The things that obsessed me – Yesterday

I did not blog yesterday, not because I did not want to. I did. Not because I forgot. I did not. Every so often my brain reminded me, but because I’d got to the point in the WIP – current title The Terrified Tailor – where three things obsessed me.

The first was a knife fight. They need choreographing carefully, especially when the opponents are mismatched and a lesson needs to be delivered and learned. This took about an hour of my day. Writing, erasing; writing again. You get the idea.

The second thing that obsessed me was how to turn a very demure looking dress into something my main character can justifiably describe as unleashing a neckline of “Parisian daring”. As this is a tale concerned with smoke and mirrors; I decided there had to be a simple explanation. And there was.

My Nana was a tailor, who, before her marriage in 1927, worked on Commercial Road in London. When I was little she made my clothes and while I did not appreciate her prowess then, I am eternally grateful to her now. Because of her, I knew how this transformation could occur whilst travelling in the back of a car, down Oxford Street.

Enter the humble popper as my Nana called it – back in the day when a popper was a snap fastener not a drug. Fortunately, unlike my attempt to give my main character a Rolls Royce five years before the company existed, I was in luck with my desire to use the popper as it was first patented in Germany in 1885 by Heribert Bauer  – or possibly by Myra Juliet Farrell in Ireland in the same year (although her invention did not require stitching). Of course, typically, there was a rival patent in 1886 from Albert-Pierre Raymond, and some clothing historians attribute the invention to Bertel Sanders, of Denmark. Whoever did it, I thank you because your timing was perfect for my needs.

This original snap fastener (Bauer’s model) wasn’t exactly ideal – being none too reliable or indeed rust proof – and that didn’t change until 1903 but I decided that as I was writing a work of fiction, I could get away with this as a plot device and would have to go back to the drawing board about which car to use.

image from

The third thing to obsess me was an ancient Egyptian board game – called Senet. But as this is central to the tale, you will forgive me for being vague…

English: Senet gaming board inscribed for Amenhotep III with separate sliding drawer, ca. 1390-1353 BCE. Faience, glazed, 2 3/16 x 3 1/16 x 8 1/4 in. (5.5 x 7.7 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 49.56a-b.