Day 10 of the Fortnight in 1916, and I have woken up blue and glum and over it.
I don’t want to be in 1916 anymore!
I did not want to get up this morning and spend 45(!) minutes dressing: brushing my hair and putting it up and putting on all the layers of required clothes.
I don’t want to have to wait for the kettle to boil*, and be in the kitchen while I make breakfast because I can’t just stick toast in the toaster and just walk away.
I definitely DON’T want to do today’s chore, which is laundry. Last week’s was the trial one: this is the real thing. I have a full week’s worth of clothes, and sheets, and I’ve decided to really give it a proper and have gone through Mr D’s closet and fetched out every business shirt I thought would benefit from a bit of Sunlight Soap and a good scrub, so there is a large basket.
And it’s cold, and grey, and windy, and hanging laundry will be awful.
And I finally have chilblains.
And I don’t want to have to make a three course dinner, especially since we have SO MANY leftovers, and they all have to be used super quickly, because period refrigeration is not so good, nor are period food-covering methods (no plastic!)
And I have seen photos of what I look like in 1916, and my hair wants to turn late ‘teens hairstyles into nothing but frizz, and my skin is purple and splotchy without makeup. Ergh.
On the bright side, every period diary I have read is quite whingey, and anyone who can possibly afford to seems to spend at least one day a week, or three breakfasts of the seven, in bed because they just don’t feel up to it. And these are ones who didn’t have to do their own laundry and had a maid to bring breakfast!**
So my sentiments aren entirely understandable, and my resolve in not succumbing to the desire to just hang around in pyjamas and watch bad TV all day is eminently laudable.
Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself!
To try to cheer myself up, and to relieve one of my biggest stresses, I am going to step out of my 1916 life for a moment, and ask for something that a 1916 woman couldn’t:â€ â€ moral support in the way of advice.
One of the big things that is getting me down, and which I am stressed over, is Costume College. I leave in just under two weeks, and I’ve been focused on getting patterns out (Henrietta Maria dress! Buy it here! Next one coming soon! (but not as soon as I wanted, which was over a month ago)), and going home to Hawaii, and making practical, boring clothes for my Fortnight in 1916, and I thought I might get things done during the Fortnight, but that clearly isn’t happening, and so I haven’t made anything new and pretty.
This is fun to sew on, but it doesn’t go very fast!:
Everyone always shows up in such spectacular things (and always brand new!), and all my favourite things are getting a bit old and worse for wear (or worse yet, don’t fit me anymore), and don’t really show my current skill level (and yes, I would like to show off!) and I don’t have time for something new and spectacular. All in all I’m just feeling frumpy and dumpy and insufficient. And when I’m stressed I am terrible at decision making, and just flit around doing a bit of one thing and then another and can’t focus and decide. And I really MUST decide what exactly I’m wearing, and get together any little things I don’t have for it that might be useful.
So, here is what I’m asking: of everything I’ve made over the years, what’s your favourite? If you are/were going to Costume College, what would you most like to see?
I need, at the very least:
- A Friday Night Social Dress (theme: something to do with the circus)
- A Gala dress (theme: Midsummer Nights Dream – but lots of people don’t stick to themes)
- A Pool Party outfit (theme is Mod (or something to do with the 60s, but I’m pretty sure I’m NOT sticking to theme!) Something a little cooler and lighter.
So there you go, a shameless request for a bit of input and ego stroking. Please do help!
*Though the kettle makes me a little happy, as every time I put it on in the morning my brain starts singing “Early the morning the kettle does boil / you’d swear it was singing of Cod Liver Oil”. Having Great Big Sea on the brain isn’t the worst start to a day!
** Of course, I also don’t have to worry about sons or a husband or brothers off at war. Nor whether that a headache is going to turn into measles or deadly flu, or weather a cough is the first stages of consumption.â€ Those were more likely among the poor, but they hit every class. Just in case you had any doubts, the past SUCKED in lots of ways!
â€ On the other hand, if I do get a headache etc, the only period-accurate medication left to me is aspirin/dispirin,^ because the medical establishment has decided that the most commonly mentioned ‘I felt poorly so I took some’ medication in NZers WWI diaries, chlorodyne, shouldn’t really be legal. Something to do with the part where it was pretty much just opium, chloroform, and marijuana.
^ which was popular-ish in 1916, and very popular in 1917, because the American patent had just expired so the price plummeted worldwide, which may have contributed to fatality rates in the 1918 flu epidemic, as doctors proscribed huge doses of aspirin for the flu, inadvertently killing their patients with aspirin poisoning.
â€ â€ Well, she couldn’t from such a large group of supportive, like minded people who also know what you are talking about and won’t judge you!