Thus she wafts in with a peculiar odour that niggles at 1950s nostrils. It’s so strange and un-Lilyfield it confuses sensory taste buds so used to the bland experience of coddled eggs, sun-ripened milk and tripe upon tongues. It’s so invasive I want to scrunch up my nose and sneeze to keep the anxiety of difference at bay. Still I stifle the impulse because my mother says there is no reason to sneeze unless I’m being talked about behind my back (though perhaps being fondly remembered) or I’m about to catch a cold.
Nevertheless, a perfectly pale—and therefore privileged—Narelle Callanan does sneeze; perhaps she knows she’s often the brunt of gossip because she’s ideally Anglo-Celtic, burdened by the conformity—and innocence—of straw-coloured plaits and clever enough to score an intelligence quotient beyond 120; though more likely it’s because she presses elbows with Lesley Cottrell who sits sniffling, labouring under the paraphernalia of safety pin, handkerchief and camphorated Vicks as the nasal congestion she’s caught from the germs of a tough Sydney winter dribbles toward lips to become trapped by a scouting tongue that extends like a chameleon’s to claim the offering.
And so Impressions becomes an offering, of sorts. Extend the hand, turn the pages and enjoy this collection of stories written by a woman of the fifties who has much to share about life, photography and travel.