Thursday, May 23, 2013

Location, Don't Punch Me, Location.

This is tough.  One fictional world?  One single, solitary world?  It's easier to pick a world I wouldn't want to live in: Myron Bolitar's, because he always gets beaten up.  I've never been beaten up and I want to keep it that way.

I've got it down to three. 

I wouldn't mind being Alvirah Meehan in Mary Higgins Clark World.  There are no pictures of Alvirah - a cleaning lady - so here's one of Hilda Ogden, another iconic cleaning lady from the world of Coronation Street:

And - I realised when I dowloaded this photo of her - my identical apron twin.

Why Alvirah Meehan?  Anyone who's seen my house will tell you I'm not cut out to be a cleaning lady.  Well, Alvirah lives on 59th St in New York with a view of Central Park and - crucially - she is a lottery winner.  Also, she's married to a plumber, which is like winning the lottery all over again.

If I couldn't be Alvirah, I'd be Isabel Dalhousie in Alexander McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club series.  Now Isabel is a philosopher with inherited wealth, and I'm beginning to look shallow here, but the crucial factor is that she lives in Edinburgh.  She lives in a house like this one:

a place I understand, with window weights and shallow presses by the fireplace, encaustic tiles in the vestibule and sarking to keep an eye on.  As I wonder about when to have my California house checked for termites again and begin to plan a new barn to replace the one that blew down, I could quite happily revert to a big lump of Scottish stone. 

And if I lived in Merchiston then, right now, tonight, I could hop in my rusty little manual shift Fiesta and visit my mum.

My final choice is the serious answer: I'd like to be Minnie Cassands in the opening chapters of Margery Allingham's Beckoning Lady (before it all goes wrong).  Minnie is a splendid old trout, married to a splendid old buffer - Tonker - and when we meet her she's in the midst of preparing for their annual spectacular - a completely bonkers garden party held at their house, The Beckoning Lady, in Suffolk.  Ohhhh - just writing that much means I'm going to have to read it again. 

Minnie wears a Mother Hubbard and - again - an apron, buys too much Champagne and serves it all, and says things like "clowns are children without innocence; that's why they're so awful".  She's right too.   When I first read the novel, years ago, I took to her on finding out that she polishes her dining table by putting towelling knickers on fat babies and letting them wriggle.  That's my kind of housekeeping.  And Minnie Cassands is my kind of gal.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this - I needed the laughs today! Thank you!!! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

Catriona McPherson said...

Why thank you, Thelma! I'll bet you're the only Manhattanite who spent time thinking about Hilda Ogden today.

lil Gluckstern said...

So charming, just like your books. Your choice of homes is certainly beautiful. I have a new manual shift Fiesta, and I love it. It's good to know that they last :)