I only added a little more than 1,000 words today, but they were all part of a planning exercise. I have decided to try to confine myself to twelve chapters, through which I expect to trace the history of three characters – from their births to their divorces and renewed relationships.
The planning has required me to think carefully about all that is likely to have happened to them during those sixty years. This was particularly taxing in the case of one of the three. He is the third generation of his family to have served as a partner and senior partner in a local accountancy practice. He hopes that his son will become the fourth. The practice has for more than 100 years always had at least two partners.
I had expected this to be a trivial task, but it required me to plot year-by-year timelines to correlate not only births, but additionally, war service, marriages, deaths and retirements. With new entrants and promotions, the name of the firm has changed often to reflect those of the then current partners. This was a merry dance.
The next task, given that each chapter relates only to a given year or decade, was to map from the spreadsheet to the chapters, the names, ages, marriage changes, births, deaths and other specific events that would have happened in each period.
The last piece of the jigsaw, one that I have been looking at tonight, has been the impact of political and legislative change upon the possible life events of the people in the book. This will be, I imagine, particularly true in respect of the lives of the women. Property rights, rights to open bank accounts and obtain mortgages, independent taxation: all these added to equal pay, abortion and treatment in divorce. The list seems nearly endless, yet almost all of the above rights have been won, in the UK, only in the eighty years to 2020.
I took none of today’s photos, they are all of older generations of my family, and are intended to convey some of the changes and generational dependencies that would have been typical in the period I will be trying to portray. Incidentally, the gentleman in the bowler hat – I doubt that you will guess – my maternal grandfather – was a coal miner.