Monthly Archives: October 2015

Haute couture . . . (episode 79)

image by 'gameanna' http://freedigitalphotos.net

image by ‘gameanna’
http://freedigitalphotos.net

October 11 1999

3A Hyde Park Terrace
LONDON W2 5ZZ

Hello Mum

Thank you for your recent letter on the subject of jury service. Our lives are so different aren’t they? Here I am fending off Richard Parker the Bengal tiger and there you are, endeavouring to uphold the fundamental tenets of justice!

I seem to be rediscovering my feminine self after so many months of Austen-related grief and apathy. Instead of swathing myself in hair scarves and sunglasses, I am now draping sleek clothing ensembles over the backs of sofas, opening dust-covered jewellery boxes, and illumining my skin with perfume. Just yesterday I exited the house in a plush plum hat; high-heeled boots (in a harmonizing colour); a knitted wool skirt – above knee – and a tawny Jaeger jacket. I even laid a weighty silver-and-amber necklace against my throat, matching it with similar earrings and a ring. I felt that, finally – and once more – I exemplified a modern woman arrayed in haute couture.

I have also now set up the Parade Street poetry group, which is meeting in an upstairs room of the ‘Victorian’ pub. I did this with the aid and assistance of Amanda Jones, who finally materialized (accompanied by a flurry of apologies for her non-appearance on the date we were supposed to meet). I must say that the venue for our poetry ‘cafe’ is not quite as svelte as we might wish. While the downstairs of the pub is really rather lovely – its upstairs room is in somewhat of a state of neglect. It used to host skittles matches and there is a concavity for its alley on the right-hand-side of the room. It might be all too easy to fall into this, whilst delicately balancing a pint of cider atop high heels.

Our first session was not exactly over-attended. In fact there was a medley of quite surprising individuals present. I’m sure I recognized one or denizens of the streets; a local alcoholic, and someone who had told me recently (in a supermarket) that he suffers from a brain tumour. I myself found that I was suffering from a quite paralysing shyness and reluctance to stand at the front of the room and speak. Luckily (or unluckily as the case might be) Amanda Jones – as a school head teacher – seemed extraordinarily keen to host the evening, and I was relegated to holding the tin of admissions monies at the door. I do hope I will be able to get over this Mum? Do you think I should attend a class in public speaking? Or should I wait and hope that I grow in confidence?

On a more cheering note, I think I saw Austen exiting from an alley the other day. And he was looking quite decrepit!

All love

Harriet

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