Our Lady and Robert return home to an unexpected guest and entourage running riot in the house. Concluded by Claire Skinner.
E M Delafield was great friends with Margaret Mackworth, 2nd Viscountess Rhondda, and became a director of Time and Tide magazine.
When the editor "wanted some light middles", preferably in serial form, she promised to "think of something". And so it was, in 1930, Delafield began writing her largely autobiographical novels detailing the day-to-day life of a Devonshire-dwelling upper-middle class lady and her attempts to keep her somewhat ramshackle household from falling into chaos.
Substituting the names of Robin and Vicky for her own children, Lionel and Rosamund, The Diary of a Provincial Lady has never been out of print.
In this second book, The Provincial Lady Goes Further, written in 1932, our Lady is now a published author. Success and a sizeable royalty cheque allow her to travel further afield. She attends a literary conference in Brussels, takes a lease on a small flat in London and the family goes on holiday to Brittany.
But while she endeavours to embrace the London literary scene, things at home remain reassuring the same. Mademoiselle weeps on the sofa and refuses to eat when Vicky decides she'd like to go away to school, Robert is his usual monosyllabic self, snoozing behind a copy of the Times, and there's a seemingly endless stream of visitors arriving at the house.
This second volume is just as appealing, charming and wickedly witty as the first.
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
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