Susie came in at this point, using her own laptop to do an offline presentation of the basic options we ought to be considering for the website – such as hosting, security and data protection; back-up, search engine optimisation and analytics; plug-ins and themes. She used images of a couple of WordPress themes together with different types of block and sidebar displays in order to illustrate the points she was making and she offered some indications of the range of the costs involved. She tacked on at the end some of the basic issues involved in checkout and payment options and asked about matters such as whether to solicit reviews and enabling two-way email and telephone contact.
By this point, it was nearly time to wrap-up the proceedings for the afternoon before Tony’s children returned home. We agreed that, even though we hadn’t produced anything that we could use yet, nevertheless, we all had a clearer idea of where our specific contributions lay. I agreed to email to them my thoughts on the marketing – in its widest sense – of the types of training that had been discussed at the recent virtual meeting.
Beverly said that she’d produce some minutes for circulation to the whole group. Tony and Susie would hold- fire on their areas of development until they’d seen my marketing proposals. Beverly told us that Jason had offered to host the next meeting at his home in Cheadle. on the afternoon of Friday the twelfth of March.
As we packed up, I heard Susie mention that she was going to phone for a taxi. Beverley said that she’d have given her a lift, but that she was heading into the city to do some shopping. I offered her a lift home – I wasn’t in a rush and I had to head in that general direction anyway. She thanked me and, having thanked Tony for hosting the meeting, we set-off.
While she was putting on her seat belt, I asked if her car was in for service. She looked at me, laughed and told me to have another guess. I guessed that she’d been involved in a bump. She laughed again and explained that she was eight months into a twelve months ban.
“Wow!” I said, “What happened, did you try to nick a police car?”
She said that she’d already accumulated some points for speeding and then, on another occasion, she hadn’t noticed as she drove through traffic lights that had just turned red – result a fine and the ban.
“So, I shouldn’t ask you for a lift anytime soon then?” I asked.
As I drove, she asked me where I lived and how I liked Cheadle Hulme. She said how sorry she was to hear about the split in my marriage. She was interested in how I felt about it and how it had happened. She asked if I had children and how custody was working out. She had questions about how I was managing the practicalities such as solicitors and child support. She told me about her divorce, which had been finalised only two years ago. She said that she’d wanted children, but had only learned, after trying for some years, that she was probably unable to have any of her own. Her husband would never consider adoption and they’d separated when he went off with another woman who was much younger. He now had a daughter already.
She told me that it had been a triple whammy – the childlessness, the separation and the other woman. It had accumulated to leave her with severe depression. She’d had therapy for a couple of years and now felt much more cheerful. I told her that I’d never have guessed, from what I’d seen of her, that she’d ever be anything but outgoing and cheerful. She changed the subject and started to ask me how the divorce proceedings were progressing. As a woman who’d been deserted and divorced she had lots of practical advice for a man who’d been deserted and was on the road to divorce..
The traffic had been a lot lighter than I’d expected and the time had seemed to fly as we conversed. I stopped outside her home which was close to the village – It was a 1930s semi-detached house along a main road. She thanked me for the lift and I thanked her for her company and advice. She asked me if I’d like to have a one-to-one meeting at her house soon, to discuss the ideas from the meeting further, so that she could start work on them. I asked whether that would interfere with her new job if her interview were successful. We agreed to meet the following Monday morning, which she’d cancel or re-arrange if there were any such problems.
I was sorry to leave. It had been nice, talking to her, and the journey home now seemed more bearable.
When I got home and checked my emails, I was amazed to find one from Susie. She must have sent it while I was on my way back from her house. She’d hoped that I wouldn’t think she was interfering in my life but she’d picked up on some of the bitterness in my voice. She included two quotations that she said had helped her, in a similar situation to mine.
“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being victim — letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”– C. R. Strahan
“Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are.”– Cherie Carter-Scott
As I read them, I felt the tears pricking my eye at Susie’s thoughtfulness. I printed off the email and stuck it to my fridge with one of those little magnets.
I replied, thanking her and saying that I’d enjoyed her company and was looking forward to our next meeting on Monday..
Today my featured photos leave London. This photo is one that I took some time back at Rufford Hall, West Lancashire, UK, between Ormskirk and Tarleton.
The Exif data are as follows: Pentax K-50 16 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm f/2.4 lens at 35 mm and f/8. The shutter speed was 1/200secs and the ISO 100. The shot was handheld and post processed in Lightroom Classic.