‘Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,’ The Beatles

‘Now it seems as though they’re here to stay,’ to continue that line from ‘Yesterday’. The past roubles of Adam’s divorce and Poppy’s bereavement had been taking a bit of a back seat to burgeoning romance hadn’t they? Happy outings, a Valentine’s bouquet, hugs and kisses, family celebrations together – all good omens – it seemed. But that was yesterday.

Today’s post starts off well enough. They have a lovely afternoon out together at West Kirby before strolling around the Marine Lake photographing birds and boats and then the sunset before, arms around each other, he drives her back home. On her driveway he invites her round to his house – which she hasn’t seen up to now. He wants to show her how to use software to bring out the best in her photographs. Uh!Oh!

The day arrives, Poppy arrives – full of hope and love. She kisses him on the cheek as she enters, looks around his hallway – but, what’s this? Straight ahead of her on the wall facing her is a nicely framed photograph of – WHO?…… MARY? – he’d intended to take it down hadn’t he? When he’d got back home from his birthday trip up Snowdon, he’d resolved that he’d get rid of it. Well, ‘the road to hell’ and all that! So much for good intentions.

What’s worse, he’d told Poppy that portrait photography wasn’t his kind of thing. He certainly hadn’t taken any photos of Poppy. What was she to think? Why was Mary’s photo still hung there? Why not her’s?

Before you can say Mary Briody, Poppy was screaming at him, calling him fit to burn before slamming the door on her way out, shouting that she never wanted to see him or hear from him again.

Oh dear! and her birthday is only days away. Troubles – ‘now it seems as though they’re here to stay.’

In sympathy with my theme, today’s featured photo is of a group statue of the Fab Four on Mann Island, Liverpool. I took the photo in November 2018 using a Pentax K3-ii, 24 MP cropped sensor camera and a 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at 16 mm and f/4. My shutter speed was 1/100 secs and the ISO was 100.

Family occasions

Still a long way to go with re-reading, correcting and re-writing. Poppy and Adam, as I’ve posted during the past couple of days, have now had three days out together – the Lakes, his cottage and the island off the coast of Anglesey. Each has met and dined with the parents of the other and Poppy has read the riot act to Adam. All’s still well though and the Valentine’s Day bouquet from him probably helped.

Their relationship now matures as they become more involved in the lives of others in their families. Janet, his brother’s partner, gives birth to a baby boy. Adam and Poppy are together at a celebration at Neil’s house the following night. While they’re there, Janet interrogates Poppy about her feelings for Adam, worried in case he should get hurt again as when his first wife dumped him.

Poppy and her sister, Sandra spend two Saturdays shopping ready for Sandra’s wedding to Chris. On each of these two days, Poppy is quizzed about her relationship with Adam.

Following on from these two occasions, Janet’s baby is baptised – cue for a party, then Sandra marries Chris. At the reception afterwards, Adam and Poppy’s sister find themselves sat at a table together. Sandra, an accomplished interviewer, turns her skills upon Adam trying to discover his intentions towards Poppy – matrimony-wise. He extricates himself diplomatically.

As I promised , the featured photograph to accompany this post is a black and white conversion of the one at Liverpool’s Canning Dock that I used yesterday. The EXIF data are the same: A tripod mounted Pentax K-1 camera; a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens. Shutter speed 30 secs, f/16, 30 mm, ISO 100.

A loving lecture and a lover’s bouquet

Only thirty five pages today. I haven’t had to do a lot of re-writing. There has been some editing of references to Welsh place names, though some have had to stay. I haven’t had to do much mucking about with the plot either. The main work has been to do with the storytelling.

Now that the Lake District visit has been established, and Adam has met Poppy’s parents, it’s been time for him to show her his cottage in Wales and for them to have a walk together around the area. So it hasn’t been so much building photography skills as building relationships.

On the way home, they have a meal at his parents’ home. More then of each getting their feet under necessary tables. Both sets of parents are keen, for their own reasons, to see their children rebuilding their respective lives with a suitable partner.

The visit to Adam’s parents however leads to the lecture. At Christmas, he’d heard Neil, his brother, comment that he – Adam – was trying to punch over his weight given how stunning Poppy looks. Because he’d been hurt when Mary, his first wife left him for someone else some years ago, he’d taken Neil’s view to heart and had been worrying that Poppy would also dump him. This memory and fear emerged in a conversation the couple had in his car while he was parked on her driveway after the meal.

Poppy firmly puts him on the right path to resolving that conflict, assuring him that she was not another Mary, but telling him that he had to start having more faith in himself and in her.

Having got that out of the way, they plan another day out in Wales – this time on a small island off Anglesey named after the Welsh patron saint of lovers – a Welsh version of St Valentine.

The following week is St Valentine’s day and, although she had warned him not to go making any Valentines promises, she is stunned when a bouquet of flowers arrives in her office, addressed to her, with a card bearing a drawing of a heart and a single upper case ‘A’.

Today’s photograph is of Liverpool’s Canning Dock at night. It’s one of my favourite shots – tomorrow I’ll repost it as a black and white version. I took this photo using my Pentax K-1, 36 MP full-frame camera, tripod mounted and without filters. I used a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 30mm and f/16. The shutter speed was 30 secs and the ISO was 100.


A post for https://anvicaphotos.wordpress.com/

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?Thou art more lovely and more temperate.Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,And often is his gold complexion dimmed;And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed.But thy eternal summer shall not fade,Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare Sonnet 18


A substantial amount of progress since yesterday – in storytelling rather than words. From a third of the way though to halfway may not seem much to you, but I’ve virtually rewritten a few key chapters.

I said yesterday that I didn’t know whether to stick with Wales as the first journey together for Adam and Poppy, or whether to scene-shift a couple of chapters to the English Lake District. Still undecided, I saved my OneDrive file onto my hard drive under two different filenames to reflect the alternatives. I then took the chapters that needed extra work to set them in the Lake District, tore them up and started them again – almost from scratch.

My biggest problem though was removing ME from the writing – not that I see myself as Adam – but the photographer in me wanted to leave in photography details that didn’t actually move the plot on and would merely baffle a general reader. I think that it was Stephen King who suggested writing the first draft for yourself, leaving it to stew, and then rewriting it as something that might be worth publishing. I see now that my first version was probably selfish – including things that only a geek like me needs to know.

I now, however, think that I’m probably too close to the original to go back to the other file version I saved that left the journey’s location as Wales. The new geography has set my imagination free. From now on, though, There are a couple of chapters that probably need to remain in Wales. One relates to Adam’s cottage and the other to the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine.

Today’s featured photo is of the Museum of Liverpool, reflected at the terminus point of the Leeds-Liverpool canal, during the River of Lights festival of 2019,

I took this shot, tripod-mounted, with a Pentax K-1 36 MP full-frame camera and a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at f/2.8 and 21 mm. The shutter speed was 1/15 secs and the ISO 5000.

Not what I’d expected

It’s a couple of months now since I finished what I’d expected to be the final proof-read of my first novel – ‘Persephone and the Photographer’. I had expected that the ‘simple’ revisions I mentioned yesterday would take time to do. What I hadn’t expected were the plethora of punctuation and style errors still remaining. A lot of my dialogue now looks stilted. My revision will take longer than expected.

I suppose that’s a by-product of having written three more books in the interim. I suppose that I’ve been learning from writing more, but also I’m finding that I’m learning more about how to write when I now read other people’s books and blogs.

I’m about a third of the way into my draft revision and my ideas about what I want to do are changing, even as I write. I wonder if that’s the experience of fellow bloggers.

I think that I’m managing to convey Adam as a bit less of ‘wuss’ than he was first time round. I’ve had a change of mind about erasing Chester as a place name by describing it merely as a city. I’m also cringing about translating Crib Goch as The Red Ridge. I’ll soon be arriving at the first journey that Adam and Poppy took together into Snowdonia. I’m still considering making that a Lake District visit – that’ll also be a way to swerve using Welsh place names. Incidentally, I have nothing against the Welsh language – I spent several months trying to learn it and I think that it’s a lovely language, but I do know that a lot of English speaking people find it difficult to read – let alone pronounce.

One thing that I am happy about is losing ‘Effie’ by substituting ‘Poppy’. Choosing forenames for female heroine characters is proving a bit of a problem for me for some reason. One other thing that I need to look at is how far I can prune the amount of dialogue and trust readers to use their imaginations. I’m certainly hoping to maximise people’s imaginations with the more passionate scenes. Conveying ‘Fifty Shades’ type scenes is right outside my comfort zone.

Today, I’m posting my final fireworks photo from November 2018. Again the viewpoint is from near Birkenhead’s Woodside Ferry terminal, looking across the River Mersey towards Liverpool’s waterfront. I took the shot with my Pentax K3ii 24 MP cropped sensor camera mounted on a tripod. I used a 16-85 mm f.3.5-5.6 lens at 21 mm and f/11. My shutter speed was 2 secs and the ISO was 100. Tomorrow will be another photo taken in Liverpool itself during the River of Light Festival 2019.

Back to the drawing board

Yesterday, I said that I hadn’t made my mind up about which book to revise or re-write. I decided that it would need to be the Persephone story. It won’t need to be a root and branch revision, and while I’m working, there will be some time to think about how I’ll need to approach the New Tangled Tango storyline.

I’ve made a start. Persephone becomes Poppy; Chester becomes the city; the named council becomes simply the Council. Poppy and Adam no longer work in different Councils, but are now in different sections of the same council; the setting is Northern England rather than just the Wirral Peninsula and Snowdonia; At least one of the trips will be to the English Lake District; Welsh names of lakes and mountains become either anglicised or anonymous. Descriptions of photographic technique will be radically edited for simplification and to move the plot on.

Speaking of the plot, Adam will get a bit more spine – he was a bit of a ‘snowflake’. All that sounds like a couple of minutes work, but it will take several hours, if not days, to read the old file through – line-by-line, word-by-word – to ensure that my editing doesn’t introduce new problems.

So far I’m about a quarter way through.

As promised, today’s featured photograph is the first of two to show excerpts from the Liverpool River of Light fireworks display, 2018. The viewpoint is from near the Woodside ferry terminal, Birkenhead, looking across the River Mersey towards Liverpool waterfront.

I took the photo with my Pentax K3ii 24 MP cropped sensor camera tripod mounted and with an 18-65 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at 21 mm and f/11. The shutter speed was 8/5 seconds and the ISO was 100.

What next?

Well, that headline could refer to the emerging results of the US election, or to what happens after December 2nd in the UK when Lockdown is supposed to end. In fact, as I said yesterday, I’ve finished the ‘Katie and Greg’ story that I’ve been working on these past few weeks and I don’t have a clue as to what I’ll do next.

For now, I’ve put my current tale into quarantine for two weeks or so before I read it again, correct any obvious errors and see whether the story, as told, still makes sense.

My daughter is reading my Sixty Years story, so in a few days, I may need to spend some time sorting out any problems that she finds. However, no new writing ideas have popped into my mind to inspire me.

Perhaps this is an opportunity to revisit two earlier stories. The Persephone novel really needs a good looking-at. Even I now see that I got carried away. It was my first stab at creative writing, and I’d wanted to write about something that I was familiar with: I certainly wanted to avoid trying to describe anything that I know nothing about. So I concentrated on photography and hill-walking, local government and systems plus a smidgen of religion.

The storyline, I still believe, was sound but the story-telling didn’t work well. There was too much about photographic technique which would have been boring to the general reader. There were too many Welsh place names that would have been unreadable to anyone unfamiliar with the area. I could probably re-write that story, leaving out those elements or, at least, replacing technical material and unpronounceable names with descriptions that didn’t get in the way of an enjoyable read. That type of detail probably didn’t add much worth saying to the plot-line anyway.

My second story, ‘A New Tangled Tango’, never even made it to the proof-reading stage. My wife banned it because anyone who knows us would recognise either us or them. I’d done my best to avoid that, but it wasn’t worth an argument. However, because so much of the story related to personal experience of sequence-dancing with a sidebar of religion, the story would have to be rewritten from scratch with a different plot and setting. I just haven’t made up my mind which of the above two stories to start on first.

I won’t post my fireworks photos until tomorrow. The photograph today, another from my 2019 Liverpool River of Light collection, shows an installation of larger-than-life animated figures which had been illuminated in sequence. The figure begins at the left at starting-blocks, then running, jumping across a bridge, and then somersaulting before standing, triumphant – torch in hand. I took the shot from The Strand, looking across the Salthouse Dock towards the bridge. Between the two buildings where the figures perform, the Colonnades can be seen across the Albert Dock itself. In the foreground you can see the illuminated blue top of a moored barge.

I took the shot with my Pentax K-1, 36 MP full-format camera, tripod-mounted and with a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 30 mm and f/8. The shutter speed was 2 seconds and the ISO 1600.

Tomorrow, the fireworks photos will appear.

All’s well that ends well

Yesterday we heard Diane, Katie’s daughter, telling Greg that he’d make someone a good husband – and as a clue, that she’d like a Dad again.

Today begins with a wedding – the marriage of Diane to Mark. aturally, is the photographer. We read how he and his assistant, Paul, work together in the church and the venue making sure that everything is captured perfectly.

After the meal – Greg had sat with Diane’s family as a guest – he and Paul compare notes. Paul has copied all the still shots to a laptop so that Greg can begin the act of culling the 1500 shots down to a manageable number. It’s at this point that Katie taps him on the shoulder to whisk him away to somewhere quiet, outside the function room, for interrogation.

Diane has been giving her earache lately – hints that Greg fancies her. She demands to know what’s going on. Greg tells her about the conversation in his shop with Diane. When he gets to the bit about her wanting a Dad, Katie explodes.

She says that she has been watching Greg but has seen no sign of passion. He tells her that he has loved her since they were children, but she has never noticed him as a person, only as as someone she sometimes works with. She tells him that he’s never said anything to her about his love. He tells her that he didn’t see the point. She always fancied stronger, fitter boys and, later on, that type of men. He obviously hasn’t been her type. He’s been invisible to her except in business.

But that was then, she tells him, this is now. He says that she’s right, and leads her back into the function room where, on one knee, and in front of her family and friends, he proposes. She accepts, they kiss and he asks who’s going to photograph their wedding.

End of story. I told you that I was nearing the end. Goodness only knows what I’ll find to write about tomorrow. In the end the story needed only 20,000 or so words, hardly even novella length, but I like the tale as it is and I have no intention of padding it out to some arbitrary length for publishing purposes. I wrote it because I felt that I had to write it.

Today’s featured photo is of giant, illuminated, and animated spiders crawling across the wall of Liverpool’s Cunard Building – one of the port’s famous ‘Three Graces’.

I used my Pentax 36 MP full-frame camera mounted on a tripod and with a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 15 mm and f/2.8. The shutter speed was 1/60 secs and the ISO 3200.

Turning Tables

I’ve pinched Adele’s song title for today’s post because some tables are being turned in my story as I near the close in my writing.

I left Katie and Greg, in my most recent post, at the point where Katie has met someone new – her first boyfriend since her husband died five years previously. Diane is horrified – she dislikes, Phil, the new man on sight, and thinks that he looks creepy. She tells her Mum that the news will devastate Greg. Her Mum doesn’t understand why that should be. Diane can’t believe that Katie hasn’t noticed how Greg has always adored her. Katie doesn’t believe her.

Two years or so later, Katie’s Mum and Dad bring news to Katie that they believe that Phil is already married. While they were out in their car, they’d seen him with another woman and a toddler. They’d done some checking on marriages, using Ancestry, that seems to confirm their belief. Katie tells them that she doesn’t believe them. Nevertheless, she does some detective work of her own using the Electoral register, and now the truth begins to register. Shortly afterwards she confronts him and he walks out on her. Tables are turning.

The following year, 2017, is the 18th birthday of Katie’s daughter Diane. There is a small birthday meal in a hotel at which Diane and her boyfriend, Katie, her Mum and Dad, Beryl and Jimmy, are celebrating – Greg has also been invited as Diane’s honorary ‘uncle’.

I’ve written this as a three-handed scene. Katie is watching Greg to try to assess the truth in what Diane had told her. For their part, Greg and Diane, each in their own way, are aware of Katie’s unaccustomed interest in Greg. By the end of the meal, Katie has come to realise that she may have been blind to Greg’s qualities.

Approaching her finals at her sixth-form college, a couple of months after the meal, Diane visits the shop for career advice. Before she leaves, she tells Greg that Mark has been talking to her about marriage. She asks for his advice. He points out that he has never been married. She tells him that he’d make someone a lovely husband – to someone she won’t name – but she (Diane) feels that she’d like to have a Dad again.

As I promised a couple of days ago, this week’s photos will all be from River of Light festivals in Liverpool. This one is from November, 2019 and shows an illuminated portal through which people could walk as the lights bulbs lit up in sequence to give the illusion that they were passing you as you passed to the other side. Relativity in action.

I took all the photos I’m posting this week using my 36 MP Pentax K-1 full-frame camera and a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 30 mm and f/2.8. The ISO was 3200 and the shutter speed 1/60 secs.