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Index: Justine Farnsworth's Diary

This is a series of three stories that I wrote for The Chap Magazine back in 2003.

I was a fan of The Chap and at the time their readers had some sort of unofficial competition where they would take pictures of themselves reading The Chap in the most unlikely, far-flung places. So when I went on a trip to Nepal and Tibet I took a copy on The Chap with me, and when we stopped at the top of the Friendship Highway I asked my Nepali guide Pemsi to hold up a copy for a picture. Then I promptly sent this to The Chap with a letter signed under the pen name Justine Farnsworth, and when I developed the character into several articles, they agreed to publish them.

Please note that the publication dates on each story is guesswork on my part - I tried looking for the exact publication dates of each issue but not luck! The letter to the editor was published in Issue 17, and the stories in Issues 19 to 21. I didn't give them a title, so the first one appeared as "And So Tibet" and the last two as "The Ladies' Smoking Room" (there's a lesson there: always give your stories a title).

One of the best things about this whole adventure was not just seeing my work in print, but also meeting Nick Jolly (aka Vic Darkwood) who founded The Chap along with Gustav Temple. We've been friends ever since and he recently painted this amazing portrait of me. I also have a few of his other works - do check him out, he's stupidly talented. And he writes books, too!

You can see the rest of my Nepal and Tibet pictures on Flickr.
You can also have a look at Jan Reurink's photographs - they are beautiful.


Justine Farnsworth’s Diary: Letter to the Editor

SIR, I thought it would interest your readers to hear of my recent travels in the barren expanses of Tibet. Having decided to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa by yak, dressed up as a man – to avoid undue attention from the most uncouth of the region’s inhabitants – I set off from the exotic incense-swathed streets of Kathmandu, setting my course to the north.

I had attached to my service a young and able-bodied sherpa servant boy, who soon took a keen interest in the few copies of The Chap I had taken care of packing in my light travelling bag. Soon he was proficient in the art of waxing my moustache and helping me dress in a proper gentlemanly fashion, which ensured I was not discovered as we crossed deserted plains and encountered gruff but gentle nomads herding their cattle below frozen glaciers. Continue reading… (126 words)


Justine Farnsworth’s Diary: Part 1

And So Tibet

Life for a time passed rather quietly in my Lambeth mansion. Pemsi at first was taken aback, not only by the size of the house but also, I fear, by the state of disrepair the grounds have fallen into. Since the death of my father, Major Farnsworth, I have unfortunately run into some financial difficulties and the old family home is not quite what it was. The house was some time ago deemed unsafe by some “social workers” from the Borough of Lambeth. Why exactly I don’t know; my recollection of the incident is quite hazy. I must admit that at the time I was still somewhat tender from an evening entertaining the men’s squad of the London Rowing Club with the last bottles of Château Cheval-Blanc my father had left me, and I had no time to beat a hasty retreat to the disused oubliettes under the servant’s kitchen when I saw the polyester-clad, clipboard-waving civil servants rounding in. Continue reading… (1890 words)


Justine Farnsworth’s Diary: Part 2


The answer to my last article was quite overwhelming, and I wish to thank the surprising number of gentlemen who wrote to me. A great many invited me to stay with them while my fortunes get better and the house gets back to its former glory. But Farnsworth Mansion, dilapidated as it may be, is my home, and I could not leave the library and the badgers behind; so I must thank these gentlemen, and decline. I must apologize to those I have not replied to; but I am sure they will understand that the extraordinary events that unfolded recently have prevented me from engaging in any correspondence, and kindly forgive me. Continue reading… (2207 words)


Justine Farnsworth’s Diary: Part 3




There are three things in this world I have been searching for all my life. The first is a child-sized Iron Maiden, whose niche in the attic of Farnsworth Mansion has long been filled with dust; the second is an eighteenth-century Venetian snuffbox said to have belonged to the great Casanova; and the last is a signed copy of the Marquis de Sade’s ‘Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue’, bound in a rare leather. All three belonged to my mother, and how they disappeared after her death has always been as much of a mystery as the reason for her suicide. I have forever cherished the foolish hope that by finding her vanished possessions, I would unlock the secret of why she was taken from me. Continue reading… (1558 words)