The Daily Crossword Puzzle

An 'Elizabethan' recipe for Beef Royal

This precious book is dog-eared and obviously well used.   Some pages are mottled with the residue of faint splashes and oil stains.   The contents are contained between 2 – now battered – black cardboard covers, and bound together by a red canvas spine which hangs on by a precariously thin thread, yet it bulges with an assortment of other pieces of paper carefully placed between the pages for safe keeping:  Recipes written on the back of old shopping lists with the word ‘cigs’ at the bottom;  meal plans, or newspaper articles in the days when the daily papers were put together on a printing press because the typesetting looks decidedly uneven compared to today’s slick presentations.   Particularly torn sections of The Daily Telegraph – she enjoyed doing the crossword every day.   I can see her now.  It’s about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and the colour is fading into darkness in the big windows behind her.   She’s sitting with her legs curled up beside her on her favourite chaise longue, glass of brandy on the small table beside her, the newspaper folded neatly on her lap, pen poised, as a thin pall of cigarette smoke curls up into the standard lamp above.