Not all Clara’s experiences are mine – she’s more than happy to embroider or borrow from friends if it makes for a good story. Clara is a big fan of Cecily – her influence may be evident.
No matter what they’d agreed, Clara would withdraw to her room and bury herself in a book when she heard the sound of the vacuum and the Saturday morning flat clean.
In theory, Clara had given up chocolate and sugar, but she had to admit it wasn’t entirely true in practice.
Clara’s nonchalant and understated look was very carefully put together.
It took Clara a moment to recover, regroup and make light of a cutting remark by a friend: after, all she told herself, everyone is entitled to their own point of view.
Clara suspected she didn’t look her best sprawled on the leaf-strewn forest track after tripping over a tree root.
Clara pulled up the covers to cut out the light for a few more minutes, wishing it was as easy to disregard her morning meetings and the busy day ahead.
Clara regretted the kilos of tamarillos she’d bought in case the urge should come over her to do some preserving.
It dawned on Clara that only the hardy and the foolhardy venture out in Wellington winter winds without a hat.
Clara happened to think that an existence confined to a warm basement flat full of books and other printed matter was the ultimate freedom.
Clara still mourned the favourite scarf she’d left in a Croatian market changing area.
Clara was thrilled when the policeman came over and congratulated her on her parallel parking, until he told her it was a no-parking spot.
Clara finished the jumper she’d knitted for a friend’s baby only to find she’d sewn the sleeves on upside down.
Clara’s New Year’s resolutions to fold her clothes at night, bake her own bread, and home-cook flavoursome meals never really stood a chance.
Clara pretended entertaining her friends was easy after using up a day of leave doing nothing but cleaning and cooking.
Clara discovered that the best thing about her new online Feldenkrais class was all the time lying on the floor resting.
Before her appointments, Clara avidly read the online medical journals but she soon learnt to let the GP be the one to do the diagnosing.
Lying on the lawn doing exactly nothing for five minutes, Clara recalled that whole summers used to pass that way.
Clara went for pale and not very interesting on the odd occasion she polished her nails.
Clara was relucant to remove her new puffer jacket even indoors – it was like a warm hug from someone she loved.
Clara felt that if the windows needed cleaning, it was probably time to sell the house.
Clara wished that, like her grandmother, she had a woman in to do the wet and the rough.
Clara was dismayed to disover it wasn’t her eyebrow she was plucking but a wrinkle.
Clara was delighted to find that the laundry was bone-dry after being laid on the heated hotel bathroom floor overnight.
Never again would Clara take hours washing woollens. What joy! A new best friend. An electric front loader with an extra-gentle cycle.
Clara tried to remain impassive on seeing, reflected in a window, her carefully put-together look spoilt by her flowing skirt caught up in her knickers.
Clara surveyed the mass of practically identical jigsaw pieces and decided she’d tackle it later. Or maybe never.
Clara took an anxious step back, breath held, heart beating. But it was alright. The duck-egg towels draped over the towel rail matched the bathroom tiles perfectly.
The bells of the village church tolled out disconcertingly every 15 minutes, measuring out the trivialities that made up Clara’s days.
Clara remembers mornings at her grandfather’s store viewing material, patterns, thread and more, with dreams of a glamorous sundress unlike anything she’d ever had before.
Clara dreamed of the day when the words that coloured her thoughts were placed on the page and read far and wide.
Clara knew that most wishes are like fireflies, promises melt away, and most hopes burst like bayoneted balloons.
Clara felt the clattering hail and howling wind justified the motley collection of woolly shawl, beret, fingerless gloves and duvet she wore when working at home.
The house Clara liked had character and style, interest rates were low, and yet an affordable price was still out of reach.
Clara resolved to pack up her worries, calm her fears and count the days till she’d again clink glasses of whisky and soda with friends.