Ever Decreasing Literary Circles

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02042014042320151201 (R4)

Flushed with her recent success, Ginny is to hold a literary salon, but she wants Vera to co-host it. They argue about where to have it, whom to invite and what kind of refreshments should be offered. Mrs Gosling is obstructive about the possibility of vegetarianism.

Meanwhile, Henry can't decide whether to carry on working for the Foreign Office or write a biography of Byron or Tennyson, and follows Vera round the castle unsuccessfully trying to elicit her advice.

When the great day arrives, Henry is banished from the castle lest he gets in the way. Instead of the longed-for literary celebrities, however, the only arrival at Sizzlinghurst that day is a snowstorm of apologetic telegrams. Hurt and aghast that nobody loves them, Vera and Ginny blame each other.

The only person who turns up is Venus, who wasn't invited and has never read a book in her life. Only as the day draws to a close does Vera remember with horror that today was Henry's birthday and that she has neglected him without so much as a card, a gift or a kiss. Wracked with guilt, Vera makes up to Henry on a pile of dusty sacks in Gosling's shed.

GLOOMSBURY - THE SERIES

Green-fingered Sapphist Vera Sackcloth-Vest shares a bijou castle in Kent with her devoted husband Henry, but longs for exotic adventures with nervy novelist Ginny Fox and wilful beauty Venus Traduces. It's 1921, the dawn of modern love, life and lingerie, but Vera still hasn't learnt how to boil a kettle.

Producer: Jamie Rix

A ittle Brother Production for BBC Radio 4.