we had Absolutely no idea we were going to end up in Claremont, California yesterday.
you see our plans changed at noon and so we had a spare afternoon and evening and a Long Drive always sounds good at those moments when the diary opens Up.
no, we had absolutely no idea that traffic might be HELL as it was the beginning of a long holiday weekend in the United States but we opened the windows and listened to mellow jazz and drove in our stockinged-feet to let the air circulate and generally had a nice time people watching as the other cars crept slowly by.
and then we arrived!
we parked and slipped into the classical grounds of Scripps College and made our way to the Rose Garden (of course) with the famous graffiti wall on which generations of young, brave and bold women have inscribed their graduating year and a slogan alongside their names – marking them for history. you see – we are looking for Names for our new characters (for the 1920s Hollywood Novel) and the earlier inscriptions may well prove inspirational for those (although we’ve sort of already decided to invert the existing names of the writers, actresses, portrait photographers and go-from-there)
while we found the earliest names most engaging – it was when we got to the moment in history where social unrest led to a breaking open of roles for women that we became most Moved. a place to dream, indeed.
and a lot sunnier than the place we went to (although Messrs. Google have found a remarkable number of sunny photographs of That Establishment – must have been taken on the same single day in late June when the honeysuckle was in full bloom.)
the gardens back at Scripps College were alive with the heady scent of gardenias.
and the shimmering hot sunlight was caught up and made easier to bear by acres of trees everywhere (Claremont is known as the “City of Trees and PhDs” due to – well – you can probably work that one out yourself, darlings).
and the sky deepens into an almost Equestrian design house orange hue.
still no idea why we were there.
but it was a lovely day.
as many days are.
perhaps it was to clear the head for the vast editing exercise that’s starting Today.
we just Wrote A Synopsis……..and sort of a prologue if one is being Rather Shakespearean in intent, we suppose – which we model(l)ed on a BBC Memorandum from WWII.
may we share?
THE HOUSE ON CHURCH ROW
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open,”
The Establishment has never been exactly fond of upstart women. But after the decriminalization of witchcraft in the 1700s, they had to change tactics in how they attempted to keep these women in line. A new task force (CODENAME: THE AGENCY) was set up with offices in all major countries. It was considered a success.
Until a year ago when Marion O’Neal, an American advertising executive arrived in London, England. The Manhattan branch of THE AGENCY had requested her extradition to foreign soil. Apparently her advertising campaigns were suspected of witchcraft. The British arm of THE AGENCY said they would keep an eye on her.
You see Marion (CODENAME: ZENOBIA) was indeed a sorceress, and a very bewitchingly glamorous one at that. THE AGENCY felt they controlled the world’s media. But Marion knew how to marshal the forces of the global Internet. THE AGENCY had no idea what was in store. But they were about to find out.
INTERNAL CIRCULATING MEMORANDUM
Subject: Mission Commences: CODENAME: ZENOBIA
This office, via courier, has received a copy of the manifest of the Flight 8099 JFK to HTW. It confirmed that the subject in question was onboard and has arrived in HAMPSTEAD where accommodation has been provided. We are using CODENAME: ZENOBIA for this mission. Please use this name in all correspondence, especially with our American counterparts who have been informed of our progress thus far. ZENOBIA is dangerous and should not be approached. Caution in all communications matters required – particularly cellular and other Internet Protocol based devices are to be used sparingly. NEXT MEETING at 0800 Hours: BEDE Room
Marion peered out of the window as the taxi swung into Church Row, Hampstead. She could not see much because it was raining. Of course it was raining, she thought, this is England. At least it made the grass green and the houses looked freshly washed and brushed up.
Leaning back she pulled her gloves on tightly and tried to remember what her boss back in New York had said: something about the London office needing rescuing. She knew it was a ruse. But things had got just a tiny bit too much in New York and she agreed to this transfer. Besides, it was only a year. How bad could it be?
if you’ve just joined us….
some of the other posts of this book are here (in no particular order – well, the algorithm behind the wordpress platform no doubt has a built in logic that re-orders pages based on date, popularity and keyword usage but we digress).
and if you’re wondering – because you’ve just joined us – when-did-she-start-writing-books?
followed (perhaps not swiftly but soon thereafter) by Emerald and then (gulp) by The House on Church Row as long as who-we-are-in-RL doesn’t get Too caught up being a fancy Advisory Board member and assisting (a lovely) photographer (on thursdays) and writing her column.
because writing and taking photographs is Very Important – and thanks to Tobias – this is how we now live.
which, when you think about it, is g l o r i o u s.
and means we can just d r i v e to Claremont whenever (sort of) we feel like it.