Work in progress

It seems that now we are virtually imprisoned there is a greater need to connect. I’ve found that when I exercise my dog more people say hello and now that I have to write from home rather than at a cafe, suddenly the need to share what I’m working on is palpable, although I rarely used to talk about my projects. Here is a snippet from a chapter entitled Shopping. It is from the second book in the trilogy manuscript entitled Paris Next Week. I hope you enjoy this glimpse. Like all of us at the moment, she is imprisoned. In Sarah’s case by the threat of violence.


Melbourne was wonderful, the Block as they call it, much nicer than I expected. Funny how in Sydney we think everything in Melbourne will be inferior to what we have. The Block arcade of shops I could have spent all day in and Mother would have disappeared for days. But Clarissa had obviously set herself a vast list of places to visit and Pene and I could only follow in her wake. I felt like a child glancing at the marvellous domed ceiling, the tiles below my feet with my character Anne whispering in my ear that it would be a lovely place to play hide and seek in.

Yes, wouldn’t it be marvellous to lose myself here. Simply not go back to the ship. Find a cheap hotel and stay for a while until Nana’s five pound note ran out. But what then? I have no idea how many shops we visited but number one on Clarissa’s list was Georges on Collins Street.

Clarissa was intent on buying a woollen, navy coat for London. She tried to offer to buy me one as well but I told her that my terrible mink would keep me warm. She also offered to buy me some warm underwear for France. You have no idea, how cold it can be, she exclaimed but I stood firm, explaining that I couldn’t be seen spending money as I was soon to tell Toby I didn’t have any. Although I felt such a longing to buy one single thing from the wealth of beautiful items on the shelves.

It was then, as the spoilt only child of a Sydney socialite prone to spending a lot of money on clothes and accessories that, stupidly, I felt the full force of how my life has changed. As I gazed at a sunset coloured evening dress, which would have been perfect with my auburn hair, I realised that Toby was actually a terrible straightjacket, squeezing the life out of me.

Now as I return to my cabin I can feel that band around my chest. I am actually short of breath as I open our cabin door. Toby is inside seething. That much is obvious at first glance.

“You actually had the nerve to go shopping, did you? Shopping!”

“I was invited.”

“You were invited. You were invited!”

He is moving closer, his red face shoved close to mine. His left hand begins to squeeze my arm tight when there is a knock at the door. I open it quickly before Toby can compose himself.

It is Clarissa, serene, composed and with a happy smile on her face. She bursts into the room without invitation, startling Toby. I struggle to hide my relief.

“Darling, I got you something. It’s just a trinket for being so patient whilst I dragged you and Pene through all those shops. Pene’s is silver but I thought gold would suit you better with your marvellous hair.” Clarissa raises her arm to give me a small paper bag with the large scrolled writing of Georges on it, the G an extravagant loop…..


10 thoughts on “Work in progress

  1. Nice to read about Melbourne. BTW I had my wedding reception in the Block Arcade – after hours, of course! And I completely agree about people saying hello more, which is lovely, and sharing writing snippets. I recently put one of my short stories online. It’s in my book so I think you’ve read it, but if anyone else is interested:
    I hope you don’t mind me sharing this link 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course not! I will have a look again at the story. At the moment I am reading a story serialised in Table Talk in 1926. It is called Jacqueline a Melbourne girl. It’s marvellous. Thank god for Trove.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was a girl, my mother used to take us to George’s to buy a winter jumper. I had a beautiful soft pink cashmere which went perfectly with my made-to-fit Fletcher Jones pink-and-heather pleated tartan skirt. I thought I was the bees-knees in it!

    Liked by 1 person

      • My mother who was a girl during the war when everything was rationed in England, understood how important clothes were to teenage girls and went out of her way to help us keep up with fashion when it mattered to us. I look back on this and realise how expensive those cashmere jumpers were, and although we weren’t poor, I know she had to juggle money to be able to do this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Its funny the things we realise much later. My mother who is 89 and very much alive went to a lot of balls when she was young and my grandmother made her clothes and her sister’s when they went out dancing. How important clothes were back then.


      • I can still see my mum on the floor of our house in Elanora Heights with pins in her mouth, spreading out a paper pattern on the floor over the material with teacups holding down the edges! They turned out to be very valuable teacups – Clarice Cliff!


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