 in the UK) magazine and found the recipe for mince meat tarts.

The first time I ever had them was when I was teaching there and was invited to a Christmas party. I thought I would try to make them but noticed that although castor sugar is mentioned in the ingredients, it is not in the procedure. While I assume it would be mixed with the flour and butter, I would not wish to mess the recipe up.

Could you clarify if, in fact, that line was left out?

Thanks and already looking forward to the next edition.

Sincerely,

Martha Sadler

By Email

 

In reading through the recipe for mince pies in the latest issue of BRITAIN magazine (January 2015 in the US and November/December 2014 in the UK), this recipe on page 30 didn’t list an oven temperature. I couldn’t find it if it was listed.

It said ‘place into a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.’ This might be common knowledge on your side of the pond, but to me in frigid Menomonie, Wisconsin, USA that knowledge is woefully lacking.

What should that temperature be?

You have a great magazine. Someday I would like to return to your land and explore some more of the places I have read about in your publication as well as explore London again. I would really like to visit the Twinings store at 216 Strand; the tea shops fascinate me.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year. May it be a healthy and fruitful coming year for you guys.

Larry Doupnik, by email

BRITAIN REPLIES

Whoops, our apologies. We’re not sure what happened there, we must have over-complicated things but here is an equally delicious but clearer recipe so that you can make a fresh batch in time for Christmas:

225g cold butter, diced
350g plain flour
100g golden caster sugar
280g mincemeat
1 small egg
Icing sugar, to dust

To make the pastry, rub 225g cold, diced butter into 350g plain flour, then mix in 100g golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon 280g mincemeat into the pies

Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal – you don’t need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month).

Beat 1 small egg and brush the tops of the pies. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

*Sourced from BBC Good Food

7-Ear-of-Carnavon-enjoys-a-moment-with-his-family
The 7th Earl of Carnarvon enjoys a moment with his family, including the 8th Earl (far right)

Spitting image of Princess Diana

The picture of the 7th Earl of Carnarvon, page 42 of the January 2015 issue (November/December 2014 in the UK) took my breath away. The girl in the flowered dress could be the late Princess Diana. The hair, the pose and smile….uncanny and haunting.

Mary Wilkinson, Illinois, USA

BRITAIN REPLIES

This was almost identical to the comment our writer said – they could be twins.

Requisitioned has arrived

What a superb book. Thankyou Sally for your lovely email and your efforts to ensure my prize arrived.

I have a 91-year-old uncle who will also appreciate this book.We are both lovers of all things British. My son teases me about always watching BBC TV.

All the very best for a Joyful Christmas…

Sincerely,

Evelyn Lawson, by email 

More Addresses

Firstly,  I love your magazine but must express my ongoing amazement when realising over and over the constant omission of addresses on particular ads and/or events. I think I may have written about this before…

Many of your ads declare interesting places to see and attend but lack any specific addresses.

It seems there are fewer letters from readers, which are always enjoyed, that seem to be being replaced with more ads. I’m sorry to complain so much. I am 86 and cannot remember never receiving the magazine – it is always welcome no matter but please tell us where all these fantastic things can be found.

Thank you.

Most sincerely,

Lucy M Edwards, Florida, USA

BRITAIN REPLIES

Lucy, we will have a word with our ads team and try to get them to advise our advertisers but unfortunately as they only have a certain about of space they tend to favour impact over detail. For our part we’ll endeavour to add relevant info into editorial where possible.

How to write to us

By post to: Letters, BRITAIN, Chelsea Magazines, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London, SE3 3TG; or to: Letters, BRITAIN, Circulation Specialists Inc, 2 Corporate Drive, Suite 945, Shelton, CT 06484, USA. Or email the editor: sally.coffey@chelseamagazines.com

 

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