I wrote yesterday about one of my characters in search of a plot, Mike Scott. It seems he is destined to be a reporter on a small local newspaper (fictional of course) and it seems due to the fact that he rides a bike – wearing bicycle clips of course but no crash helmet or luminous gear – that he rides around reporting for his newspaper, the Easthope Bugle, in the 1950’s.
As well as bicycle clips Mike would wear a shirt and tie, and no doubt a vest underneath, a tweed jacket – probably a rather old one with patches on the elbows and maybe a button missing (a leather button) He would wear flannel trousers, lace-up leather shoes (maybe in need of a polish) and grey knitted wool socks. He would wear a Macintosh or gaberdine against the rain, would have problems with hats (he would leave them places) leather gloves (ditto leaving them or losing just one) and a scarf, probably knitted by an aunty (the same aunty who knits his pullys (pullovers)).
Mike would live in a bedsit, lit by a dingy yellow light (a 20 watt bulb) and with a small two bar electric heater which he would not be able to afford – his electricity being on a meter into which he would have to feed sixpences (I must look up the cost of electricity!) He might have a small gas burner for a cooker, or maybe an electric Baby Belling (I must consult my 1950’s cookery books) He might have a basin in the corner of his room but there would be a shared bathroom. If the room was in a lodging house then maybe he would only be able to have a bath once a week. There would be no double glazing, and on his bed (maybe a fold up or put you up, or maybe converted from the settee or couch) he would have sheets, blankets, an eiderdown and a bedspread (possibly candlewick)
He wouldn’t feel sorry for himself because there would be so many other people, men and women living in exactly the same circumstances. Many people in their twenties and even older would still be living at home with their parents, and only when they married would they move out – usually into rented accommodation. He would probably be quite happy with his life; he would meet his friends in the local pub (which would open at five and close at ten) and he might belong to some social group such as the bowls club, or in the summer the cricket club.
I was feeling a little daunted by the idea of setting something in the past and having to research how people lived – now with the aid of my cookery books, Agatha Christie books and my parents photos I’m feeling a little more confident.
One last thought, does Mike Scott smoke a pipe?