Another 1500 words in the bag and on track to hit 10,000 today or tomorrow. Not that it’s any indication of being well on the way, as even when the first draft is finished I know there’ll be lots of rewriting to do. I am relieved though that we are at last out of England and pulling into Bombay.
I’m not dwelling too much on the voyage out this time, as it’s not instrumental to the story. (There’s a whole chapter set on board in A Greater World) and this time I’ve used and named a real ship, P&O’s RMS Viceroy of India. The acronym RMS stood for Royal Mail Ship and this one plied its route between Tilbury and Sri Lanka (Ceylon then) via Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, Suez, Aden and Bombay. Built in Glasgow and launched in 1928, the ship was sunk by a U-Boat in 1942. Remarkably The Viceroy rescued passengers from 5 different ships that had collided or sunk – including the SS Ceramic – the boat on which I based the SS Historic in A Greater World . The Ceramic collided with a cargo ship off Capetown in 1940 and 279 passengers were rescued by the Viceroy. Coincidences yet again.
The picture above shows – on the right – the gown like the one my character, Ginny wears at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne. I mostly get a picture in my head of a piece of clothing and jewellery and then spend ages finding references to make sure it fits the period. I also like to wander around the V&A to soak up ideas and inspiration.
Pictured below is a photograph on board the Viceroy of India in 1933. It even had an indoor swimming pool. The idea of going on a cruise fills me with horror – and yet I do have a fascination for the age of slow sea travel. Maybe because my grandfather was a sea captain, sailing merchant ships all over the world, out of Liverpool.