I’ve now written a series of short vignettes within the Renate strand. It reminds me a little of what they used to do in old films: show a passage of time going by by showing short newspaper articles or reviews.
Each vignette has some character development, some greater feeling of being English but with possible set-backs, the foreshadowing of the break-down, and some detail about the war – either military or civilian life or both. For instance, one vignette I’ve written today is in a London department store with her mother about to buy a very useful and dull-coloured poultry boiler. There is little makeup in the store, the shelves are empty in the food hall, there’s little choice in stockings, the hats are hideous, half of the space is empty and the lifts don’t all work – deliberately so to conserve power. Renate imagines what the store would be like if there wasn’t a war and decides that she likes English department stores. Then tells herself she doesn’t deserve it.
These little vignettes will be interspersed with the quite short letters from the German girls and the longer but less frequent episodes of the Hani story. I’m beginning to get curious about how they’ll look when they’re all slotted together. The time when that may happen is now looking less far off.