Another Sunday, and this is a quick break in a writing day to add an update to the current project. Working title 'Girlie' has moved over the 70,000 word mark with Chapter 1950 coming to a close. This has been the hardest chapter mainly because the original storyteller - Mum - gave scanter details on events for this period than for earlier ones, leaving me to join dots and create material to develop characters and setting while retaining integrity to the original life.
Research this week led me into a wide range of places, including the history of the Huon valley apple industry, learning how apple picking and vine pruning was done by itinerant pickers, many of whom were paid by weight and amount, not by wages for labour time. The accommodation conditions were rudimentary wooden huts with shared long-drop dunnies and washing spaces. Of course, not every orchard or vineyard was the same in 1950, but Mum shared a hut with five other girls when she was picking and in a recent visit to Huon Valley I was able to see the type of wooden huts built and used.
Mum rode her bike around Hobart and into the Huon Valley district in mid-winter 1950, a solid bike riding landscape which contributed to her personal fitness and strength that helped in a later event in her life. An event I uncovered in this research phase was that a New Zealand nurse was publicised as riding her bike around both New Zealand islands before she moved to Brisbane Australia from where she recommenced riding a bike around Australia. This notable woman, Joy McKean, was in the Huon Valley district shortly after Mum left, but her quest emphasises the importance of the bicycle in post-war Australia, especially as a means of travel for women.
With the 1950 draft complete - that's seven of the planned ten chapters done - I'm keen to begin 1951 when Mum returned to Adelaide only to become terribly ill with Tuberculosis.
Back to today's writing time...