Jan Morris has a witty, erudite style marked by lists of antithetical items, gently provocative statements and wry observations that readily slip off the page.

Reading this book again, after many years, I realise my current neighbours, the coritos, are like the Venetians… unerringly so. I say this with admiration in the way they mix a sense of concern about your business whilst subtly extracting an obligation from you for having done so. I think Jan Morris might have said they're not given to posturing artistry or impractical diversions; they're focused on the practicalities of life; they are the craftsmen class. In business they'll give you more than you might need but at a very fair price, such that it's hard to argue or haggle.Read more