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Love among the Cheeses

Lidija Haas: Life with Amis and Ayer, 8 September 2011

The House in France: A Memoir 
by Gully Wells.
Bloomsbury, 307 pp., £16.99, June 2011, 978 1 4088 0809 2
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... would it have been like to fall in love with the young Martin Amis, ‘the most fascinating man’ Gully Wells had ever met? ‘Only the most awful clichés,’ she tells us, ‘could possibly do justice to the way I felt.’ He was ‘very funny and very clever’; ‘he made me laugh and told me things I didn’t know.’ She is a bit more specific ...

Heroic Irrigations

E.S. Turner, 6 December 1990

The English Spa 1560-1815: A Social History 
by Phyllis Hembry.
Athlone, 401 pp., £35, October 1990, 0 485 11374 0
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The Medical History of Waters and Spas 
edited by Roy Porter.
Wellcome Institute, 150 pp., £18, September 1990, 0 85484 095 8
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... safety? The Admiralty packed its thousands into Bath and is only now pulling out. In Llandrindod Wells, as one well remembers, the Army erected notices warning officer cadets not to drink the water: the war was not going to be won by incontinent artillerists. Dr Phyllis Hembry re-creates in meticulous depth the heyday of the English spa, ending in the early ...

The water-doctors vanish

E.S. Turner: The social history of British spas, 4 June 1998

British Spas from 1815 to the Present Day: A Social History 
by Phyllis Hembry and Leonard Cowie.
Athlone, 292 pp., £50, June 1997, 0 485 11502 6
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... of rotten eggs. Buxton was being developed and nursed by the Duke of Devonshire; Tunbridge Wells, having failed to cure barrenness in women, was stagnating; and the London spas, like Dulwich and Streatham, were already menaced by the capital’s slow suin. The coming of the railways had raised hopes that respectable health-seekers would pour into ...


A.J.P. Taylor: An Unexpected Experience, 6 December 1984

... I was not asked to purchase another picture for the fund. Wilde became the inspiration for Gully Jimson, then vanished also. I am now struggling with the diary of a quite different character. This is Lord Hervey, a prominent figure from the Court of King George II. Hervey does not make an exciting writer. There are some curiosities in his record all ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England, 20 December 2012

The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... geologist who has spent years studying the flow rates of springs in Wadi Zarqa. They walk up a gully and Macfarlane notes that ‘the stones of the wadi had been rinsed, turned and graded … so it was like walking a cobbled street.’ He picks up a lump of chert that ‘resembled a white eyeball wrapped in layers of brown linen’ and the geologist tells ...


A.J. Ayer: More of A.J. Ayer’s Life, 22 December 1983

... whom renown outran And the name died before the man. On 29 March my decree of divorce from Dee Wells, whom I had married in 1960, was made absolute on the basis of mutual agreement after two years’ separation, and on 5 April I married Vanessa Lawson at the Marylebone Registry Office. This is my third marriage, and one that belies the pessimism of Dr ...

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